A Surprisingly Complicated Answer to a Simple Question: It Depends.
If you are planning to visit Ireland, you should know a few things about their currency. The country is also known as the “Emerald Isle” has two currencies in use. So, unless you come prepared, you may face certain conundrums while on tour.
The Present Currency:
A Divided Country = Two Currencies.
The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has divided the country into two portions.
Most of the big cities of Ireland are located in The Republic of Ireland which includes Dublin, Waterford, Kilkenny, Cork, Kerry, Galway, Mayo, and Donegal. If you are planning a tour in the Northern Ireland (Belfast, Enniskillen, Derry, Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede and Armagh) then you will require Pounds Sterling.
A Brief History:
The first known Irish currency was in use since the year 997. The modern Irish pounds started its journey since 1938 after the constitution of Ireland decided to change the name of the state. It was in practice until 2002, when Euro took over as the national currency of Ireland.
Conversion Tips for US visitors
As the country follows its own unique travel money customs, you need to do your fair share of research before planning your tour.
The Euro is broken down into 100 cents. The British Pounds used in Northern Ireland are subdivided into 100 pence. One US dollar is currently worth 0.88 Euro and 0.79 pounds. To give you an idea here’s what you will get spending in Euro and Pounds:
Relatively cheaper meal for one person – £8/ €15 Bottled Water- £0.9/ €1.20
Meal for one in the mid-range hotel – £17/ €25 1 Cup of Cappuccino – £2.2/ €2.75
Have multiple payment options will give you the most flexibility when it comes to pay for stuff. You can use a credit or a debit card for day to day purchases and cash exchange when you need euros and pounds. Make sure to inform your bank regarding your travel plans, otherwise, the bank may block your foreign transactions considering them as fraudulent until you inform the customer care.
You will find ATM booths at every corner in Ireland cities. This is the best way to get euros. You can also get them from Banks and currency exchange bureau. However, it is recommended to withdraw a couple of hundreds at a time as the ATMs will charge you for drawing money. There are a few debit and credit cards which do not charge money while withdrawals. Having a card with low withdrawal fees will save you from a lot of unnecessary wastage.
Your bank at home may also charge you for withdrawals. So, ask your bank regarding their foreign cash withdrawal policy prior to the visit. It’s safe to start your journey with at least €100 or £100 depending on where you are planning to visit. In the worst case scenario, if your credit card doesn’t work, you may need this cash to stay overnight in Ireland.
Exchanging Dollars to Euros
The opportunity to convert dollars into euros is limited. You will be better off converting your dollars at your local bank. But, if you are in dire need, you will find currency exchange provisions at Irish Post offices and local Banks. Do not opt for currency exchange desks located nearby the Dublin Airport. They will charge you a high amount for converting your dollars. You should only consider this as the last resort. You should evaluate the current market rates before you exchange your money. https://www.xe.com/ is a great website for checking the current value of USD in other currencies. Our expert advice: Never withdraw more cash than what you require. You will be charged double the amount if you try to convert it to the original currency.
Things to Remember:
JCB, American Express, Discover and Diner’s Card are not generally accepted in Ireland. It is very important to note that, if you have been offered the chance to pay your bill in dollars, always go for the local currency. You will get the best value in this way. In some remote locations in villages, you won’t find any ATM booths. It’s best to carry cash while traveling to those places.
If you can remember all the aforementioned issues regarding the Irish Currency, you will enjoy a stress-free serene Ireland tour that you will remember for years to come.