The subject of tipping is still widely debated in Ireland, unlike in the US. There are the questions of who should be tipped, where and when to tip, and how much to tip. Many service workers in Ireland are paid good wages, but there are also some who are working multiple jobs or studying at the same time.
You want to reward great service and make sure your server gets a little help with their finances, but at the same time, you do not want to give too much and end up offending anyone or being ridiculed for being ignorant of Irish culture.
The tipping culture varies a lot across Ireland. It can vary by establishment, service, and other factors (but it is more commonplace and expected in Dublin than elsewhere). We found out as much as we could about what service workers in the country know and expect to help you figure out just how much to give.
Bistros and cafes
In cafes, bistros, and similar places, you may see tip jars or bowls on the counter or anywhere near the cash register. You can leave loose change here, but it is not required and not always expected.
Some establishments, especially in rural areas, have collection boxes instead of tip jars. Money collected in these is given to charities. Feel free to put some cash in here instead of giving a tip.
Pubs in Ireland are nearly never tipped. However, workers in some pubs in places like Dublin have gotten used to getting tips from foreigners. Nevertheless, it is better to be safe than embarrassed.
If you feel extremely satisfied and compelled to leave a tip, offer to buy the personnel a drink. They will most likely ask you if you don’t mind that they have that drink later, to which the polite reply is a nod. It means the person will keep the cash for themselves instead of drinking on the job.
If you are buying rounds for a large group in a bar, do tip the bartender around 1 or 2 euros. Lounge staff expects tips more than barmen do in this case.
Regardless of where you are, tip the servers for making expensive drinks, such as elaborate cocktails.
Some restaurants state on their menu that your total bill will be subject to a service charge. If this is the case, then you need to pay that service charge regardless of how satisfied you were with the staff’s service.
In some restaurants, the menu simply says “service included,” which means that the food prices already include the service charge. In both of these cases, no tips are required and the bill amount is final.
If you do not see such notes on the menu, tip the server. You can give an additional 10% to 15% or simply round up the bill to the nearest amount that can be given in bills (That translates to a minimum tip of 5 pounds--the smallest bill in Ireland.).
If it is merely a quick lunch, do round up. If it is a sit-down meal with starters, for example, follow the 10% guide. But rounding up can be acceptable for dinners too! For example, if the bill amounts to 43 euros, you can give 50 euros.
When dining as part of a large group of six or more people, your restaurant may automatically add a service charge to your bill. However, this is not done by all restaurants.
Never tip in fast food places.
Hotels, B&Bs, and guesthouses in Ireland typically already have service charge incorporated into their prices, so no tips are expected. In places ran by the owners themselves, like small B&Bs, definitely no tips are expected.
However, do tip chambermaids around 1 to 2 euros per day. Also, tip porters and other staff if you requested for help or special assistance. Nevertheless, there is no need to tip large amounts.
Cab drivers do not expect tips but will not refuse if you offer, especially city drivers. Tourists often tip taxi drivers by rounding up the fare.
Hairdressers for men and women can be tipped 10% of the bill or 1 to 2 euros.
Other service workers generally do not expect tips. Tradesmen would even give you something like a “reverse tip” (essentially a discount) to hopefully keep your business in the future.
There are no clear-cut rules regarding tipping in Ireland. Ultimately, you just have to play it by ear. Do not be surprised when after offering a tip, you are met with refusal.