One of the most useful items to travel with is easily your phone. If you are staying in Ireland for a long time, you might even consider getting an Irish number and using local networks. They are the ones us locals use after all!
How to Use Phones in Ireland? If your phone network is from the E.U. there are no longer any roaming charges in Ireland, so your own network should suffice. Otherwise, you should consider unlocking your phone and getting a local prepay SIM card or purchasing a new prepay phone.
There are plenty of things that you will need your phone for when you visit Ireland, from uploading those great Instagram pictures to keeping in touch with the folks back home. Though there are plenty of ways to use mobile phones in Ireland, some are better than others.
Phones in Ireland
As part of the European Union, there are no international roaming charges for other European phone plans in Ireland. This piece of legislation passed through the European Parliament in 2014 and with it, people can use their phones freely across most of Europe. If you use a phone plan from one European country, you should not be charged anything extra for using your phone in another European country. Having said this, there may be some exceptions, so make sure you double-check this with your provider before you depart.
While there may be discounts for roaming for plans from certain Non-European countries, always make sure that you check what your phone plan offers before you arrive in Europe! You will likely have to keep your data off and mainly use Wi-Fi from private businesses. If you are staying in Europe for a prolonged period (more than a couple of weeks), it might be a good idea to purchase a local plan.
When people think of Ireland, they generally envision remote cliffsides and rolling green fields with romantic ruins in the distance. While the beautiful Irish countryside might not have had great Wi-Fi in the past, that’s changed a lot in recent years. Today Ireland has one of the best-connected internet networks in the world and there has been a push by the Irish government to have the very best-connected broadband network anywhere in the world.
When you go to remote islands off the west-coast you will still see farmers and fishermen living off the land, but today many of their partners will work remotely for major tech companies like Google or Apple! When you go to Ireland, you will be connected to the rest of the world, so communicating through the Wi-Fi on offer in private businesses is possible. But you will also be able to upload to social media from pretty much anywhere (if you really want to!).
Pre-Payed Irish Networks
If you choose to purchase a prepaid Irish SIM card, or want to get a phone in Ireland, there are different networks on offer. The Irish personal finance website, bonkers.ie, has put together a list of all the different prepay plans for comparison and I have copied it below. If you want to obtain an Irish SIM card, phone shops are common throughout the country. You will also be able to top-up your phone from any newsagent.
|Prepay Network||Price||Calls||Texts||Data Allowance||Extras|
|Three||€20 for 28 days||Free Three to Three Calls||Unlimited to any network||60GB||Free Deezer access for 3 months + €120 bonus credit*|
|Vodaphone||€30 for 28 days||Unlimited to any network||Unlimited to any network||8GB||Any unused data rolls to next month|
|Eir||€15 per month for 6 months, €30 per month thereafter||Unlimited to any network||Unlimited to any network||15GB||Social media use does not count towards data limit|
|Tesco Mobile||€15 for 30 days||Unlimited to any network||Free to any other Tesco Mobile Phone||10GB||Earn double Tesco clubcard points when you top up|
|Virgin Mobile||€12 per month for 6 months, €25 per month thereafter||Unlimited to any network||Unlimited to any network||30GB||N/A|
|48 Go Conquer||€20 per month||1,000 any network minutes||Unlimited to any network||8GB||Unlimited WhatsApp messaging|
Emergency Contact Numbers
The emergency contact numbers for Ireland are 999 or 112. Though 911 will also work.
Even if your phone has no more credit left, or you would otherwise not be able to communicate with it, you will still be able to contact emergency services via the above numbers. These numbers should also be accessible if the phone is locked.
If you want to unlock your phone in Ireland, be aware that sometimes it is not necessarily legal to do so. Some companies will not allow their phones to be unlocked, this is especially true for Apple. So, if you have an iPhone, it will not be as easy to get an Irish number than if you had some form of Android. Please make sure to check the terms of service before you attempt to unlock your phone.
Even if your phone provider allows you to unlock it, this process will generally require a large amount of technical skill. If you are legally able to unlock your phone there are plenty of tech shops located around the country that will allow provide this service. Any independent shop that sells multiple different types of phone should offer this service. If you are looking for a reliable chain to go to, I personally use “Cex”. They are in most cities and major towns in Ireland and they trade in used electronics and video games. Most staff members I have come across are well-versed in technology and should be able to answer any specific questions that you might have.
How to Enter a Number
The national area code for the Republic of Ireland is +353. You will need to enter this number before calling any Irish number. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom and as such, its area code is +44. You will need to use the corresponding codes to communicate across the border.
If you are making a call within Ireland, just dial the full number. Include the area code (which always starts with 0).
If you are using a landline, you can simply call the local number. But if you are using a mobile phone, you will need to use the full number, including the area code.
Below is an example of how to call Dublin’s tourist information office (437 0696) from different locations:
Irish Number: (01) 437 0969
International Format: +353 1 437 0969
From Europe: 00 353 1 437 0969
From North America: 011 353 1 437 0969
From Australia: 0011 353 1 437 0969
Do American Phones Work in Ireland? Europe uses a different network to North America; therefore, you will need to contact your service provider. Once you do that you will likely have to set up international roaming. Be aware that you may have to pay large roaming charges.
How do I Make A Phone Call to Ireland? Firstly, you will need to dial your national exit code (011 from the U.S.). Then dial (+)353, the code for Ireland. Next there will be a 1 or 2 digit area code. Finally, you will enter the number, this is mostly 7 digits.
Can I Buy an Irish SIM card in Dublin Airport? You should be able to purchase a SIM card in Dublin airport from WHSmith, in Terminal 1. Wrights located between Terminals 1 and 2. And Spar, located in Terminal 2. Make sure to have your phone unlocked to allow you to use the card.