Ireland is made up of the Republic of Ireland (ROI) and Northern Ireland (NI). The travel insurance you need depends on which part of Ireland you’re visiting - the main difference is whether or not you need medical cover.
If you’re visiting Northern Ireland, you can use the NHS just as you would here for emergency care, so the medical part of a travel insurance policy isn't as important.
Think about whether you’re prepared to take the risk of being unprotected against other losses before you travel.
When you visit the ROI you’ll need a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to get the same healthcare as Irish nationals - you won’t be covered for private medical care or repatriation though. You can apply for an EHIC online or over the phone with the NHS.
If we leave the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, your EHIC may no longer be valid. That means you won’t be able to access state subsidised medical care. So if you’re travelling to the Republic of Ireland, it’s even more important to get travel insurance that includes medical cover.
You’ll need valid car insurance to legally drive in the Republic of Ireland. Check if your existing policy covers you.
Think about taking out European breakdown cover too – that way you’ll be eligible to have your car fixed at the roadside, or be towed to the nearest garage.
In 2011, the drinking and driving limit in Ireland was reduced to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood for fully-qualified drivers - that’s 30mg lower than the limit in England.
The penalties for being over the limit are severe and random tests are conducted by the Garda (Irish police).
It’ll be safer and simpler to not drive after drinking any alcohol in the ROI.
As Ireland is a member of the Common Travel Area (CTA), British nationals don’t require a passport to visit Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. But given Irish immigration officers check the identification of all passengers flying in from the UK, and may ask you to prove your nationality, it’s advisable to bring your British passport with you.