Dublin is a very popular vacation destination for Americans. Our trans-Atlantic cousins often have Irish heritage — whether relatively recently, or dating back hundreds of years ago — making Ireland a sort of homecoming for Irish Americans. This means we see more tourists from the US than most other countries. And as most travellers are usually culturally sensitive, we often get questions from Americans asking us for advice on etiquette and the differences between Ireland and the States. We couldn’t possibly tell you about all the differences, but there are some useful things Americans should know before going to Dublin, Ireland’s capital city. And if you have any follow-up questions for us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Tipping in Ireland
This first section is perhaps the most common question we get asked: how does tipping work in Ireland? The US is very much a tipping culture, with tipping being normal practice across most services. In contrast, Ireland is not a tipping culture. But that’s not to say that there isn’t some tipping, it’s just never mandatory. This means that you won’t get the stink eye if you leave a restaurant without paying tip. That said, 10% is the standard tip for restaurants, but it is always optional.
Many restaurants will actually charge a 10% service change on the check if your party is over a certain size. So please feel free to tip 10% if you appreciate the service in a Dublin restaurant, but read the check first to see if you’ve already been charged a service fee.
Tipping in Bars and Pubs in Dublin
Tipping in pubs and bars is even less common in Ireland, and you may find the drinks in Dublin so expensive that you struggle to part with more euros than you have to… However, if you are getting table service, where the bar staff are taking your order and bringing you drinks, it’s normal to tip them at the end of the night. There’s no standard amount, however, so just use your discretion.
Tipping Taxi Drivers in Dublin
Taxi drivers are the only other kind of professional you might like to tip in Dublin. This is because many taxi drivers in Dublin could be tour guides in their own right and they will usually delight in telling you a few things about their fair city as they get you from A to B. Dubliners are a warm, friendly bunch, and if you’ve enjoyed your taxi ride, it’s customary to round the payment up to the nearest multiple of €5. So, if the ride costs €17, pay €20 instead. But we will emphasise that this is never expected in the same way that tipping is in America. We find that Americans are quite generous with tips when they visit Ireland, and this is always appreciated.
Prepare for Rain When Visiting Dublin
Ireland isn’t exactly famous for its sunny weather and suntans, but we have so much more to offer. The US is a huge country with all kinds of weather systems, but one thing Americans are usually surprised by is how quickly the weather can change here. There can be clear blue skies in the morning and then rain cats and dogs by lunchtime. It can be windy and cold in the morning, only to become calm and warm in the afternoon. This means that it’s always good to have an extra layer or two, and to carry waterproofs wherever you go. Of course, it’s also important to mention that Ireland’s weather is almost always mild in comparison to a lot of countries. So, it may be a little windy and rainy, but our weather is seldom dangerous. Going on a longer Ireland road trip, such as our Wild Grande 14 Day Ireland Tour, will give you the chance to see all of the weird and wonderful Ireland has to offer; you’ll see some of the most popular places in Ireland, but we’ll also take you off the beaten path, showing you things you’ll never find on your own or in the guide books.
Don’t Bother Renting a Car if You’re Staying in Dublin
If you’re only staying in Dublin, we don’t recommend renting a car. This is because Dublin city centre is very compact, with limited parking, so you’ll find most of your trip struggling to drive around the city on the left side of the road, looking for a parking space. Dublin isn’t a small city, but it’s also not so large that you can’t walk around most of it yourself, occasionally making use of a taxi. Even if you’re spending a little time in Dublin before heading off to explore the more rural areas of Ireland, you won’t need a car while you’re in Dublin and you can just rent one on the day you head out of the city.
That’s all we have time for today. I hope I’ve answered a few of your questions and encouraged one or two readers to finally book that epic Ireland vacation they’ve always dreamt of. If you’d like to make the trip extra special, check out our range of multi-day tours of Ireland. There’s something for everyone here. Safe travels!