When travelling, we generally like to go with the flow, and perhaps you do too.
That said, it’s always a good idea to know the basics when visiting a place for the first time. Dublin is full of adventure and excitement - to make the most of it, a quick review of the practicalities will make your stay even better…
English is spoken everywhere as a rule. Gaeilge (Irish - also known as 'Irish Gaelic' or 'Gaelic') is alive and well and used in an official capacity (whether alone or bilingually) in signs, documents and official titles - but you won’t hear it much in everyday conversation in Dublin.
Though most Dubliners will have ‘some’ Irish having learned it at school, a tedious overall approach and less-than-riveting teaching methods convinced a generation that their time was better spent concentrating on other academic subjects. Or staring out the window. A new curriculum, introduced a few years ago, was designed to make learning the language more interesting, more useful (and hopefully a lot more fun).
Want to try it yourself? One word in Gaeilge you WILL hear when it’s time to raise your glass in one of Dublin’s pubs: sláinte (slawn-cha) - your health/cheers!
Dublin (Irish Standard Time/IST) is in the same time zone as London (Greenwich Mean Time/GMT). Daylight Saving Time is in effect from late March (when the hour ‘springs’ ahead +1) to late October (when the hour ‘falls’ back -1).
The euro (€) is Ireland’s official legal tender. One euro equals 100 cents.
Tipping is appropriate in many instances, but nowhere near as prevalent as it would be in the USA, for example.
There isn’t much tipping in pubs, apart from leaving a handful of change on the bar if you can’t be bothered to pocket it. Even so, during a session it’s good etiquette at some stage to offer the barman/barmaid ‘whatever you’re having yourself’ in addition to what you’re ordering.
In restaurants, be sure to check the bill for a service charge before settling up - if one has been added, there is no need to tip further. If no service charge is included, tipping is entirely at your discretion but about 10% is fine as a minimum.
For taxi fares, the custom is to round up or throw a euro on top. For hotel porters, one euro per bag is adequate.
Most shops in Dublin are open Monday to Saturday 9am-6pm, with some larger supermarkets and shopping centres remaining open later. Thursdays offer ‘late night shopping’ particularly in the city centre, with many traders and shopping centres staying open until 8 or 9pm.
These days, the majority of shops are open on Sunday as well, though with shorter hours (from noon to 6pm or so). Many mini-groceries/off-licenses are open until about 11pm (Tesco Express, Centra, Londis,