I’m an American, and I’m unsure of what is expected in terms of tipping waiters, waitresses, bartenders, taxi drivers, etc. in Ireland.
Tipping in Ireland is truly at your discretion and intended to show your appreciation for good service… which differs a bit from the US where many workers, especially wait staff, rely primarily on tips for their income. Irish servers earn a wage comparable to other service professions, so they don’t rely on your tip to pay their bills.
I’ll start by saying that any tip you leave will be appreciated, so don’t get too panicked. Staff in areas with a lot of American tourists have gotten used to tips of greater than 10%, but they are also used to getting no tip at all (often from their own countrymen). In these areas, your bill may include a “service charge” which would cover your tip.
It’s customary to leave a euro or two at a restaurant where you receive excellent table service (it’s common to leave a slightly larger tip at an evening meal). If you order food at the bar or a counter, you are not expected to leave a tip; but if you spot a tip jar, you may choose to drop in some change. If the idea of leaving “only” two euros proves difficult for you, it’s safe to default to a 10% tip. A 20% tip would be considered a very large tip… and your server would be thrilled with your generosity.
Depending on the environment and the amount of your tip, you may look for a discrete opportunity to hand your tip directly to your server with a simple “thank you.” If you were helped by more than one server, you may say, “I wanted to thank the two of you.”
You are not expected to tip a bartender. However, no barman will refuse one. My friend Christy Nicholas makes the suggestion that if you’ve ordered several drinks, tell the bartender… ‘and have one for yourself.’ He or she will likely just take the value of a drink or may actually have one.
In general, you’re not expected to tip a taxi driver. However, if they delivered you to your destination efficiently or presented some helpful advice, you may leave an extra euro or a 10% tip.
B&B owners do not expect tips. If they hire someone to clean, you may choose to leave a few euros in the room once during your stay… in this situation there is usually a small envelope available.
At hotels, leaving a tip for the cleaning team is at your descretion.
If someone transports your luggage, it is customary to to give them a euro per bag.
A tip is not generally expected for a concierge. However if they offered great service or took on a time-consuming task on your behalf, you may give them a tip… a five euro note works in most cases.
Tour Guides & Bus Drivers
It is customary to leave a tip for a good guide. A euro to two per person is acceptable. If your guide personalized the tour for you, you may choose to leave them a five euro note.
It’s also common to give your tour bus driver a tip (not on public transportation). Sometimes a member of the group will organize a collection and everyone will pitch in a few euros, or you can hand them a five euro note at the end of the trip.
Some Tipping Advice
The Irish tend to be modest in conversations about money and have a tendency to decline money on the first offer. To avoid a sometimes awkward or confusing moment, you should say thanks, hand them the tip, and go on your way. This shows your appreciation, keeps the exchange discrete, and prevents you from appearing “showy.”
When in Doubt…
If you’re not sure how much of a tip to leave, go with 10%.
What’s Your Tipping Advice?”
Leave your suggestions or examples in the comments below.