Language: Irish Gaelic and English
Climate: Ireland has a mild, temperate climate. For more hours of sunshine and warmer days, travel in June, July or August where it only gets truly dark after 11pm. Winters are mild, snow is scarce and the temperature rarely drops below freezing.
Time Zone: IST — Irish Standard Time
International phone code: 353
Transportation: Ireland has four international airports, Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Knock. Ireland's two major airlines Aer Lingus and Ryanair are low-cost carriers. A regional service is also provided by Aer Arann which offers domestic flights within Ireland and international flights mainly to and from the United Kingdom. Ireland is served by numerous ferry services from Great Britain and France with companies now acting as agents much like Expedia and Travelocity act as agents for airlines. All the major car rental companies operate in Ireland with standard and automatic transmissions available. Most trains in Ireland (all operated by the state-run Irish Rail) operate to and from Dublin.
Ireland is increasingly liberal on gay issues. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1993, and most forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation are now outlawed. Ireland also forbids incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation. While the country does not officially recognize or allow same-sex marriages, a 2012 survey showed that 73 percent of Irish people agreed that "same sex marriage should be allowed in the Constitution." Acceptance is greatest in the cities and larger towns, but care should be taken in the rural areas, where conservative values predominate, tempered by a "if you don't annoy us we won't annoy you" attitude. Keep a sense of humour about yourself — the Irish love "taking the piss" out of people, and the ability to laugh at yourself is highly valued.