1. Be careful when driving!
If you are planning on using your Host Family’s
car please remember that in Ireland they drive
on the left hand side (i.e. steering wheel is on the right hand side of the car) So if you feel this may be an issue for you, why not discuss it with your Host Family and you might be better to use public transport or walk the children to school etc, instead. Irish roads can be narrow and winding, particularly in the countryside.
So, if you do decide to drive, drive carefully and slowly in rural areas. Also, whereas in some other countries it is acceptable to make a turn on a red light, this is not allowed in Ireland.
2. You might encounter language difficulties
The Irish accent can be hard to understand at first even for native English speakers. So, don’t worry if you struggle to understand your Host Family at the beginning. The Irish slang can be tricky at first but after a while you will be saying “what’s the craic” like a local.
3. Public transport
Buses usually are never ever on time. They seem to not adhere to bus schedules which can be annoying at first but the real time app, from Bus Eireann will be a great help to figure out the timing of your next bus. If you plan on using buses a lot during your stay in Ireland it would be worth getting a Leap card.This you can buy for a small fee and then your fares will be discounted each time you use the card and the card then can be topped up easily with the Leap Card app. Leap cards can currently be used in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Sligo and Athlone. Busses in Dublin do not give change, so remember to have the exact change before getting on the bus. Trains in Ireland
can be expensive so book in advance to get online discounts.
4. Be prepared for the weather
Ireland is not renowned for sunny warm weather so you will need to pack
accordingly. There is no need to bring summer dresses and lots of light clothes for the summer. One or two pairs of shorts should be plenty. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of about 16 degrees. While January is the coldest month with an average temperature of around five degrees. So, you will need to pack warm clothes for the winter months. The weather is highly changeable in Ireland and it rains quite often. There are often misty showers that don’t last long so it is always worth carrying an umbrella or light rain jacket in your handbag or rucksack. Avoid packing suede /fur jackets and pack rain jackets and layers instead so you can layer up to stay warm and dry. Similarly, canvas shoes aren’t practical, waterproof shoes would be a lot more useful to pack.
5. Try water sports
Ireland is renowned for having some of the best waves in the world. So, if you can withstand the cold-water temperatures it is well worth giving surfing a go during your Au Pair
stay in Ireland. Bundoran in county Donegal is considered Ireland's surf capital with over 10 surf schools to choose from. If surfing isn’t for you then why not try kayaking, sailing, canoeing or stand up paddle boarding etc.
6. The people
The Irish people are friendly
and extremely welcoming and will be sure to give you a “cead mile failte “ or a hundred thousand welcomes in English. The people are considered fun loving, relaxed, witty and never punctual. When meeting Irish people always expect them to arrive late. For example, the Irish say I’ll meet you at your house at “ 10 ish “ which will never mean before 10 but will mean any time after ten, yet arriving at 11.15 is not late or considered rude.
7. Bring Adaptors
Ireland uses G type power plugs, so remember to bring some travel adaptors or you won’t be able to charge your phone or laptop.
8. Visit Tourist Attractions
Ireland has some of the most breathtakingly scenery it’s no wonder Harry Potter, Star Wars and Game of Thrones have used Ireland as a filming location. While Au Pairing why not visit some of Ireland's most famous landmarks
such as the Cliffs of Moher, the Giant's Causeway, Kylemore Abbey to name just a few. If you plan to visit many tourist attractions in Ireland, you can get a Heritage card from the Office of Public Works, which is valid for a year and will allow you free entry into all state managed tourist attractions.
9. Be careful on the coast
Ireland has many beautiful coastal walks; these walks are often not protected by barriers but rather left in their natural rugged state. Be extremely careful when walking along the coast and do not go on these looped walks when there is high winds. During high winds, you may be swept off the cliff so be very careful! Similarly, in tourist destinations such as the Cliffs of Moher there are barriers. Under no circumstance should you cross these barriers to take a selfie. The cliff is constantly suffering from coastal erosion, so although it looks safe the ground may not be sturdy enough to hold your weight. Caution is also advised when swimming or participating in any water activities.
10. Use your student card
If you have a student card be sure to use it to get discounts. Student discounts are offered on transport, tourist destinations, shops and some fast food
11. Money in Ireland
The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro while Northern Ireland uses Sterling (GBP Pounds). If you plan on traveling in both the Republic and Northern Ireland it might be a good idea to get a travel card such as Revolut. Credit cards and debit cards are widely used in Ireland. However, if you have an American Express card only a few places will accept it.
12. Best Apps to download
The Ireland Travel Guide is a free and useful app that can be used to explore cities such as Dublin, Cork Galway etc. The app works offline as well so no need to be connected to the internet. It highlights walking routes and allows you to personalise your trip. It also has a feature, which allows you to book tickets or reserve hotels. While the What´s on app shows you every concert, festival or event happening in Ireland to make sure you´re never bored during your Au Pair stay.
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