Ireland, the intoxicating Emerald Isle, beckons holidaymakers with its beautiful countryside, fascinating history, and famous warmth and charm. Dublin is charismatic and historic, with excellent shopping opportunities, great entertainment and cuisine.
In the country, you’ll find rolling hills and pastoral landscapes, stately homes and castles plus stone villages with a welcoming pub and its resident storyteller. Visitors can also participate in an exciting programme of festivals, events and entertainment around the country. And that’s just the start of why one should travel to Ireland.
Why visit Ireland
- This is where Guinness stout originated.
- Many of the scenes for the iconic Game of Thrones TV series were shot here.
- The country’s breathtaking landscapes, including Giants Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry are simply breathtaking.
- Ireland has some incredible beaches, and the surfing is some of the best in the world.
- Irish people have a great sense of humour and love to have fun, which they call ‘craic’.
- Ireland is home to some world-class hotels including magnificent Ashford Castle on the Irish coast.
- Ireland boasts prehistoric sites such as Céide Fields, the world’s largest Neolithic site.
- It’s a great place to explore on holiday with so many things to see and do.
Lush, beautiful and bewitching, Ireland has a charm all its own, a dynamic cultural scene, numerous natural wonders – and let’s not forget the Guinness! Wherever you go, there’s history and a story to be told, people to meet, things to do and places to see. Whether you’re thinking of taking a magical family holiday, want to go pub hopping around the country with friends, planning a beach holiday with your loved one, or are exploring alone on a tour package, Ireland travel is your answer. Before you visit Ireland in 2023, let Thompsons Holidays put together a ‘craic’ package from South Africa.
With its magnificent scenery, incredibly beautiful natural wonders, vibrant pubs, charming villages, fun adventure sports and numerous historical and archaeological sites, Ireland is a dream destination for a holiday. No matter what you decide to do on your Ireland travel adventure, every place you visit and every experience you have will be great fun.
Whether you’re visiting its bustling cities to shop, dine out, explore museums or just soak up the atmosphere, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy a beach holiday on the magnificent coastline or go off the beaten track to discover magnificent glacial lakes, ancient castles in exquisite settings and spectacular cliffs that plummet into the sea.
Things to do in Ireland
- Take a road trip along the inspirational Ring of Kerry.
- Go pub crawling – and savour a Guinness or two while you’re at it.
- Discover Cork, where the Viking’ Wars of the Roses’ took place 1,000 years ago.
- Explore the Causeway Coast to find locations where Game of Thrones was shot.
- Visit Ireland’s most beautiful spot, Dingle.
- See the incredible rock formations at Giant’s Causeway.
- Visit Leap Castle, the most haunted castle in the world.
- Kiss the Blarney Stone.
- See Ireland’s most famous prehistoric monument, Newgrange, older than the Egyptian pyramids!
- Find the Book of Kells at the Old Library in Dublin’s Trinity College.
- Visit the ruins of a 6th Century monastery in the Glendalough Valley.
- Uncover how Guinness is made at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
Ireland is the land of leprechauns and four-leaf clovers, and its magic is waiting to enchant you. Let Thompsons Holidays take you there on an unforgettable trip. Take a look at our fantastic holiday packages to Ireland.
When is the best time to visit?
- Spring: April and May, Summer: June to August, Autumn: September and October, Winter: November to March.
- Ireland is a popular year-round destination with long hot summers and cool winters.
- The flight duration from Johannesburg to Dublin with one stopover: 13 hours, 50 minutes.
Do I need a visa?
- South African passport holders currently do not require a visa to enter Ireland.
- However, if you are a South African and also visiting Great Britain, you will require a UK visa. If you are visiting Europe as part of your trip, you will then require a Schengen visa.
- Passports should be valid for at least 6 months after travel and have blank pages.
What time is it?
- Ireland is on Western European Time, which is the same time as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the winter months, Ireland is 2 hours behind South Africa and in the summer (last Sunday in March to the last Saturday in October) 1 hour behind South Africa.
- The official currency is the Euro (€ or EUR).
- Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are prevalent.
- Some small establishments may not accept cards or have a minimum spend, so always check before making a purchase.
- Tipping is an accepted custom.
- Food is quite expensive in Ireland.
Language & phrases
- Ireland has two principal languages, but English has been the dominant spoken language in both areas since the end of the 19th century.
- Irish is considered the official and national language of the Republic of Ireland.
- Northern Ireland has no official language.
Culture & religion
- Ireland is a largely Catholic country and culture, with 90% of the population attending weekly mass.
- It is safe to drink tap water in the bigger towns like Dublin, Limerick and Cork. Stick to bottled water in rural areas.
- Vaccinations are not currently required but do check with your doctor before you go.
What must I pack?
- Depending on when and where you visit, lightweight clothing for summer, warm clothing for winter including rain gear. Choose items that can be layered.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Irish cities have excellent transport systems including buses suburban rail and cars.
- Towns in outlying areas may have less sophisticated transport infrastructure – it depends where you are going.
- Trains are the most used form of transport in Ireland.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.