Ireland consists of two parts – Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland. It is worth noting that it is only the Republic of Ireland that uses the euro; if you are visiting Northern Ireland you will use the British pound, as this part of the island is still part of the UK.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
Ireland has the same denominations of notes and coins as all the other countries do that use the euro. You can use six different coins that are measured in euro cents. These are available as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 euro cent coins. You can also find two coins measured just as euros, which are the one and two euro coins.
You also have seven banknotes that you may have on your travels throughout Ireland. The smallest is the €5 note and they go up in value from there. The rest are the €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and finally the €500 note.
From past to present – the history of the Irish euro
The country has used the euro since 2002. Before this the country used the Irish pound. This was referred to as the punt in Ireland, or more properly, the punt Eireannach. Officially the pound disappeared in 1999 although there would be a three year period during which the changeover from one to the other was made.
How to get hold of the Irish euro
Since the euro is the same in all the member countries – except for the design of one side of the coins which is left up to the member country – you can simply order euros to take with you to Ireland.
If you have euros left from holidays to other regions in Europe that use them, you can take these too. You may still have to get additional cash before you go, but you can easily use cash points all over the Republic of Ireland to get your euros as and when you need more.
Of course you can also use cards to make payment whenever you need to. Double check before you do so that there is no minimum payment amount in force. Larger outlets should always accept cards – both debit and credit cards – but again it is always best to check.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Irish euro
Exchange rates are constantly changing so you should always be alert for the latest information before you travel. Look out for a currency converter to use so you can find out the latest exchange rate. Remember that a converter will only provide the basic exchange rate – it will not be the same figure granted when you convert your currency into the euro for holiday purposes. Bureaux de change of all kinds charge commission which is either built into the exchange rate or added on top. Whichever is the case, you should check this before choosing your preferred bureau de change to go with.
To find out more about visiting Ireland you may like to look at the Embassy of Ireland website at https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/great-britain/.
Travelling safely with the Irish euro
Ireland is a popular place for some tourists, especially southern Ireland, as it boasts many pretty and charming places. You should find no problems in visiting the country but as always it is best to check the current situation before you leave home. The gov.uk website provides travel information and up to date advice for all manner of countries around the world, including Ireland.
Pickpocketing and similar crimes do happen but they are not particularly prevalent. The usual advice applies – make sure you don’t stand out like a tourist too much as this will make you just the kind of target a pickpocket or opportunistic thief will look for. Providing you are careful and you don’t flash your money or valuables around, you should be just fine. Millions of people choose Ireland as their holiday destination each year and the vast majority have a wonderful time there.
Where to spend your euros in Ireland – and what to spend them on
The main city in Ireland is Dublin, which can be found about halfway down the eastern side of the country. It is a popular choice for long weekends and there is certainly plenty to do here. One thing you will notice about the city is that it is populated with lots of statues. Most of the figures are of people who have a connection to the city in some way. You might be surprised how many you come across during your time in the city.
Elsewhere you can pay a visit to Dublin Castle. There is a long history surrounding the castle and it has changed a lot – as has its use – over the centuries. The oldest bit dates from the medieval castle as it stood in 1228, and is the Record Tower. It makes you realise just how impressive the entire castle would have been back then.
If the hustle and bustle of the city become too much, you may eventually decide to retreat to a park nearby. The good news is Dublin has plenty of them, including Phoenix Park, St Stephen’s Green and many others besides. You can then go back in for some shopping and perhaps a beer, and maybe a ride on one of the trams as well.
Elsewhere in Ireland you can visit Cork. This is another city that has a lot to offer, not least some tasty local dishes such as crubeens or pig’s trotters. They don’t suit everyone but you might just be tempted! Be sure to pay a visit to St Finbarre’s Cathedral, especially when it is lit up at night. Elsewhere you can stretch your shopping legs a bit and spend some euros in one of the many streets and shopping centres around the city.
As with most other countries, Ireland is not all about major population centres. Its countryside is said to be stunning and when you see it for yourself you will understand why. One of the best ways to see the most of Ireland is to book yourself onto a tour or two. They will cost a few euros each depending on how long they last but they are generally packed with knowledge and will give you a new appreciation for your surroundings.
For example you can enjoy a tour that takes you to Grand Wicklow and the Wicklow Mountains before seeing Glendalough, a site steeped in mysticism. Tours often leave major cities such as Dublin so if you are visiting one of these have a look and see whether you can enjoy a tour elsewhere as well.
One thing you will learn is that each county in Ireland has its own collection of small villages and towns to see. For example you can visit a little village by the name of Ballymacarbry in County Waterford towards the south of Ireland. The scenery is gorgeous and on a nice day you can wander for miles exploring the local routes. Whichever county you find yourself in, check out the villages on offer to see in that area.
One of the best ways to see more of the countryside is to opt for a cycling tour. You’ll need to be reasonably fit (although some companies do provide the option of an electric bike instead of relying on pedal power) and ready to sit in the saddle for more than a day, but if you are up for it you’ll love it. Ireland has plenty of dramatic scenery outside the cities, and with lots of coastline to enjoy it seems a shame not to see as much of it as you possibly can.
Always make sure you have some euros tucked into a pocket somewhere for the odd drink or snack, or perhaps to spend on admission somewhere. Ireland can result in depleting your cash reserves, but most things you spend your money on will be well worth it.
Ireland tends to be forgotten by some people who are eager to head abroad on their holidays. However, Dublin and some other Irish cities are ideal for a quick weekend break, and the countryside can provide the perfect escape too.
From Tipperary to Killarney and Clonakilty to Castlerea, you’ll be surprised how much there is to discover on the island of Ireland. The island is well served by various N and M routes so if you are driving (or cycling of course) you can soon find your way from place to place.
You may not get too many euros for your money when it comes to exchanging your currency, but as you can see, some of the experiences you will have in Ireland do not require you to spend any money at all. Now that sounds like the best option to go for – amazing views and scenery that just keeps on coming. Ireland is priceless in many ways, don’t you think?