GeographyThe Republic of Ireland is made up of 26 counties, and Ireland as an entire island is made up of 32 counties. Ireland is also divided into 4 provinces - Leinster, Munster, Connaught, and Ulster. The time is GMT (CET -1).
MoneyThe official currency of Ireland is the Euro. All banks in Ireland operate exchange desks and there are some independent bureau de change kiosks in Dublin city centre. Alternatively, ATM cash machines will accept most credit and debit cards. All common credit cards are widely accepted in Ireland.
Opening hoursShops Shopping hours are generally 9am-6pm Monday to Saturday, although in Dublin and other larger towns some may stay open later, and some are open on Sundays. Generally newsagents open earlier in the morning and stay open longer in the evening.
Banks are open from 10am-4pm Monday to Friday with late opening until 5pm on Thursdays (some banks open on Saturdays too.)
Restaurants Opening hours for restaurants vary. Lunch is typically served between 12.30 and 14.30 daily. Dinner is usually served from 19.00 onwards, however many restaurants offer an “early bird” menu between 17.00 – 19.00, providing two or three-course meals at reduced prices. Restaurants usually take orders until 21.30, though many open later on weekends.
Bars or Public houses (better known as pubs) are open 10.30am to 11.30pm Monday to Thursday, until 12.30am on Friday and Saturday, and 12.30 pm to 11.30 pm on Sunday. Most nightclubs will serve until around 2.30am. Pubs in Ireland are usually closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day, as serving alcohol is illegal on these days.
Post Offices usually open Mon-Fri 9.00am to 5.30pm (some smaller offices close at lunchtime), and Sat 9.00 to 1.00. The GPO in O’Connell Street (Dublin) is open until 6.00 pm Mon-Sat.
SmokingA smoking ban has been in place in Ireland since 2004. Smoking is not permitted anywhere indoors, except in private accommodation. Though some hotels will have designated rooms for smoking guests.
Legal agesThe minimum legal age for buying alcohol and cigarettes is 18. You may be required to have either your passport or national age card for proof of age when purchasing alcohol.
The legal age for sexual consent is 17 for male and female, homosexual and heterosexual. See b4udecide.ie for more on this.
Content from the Irish EU Presidency website, www.eu2013.ie
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