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Travel money guide: Ireland

Planning a trip to Ireland? Here’s all you need to know when preparing to spend in the Emerald Isle.

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As Ireland has its own unique currency and travel money customs, so it’s important to do your research before you leave. Ireland is divided politically between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Island. Euros are the currency of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland use the British pound.

We have a look at spending in euros and pounds as well as tips to make your money go further in Ireland. Organize your travel money helps for a stress-free vacation.

How much should I budget for my vacation to Ireland?

Traveling to Ireland is not cheap. Even budget travelers should plan for at least $50 per day. If you’re looking to stay in nicer hotels rather than hostels or dorm beds, you’re looking at a budget of $130 to $250 a day. You’ll find Northern Ireland a bit more expensive.

DublinBudgetMid-rangeExpensive
sleepHostel dorm bed
$10–$25 per night
2-star hotel
$15–$150 per night
5-star hotel
$200+ per night
foodGet a full Irish breakfast sandwich on Nassau Street
$8
A meal at a midrange restaurant
$15 per head
3-course meal at a Michelin star restaurant
$120 a head
cameraVisit the national galleries of Dublin
Free
Skip the lines at the Guinness Storehouse
$20 (early entry and first service)
3-day tour of South Ireland starting and returning to Dublin
From $250 per person

*Prices are approximate and are subject to change.

Tips:

  • There are credit cards, debit cards and travel cards which don’t charge for ATM withdrawals. Be sure to apply for a card with low ATM withdrawal fees so you can get euros or pounds for cheap.
  • Always pay in euros or pounds when you’re using your credit or debit card. You may be asked to pay in USD, but you’ll get robbed on the exchange rate if you do this.

Why you’ll need a combination of travel money options

Some debit cards and travel cards waive international transaction charges and give you free international ATM withdrawals. Use a travel card or debit card for everyday purchase and cash withdrawals when you need euros or pounds, and a credit card for everything else.

If you’re in the market for a new credit card, why not apply for a credit card with travel features? Complimentary insurance can save you hundreds before you’ve even left the country. There are even cards which offer extended interest-free terms for up to a year or more.
Compare international travel insurance options for Ireland

Travel card, debit card or credit card?

You shouldn’t have a problem using any Visa or Mastercard product at Irish shops and ATMs. American Express can also be used, but at fewer places. Diners Club is accepted in fewer places than American Express and Discover cards are not accepted at all.

Travel money options for Ireland at a glance

Travel money optionProsCons
Debit cards for travel
  • Secured with a chip and PIN technology
  • Can be easily blocked by your issuer with just a phone call
  • ATMs are abundant
  • No back-up card
  • Linked directly to bank account if you card goes missing
  • Local ATM operator fees may apply
Prepaid travel money cards
  • All travel cards let you load euros and pounds
  • Save on currency conversion fees
  • Can be easily blocked with just a phone call
  • Back up card and PIN protection
  • Anti-fraud protection
  • You’ll need to pay reload fees and ATM fees
  • Can take up to five or six days if you’re trying to reload your travel card over a weekend or holiday
  • Poor exchange rate
Credit cards for travel
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • No currency conversion fees
  • Features such as complimentary travel insurance
  • Interest-free period on purchases
  • Fees and high interests on cash advances
  • Subject to an annual fee
  • International transaction fees and interest charges may also apply
Traveler’s checks
  • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
  • Need photo ID to cash check
  • Fee to cash checks
  • Initial purchase charges
  • Not all merchants accept traveler’s checks
Cash
  • Greater payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

How each type of travel money works in Ireland?

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
$250
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Citi Premier® Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, flights and hotels and 1x points on everything else
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after making $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get a generous $300 in annual travel credits, 3x points on travel and dining, and a 50% bonus on point redemptions with Chase's premier card.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
100,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, plus earn 25,000 after the first anniversary of card membership (offer expires 1/13/2021)
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x for all other purchases
$450
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 or more within your first 3 months, plus earn 25,000 after the first anniversary of card membership (offer expires 1/13/2021). Rates & fees
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Compare up to 4 providers

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A guide to Ireland’s coins and banknotes

In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro. Notes are €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500, while coins are 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2.

In Northern Ireland, pound sterling is the local currency. Notes are £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100, while coins are 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2.

Case study: Luke's experience

Luke profile photo
Luke

Case study: Interview with Luke about spending in Ireland

Where did you visit?
Luke visited Dublin, Limerick (Ireland), Belfast (Northern Ireland) and then headed over to Edinburgh (Scotland) and London (England).

What cards did you take with you?

  • Travelex travel card
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

Why did you take these cards with you?

Luke preloaded both euros and pounds sterling the Travelex travel card for everyday purchases and ATM withdrawals. He didn’t pay anything to withdraw pounds in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Island because of a global ATM alliance between Barclays and Bank of America.

He used the Barclaycard to pay for purchases like flights, car rental and hotel bookings. A low purchase rate and no currency conversion fee are the main reasons he used this card. He avoided using his card for ATM withdrawals so he wouldn’t get hit with cash advance fees.

What about ATM withdrawals?

Luke withdrew the pounds and euro equivalent of about $250 dollars each time from his travel card. He saves on ATM fees because of the Global ATM Alliance with Bank of America and Barclays Bank. Luke did pay ATM fees in the Republic of Ireland of two euros per transaction.

Could you use your cards everywhere?

Even though Luke’s Travelex travel money card didn’t have his name printed on the front, he didn’t have any trouble using it in any of the cities he visited.

What do you think is the best way to travel with money to Ireland?

Luke says use a combination of products: a debit card or travel card and credit card. Start with looking at products that don’t charge for currency conversion and then compare fees.

Do you have any tips?

Let your bank know about your travel plans to avoid the hassle of calling your bank to unlock your credit card. Luke says he failed to do that, and Barclaycard blocked his card once he used it in Ireland.

Compare cash pick up services to Ireland

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$1 Within an hour USD 3.99 0.848 EUR 844 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
$0 1 - 2 days USD 1.99 0.835 EUR 833 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
$1 Within an hour USD 8.00 0.833 EUR 826 Easily transfer cash to more than 350,000 locations around the world. Show details
$1 3 - 5 days USD 20.00 0.831 EUR 814 The biggest name in money transfers can get your funds to friends, family, or businesses in almost every corner of the globe. Show details

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Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
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Buying euros and pounds sterling in the US

ATMs take the hassle out of getting local currency. Americans don’t have to pay to enter Ireland or the United Kingdom, so there’s no reason why you should need a large amount of cash right away. However it can be a good idea to have some small bills to pay for food or a train or taxi from the airport.

US banks will charge a commission to exchange funds – Travelex is a better option. There’s no commission and Travelex has a number of locations, including airports that make it convenient.

Skip exchange kiosks and hefty fees by bringing a Travelex Money Card on your next trip overseas.

Our pick for a prepaid travel card
Travelex Money Card

Compare money transfers to Ireland

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Plan how you’ll spend your money on your trip to the Emerald Isle to save money. If Ireland isn’t your only destination, have a look at our other travel money locations guides:

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