Unlocking the World

Travel to Ireland during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 16th November 2021
Cliffs of Moher (Clare): Perhaps Ireland's most famous attraction, the 214-meter-tall Cliffs of Moher attract around a million visitors each year. It's on the southwest edge of the Burren region.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Ireland, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Ireland has done better than its closest neighbors in terms of case numbers and deaths, which are among the lowest in Europe -- but that was thanks to one of Europe's harshest lockdowns throughout much of the pandemic.
Alongside its EU counterparts, it has now reopened to visitors. Arrivals from any country are allowed and there is no longer any mandatory quarantine.
However, it's not all good news -- its high Covid rates mean the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has placed Ireland in its highest-risk "Level 4" travel category since August, and US citizens are advised against all travel to the country.
Note that Northern Ireland is part of the UK and operates under separate Covid restrictions, which you can read about in our UK guide.

What's on offer

The wild coasts of Cork and Kerry, the rugged beauty of Connemara and Donegal and the cultural hub of Dublin. Ireland has long held travelers' imaginations captive, with tales of its history, its great literature and Celtic myths an endless source of fascination.
Sure, you can enjoy a few pints in one of its classic pubs, but with so much to explore, Ireland is as much a place to indulge in the great outdoors as it is to enjoy the craic.

Who can go

Since July 19, EU residents have been able to enter Ireland, using the EU Digital Covid Certificate scheme. Vaccinated or recovered travelers from all other countries can enter quarantine-free. See below for restrictions.
Irish citizens who have received their Covid vaccinations outside of Ireland are able to apply for an EU Digital Covid Certificate through an Irish government portal which launched September 30.

What are the restrictions?

All arrivals to Ireland must complete a Passenger Locator Form before travel.
They must also produce either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, written in English or Irish. Vaccinations must be those approved by the European Medicines Agency, and the cycle must have been completed seven days earlier for Pfizer, 14 days earlier for Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, or 15 days earlier for AstraZeneca.
An EU Digital Covid Certificate is also acceptable proof -- although if the certificate shows an antigen test, the traveler will be required to provide an additional PCR test.
A proof of recovery certificate, in English or Irish, is also acceptable. It must be within 180 days of the patient's first positive test.
These rules also apply to children over the age of 12, who must show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative PCR test.

What's the Covid situation?

Although the situation in Ireland has vastly improved since the start of 2021, when a massive wave led to another stringent lockdown, cases recently crept up again. As of November 15, there have been 498,448 cases and 5,566 deaths. More than 76% of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

What can visitors expect?

Ireland spent much of the pandemic in deep hibernation, its pubs and restaurants shut, and tourist hotspots empty. Now though, reopening is finally underway.
Hospitality venues including pubs and restaurants are open, but a midnight curfew is set to be introduced on November 18.
To access indoor service, you must present proof that you have been fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months (along with ID). Face coverings must be worn in bars and restaurants when not seated at a table, and in nightclubs and live entertainment venues, face coverings must be worn when not eating, drinking or dancing.
Find out more about the current restrictions here.

Useful links

Our latest coverage

Working out your itinerary? Check out these 32 beautiful reasons to visit. When you get there, make sure you head straight to the pub to support an industry that has been devastated by the pandemic.
Dublin, meanwhile, remains one of Europe's best destinations for a city break. And while a sea bridge to Scotland has recently been rejected, you can always test your head for heights on the footbridge at Mizen Head, the most southwesterly point on the island of Ireland.