An island nation just off the western coast of Great Britain, Ireland is the third biggest island in all of Europe and the 20th biggest on the planet. It's a beautiful place with a very interesting Gaelic past and unique culture. Many great poets, writers, and musicians have come from Ireland, and the country has contributed greatly to fields like sport and culture as well.
Ireland is a dream vacation destination for many people due to its lovely scenery and friendly people. You can walk into a pub in Ireland and be greeted with lots of merriment, singing, dancing, and smiling faces. The country also boasts countless stunning scenic walks, coastal adventures, and big city sightseeing opportunities in places like Dublin and Galway. For your next trip to Ireland, here’s all you need to know about Irish currency.
Official Currency in Ireland
Many people are unsure about the currency in Ireland due to its close geographical connection with the United Kingdom. While the UK uses the pound sterling, Ireland actually uses the euro as its official currency. Ireland is a member of the European Union and has been using the euro for many years, just like other EU countries like Germany, France, and Spain.
The euro symbol is € and you might see it referred to under the three-letter code of EUR on currency conversion tables or the stock exchange. A single euro is divided up into 100 cents, and there are various coins and notes that make up the system. The euros you use in Ireland are exactly the same as euros you can use in many other countries, and the value of the euro changes over time, being influenced by various factors.
Coins and Notes in Ireland
Here are the different denominations of coins you will see during your trip to Ireland:
Each euro coin is formed in a circular shape and is clearly marked with its value. The coins are different colors and sizes, helping people tell them apart. The smallest value coins, for example, are of a copper color. The middle value coins are gold in color, and the €1 and €2 euro coins feature a distinctive two-tone color system.
Here are the notes used in Ireland, with their colors listed in brackets:
- €5 (grey)
- €10 (red)
- €20 (blue)
- €50 (orange)
- €100 (green)
- €200 (yellow)
- €500 (purple)
The €500 and €200 notes are quite rare and the €500 note has actually stopped being produced altogether, so you may not see any of these during your Irish vacation. The notes are easy to tell apart due to the color-coding system and the fact that they’re all marked with their monetary values.
Using Credit Cards in Ireland
Credit and debit cards are quite widely accepted throughout Ireland. Cash is the preferred means of payment for most places, and Irish people tend to use cash as often as possible, but the likes of Visa and Mastercard will be taken at a lot of restaurants and stores. You’ll find ATMs all over Ireland too, especially in the big urban areas.
It is, however, recommended to carry cash at all times, especially if you’re visiting places like pubs or little villages, as the likelihood of these locations accepted cards is greatly reduced compared to a big store or fast food chain in the center of Dublin, for example.
Using US Dollars or Other Currencies in Ireland
Ireland is an unusual case as the island of Ireland is shared by both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. The official currency in Northern Ireland is the pound sterling, so if you’re staying near the border, you may find that shops and restaurants in this part of Ireland will accept pounds. They’ll give you your change in euros though, and they won’t accept US dollars or any other currency. Most places in Ireland will only take the euro.
Tips for Currency in Ireland
If you want to have the best possible time in Ireland and not have to worry about any issues with your currency, be sure to follow these tips:
- Remember that Northern Ireland is a totally separate country with its own currency, so if you’re planning a trip over the border to Belfast or somewhere else in Northern Ireland, your euros may not be accepted. Similarly, if you’re heading over to England or Wales, you’ll need to pay with pounds.
- Traveler's checks are dying out in most places and you probably won't get them accepted anywhere in Ireland, except perhaps in hotels and restaurants in Dublin.
- Always keep some cash on your person. As previously stated, Irish people like to use cash and statistics show that many payments in the country are made with cash, so it’s always useful to have some.
- In general, the smaller the town, the less likely they are to accept card payments. In addition, Mastercard and Visa are the most popular options in Ireland, so the likes of American Express cards aren’t going to be valid in a lot of places.
- If you’re not sure whether or not a place accepts cards, just ask. Irish people are often friendly and helpful, and it’s always better to know the payment policy of an establishment before you start ordering drinks or shopping for items.
- Many places in Ireland will actually have signs on the door or near the entrance to let you know their payment policy. Some of them will only take cards if you spend a minimum amount, for example.