Why Choose Ireland for Spring Break?
What does the Emerald Isle of Ireland have to offer students as a Spring Break destination?
- Unique and fascinating social culture
- Over 10,000 bars!
- Famous landmarks and sights
- Young, party-going population
- World class cuisine and excellent restaurants
- Lots of sightseeing
- Fantastic nightlife
- Hearty Irish cuisinet
- Not everyone else is doing it
Ireland Spring Break Deals
Call 877.467.2723 for the latest deals to Ireland for Spring Break 2011.
Spring Break is no longer just about beaches and alcohol. More and more college students are now turning away from the traditional Spring Break scene, where it's unlikely that you'll venture much further than the resort pool and nightclubs for the duration of your stay, and it's becoming much more common for Spring Breakers to seek out a more unusual, interesting, cultural and exciting experience. Enter Ireland!
The Emerald Isle, so-called because of its strikingly fresh and green natural scenery, is becoming the place to be if you want a culturally different break without sacrificing nightlife and entertainment. With one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world, a colorful history, warm-hearted natives, and a vibrant culture, Ireland has a lot to offer those who want a Spring Break with a difference. A fascinating blend of old traditions and modern lifestyles, Ireland is the perfect choice for your fun-filled Spring Break!
Ireland's history can be traced way back to its Stone Age inhabitants, as long ago as 8000 BC! If you're interested in history, there's lots for you to see here, including what is possibly the oldest known Neolithic field system in the world, dating back to around 4500 BC. Irish history can be followed right through the Bronze Age, Roman times, and Medieval times, with many castles and original structures remaining in place today.
Recent history in Ireland has been troubled, due to conflict with the UK, to which Ireland once belonged. The island is now divided in two, with Northern Ireland remaining under British rule, while the South is independent. Relations between the two are peaceful, however, and travel between Northern Ireland and the South is not restricted. Ireland has emerged as one of the richest countries in Europe, after a long and troubled history – and now, it's one of the most popular and thriving countries in the world to visit.
For most of us, the most well-known piece of Irish history is the Great Famine of the 1840s, which saw a million deaths in Ireland, and over a million Irish citizens fleeing to America in the hope of finding work and a better life. That's why so many Americans can trace their roots back to Ireland, and it can be fascinating to visit the country where your ancestors once lived.
Wherever you base yourself in Ireland for your Spring Break experience, you're certain to find plenty to see and do. And as Ireland is a relatively small country, it's perfectly possible to travel around within it and visit lots of different towns, cities and sights to get the most out of your stay.
One popular and traditionally “Irish” town is Galway, where Spring Breakers are enthusiastically welcomed by the college-town population. Mingle with thousands of Irish students in traditional bars; enjoy local festivals; time your visit to make sure you take in the St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Or perhaps you'd like to take in Cork, Ireland's second biggest city, where you'll have many opportunities to sample real Irish cuisine – as well as checking out the tallest building in Ireland, which is a skyscraper pretty much surrounded by fields!
And of course, there's Dublin. Ireland's famous capital city, this is one of the most friendly cities in the world, with a wonderful mix of cosmopolitan cool and traditionally quaint. Frequented by Spring Break crowds and celebrities alike, Dublin has a wealth of world famous cultural sights such as St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin Castle, and Trinity College. There's shopping galore, tours of the infamous Guiness brewery, street musicians, and a wonderful array of bars, restaurants, and cafés. It would be impossible to get bored in Dublin!
Ireland is a land filled with music, which has produced world-famous stars such as Van Morrison and U2, and your Spring Break here will certainly not be lacking in musical entertainment! From traditional Irish music in quaint bars, to live music concerts, to modern nightclubs packed full with partying students, the nightlife in Ireland is plentiful. Experience the pub culture, which is the center of Irish tradition and social life – endless pints of Guinness, storytelling, sing-songs, and laughter.
From the American college town feel of laid-back Galway, to the never-ending variety of pubs and clubs in busy Dublin, Ireland has enough nightlife to satisfy the most energetic Spring Breaker. Dublin's Temple Bar district is the most famous nightlife area, with streets lined with pubs and clubs, perfect for bar-hopping all night long. Galway draws in some great pub crowds to its popular Ellington Street, Dominic Street and Eyre Square districts, and then there's the endless array of traditional pubs dotted around all over the Emerald Isle. There are over 10,000 pubs in Ireland – a country that's not even the size of the state of Maine. No shortage of nightlife!
Fashion in Ireland is much like fashion in the US, although be warned that if you wander around in shorts on any day but a hot, sunshine-filled one, natives will instantly label you as a tourist – shorts are just not often necessary in Ireland! Most pubs and restaurants have casual dress codes during the day – jeans and t-shirts/sweaters are fine. If going out clubbing or bar-hopping for the night, however, you'll generally find some kind of dress code in place. Girls like to get “dressed up”, and Irish guys generally make an effort, too. You only have to look out of your hotel window at the young people on their way out for the night to get an idea of how to dress. “Smart casual” is probably the best description.
Ireland's weather is, in a word, changeable! The common joke among locals is that you can very often see “four seasons in one day”.
The weather is generally not extreme – you won't often experience blistering heat or bitter cold, although what the locals consider to be “mild” or “warm” weather can often feel somewhat chilly to those more used to sunshine and heat. No matter when in the year you visit, you're more than likely to encounter some rain. How do you think the Emerald Isle stays so fresh and green?!
During Spring Break, you'll probably find that the temperatures are mild, but the presence of rain, sunshine, clouds, warmth, winds, and clear skies can vary from day to day, or even from hour to hour! Best to wear a few layers to accommodate this changeability, and take a waterproof coat with you so you're not caught in a sudden shower in the middle of a bright, sunshiney day.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS
No visa is required for US visitors coming to Ireland for Spring Break – just a valid passport.
The official language in the Republic of Ireland is Irish, but actually English is the main language used. Signs appear in both languages, but you don't need to know any Irish at all to visit Ireland. Everyone speaks English, and almost everyone speaks it in their daily life, Irish language being more of a piece of cultural identity than anything else. Children learn it in school as a second language, but less than half the population claim to be able to really understand and speak it with any fluency.
Ireland has a train network that is useful for getting between larger cities and towns (but not so much for visiting anywhere “out of the way”), and a slightly more extensive bus system of intercity services and local services. Dublin has a tram system which is useful for getting to and from the main railway stations. However, be warned – public transport in Ireland is far from reliable or eficient, and it's often ridiculously overpriced. Timetables are mainly ignored in many places! For tourists, in particular, the public transport system is difficult to navigate and more confusing than useful. Use it only for traveling between cities. It is much more advisable to hire your own car for getting around – and it will probably work out much cheaper, too, if you intend to travel about a lot within Ireland.
The currency in Ireland is the Euro (€), and there are plenty of ATMs, money-changing bureaus, and banks where you can obtain them. Note that if you cross the border to Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, the currency there is GBP (£) as it is in mainland UK.
The standard voltage in Ireland is 220 VAC at 50Hz. Plugs have 3 pins instead of 2 – if you are bringing electrical equipment from the US, you will need an adaptor. However, most shaving sockets support 110 VAC, with the international 2 pin shaving plug.
Local time is WET (UTC + 0). Daylight Savings Time applies (UTC + 1).
Generally speaking, tipping is not expected. Check the menu in restaurants, which will often state that the prices shown include service, or that an extra charge will autonmatically be added to your bill for service. In either of these cases, your tip will be included in the final bill. Otherwise, tips are appreciated, although not always expected. Play it by ear – the rules vary from one establishment to the next!
Taxi drivers don't expect tips, but it's common enough to say “keep the change” or at least ask him to round up the bill a bit. You'll find that many people in the service sector in Ireland will happily go out of their way to give you more assistance than their job requires, and then refuse to accept a tip. Offer, but don't force it on them if they insist that it was “all part of the job”. Some cafés and pubs will have tip jars or charity boxes for change at the counter. Don't try to tip bar staff – it's just not done. You can, however, say “and one for yourself!” as you hand over payment.
DINING AND DRINKING
Eating out in Ireland can be fairly expensive. For the cheapest options, there are plenty of fast food places and pubs serving “pub grub”. There's no end of variety in terms of restaurants in the larger cities, with high quality international cuisine readily available, if somewhat pricey. Food in pubs will often consist of traditional Irish dishes such as Champ (mashed potatoes mixed with chopped spring onions), Irish breakfast (bacon, sausages, eggs, black pudding, and soda bread), and Irish stew (a filling and hearty stew of potatoes, vegetables and meat – usually lamb). Also common are meals like burger and chips (“chips” being thick fries, as opposed to “crisps”, which are potato chips!), and fish and chips. Many pubs offer a carvery lunch, a buffet-style option which usually includes a variety of roasted meats, vegetables, and potatoes.
ABOUT THE WATER
Tap water in Ireland is safe to drink.