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Posted by on Jul 5, 2012 in Budgeting, Irish Travel Resources, Q&A | 17 comments

5 Irish Travel Tips No One Bothered to Tell You… Until Now

Sometimes it’s the little details that set a trip on the right track. Here are five tips experienced travelers know but never learned from guidebooks…

You’ll need power for that shower

The pump and water heater for Irish showers are often housed in an in-shower device that provides consistent heat and pressure. For safety, the power is often turned on by a cord from the ceiling or a light switch that may be placed outside the bathroom door. When you arrive, be sure to check the system to make sure you understand how to use it.

There’s a another side to asking for a ride

In some parts of the Emerald Isle, the word “ride” has a naughty connotation. You might surprise your Irish hosts when you ask, “can I get a ride?” Instead, request a lift or a drive. And if the word “ride” crosses your lips, don’t let on that you know this tidbit… you’ll only end up sounding like you truly have a dirty mind.

By the way, telling some one you’ll “pick them up” means you will literally lift them into the air, so say “collect” or “give a lift” (I know, “give a lift” sounds a lot like picking someone up in the air, but trust me, “give a lift” is a better choice).

Now, if you can only remember to say chips instead of fries and crisps rather than chips and half-seven over seven-thirty and avoid “top o’ the mornin’,” you’ll nearly be talking like a native.

What do you mean… you want a Tyme machine

Time travel hasn’t hit Ireland yet, so asking for a Tyme Machine may prompt curious looks. If you’re on the hunt for cash from an Automated Teller Machine, avoid using the term “Tyme Machine” which is popular in some parts of the US.  Instead, ask for the “hole in the wall” or the “money machine” or “cash point” or “automated bank machine” or hold up your debit card and ask “I need to get cash out of a machine.”

If it’s brown, flush it down

The flushing power of Irish toilets can vary greatly. You may want to check the bowl before you leave the loo so your B&B hosts will remember you for something other than what you leave behind. And on the topic, it’s better to ask for a toilet, not a bathroom… unless, of course, you’re planning to take a bath.

Take stock before you lock

It’s a common scene; North Americans struggling with Irish locks. Different locks demand different steps… some require a handle to be lifted, others call for a half or full spin of the inserted key, and many Americans simply can’t get used to the idea that they may need a key to get OUT of their room. It’s best to test your lock skills while you have a local around to give pointers. And watch out for the threshold… many doors require you to step over the door frame or risk tumbling out of the doorway.

 

What tips do you want to add? Leave them in the comments below… a rhyming title is not require, but appreciated ;)

 

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17 Comments

  1. Sunday is not always the most fun day. (At least for the non local trying to eat out early in the day, or do or see lots of things.) Unlike many places in the States, Irish businesses and attractions can be very late to open on Sunday, some not until 2pm, or perhaps not at all. Do a bit of research for your Sunday plans so you are not disappointed, especially if it is raining and you don’t want to do outdoor things.

  2. thanks for the new tips~~!

  3. Remove your hat before you’ve sat. When going to the pub it’s bad manners to wear your hat in the pub, so how some respect to your hosts and remove the lid.

    • That’s interesting. When I have been to Ireland it seems like virtually everyone in the pub has some sort of hat on. I guess part of that is dictated by the weather outside!

  4. I wish I knew about the shower and the locks. It was always interesting trying to enter (and exit) my hotel room. But the whole experience was unique and beautifully memorable.

  5. As an Irishman in America I wish someone told me to expect crazy door and window locks, on arrival in the States :)

  6. Remember we drive on the left!!!

  7. I’ve never heard anyone here in the States call it a “tyme machine”, what area is that term used? (just curious)

    • It’s very common in the Great Lakes region… it’s now called the Pulse network.

      • I live in Ohio & I’ve never heard anything other than ATM! Tyme Machine…that’s a new one!

        • I live in Ohio too..
          It is definitely pronounced as suggested in the blog post.
          Think differently…
          A TeeeeMM Machine
          Not — A Time Machine..

    • My family in Wisconsin used to say that all the time. Never knew what they were talking about.

      • I’m from the Green Bay, Wisconsin area. I didn’t realize how old the ‘saying’ is until my daughter (24), niece (32) & I were talking about what we were going to do about money while in Ireland. I referred to the ATM machine as a tyme machine & they both laughed at me. “What? You mean like in Back to the Future?” Back in the ‘olden days’ (1975-2002) the Wisconsin/Upper Michigan banking network ATM’s were TYME (“Take Your Money Everywhere”) machines. Now it’s Pulse. I had always assumed it was the same all over the country.

  8. Oh these are all great tips. The first vacation (holiday) I took to Ireland I was simply amazed in the bathroom!! The showers (several different ones before departing) were so unique to me. In a shower at one hotel in Dublin, it took two days for me to figure out how to operate, (was not operated by the string). I took a bath instead, which I never do in a hotel, just to avoid having to ask someone for help and look silly. The toilets were a little frustrating but these also varied in flush methods. I am glad it was not just me that had the trouble. The locks I didn’t have to much trouble with, until my second trip. I was at a cottage in the Black Valley, and had to ask after a couple of hours about how to actually lock up when departing. It was one you had to turn the knob before using the key. In the B&B’s I simply slept with my keys in the door in case I needed to make a quick exit in some unforeseen emergency. All and all I loved the entire experience. If I wanted things as they are at home, I wouldn’t have traveled 4000 miles to get away! Of course I am here reading this which means , I am considering a 3rd adventure to the loveliest place I have ever been blessed enough to see

  9. Be prepared to talk at length with complete strangers. Most Irish people have a view on most things – informed or otherwise. And they’ll almost certainly have a view on what is happening in the United States – so whilst it may be best to avoid politics – don’t be surprised to hear ‘my cousin in San Francisco was telling me…!’ All told visitors from the US are very welcome and will hopefully make it their business to check out some of the less well known attractions as well as the more obvious.

  10. Although very helpful to people form the USA and other countries I would think, I did find the idea of Irish men taking their hats off when they went in the pub, hilarious. The average older Irishman would probably go to bed wearing his hat given half the chance.
    This makes very amusing reading, keep up the good work.

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