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.

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.

Our pick for use in Ireland

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 1.25x miles on all purchases; 10x miles on purchases made through until January 2020
  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 within your first 3 months when you open your account
  • Get 0% intro APR on purchases for your first 12 months, a variable APR of 13.74% – 23.74% applies thereafter
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
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Compare travel cards for Ireland

Updated November 15th, 2019
Name Product Foreign transaction fee Welcome offer Rewards Filter values
30,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, 3x points at restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases
Earn 3x Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, 3x points at restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases. Rates & fees
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1.25x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
Earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Compare up to 4 providers

Travelex Money Card

Why we like: Travelex Money Card

Load GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, JPY or MXN onto this prepaid travel money card and use it at millions of locations worldwide.

  • Not linked to your bank account for safety.
  • Convert currency with a 5.50% Foreign Exchange Fee
  • Contactless payments
  • Reload, withdraw, or replace your card for free.

    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.

    Dublin Budget Mid-range Expensive
    sleep Hostel dorm bed
    $10–$25 per night
    2-star hotel
    $15–$150 per night
    5-star hotel
    $200+ per night
    food Get a full Irish breakfast sandwich on Nassau Street
    A meal at a midrange restaurant
    $15 per head
    3-course meal at a Michelin star restaurant
    $120 a head
    gallery Visit the national galleries of Dublin
    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.

    • Tip: 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.

    Compare money transfers to Ireland

    • Tip: 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.

    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 option Pros Cons
    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
    • 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

    Debit cards

    There are only a handful of debit accounts with features suited to travelers. What you want to keep an eye out for is a card that doesn’t charge for currency conversion or international ATM withdrawals — local ATM operator fees may still apply.

    • Tip: Make sure you tell your bank about your travel plans to Ireland. There’s a good chance your card will be blocked if you try and use it outside of the country without notice.

    Prepaid travel cards

    All travel cards let you load euros and pounds, the respective currencies of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Pounds are also used throughout the rest of neighboring Great Britain — most trips to Ireland also involve a trip to the United Kingdom.

    You’ll be able to spend without paying for currency conversion — however, you’ll pay ATM fees, reload fees and be subject to an inflated travel card exchange rate.

    • Tip: Depending on the card you use, you may end up with a higher or lower exchange rate. You can check with your providers to see what rates apply and work out the most affordable option.

    Credit cards

    Credit cards are great for larger purchases like travel bookings and souvenirs. Credit cards give you time to payback what you’ve spent before interest is charged on purchases. Some credit cards also provide complimentary international travel insurance when you buy your airfare with your card.

    A credit card with no currency conversion fee can be a cost effective way to make purchases in Ireland. The exchange rate set in place by your card applies and it is usually as close as you can get to the market rate. Drawbacks include international transaction fees, interest and ATM withdrawal charges.

    • Tip: Even with these travel benefits, avoid using your credit card to withdraw cash. Cash advance interest and cash advance fees apply for this type of transaction — and you don’t get interest-free days either.

    Traveler’s checks

    Traveler’s checks have been made redundant by the bank’s fraud protection policies and the ever increasing number of places accepting card payments. If you’re the victim of card fraud, your bank or card provider will be able to give you a full refund if you have complied with the terms of the Visa and Mastercard Zero Liability Guarantees.

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    Interview with Luke about spending in Ireland

    luke-interviewWhere 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.

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    A guide to Ireland’s coins and banknotes

    Did you know?

    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.



    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.

    Get travel insurance quotes for your vacation to Ireland

    Name Product Trip Cancellation Emergency Medical Expenses Baggage Coverage Trip delay
    Essential travel coverage — with the option to customize — that can protect the cost of your trip.
    Protect the cost of your flight and choose the coverage amount that meets your needs — trip delay protection included.
    Budget-friendly policy designed for international and domestic travelers who want medical protection. Trip cancellation and trip interruption not included.
    Annual policy that offers affordable protection, but doesn't include trip cancellation or trip interruption.
    Basic policy with coverage that includes trip cancellation insurance, tourist health insurance and baggage insurance.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Compare international travel insurance options for Ireland

    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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