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Preface Last Updated: 2/15/2005 5:50 AM

It is said that Ireland, once visited, is never forgotten. The Irish landscape has a mythic resonance, due as much to the country's almost tangible history as its claim to being the home of the fairies and the "little people." Sure, the weather may not always be clement, but the dampness ensures there are 50 shades of green to compensate—just one of the reasons Ireland is called the Emerald Isle. Scattered mountains and hills rim a central plain, where the River Shannon flows past green woodlands, pastures, and peat bogs.

Ireland was the seat of learning and sent scholar-missionaries throughout Europe in the Dark Ages. Now it draws visitors with a composite charm shaped of lilting laughter, Irish eyes, and the Blarney Stone; of soils man-made from seaweed and sand in the harsh Aran Islands, or palms waving in warm Glengarriff; of Donegal's lava and Killarney's lakes; of voluble, tempestuous people with a remarkable roll of literary lights-such names as Swift, Yeats, Wilde, Shaw, Joyce, O'Casey, Synge. Eight centuries of strife with Britain brought formal establishment of the republic in 1949. Its name in Gaelic is Éire.

Although English is the main language of Ireland, it's spoken with a mellifluous lilt and a peculiar way of structuring sentences, to be sure. There remain areas of western and southern Ireland, known as the Gaeltacht, where Irish is the native language-they include parts of Kerry, Galway, Mayo, the Aran Islands, and Donegal. Since Independence in 1921, the Republic of Ireland has declared itself to be bilingual, and many documents and road signs are printed in both Irish and English.

Jigging an evening away to Irish folk music is one of the joys of a trip to Ireland. Most traditional music is performed on fiddle, tin whistle, goatskin drum, and pipes. Almost every village seems to have a pub renowned for its music where you can show up and find a session in progress, even join in if you feel so inclined.

Irish meals are usually based around meat-in particular, beef, lamb and pork chops. Traditional Irish breads and scones are also delicious, and other traditional dishes include bacon and cabbage, a cake-like bread called barm brack and a filled pancake called a boxty.

Though the nation's charms are fabled, it faces problems. The "troubles" are far from over in the North, but the recent referendum clearly signaled a willingness for peace and a genuine solution may be in sight.

The country is home to some of the most welcoming people in Europe.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 2/15/2005 5:53 AM

The island of Ireland ("Éire" in the Irish language) is divided politically into two parts: Ireland and Northern Ireland. Ireland (formally referred to as the "Republic of Ireland") contains 26 of the island's 32 counties. Northern Ireland contains the six counties in the northeast and has been administered as a part of the U.K. since partition in 1922. The Embassy in Dublin has no jurisdiction in Northern Ireland. The consul general in Belfast reports to London.

The 26 counties cover 27,136 square miles, with the greatest length from north to south being 302 miles and the greatest width 171 miles. Ireland is separated from Britain by the Irish Sea, ranging 60–120 miles across.

The central limestone lowland of the island is ringed by a series of coastal mountains. The central plain is primarily devoted to family farming and is also notable for its bogs and lakes. The highest peak is Carrantuohill in Kerry at 3,414 feet. Newcomers are immediately impressed with the beauty and charm of the countryside, which is dotted with historic landmarks and alternating rolling hills and pastures, mountain lake country, and stark sea cliffs.

Dublin has a moderate climate. Temperatures range from 16°F to 75°F. The mean temperature during the winter is 40°F; in summer 60°F. Annual rainfall is about 30 inches, distributed evenly throughout the year. Noted for its soft weather, rarely do more than a few days go by without at least a shower. Temperatures occasionally drop below freezing during winter, and light snow sometimes falls. During December, there are about 7 hours of daylight and an average of 1-½ hours of sunshine. During summer, the average daily sunshine is 6 hours. Mild winds and fog are common and winds of gale proportion may occur, especially at night, from November to May. Humidity is fairly constant, averaging 78%. The climate is similar to that of Seattle, London, and The Hauge.

Population Last Updated: 2/15/2005 6:02 AM

The population totals just over 4 million, almost half of them in the greater Dublin area. The next largest city is Cork (180,000), followed by Limerick (79,000), Galway (57,000), and Waterford (44,000). A high birth rate and the end of net emigration for the first time since the mid-19th century have led to a remarkably young population with roughly half under age 30. Although English and Irish (Gaelic) are the official languages, Irish is commonly spoken only in small enclaves, called the Gaeltacht, which are located in the south and west. The government is encouraging a revival of the Irish language, which about 55,000 natives speak.

The population is predominantly Roman Catholic (about 92%). The second largest religious group (about 2.3%) belongs to the Church of Ireland, an independent Anglican Episcopal Church.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 2/15/2005 6:10 AM

After a prolonged struggle for home rule, Ireland received its independence from the U.K. as a free state within the British Commonwealth in 1921. The constitution was revised by referendum in 1937 and declared Ireland a sovereign, independent, democratic state. When the Republic of Ireland Act was passed in 1948, Ireland left the British Commonwealth.

Ireland is a parliamentary democracy, governed by the "Oireachtas" (Parliament) of two houses, an elected "Uachtarán" (President), who is head of state, and a "Taoiseach" (Prime Minister), who is head of government and holds executive powers. The two houses of Parliament are "Dáil Éireann" and the "Seanad Éireann." The 166 members of the Dáil, called "Teachtai Dála," or more commonly, TD's, are elected by vote of all Irish citizens over the age of 18 under a complex system of proportional representation. An election must be held at least every 5 years. The Dáil nominates the Taoiseach, who selects all other ministers from among the Dáil and the Seanad (but not more than two from the latter). The President, elected by direct popular vote for a 7-year term, formally appoints the Taoiseach.

The Seanad has 60 members, 11 nominated by the Taoiseach, and the rest chosen by panels representing the universities and various vocational and cultural interests. Although the Dáil is the main legislative body, the Seanad may initiate bills and pass, amend, or delay, but not veto, the bills sent to it by the Dáil.

Ministers exercise the executive power of the state and are responsible to the Dáil. The "Tanaiste" (Deputy Prime Minister) assumes executive responsibility in the absence of the Taoiseach. Under the constitution, the cabinet consists of 7 to 15 members. Junior ministers are also provided. The Taoiseach, Tanaiste, and Minister for Finance must be members of the Dáil. The Taoiseach resigns when his government ceases to retain majority support in the Dáil.

The three major political parties are Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and Labour. Fianna Fáil is Ireland's largest political party and the one that has ruled Ireland more often than any other. Fianna Fáil is currently in a coalition government with the Progressive Democrats, under the leadership of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, after winning a June 1997 election. A merger between Labour and the small Democratic Left was approved by both parties in December 1998.

Ireland considers itself militarily neutral and is not a member of NATO. Since 1973, Ireland has been a member of the European Community.

Irish law is based on English common law, statute law, and the 1937 Constitution. All judges exercise their functions independently, subject only to the constitution and the law. Appointed by the President, they may be removed from office only for misbehavior or incapacity, and then only by a resolution of both houses of the Oireachtas.

Ireland has a multitiered court system. The district and circuit courts have wide civil jurisdiction and, in addition, may try all serious offenses except murder and treason. Most civil and criminal trials take place before a judge and a jury of 12 citizens.

The High Court has original jurisdiction over all matters civil and criminal, but normally handles only appeals from the lower courts and rules on questions of constitutionality in an appeal or a bill referred by the President. Its members also sit on the Central Criminal Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Supreme Court is the Court of Final Appeal and is empowered to hear appeals from the High Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Circuit Court, and to decide on questions of constitutional law. Its president is the Chief Justice of Ireland.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 2/15/2005 6:18 AM

Traditionally, the Irish have excelled in the literary arts, from ancient Irish sagas and legends to the rich folklore which plays its part in country life. Anglo-Irish writers such as Jonathan Swift and Edmund Burke were active in the flowering of Irish Arts in the 18th century, while the 20th century has produced many writers and poets of note: William Butler Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Frank O'Connor, Flann O'Brian, and the foremost chronicler of Dublin life, James Joyce. Irish dramatists have played an influential role in the development of English-language theater: from Oliver Goldsmith, Richard Sheridan, and Oscar Wilde, to the 20th-century works of George Bernard Shaw, J. M. Synge, Brendan Behan, Samuel Beckett, and more recently, Frank McGuinness and Martin McDonagh. Each fall, Dublin hosts drama groups from around the world during the Dublin Theatre Festival. During the rest of the year, you may choose from among 6-10 plays each week in the city's large and small theaters.

Music plays a central role in Irish culture. The national emblem is the harp, and Irish folk music continues as a lively tradition. Frequent concerts and recitals of classical music are held throughout the year. The National Concert Hall, which opened in 1981, is the venue for several concerts each week.

Artists in Celtic and early Christian Ireland excelled in metalwork, stonecarving, and manuscript painting. Among the finest examples are the Ardagh Chalice and the Book of Kells. The countryside abounds with the archeological and architectural remains of many periods, including megalithic tombs, ring forts of the Iron Age, medieval abbeys, and castles. Around the country, but especially in and around Dublin, are many great houses and public buildings from the 18th century, when architecture and other arts flourished in Ireland.

Scientific research in Ireland is supported by several public and private institutions. The regional universities are active in many fields. The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies specializes in theoretical and cosmic physics; the National Board for Science and Technology is a major source of funding; and the Agricultural Institute is the largest research organization in Ireland.

Two private institutions provide significant support for the sciences. The Royal Dublin Society (RDS) was founded in 1713 to encourage the arts and sciences and to foster improved methods of agriculture and stockbreeding. The RDS sponsors a Spring Show devoted to these methods and the famous Dublin Horse Show every August. The Royal Irish Academy, founded in 1785, promotes research in the natural sciences, mathematics, history, and literature.

The Irish Department of Education provides free primary and secondary education. Most schools are state aided, yet remain private and managed by their individual boards. Almost all have religious affiliations; many are not coeducational.

There are 7 universities, as defined in Irish law: the National University of Ireland (NUI) and Dublin University. NUI has four principal constituent universities: National University of Ireland, Dublin; National University of Ireland, Cork; National University of Ireland, Galway; and National University of Ireland, Maynooth, which is also a seminary and Pontifical University also has two "recognized" colleges: Dublin City University and University of Limerick, which emphasizes applied sciences and business. Dublin University, founded in 1591, has one college, Trinity College, Dublin (TCD).

Other university-level institutions include the Dublin Institute of Technology; the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, a medical school; the Honourable Society of King's Inns, which trains lawyers; and the National College of Art and Design.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 2/15/2005 7:44 AM

Ireland is enjoying its most propitious macro-economic environment in four yers, reminiscent of the high-growth Celtic tiger period of the 1990s. According to the Irish Central bank, real annual GDP growth in 2004 reached 5 percent, as compared to 3.7 percent in 2003. Ireland is one of the world's most open economies, and the country's robust performance in 2004 party reflects a global recovery from the post-9/11 economic downturn. With slightly more than 4 million people, Ireland is on pace to register more than euro 34,000 in GDP per capita, the second highest in the EU. In 2004, moreover, real annual GNP growth was 4.5 percent, a change from recent years in which GDP growth exceeded GNP growth by several percentage points. Stronger GNp growth in 2004 indicates the growing contribution of indigenous firms to national economic output.

Ireland's economic growth has been driven primarily by investment, or more specifically, housing construction. Roughly 80,000 units were built in 2004, a tenth consecutive record year. Economists estimate that this level of consturction has contributed one-fifth of real economic growth in both 2003 and 2004. The increase in housing construction has helped to slow growth in housing prices from 13 percent in 2003 to 10 percent for 2004. Concerns persist, however, about the affordability of housing for first-time buyers, particularly in Dublin, where the average price for a house is euro 329,384. Whereas economists are divided on whether Irish housing prices are overhauled, most concur that a deceleration in housing construction in the event of ECB interest rate hikes would be a drag on future economic growth.

Inflation in Ireland was 2.2 percent in 2004, very near the eurozone average inflation rate f 2 percent. This convergence follows a five-year period since the inception of the euro in 1999 when Ireland's inflation was on average more than 2 percentage points a year higher than that of the eurozone as a whole. A 3.9 percent price increase in the services sector, which suffers from a lack of competition, provided the lion's share of overall price increases in 2004. Restaurants and hotels, registering a 4.5 percent year-on-year price rise, were the major contributors to service sector inflation. Oil price increases have not exerted significant upward pressure on inflation, since base prices for energy are already quite high. Despite the fall in this year's inflation rate, recent Government-commissioned studies show that ireland is the second most expensive country in the eurozone for consumer goods and services.

Unemployment, as of late 2004, stood at 4.3 percent, suggesting that the economy is as close to full employment as possible. Inflation in the services sector partly reflects tightening in the labor market, upon which the sector is particularly dependent. Aveerage annual compensation in Ireland in 2004 grew by over 4 percent to euro 38,140, compared to euro 34,630, the average wage in the original 15 EU Member States. Between 1998 and 2003, compensation per employee had increased by 37.1 percent, compared with 8.7 percent in Germany over the same period. The pay terms of the current national wage agreement, "Sustaining Progress," which provide for wage increases of 5.5 percent over 18 months, are relatively moderate compared with previous agreements. Wage pressures in 2005, however, are expected to remain strong, particularly in the private services sector, where employment growth likely will continue to be robust.

Between January and July, 2004, Ireland exported goods worth roughly euro 49 billion, an increase of 4 percent over the same period last year. Exports to the United States were worth just under euro 10 billion, a 1 percent decrease compared witht eh same period in 2003, while exports to the UK decrease by 3 peercent to approximately euro 7.5 billion. Exports to Belgium increased by a massive 34 percent to euro 7.5 billion, and exports to italy were up 14 percent to euro 2.3 billion. Exports tot he rest of Europe, Asia, and Australia also increased in the first seven months of the year. Meanwhile, the value of Ireland's imports between january and July this year was just over euro 28 billion, a 3 percent increase over the same period in 2003. Whereas imports from China and France rose by 38 percent and 14 percent, respectively, imports from the United States and Japan fell by roughly 8 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

In 2003, the last year for which data is available, Ireland secured $25.5 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), up 4% from 2002 and just shy of the $25.8 billion record that Ireland set in 2000. FDI inflows into Ireland constituted 9 percent of FDI inflows into the European Union, which, as a whole, saw investment fall 11 percent in 2003. Ireland also secured more than half the shared services centers set up in the Eu last year and has been at the forefront of the global shift to investment in services. The stock of U.S. investment in Ireland in 2003 was $55.4 billion, compared to $11.8 billion in China. Last year, moreover, there was $9.1 billion of new U.S. investment flow in ireland, compared with $3.8 billion in China. Irish investment overseas slipped from $3 billion in 2002 to 1.9 billion in 2003, the lowest figure since the mid-1990s.

Ireland's public finances are healthy. The 2005 Government Budget, unvieled in December 2004, provides for nearly euro 45 billion in public spending, euro 3.7 billion (9 percent) more than 2004. No tax increases are planned. Budgetary targets for 2005 include: a government deficit of 0.8 percent of GDp: an exchequer borrowing requirement of just under euro 3 billion, or 2 percent of GDP; and, a debt ratio of 30 percent of GDP. The principal features of the Budget are a euro 12.3 billion package for social welfare, tax relief estimated at euro 682 million, a euro 900 million disabilities program, and a euro 36.3 billion envelope for infrastructure, chiefly transportation upgrades. A tax revenue overshoot of euro 2.3 billion in 2004, due to one-off tax collections on overseas bank accounts, gave the Government more latitude than usual for social welfare spending increases in 2005.

The Govenment's economic policy has lately focused on maintaining Ireland's competitiveness as an export platform and as a draw for foreign direct investment (FDI), the twin pillars of Ireland's Celtic Tiger success. While Ireland's performance in exports and FDI continues to be strong, price and wage increases in recent yers have created concerns that ireland, over the longer term, will be challenged to compete with low-cost alternatives like China, India, and the EU accession states. The National Competitiveness Council and the Enterprise Strategy Group, both Government-commissioned bodies, issued reports in 2004 on sustaining Ireland's competitiveness. these reports recommended that Irish indigenous and foreign-owend firms move increasingly into innovative, higher-value goods and services by strengthening their R&D capabilities and marketing/sales efforts.


Automobiles Last Updated: 2/15/2005 7:46 AM

Most personnel in Ireland find vehicle ownership convenient, if not necessary. Diplomatic-list and administrative and technical (A&T) personnel may import or purchase one vehicle duty free if unaccompanied, or two if accompanied by spouse and/or family. Administrative and technical personnel must import or purchase their vehicle locally within 6 months after arrival. Vehicles purchased or imported duty free may be sold without recapture of duty and tax 2 years after importation or acquisition.

Dublin boasts dealerships and service facilities for most European and Japanese vehicles. Many drivers prefer smaller vehicles for negotiating the narrow, winding roads. Because U.S.-made cars are not distributed here, spare parts are not available locally and resale may be difficult. Traffic moves on the left in Ireland, and right-hand-drive vehicles prevail, though they are not mandatory. If you import left-hand-drive vehicles, you should be aware that driving may be more difficult, particularly on country roads.

Third-party liability insurance is mandatory and must be purchased from a local insurer. Embassy personnel often find insurance costs here much higher than they are accustomed to. The following factors will increase the cost of insurance: Vehicles that are sporty, fuel-injected, imported, have large engines, or left-hand drive; also drivers who are single, under 30 years of age, or have had insurance claims within the past 5 years. Insurers offer discounts for recent clean driving records, so bring a letter from your insurer indicating the length of claim-free driving. Many employees insure through US-based companies.

Currently, gasoline costs about $3.40 a gallon on the local market. However, the VAT is taken off the bills when they arrive at the embassy which reduces the price about 50%.

Fees for automobile registration, tax discs, and drivers licenses are waived for all official personnel. License plates do have to be purchased locally and cost about 20 Euro.


Local Transportation Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:17 AM

Dublin city bus service is uneven and ceases after midnight. On the main north-south route passing in front of the Embassy, service is frequent. On other routes buses appear more sporadically. Not all Embassy housing is situated near bus routes, a school van service is provided to St. Andrew's School for Embassy children. A commuter train line (DART) follows the coast north and south of the city. The new LUAS tram system is a state-of-the-art Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. Two tram lines connect Dublin's City Center to outer suburbs of Dublin. Buses and trains are usually crowded. Taxis are expensive and may be difficult to obtain. Many are radio-dispatched, however, and most are clean and well maintained. Outside of rush hours, taxis may be hailed on the street with varying degrees of success.


Regional Transportation Last Updated: 2/15/2005 7:48 AM

All of the larger cities in Ireland can be reached from Dublin by private auto, rail, or intercity buses within 5 hours. Only intermittent stretches of four-lane highways exist in Ireland. Most roads outside the city are narrow, winding, and need repair.

Ferryboats travel between Dublin and Holyhead (Wales); Rosslare and Fishguard (Wales); Rosslare and Pembroke (Wales); Rosslare and Le Havre (France); Rosslare and Cherbourg (France, March-October only); Cork and Le Havre; Cork and Roscoff (France); Cork and Swansea (Wales).

London is 1 hour by air from Dublin, and flights to the Continent from Dublin are frequent. Delta Airlines, Continental, US Airways, and Aer Lingus fly directly to Dublin from the U.S.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 2/15/2005 7:49 AM

Modernization of the telecommunications network has been underway to bring an outdated system into line with the high technology being employed in other countries. You can dial directly to about 180 destinations, including the U.S., and contact about 40 more via the operator. Improvements have progressed to such an extent that, except for the more remote areas and parts of Dublin, a telephone can be installed within 6–10 weeks of application.


Internet Last Updated: 2/15/2005 7:50 AM

Internet access is widely available in Dublin. Dial up service is free and requires only payment for local calls. Broadband access is available in most areas and is expensive by US standards.


Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 2/15/2005 7:50 AM

Airmail, air express, and surface mail between the U.S. and Ireland is reliable. International airmail between Dublin and New York takes about 6 days, and surface parcels take 4-6 weeks.

Pouch facilities from Washington, D. C. to Dublin are available for personal mail and packages and take about 1-2 weeks for letters and 2-4 weeks for packages and magazines. Personnel may also use the pouch for outgoing letters and small packages (less than 1 pound) that take 1-2 weeks to reach a U.S. address. U.S. postage stamps can be ordered through the Embassy in bulk from the NEX West Ruislip.

FPO facilities are available, however they are extremely limited. The commissary sponsors a trip to the facility in London once every quarter and twice during the last quarter of the year to send outgoing mail and to pickup incoming mail.

The following pouch address is the recommended address to use for letter mail, medicines, and eyeglasses, magazines, newspapers, and packages. Size restrictions are in effect and mail must not exceed 40 pounds in weight, 24 inches in length, and 62 inches in length and girth combined.

(Name) 5290 Dublin Place Dulles, VA 20189-5290

Packages may be sent to the following FPO address if needed:

(Name) U.S. Embassy PSC 801 Box D FPO AE 09498

Please remember that this FPO address is located in London, and packages are picked up during the commissary trips approximately 4 times a year. The Dublin pouch address should be the normal address for all mail.

FPO packages are limited to 50 pounds (70 pounds if item cannot be divided into mailable units), 108 inches in length and girth combined.


Radio and TV Last Updated: 2/15/2005 7:51 AM

An autonomous public corporation, Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE), operates the radio and TV services with revenue from license fees and advertising. RTE radio broadcasts on three networks nationwide on VHF in stereo-Radio One, 2FM (popular music channel), and Raidio na Gaeltachta/FM3 Music (Raidio na Gaeltachta is the Irish-language program, and FM3 MUSIC is a quality/classical music station). Radio One and 2FM also broadcasts on AM nationwide, and Raidio na Gaeltachta also broadcasts on AM in the Irish-speaking areas (The Gaeltacht). There are also many independent radio stations playing a variety of music.

RTE TV is broadcast nationwide on 2 channels-RTE 1 and NETWORK 2. An independent station, TV3, started broadcasting during 1998. The stations broadcast from early morning until approximately 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. weekdays, with extended schedules on weekends. In addition, with a digital/cable system (NTL or Sky TV)(available in most parts of Dublin) you can receive two BBC channels, two British ITV (Independent Television) channels, and up to an additional 100 sports, general interest, and movie channels.

U.S. TV's will not receive local broadcasts without expensive modifications. Sets may be purchased duty free locally or an order may be placed through the commissary for the post exchange at West Ruislip.


Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 2/15/2005 7:51 AM

Seven daily papers are published in Ireland, all in English. Most emphasize local and national news, but the Irish Times provides more international coverage than the others. The leading British dailies and the International Herald Tribune appear on Dublin newsstands on the day they are published. A few popular U.S. magazines are also promptly available at the newsstands, e.g., the overseas editions of Time, Newsweek, Scientific American, and Omni.

British journals are freely available. Magazines ordered by U.S. subscriptions are much less expensive but arrive about 3 weeks late by pouch.

Dublin has several good bookstores; some offer secondhand books at reasonable prices. The public libraries are an alternative; a branch is located near the Embassy.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 2/15/2005 7:53 AM

The Embassy Health Unit is staffed by a part-time nurse, with support from the Regional Medical Office in London, who provides referral assistance to all new staff in obtaining the services of a G.P., dentist, or specialist. Competent specialists in all fields of medicine and dentistry provide satisfactory services, but their equipment is not always as modern as in the U.S. Additionally, patients may be required to wait a long time - up to four months - for some specialist appointments. Emergency services are excellent. Any employees with Class 2 clearance, or with family members with Class 2 clearance, should consult very closely with MED and post before bidding on Dublin. Obtain special medical or dental treatment before coming to post.

Drugs and medical supplies of almost every variety are sold locally. Some drugs normally found in the U.S. and other countries are not available. If a specific medication is needed please contact the Embassy nurse prior to arrival to determine availability.

Public and private hospitals provide adequate treatment, though facilities are often not up to some American expectations. Children under 12 are admitted only to children's hospitals.

Health and Medicine

Community Health Last Updated: 2/15/2005 7:53 AM

The sewage system is modern, and community sanitation is good although below that for some U.S. cities. Water is potable and fluoridated.

Among the general population, rheumatism and arthritis are common. Respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and asthma, glandular infections, and head colds are prevalent. American personnel avoid most of these diseases by observing good health practices. No serious epidemics have occurred in Ireland for several years.

Health and Medicine

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 2/15/2005 7:54 AM

Have childhood immunizations up-to-date. Most immunizations are available in Dublin, but varicella (chicken pox) is not available.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 2/15/2005 7:55 AM

Employment opportunities are limited. Please check with the CLO and Personnel Office prior to arrival to determine availability.

A bilateral work agreement is in place between the U.S. and Ireland. This agreement provides for the issuance of work permits to spouses and dependents (over 18) who are able to locate employment on the local economy.

American Embassy - Dublin

Post City Last Updated: 2/16/2005 3:52 AM

Like most ancient cities, Dublin lies sprawled along a river. In fact, three visible and underground rivers converge and flow into the Irish Sea. The greatest of these is the Liffey, which has divided Dublin into north and south for more than 1,000 years, much as tracks divide the core of a railroad town. Today, nearly one-third of the Irish population live in the greater Dublin area. It is the political, cultural, and economic heart of the nation.

The great public buildings, the red brick Georgian rowhouses, and the fine parks that give the city its distinctive character originated in the 18th century. The Grand and Royal Canals encircle the Georgian core of the city. Quaint shop fronts and pubs of the 19th and early 20th centuries add to the flavor of downtown. Dublin has begun reclaiming some of the historic past, though many once-fine areas have decayed badly from years of poverty and neglect. New office developments have changed the city center's skyline. The outer rim is ringed by newly built housing tracts and industrial parks. The quays along the Liffey River are beginning to change the image of a rundown seaport. New business has started to develop as well as seafront apartment buildings. Small villages, until this century a short journey away, are now enclosed within the city's sprawl.

Security Last Updated: 3/4/2005 7:08 AM

Crime and Security in Ireland:

While crime in Ireland is comparable to other European countries, over 97 percent of the population over 18 consider crime to ba a serious problem. Initial figures for the first three quarters of 2004 show a decrease in violent crime by 7%. Dublin saw the highest incidents of headline crimes (crimes such as homocides, assaults, sexual offenses, burglaries, thefts, larcenies, and robbies) with 45 per 1,000, while remianing regions of the country varied between 18 to 25 per 1,000.

Mission members have not been victims of violent crime, but two to three American visiting Ireland each month report that they have been victims of muggings or street robbery. Typically, foreigners tend to become vicitims of crime when they drop normal security practicies due toa misconception that there is lttle or no crime in Ireland.

Residential Security:

Ireland is rated at the medium risk for crime due to recent break-ins of Embassy Officers' residences. Residential burglaries are common in Dublin, and criminals tend to focus on the affluent neighborhoods where Embassy officers live. All residences have updated monitored alarm systems and employees are actively encouraged to use them when away from home and at night.

Anti-American sentiment is rare, but increased during the buildup to war in Iraq. It should be noted that some Irish are passionately against the current US War on Terrorism and the US presence in Iraq and entering into political discussion in public places should be avoided.


There have been no terrorist incidents in the Republic of Ireland this past year. Ireland, like most other European countries has a significant third-country national presence, some of whom have connections with extremist terrorist groups. Post works closely with the Irish authorities to ensure US interests and personnel are protected appropriately.

Other Safety Issues:

Traffic drives onthe left side of the road in Ireland, so pedestrians and drivers used to the US system need to be very careful when driving and crossing the street. The vehicle accident rate in Ireland is high, with several fatal accidents occuring each week. traffic is heavy and people tend to drive too fast on a road network system that is out of date. Many of the main roads outside of Dublin are winding and narrow, which makes passing difficult. Irish drivers tend to drive more aggressively than drivers in the US. Initially, new arrivals should work on becoming comfortable and knowledgeable about their environment, their vehicle, and plan their routes before setting out. Even drivers who are used to driving on the left-side of the road should use extreme care when traveling by road.

The Police:

the Garda Siochana is a well trained, professional national police force of approximately 12,5000 sworn officers. Their only real limitation is shortage of manpower. The Garda are responsible for law enforcement throughout the republic of Ireland. Emergency notification of the Garda or other emergency services are as follows: 24 hours emergency service (police, fire, ambulance, coast guard): tel 999, or 112.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:20 AM

Completed in 1964, the Chancery is housed in an unusual circular building inspired by early Celtic stone architecture. It sits prominently at the intersection of Pembroke and Elgin Roads in the pleasant Victorian section of Ballsbridge, 2 miles southeast of the center of Dublin.

The Embassy staff is organized into the following Sections: Management, Agricultural, Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), Consular, Defense, Political/Economic, Public Affairs, and the Marine Detachment. All offices except the Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) are located in the Chancery. The FCS is located on the second floor of a nearby office building. Working hours are from 8:30 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. The Embassy phone number is 668-8777. The Marine Guard answers after-hours telephone numbers 668-9612/668-9464 and refers duty calls to the duty officer. Civilian employees are paid on alternate Thursdays from the Financial Services Center, Charleston.

Most employees arrive at Dublin International Airport, 10 miles northeast of the Embassy. An Embassy staff member will meet you, will assist you with customs, and will provide transportation to your quarters.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/16/2005 3:55 AM

The Embassy makes every effort to situate new arrivals directly in their permanent quarters. When this is not possible, the Embassy books employees into a nearby hotel, short-term apartment, or guesthouse.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 2/16/2005 3:56 AM

The U.S. Government owns or has long-term leases on four dwellings: the Ambassador's residence, the DCM's home, and two other houses. Other employees are provided quarters under short-term U.S. Government leases. The post housing board assigns housing based on seniority, family size, and availability.

The Ambassador's residence, built in 1776, is a house of historical note, situated on 70 acres of wood and grassland about 6 miles from the Chancery in Phoenix Park. The ground floor has two drawing rooms, a dining room that seats 26, a ballroom, reception hall, and library, plus a large kitchen, pantry, laundry, and cloakroom. The second floor has six bedrooms with baths, a family room, linen closets, and servants' quarters. The extensive grounds include attractive gardens, a small orchard, greenhouses, and outbuildings.

The DCM's home is a handsome early 19th-century house overlooking Dublin's Grand Canal, about 1 mile from the Embassy. It has two drawing rooms and a dining room seating 14 on the main floor. The upper floor has a master bedroom and two smaller bedrooms. The ground floor has a kitchen with a dumbwaiter to the dining room, a small bedroom, and a small breakfast room leading to a spacious yard and garden. Also on the ground floor are a servant's room and garage.

Other employees are assigned to one of two government-owned or several short-term leased dwellings. They consist of a mix of houses, apartments, and semidetached townhouses. Living and dining rooms (referred to as reception rooms) and bedrooms are small by American standards. Housing is generally assigned prior to your arrival at post.


Furnishings Last Updated: 2/16/2005 3:56 AM

U.S. Government housing is equipped with central heating, basic furniture, stove, oven, refrigerator, carpeting, draperies, lamps, washer and dryer, microwave oven, and vacuum cleaner. Lawnmowers are also provided. The Ambassador and DCM are provided china, sterling flatware and hollowware, glassware, cooking and serving utensils, blankets, and bed and bath linens. Other employees will need to bring these items in addition to audio and video equipment, extra transformers, small electrical appliances, pictures, books, knickknacks, and any other items that will serve to personalize your home. Anyone assigned to a government-furnished home should contact the general services officer in Dublin for details of the furnishings provided. Storage space is severely limited, and employees are discouraged from bringing a significant amount of their own furniture, as post is unable to provide storage for privately owned items.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/16/2005 3:57 AM

Houses are equipped with hot and cold running water, bath and/or shower, toilets, and electricity. Heating is provided by heating oil, gas, or electricity, though many houses have fireplaces. Stoves may be either gas or electric. Appliances in some homes may be smaller than American standards due to space limitations in the homes.

Single-phase, 200v-220v, 50-cycle, AC electricity is standard throughout Ireland. Outlets take British-type three-prong plugs. The wiring in many houses cannot take heavy loads. The Embassy provides two transformers per household for accommodating 110v devices; you should bring additional transformers or buy them locally. American 60-cycle clocks will not operate satisfactorily in Ireland.

Most types of electrical equipment are available locally; however, they are more expensive. If you bring U.S. equipment, please bring the instruction books to facilitate repairs.

Food Last Updated: 2/16/2005 3:58 AM

Food in Dublin is more expensive than in the U.S. Meats, poultry, and fish are sold year round. Greengrocers offer a wider range of imported fruits and vegetables, but prices are higher than at supermarkets. Fresh meats and produce in Ireland pose no special hygiene problems. Canned fruits and juices are available, and good-quality dairy and bakery products abound. Baby food in cans and jars can be found in any supermarket. Although most shopping needs can be met through diligent shopping, bring special spices and condiments to prepare favorite ethnic dishes. Items low in fat (fat-free yoghurt, soups, crackers, etc) are not widely available.

The small Chancery commissary stocks a limited range of duty-free wine, liquor, beer, cigarettes, paper products (napkins, towels, and toilet paper), and some canned and packaged foods not available locally. Limited supplies of frozen and packaged foods are also ordered periodically from a military commissary in England. The commissary, which is open three times a week, is open to all American Embassy staff.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/16/2005 3:59 AM

Because of the cool damp climate, woolens can be worn most of the year. Even in summer, light cotton clothing is rarely worn. Irish houses are frequently cold compared to those in the U.S. In selecting clothes, include sweaters, gloves, scarves, and sturdy weatherproof coats and footwear. Flannel pajamas and bed socks are desirable for overnight travel and even at home. Rainwear for adults and children can be purchased locally at reasonable prices.

Readymade clothing of all types is sold in Dublin. Good-quality articles, especially woolens and shoes, are expensive but on par with U.S. prices for similar quality. Narrow shoe sizes are hard to find.


Men Last Updated: 2/16/2005 3:59 AM

Good-quality, readymade, and tailor-fitted wool suits can be found at reasonable prices in Dublin. Nonetheless, bring several medium- or heavyweight wool suits, a topcoat, and a raincoat. Although dark suits are worn for most evening functions, a black dinner jacket (tuxedo) is occasionally required. Senior officers frequently need black tie. Tuxedos and other formal wear can be rented or purchased locally.


Women Last Updated: 2/16/2005 4:00 AM

Diplomatic personnel and spouses will need several dresses for cocktail parties, dinners, and receptions. Department stores, boutiques, and discount stores stock a wide choice of fashions for women, priced according to quality. Comfortable closed walking shoes are invaluable. Although you can easily find a wide choice from fashions to shoes and accessories, it is advisable to bring complete wardrobes.


Children Last Updated: 2/16/2005 4:00 AM

Although quality is good, clothes can be very expensive for growing children. Bring complete children's wardrobes, anticipating larger sizes that will be needed. Good-quality sweaters and rainwear can be bought locally at reasonable prices. School uniforms are required and most items must be purchased at specified stores.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 2/16/2005 4:01 AM

Cosmetics, toiletries, cigarettes, home medicines, and drugs are sold locally in considerable variety at prices above those in the U.S. English, French, and a few American brands are sold. Bring special cosmetics and home medicines if preferred, including sufficient prescription drugs to last until arrangements can be made with a local pharmacy. Most essential conveniences commonly used for housekeeping, entertaining, and household repairs are obtainable locally.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 2/16/2005 4:01 AM

All basic community services, such as drycleaning, tailoring, beauty and barbershops, and shoe and auto repairs, are available in Dublin. A few dressmakers are also available. Mechanical services do not measure up to American standards. Delays are common, appointments are a must, and the quality of workmanship varies widely.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/16/2005 4:32 AM

Finding competent and dependable servants is difficult; most families do not employ full-time domestic help. Part-time domestic help is available for housekeeping and light cooking, but it is usually expensive. Nannies are available for between approximately E400 and E600 per week, depending on qualifications. Au Pairs costs less -- roughly E100/week plus room and board -- but work less than 20 hours/week and often speak limited English. Staff who employ domestic help are responsible for proper payment of Social Insurance contributions of 14.75%.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/16/2005 4:46 AM

Numerous religious denominations hold regular services in Dublin—Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland (Anglican), Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, Christian Science, Congregational, Evangelical, Seventh-day Adventist, Moravian, Society of Friends, Mormon, and Unitarian churches, four Jewish congregations, and the Dublin Islamic Center.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 2/16/2005 4:57 AM Private primary and secondary schools are good, though some parents find instruction more structured than at American or other international schools, facilities do not compare favorably with most US schools, and sporting opportunities are limited, especially for younger girls. Instruction is in English. Credits are usually accepted in the U.S. for schoolwork completed in Dublin.

A typical curriculum in a Dublin secondary school includes English, Irish (foreign students are exempted on request), mathematics, religion, geography, history, foreign languages, science, art, music, and physical training. Athletic activities include rugby, soccer, basketball, track & field, cricket, hurling, field hockey, swimming, and tennis. Instruction in dancing, riding, music, and art is available at extra cost. The post allowance covers the cost of school tuition, fees, and books.

Contact the Embassy as soon as possible regarding brochures and full information on schools, as admission to the more popular private schools can be difficult. Depending on the location, many parents cannot rely on public transportation and must drive their children to and from school.

Most, but not all, Embassy children attend St. Andrew's College, located about 3 miles from the Embassy. Founded by the Presbyterians, St. Andrew's is now a nonsectarian, coeducational school with a curriculum comparable to those in the U.S., although sequence of coursework follows the Irish system. American secondary students may opt to follow either the Irish School Leaving or International Baccalaureate curriculum during their last 2 years. Credit is easily transferred to U.S. schools. With the aid of a State Department grant, the school has an American teacher of U.S. studies. The Irish grading system is more rigorous. Report cards are meant to be shared only by the student, parents, and teachers. American college applicants need special guidance in preparing applications that adequately explain the Irish system or their reported grades may often appear low. St. Andrew's College will prepare transcripts for U.S. colleges that explain Irish grades. St. Andrew's is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Ireland's Department of Education, and the European Council of International Schools.

Irish ninth graders must take a rigorous examination called the Junior Certificate. The examination covers a 3-year cycle in mathematics, science, English, history, geography, Irish, and business studies. Although foreign students who have not made the entire cycle may be exempted from the exam, some may choose to take it as much of the ninth year is spent preparing for it.

The 10th year is seen as a decompression year sandwiched between the high pressure Junior Certificate exam and the even more intense Leaving Certificate test held at the end of the senior (12th grade) year of high school. Although the Ministry of Education dictates the subjects covered during the 10th grade, methods of instruction differ from school to school. It is the only opportunity Irish students have to sample many different subjects without the pressure of external examination. The 11th and 12th grades are geared to passing the highly competitive Leaving Certificate, the key to admission to Irish universities. Although foreign students may be exempted from the Leaving Certificate, juniors and seniors should join their Irish classmates in preparing for it. Leaving Certificate studies provide good preparation for the American SAT examinations that are also given in Dublin.

School uniforms are required for students and are quite expensive. Average costs are €300 - €500 per child.

Families must also purchase all textbooks as they are not issued like they are in the states. A list is issued at the end of each year, by the school, for each grade. Often times there will be additional books added after the start of school in the fall. While purchasing the books is quite an expense, €200 - €400 per child, depending on grade and classes taken, the money is refunded as part of the educational allowance so save all receipts!!

St. Andrew's requires a navy blue blazer and school tie that must be purchased locally. Specific colors and styles are also prescribed for shirts, sweaters, trousers, skirts, shoes, stockings, and overcoats. Some of these items may be purchased less expensively in the U.S. If you plan to bring school clothing with you, contact the CLO for specific requirements. Information on other schools which have been used by Embassy families is available from the CLO.

St. Andrew's Junior School. The Junior School has its own principal and specially trained staff. The full range of elementary education subjects is taught: reading, writing, mathematics, environmental studies, art, music, nature study, handwork, Irish, Latin, a basic introduction to continental languages, and computer studies. Project work, physical education, and sports are also an important part of the curriculum.

The final year of the Junior School course is specially designed to prepare pupils for transition to the Senior School.

This transition takes place at the age of 11-12. Saint Andrew's also receives a large influx of pupils from other elementary schools at this stage.


Special Needs Education Last Updated: 2/16/2005 4:58 AM

Parents with concerns about special educational requirements for their children should contact post -- either the Management Officer, CLO, or Embassy Nurse -- for specific information prior to bidding on Dublin. Some special needs resources, which may be easily available in the United States, are not available in Dublin.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 2/16/2005 4:58 AM

Dublin has five major third level educational institutions - Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology, and National College of Ireland. In addition, there are several private third level institutions including the American College and Portobello College. Undergraduate tuition for nonresidents in 2004: Trinity College Dublin 12,000-16,000 Euro, University College Dublin 10,500-14,500 Euro, Dublin City University 9,000-11,000 Euro, Dublin Institute of Technology 9,000 Euro, National College of Ireland 8,000 Euro. Some technical business, and professional (e.g., medicine, law) courses have higher fees. Ample opportunities exist for continuing education in Dublin through the universities, community and vocational schools, and foreign cultural institutes. A Guide to Evening Classes in Dublin is published each fall and also lists many daytime classes and activities for children. Purchase it at any bookstore or newsstand. In addition to such things as music, crafts, hobbies, business, and domestic skills, nearly all community and vocational schools offer lessons in Irish. Many schools offer classes on Irish culture, history, literature, and music and dance.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 2/16/2005 4:59 AM

Despite the changeable weather, the Irish are great sports enthusiasts. Many opportunities exist for the active sportsperson and spectator alike. The Irish Tourist Board, "Bord Failte," has detailed information on sports activities. All equipment and clothing for locally popular sports are sold in Dublin.

Racing. Horseracing is a central feature of Irish sporting life. Irish horses have a fine record in events in England and other countries. Several leading courses are within easy reach of Dublin. The world-famous Irish Derby, the Irish St. Ledger, the Guinness Oaks, and other events are held at the Curragh in County Kildare, about an hour's drive from Dublin. The flat racing season is March to November. Steeplechase meetings take place throughout the year. Point to Point meetings are held in the spring. Racecourses within easy reach of Dublin are: Leopardstown, Fairyhouse, Nass, the Curragh, Navan, and Punchestown.

Greyhound racing is well established with many tracks throughout Ireland. Clonmel, County Tipperary, is the home of the Irish Coursing Club. Many thousands of dogs are registered in the Irish studbook each year, and greyhounds are a major Irish export.

Riding. Good riding stables are located near Dublin, and dozens more across the country offer both instruction and horses for hire. The Irish Horse Board, "Bord nag Capall," publishes a pamphlet called Where to Ride in Ireland.

Fishing. Fish are plentiful in the rivers, lakes, and coastal waters of Ireland. The most common are lake and sea trout, salmon, and coarse fish. Although the best salmon streams are privately owned and strictly controlled, you can arrange a lease for a specified period at a moderate price. In addition, salmon and trout fishing are free in many areas subject only to the boat and boatman's hire fees. Those traveling to western Ireland for their angling can make all the arrangements, including any required permits, through their hotel or guesthouse. Sea fishing is good all around the Irish coast; the more popular areas are off the coasts of Cork, Mayo, Kerry, and Wexford.

Hunting. Hunting in Ireland usually means fox hunting, but there are also stag hunts and harriers. The season starts in October and ends in March. Club hunting takes place from September to November; these events are held early in the morning and arrangements can be made through a riding stable or the Honorary Secretary of the Hunt.

Shooting. Shooting facilities in Ireland for sportsmen are limited and strictly controlled. Firearms certificates and hunting licenses are generally issued to visitors who have access to bona fide shooting arrangements or who have made advance booking with a recognized shoot; the number of certificates granted in respect to each shoot is controlled. Excellent shooting grounds, especially in the west of Ireland can be found. For queries on how to obtain a firearm certificate, you may call the Irish Department of Justice at 01-602-8202.

Golf and Racquet Sports. Within 20 miles of Dublin, you can find more than 45 private and public golf courses in all-many situated in splendid surroundings. Visitors are welcome at any club. Membership is difficult to obtain, some clubs have a 12-year waiting list, and is very expensive, since temporary membership fees are nonrefundable. It is possible to play on these courses for modest greens fees. The most popular courses in Dublin are Carrickmines, Elm Park, Killiney, and Portmarnock.

Dublin has many tennis, badminton, and squash clubs. Membership in these can also be expensive and difficult to arrange, and nonmembers are not permitted to use the courts. Public tennis courts are also available, but they can be crowded on weekends and evenings in summer.

Out-of-Doors. Camping, hill walking, and cycling are popular. Access to mountain and moorland trails is free. The Irish Tourist Board has information on campgrounds, national parks and forests, organized trails, and hostels.

Water Sports. Strong winds and rough seas limit water activities. Swimming is popular among the Irish who are not deterred by the cold water. Dublin also has scuba diving schools and clubs that offer introductory lessons. Yachting is popular for those who can afford it, with centers located in Dublin and Cork harbors. Rowing is more popular than yachting, and numerous rowing clubs abound. The rivers and canals are easily navigated and offer beautiful countryside. You can also hire cruise boats for a splendid holiday on the Shannon River.

National Games. Irish hurling, a kind of field hockey, is one of the world's fastest field games. Hockey sticks and head injuries symbolize this rough-and-tumble sport. Camogue, a woman's game based on hurling, is played by many schoolgirls. Gaelic football is related to rugby and soccer. The annual all-Ireland finals of both hurling and Gaelic football command national attention. Both games are regulated by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), founded in 1884 and a major force in the national revival movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Handball, played with an extremely fast hard ball, is also a traditional game in Ireland. Many young people play rugby, cricket, and soccer at school and in athletic clubs.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/16/2005 4:59 AM

In and around Dublin are many places of interest to visit. In the oldest part of the city are the Church of Ireland Cathedrals of St. Patrick and Christ Church, and other interesting churches such as St. Michan's. You may visit Dublin Castle, parts of which date to the 13th century, which was the center of British rule in Ireland for centuries. Many fine 18th-century public buildings are open to the public, including the Bank of Ireland, formerly the Parliament House; Leinster House, seat of the Dail; Mansion House, residence of Dublin's Lord Mayor; the Custom House; Four Courts and King's Inn; the General Post Office; and the earlier Royal Hospital at Kilmainham.

Trinity College, aside from its lovely squares and notable buildings, houses the nation's finest library. Among the famous manuscripts and early printed books is the Book of Kells, a masterpiece of Celtic illumination. Dublin also offers a small number of very interesting museums. The National Museum houses the finest collection of Irish antiquities and an assortment of decorative arts. The National Gallery of Ireland contains an important collection of European paintings, while the emphasis at the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery is on changing exhibitions of contemporary work.

The Chester Beatty Library and Gallery of Oriental Art is devoted to the arts of the book and offers changing selections from one of the world's great collections of Islamic and Asian manuscripts. Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum is the prison that held generations of Irish patriots. Within its walls, the leaders of the 1916 uprising were executed. It reopened in 1966 as a historical museum and has conducted tours.

Several beautiful parks can be found throughout Dublin. Phoenix Park, one of the world's largest urban parks, encloses the Zoological Gardens and the residences of the President of Ireland and the U.S. Ambassador. The National Botanic Gardens are located in Glasnevin in north Dublin. The fine Georgian squares of Dublin-St. Stephen's Green, Merrion Square, and Fitzwilliam Square-are also worth seeing. Well-preserved rows of Georgian houses surround Fitzwilliam and Merrion Squares.

Within an hour's drive of Dublin are many historic sights. Beautifully situated in the Wicklow Mountains are the ruins of the medieval, monastic community of Glendalough. The Hill of Tara, the ancient religious, political, and cultural capital of Ireland, lies north of the city. In a better state of preservation are two great houses-Castletown House and Russborough House; a castle, Malahide Castle; and the magnificent gardens of Powerscourt.

Rising just south of the city, the Wicklow Mountains offer grand scenery of green hills, bogs, forest, lakes, and waterfalls for those who like to hike, cycle, camp, or just go for a day's drive from the city.

Ireland is a small country; you can reach almost any point within a 5-hour drive from Dublin. The roads are paved, but mostly narrow and winding. The Irish countryside offers a change of scenery. The western coastline attracts many tourists with its sea cliffs and low-lying but rugged mountains: the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher, and further north, the wild countrysides of Connemara and Donegal. On the Aran Islands off Galway Bay, the everyday language is Irish, and many aspects of traditional life are preserved. Indeed, in the villages and farms, you may glimpse the slower, more traditional lifestyle of the Irish.

Among the sights to explore are many ruined and restored castles such as Blarney, near Cork, with its fabled stone of eloquence; Bunratty, which holds nightly medieval banquets; and the well- preserved stronghold at Cahir. Medieval churches and monasteries include the great complex atop a rocky outcropping at Cashel, the ancient monastic city of Clonmacnoise, the Romanesque church at Clonfert, and the Gothic abbeys of Jerpoint and Holycross. The country is littered with pre-Christian ring forts, stone circles, and tombs. One of the best is Newgrange, 30 miles north of Dublin. At the Craggaunowen Project near Limerick, a neolithic ring fort and island crannog (lake dwelling) have been completely reconstructed. Many great houses of the 18th and 19th centuries are open to the public, including Muckross House, overlooking the lakes of Killarney, Bantry House, and Westport.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:00 AM

Downtown Dublin has a dozen movie theaters, several of them multiscreen cinemas, showing recent American and British films, usually within a few months of their release.

The Abbey, Peacock, and Gate Theaters are among the best theaters in Dublin, and each presents a new play every month or two. The Gaiety and Olympia also present frequent changing shows ranging from serious dramas to musical reviews and rock concerts. Several small playhouses are active in Dublin and present first-rate theater. During the Dublin Theater Festival in the fall, dozens of foreign troupes perform.

The Dublin Grand Opera Society and Dublin City Ballet are not world-class companies but do provide appealing entertainment. The RTE (Radio Telefis Eireann) Symphony Orchestra performs regularly at the National Concert Hall. Many visiting chamber groups and soloists keep the musical calendar full.

For traditional Irish music, attend major concerts or simply frequent one of the "singing pubs," where informal sessions are regularly held.

Dublin has several cabaret shows, mostly a combination of folk musicians, singers, dancers, and comedians. Choose from among several discos, nightclubs, and ice-skating rinks for an evening out.

The most complete guide to regular and changing events is published in the biweekly magazine, In Dublin. A publication by the Dublin Tourism Board, The Events Guide in Dublin, is published biweekly and is also a good guide.

Many music festivals are held during the year. Among the more interesting are the Wexford Opera Festival, the Kilkenny Arts Week, and the Festival of Music in Great Irish Houses. The Royal Dublin Society's Spring Show, similar to a U.S. county fair, and the Horse Show in August present trade, livestock, and flower displays and some of the finest horse and pony jumping in Europe.

Dublin has many restaurants. Some are expensive, and the quality is generally excellent. Cost can vary from Euro10-20 at an inexpensive restaurant and Euro30 - 55 at an expensive restaurant. Basic meals are wholesome and filling. Many pubs serve lunch and some have evening meals available.

Numerous clubs and classes in Dublin are open for membership and include: hunting, swimming, horseback riding, boating, yachting, shooting, fishing, hurling, Gaelic football, handball, squash, tennis, rugby, soccer, athletic, tenpin bowling, lawn bowling, cricket, camping, hiking, cycling, dieting, automobile, social, and cultural.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:00 AM Other than Embassy staff, Americans living in Dublin include business representatives, students, spouses of Irish citizens, and many U.S. citizens of Irish background who reside in Ireland.

Some Embassy wives join the American Women's Club. In addition to regular meetings, the club offers diverse interest groups, courses on Irish cultural heritage, and tours.

Some Embassy wives also join the International Women's Club. The Club is composed of representatives from the various missions posted in Dublin, foreign women who have resided in Dublin a long time, and representatives from Ireland.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:01 AM The Irish people are noted for their hospitality and affability. Ties between Irish and American families can be a key feature of Irish-American relationships. Social entertainment outside the home usually consists of restaurant dinners or receptions.

Diplomatic luncheons are attended by representatives from many embassies and the Department of Foreign Affairs. A diplomatic wives' luncheon is also hosted each month. Members of the Rotary Club and Masonic Lodges can also attend regular meetings.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:02 AM

The level of seniority determines diplomatic social life. Senior officers entertain or are entertained frequently; junior officers somewhat less so. Numerous receptions, cocktail parties, luncheons, and dinners are held throughout the year. For junior officers and staff personnel, social life depends mainly on the individual. Staff personnel and Marine Guards are often invited to Embassy receptions. The Marine Detachment hosts community functions throughout the year. One of the major social events is the Annual Marine Corps Ball held each year in November. The Marine Detachment and the Community Liaison Officer work together to facilitate and enhance involvement and morale throughout the community and the FSN association.

Special Information Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:03 AM

Military personnel are prohibited from wearing uniforms while traveling in Ireland. Exceptions are granted on special occasions, such as official ceremonies and receptions. Direct queries regarding military uniforms to the Defense Attaché Office.

Post Orientation Program

On arrival, new employees receive a briefing packet containing information on Dublin and the Embassy. In addition, an informal briefing is given by visiting various sections of the Embassy. No U.S. Government-sponsored Irish-language training program is available because English is the language of all but a small minority.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:03 AM

No direct flights connect Washington, D.C., and Dublin. Connections are available via Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Newark, or New York (JFK). Depending on the date some of these flights stop at Shannon Airport before proceeding to Dublin.

Passengers clear customs in Dublin. Irish currency is available at Dublin and Shannon airports. Customs clearance for air and sea shipments takes approximately 5 working days.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:07 AM

Household goods and automobiles from the U.S. should be shipped through a U.S. Despatch Agent who will provide necessary instructions. Bills of lading furnished by the U.S. Despatch Agent or previous post, and full inventory of effects, should be forwarded to the Embassy as soon as possible to expedite customs clearance. Furnish the Embassy with chassis and engine numbers and advise of engine cubic capacity of your car to arrange for entry. No restrictions are placed on the size or weight of liftvans or boxes shipped to or from Dublin.

Address shipments to the employee in care of the Embassy. For USDAO personnel, include rank, social security number, and GSO Shipping Office in the shipment address. Commercial storage is available for temporary storage of advanced shipments. Van packing-not CONEX-is desirable. Ireland has no special pilferage problems.

USDAO TMO's should make note that post does not handle shipments for Northern Ireland. All ROI shipments should be advised to GSO 4 weeks in advance of arrival and all relevant paperwork sent to post.

Official personnel are accorded initial free-entry privileges for personal and household effects (HHE), including an automobile. This privilege expires after the first 6 months for nondiplomatic personnel.

The Irish Department of Agriculture prohibits the import of meat products into Ireland, even by diplomatic personnel. Customs clearance is usually swift and simple. Customs inspection is required between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Foreign currency may be freely imported, but you cannot export large amounts of Irish pounds.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Passage Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:08 AM

American personnel do not need visas for Ireland. No travel restrictions exist. Although not required, passports should be carried when crossing from Ireland into Northern Ireland or other parts of the U.K. Ireland is a neutral country and takes no cognizance of NATO orders and procedures.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Pets Last Updated: 2/17/2005 4:02 AM

Ireland now uses the PETS Passport scheme for qualifying countries. This has replaced the previous method of quarantining all animals. Please contact GSO for further details if you are considering bringing a pet to post. An excellent selection of all breeds of pets, reasonably priced, may be found in Ireland. Importation of certain types of birds is prohibited. Contact post before bringing any animals or birds.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:09 AM

Certain types of nonautomatic firearms and ammunition may be imported into Ireland. Notify the Embassy well in advance of the intention to import such items and provide complete identifying information. The management officer will supply further details and instructions on limitations, means of shipment, and permits.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:09 AM

Ireland is a member of the Euro zone.

All banks in Dublin handle exchange transactions, and many offer Euro checking accounts. Banks will cash a personal dollar check, but might delay payment. Dublin has branches of Citibank, Chase Manhattan Bank, Bank of America, and First National Bank of Chicago. Post has a relationship with the Bank of Ireland, which will cash US checks without a holding period. ATM machines are widely available.

Ireland has adopted the metric system.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:10 AM

The following local licenses are available to all official personnel without charge upon application to the Department of Foreign Affairs: automobile registration, drivers license, shotgun, and hunting licenses.

All personal property imported duty free must be for bona fide personal use or for that of your dependents. You may not sell such property, except in the normal course of obsolescence, wear and tear, transfer, or some similar contingency.

Automobiles imported duty free may not be sold without payment of such duty less than 2 years after import, except by permission of the Irish authorities. Permission for sale may be granted in special circumstances, such as transfer of the owner. The Embassy is careful to ensure that no exploitation of this arrangement occurs in violation of the Foreign Affairs Manual. The market for used automobiles in Ireland, however, does not encourage owners to expect high prices for their sale.

Value Added Tax (VAT) is included in the cost of costs and services. The VAT rate varies from 13.5% to 21% depending on the item. All staff (both diplomatic and administrative/technical) can claim reimbursement of VAT paid. Original receipts must be submitted which show the amount of VAT paid.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:10 AM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

History Beckett, J.F. A Making of Modern Ireland 1603-1923. Faber and Faber: London, 1981.

Fanning, R. Independent Ireland. Helicon: Dublin, 1983.

Fisk, R. In Time of War. Andre Deutsch: London, 1983.

Foster, R.F. Modern Ireland 1600-1972. Penguin Press: Cambridge, 1988.

Harkness, D. Northern Ireland Since 1920. Helicon: Dublin, 1983.

Kee, Robert. The Green Flag, A History of Irish Nationalism. Weidenfeld and Nicolson: London, 1972.

Lee, J.J. Ireland 1912-1985: Politics and Society. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1989.

Lyons, F.S.L. Ireland Since the Famine Weidenfeld and Nicolson: London, 1973.

Martin, F.X. and T.W. Moody, ed. The Course of Irish History. Mercier Press: Dublin, 1984.

Moody, T.W. The Ulster Question 1603-1973. Mercier Press: Cork, 1974.

O'Brien, Marie and Conor Cruise. A Conscise History of Ireland. Thames and Hudson: London, 1973.

Government and Politics Chubb, B. The Government and Politics of Ireland. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press: London, 1982.

Coombes, D., ed. Ireland and the European Communities. Gill and McMillan: Dublin, 1983.

Gallagher, M. Political Parties in the Republic of Ireland. Gill and McMillan: Dublin, 1985.

Keatinge, P. A Place Among the Nations: Issues in Irish Foreign Policy. Institute of Public Administration: Dublin, 1978.

Keatinge, P. A Singular Stance, Irish Neutrality in the 1980's. Institute of Public Administration: Dublin, 1984.

Kelly, J.M. The Irish Constitution. 2nd ed. Jurist: Dublin, 1984.

Northern Ireland: Questions of Nuance. Blackstaff Press: Belfast, 1990.

O'Malley, P. The Uncivil Wars, Ireland Today. Houghton, Mifflin: Boston, 1983.

Economics Meenan, James. The Irish Economy Since 1922. Liverpool University Press: Liverpool, 1970.

The New Ireland Forum: Studies and Reports on Specific Matters. The Stationer Office: Dublin, 1984.

OECD Economic Surveys, Ireland. OECD, Paris: April, 1985.

O'Hagen, T., ed. The Economy of Ireland. Irish Management Institute: Dublin, 1976. Understanding and Cooperation in Ireland (8 pages). Cooperation North: Belfast and Dublin, 1983.

Culture De Breffney, B. Ireland: A Cultural Encyclopedia. Thames and Hudson: London, 1983.

Fogarty, M.L., and J. Lee. Irish Values and Attitudes. Dominican Publications: Dublin, 1984.

Greeley, Andrew. The Irish Americans. Harper and Row: New York, 1981.

Kennelly, B., ed. The Penguin Book of Irish Verse. 2nd ed.: London, 1981.

O'Murchin, M. The Irish Language. Department of Foreign Affairs and Board na Gaeilge: Dublin, 1985.

O'Siadhall, M. Learning Irish. Institute for Advanced Studies: Dublin, 1980.

Reference Works and General Interest Administration Yearbook and Diary. Institute of Public Administration: Dublin (yearly).

American Business Directory. U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Ireland: Dublin (yearly). Cairnduff, M. Who's Who in Ireland. Vesey: Dublin, 1984.

DeBreffney, B. Castles in Ireland. Thames and Hudson: London, 1977.

Ernest, Benn. Blue Guide to Ireland. 4th ed. London, 1979.

Facts About Ireland. Department of Foreign Affairs: Dublin, 1985.

Joyce, James. Ulysses.

Nealon, T. and Brennan, S. Nealon's Guide, 24th Dail and Seanad. 2nd ed. 1982. Platform Press: Dublin, 1983.

Shannon, E. Up in the Park. Atheneum: New York, 1983.

Uris, Leon. Trinity.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 2/16/2005 5:11 AM

New Year's Day January 1 St. Patrick's Day March 17 Good Friday Variable Easter Monday Variable June Bank Holiday First Monday in June August Bank Holiday First Monday in August October Bank Holiday Last Monday in October Christmas Day December 25 St. Stephen's Day December 26

Personnel should avoid arriving on a local holiday.

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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