All that Australian, Canadian, EU, New Zealand and US residents need to visit Ireland for a period of three months or under is a valid passport. UK residents do not need a passport to travel to Ireland.
The currency used in Ireland is the Euro which is made up of 100 Cent. Notes come in denominations of €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5 and the coins in use are €2, €1, 0.50C, 0.20C, 0.10C, 0.05C, 0.02C and 0.01C.
The language spoken in Cork is English. Irish is spoken is some areas of Ireland, with all road signs displaying information in both English and Irish.
Cork has what can only be described as a changeable climate. It gets a lot of annual rainfall but, at the same time, is one of the sunniest cities in Ireland. The wettest and coldest month is usually January, which has an average temperature of 5.5º C. December and February are also cold months. Warmer weather does appear though, with June to August being the warmest months. Highs average out at around 16º C.
Visitors from EU countries are entitled to medical treatment under the EU Reciprocal Medical Treatment agreement. Before you travel you should collect a form, E111, from your local social security office. Check that the doctor or dentist that you use is registered with the Irish Health Board and inform him or her that you want to be treated under the EU’s social security arrangements. In the event of an emergency, visitors may telephone or go directly to the casualty department of the major hospitals.
Cork is located in the Greenwich Mean Time Zone (GMT) which is one hour behind Central European Time (CET) and five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Shops in Cork are generally open between 9am-6pm, with late night shopping on a Thursday. More and more shops open now on Sundays from 12pm-6pm.
The city’s main tourist office is the Cork Tourism Information Centre on Grand Parade in the city centre. There's also a comprehensive tourist information desk in Cork Airport.
In Ireland the value added tax (VAT) ranges from 0% on food to 17% in restaurants to 21% on certain goods including clothing and electrical equipment. For non-EU residents, however, the good news is that you can get the tax back on any item for which you pay over £200.
This is only applicable in shops which display the ‘Cashback’ sticker so if you don’t see one it is worth asking. In order to avail of this incentive, you need to obtain a Europe Tax-Free Shopping Cheque when you purchase the item. When you are leaving the country, you present both the item and the cheque at customs, the officials will stamp it for you and you can then cash your cheque at any of the booths with the Tax-Free logo and Cash Refund sign.
In some cases you may receive your refund by post and this can take anything between six and eight weeks to come through. All refunds are only applicable to those leaving the country within three months of purchase.
The best place to change any foreign cash when you are in Ireland is at the exchange bureau located in the various banks. They open between 10.00am and 4.00pm from Monday to Friday with late opening until 5.00pm on Thursdays. If you are heading to a particularly rural area it is a good idea to change cash in one of the bigger towns before you go. The other alternative location in which to change cash or traveller’s cheques is in some of the bigger tourist offices.
All major credit cards and Eurocard are widely accepted and if you have the PIN they can also be used to obtain cash advances from ATMs or banks. You can also use regular bankcards which are members of the bigger international networks including Cirrus, Plus and Link in machines which bear the symbol.
Electrical Current is standard 220v A.C.
The international code for Ireland is +353. The area code for Cork is 021. If you're calling from outside Ireland, dial the international code of the country you’re in, drop the first 0 for Cork and dial the number.
If you’re dialling overseas from within Cork, dial 00 (international access code), the country code, then area code and the local number.
The central post office is on Oliver Plunkett Street in the city centre.
There are also numerous other branches in the city centre as well as scattered throughout the suburbs. They are pretty easy to find with their trademark green signs and are usually located in a reasonably prominent area.
All post boxes are also painted green and display collection times clearly on the box.
Quite a few restaurants and hotels in Ireland are now adding a service charge of between 12 and 15% to their bill and where this is the case you should not feel obliged to leave a tip. If you feel that the service merits something extra, however, 5% is sufficient. Where the service charge is not included, a tip of between 10 and 15% is adequate. Remember at no time is tipping compulsory; it is entirely at your own discretion.
It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel to a country as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day.
In Ireland they take place on January 1st, March 17th, Good Friday, Easter Monday, the first Monday in May, June and August, the last Monday in October and December 25th and 26th. It is a good idea to check the particular area too as certain towns and cities also shut down during special events.