Ireland Coronavirus Travel Restrictions: Green List Announced

Aran Islands, July 2020

I wanted to write an in-depth post about travel restrictions in Ireland put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic and how these will change now that the Ireland Green List has been announced.

There is a lot of confusion in Ireland and abroad about what the restrictions are in Ireland at the moment so in this post I’m going to talk about whether you need to do quarantine, self isolate or do 14 days of restricted movements, what countries you can travel to and return to Ireland from without doing 2-weeks quarantine and where you can travel to as an Irish person going abroad.

Ireland Coronavirus Travel Restrictions

Up until now (July 22nd) if you were returning from any country outside of Ireland you would need to self isolate or quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Ireland. It was mandatory to fill in a locator form in Dublin Airport and then to write down your phone number and your address to let the government know where you would be still isolating for the 14-days.
 
Advice on the DFA site now read:
“In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship. However, as of 21 July, travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. The security status for those locations to which non-essential travel can resume has been changed to ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating. Individuals arriving in Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements on arrival.”

Ireland coronavirus travel restrictions: Who can travel to Ireland?

Ireland never closed and is “open” to ALL nationalities

Ireland never officially closed as a country – we were one of the only countries in the world to remain open for the entire period of our lockdown. However anyone arriving into the country was told that they would need to quarantine for two weeks.
 
That said flights were operating for the whole lockdown period with up to 3 flights a day coming in from the United States, flights coming from the UK and a few places in Europe as long as people promised to quarantine upon arrival. 
 

Can Americans travel to Ireland July 2020?

Technically…yes! Anyone can travel to Ireland. However if you are not coming from a green list country, you will need to “restrict your movements” for 14 days upon arrival in Ireland. This isn’t quite quarantine, but it is similar.

Can Irish people now travel overseas without quarantining?

There has been a lot of confusion about whether Irish people can travel abroad or not.
 
The Irish government still says that “non essential travel should be avoided at all costs” and only travel that is essential – maybe it’s business travel,  maybe it’s to see family whatever the reasons, that is the only travel that should be happening outside the country of Ireland.
 
That has been their stance from March up until now and they still maintain this is their stance DESPITE announcing the Travel Green list.
 

What countries are on the Ireland Green List?

Today the government released their Green List of countries that you can travel to and return from without quarantining.
 
Countries on this list include: 
 
Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco, San Marino.
 
Some of these countries are only accessible by flying into other countries not on the list (you need to fly into France to get to Monaco and fly into Copenhagen to get to Greenland) but that doesn’t seem to be an issue to the Irish government. According to Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, it’s okay as long as you’re just transiting through an airport.
 

Can I get Coronavirus travel insurance if I leave Ireland?

They’ve brought down the travel warning level for the countries on the green list. All along there has been a warning from the government that said all non-essential travel is discouraged which meant to travel insurance companies in Ireland would not insure you if you were going outside of the country. 
 
They couldn’t go against what was for the “greater good” of Ireland and what the Irish government was encouraging however now that the green list has been released, warnings have been taken down for the countries on that list and replaced with normal warnings – ones you would expect to find if you’re going on holidays to different countries.
 
I believe what that means is that if you’re traveling to other countries you should now be able to get travel insurance from an Irish travel insurance provider although you will need to email them or call them to confirm as it’s still even for the travel insurance companies releasing press releases today it seems to be a complicated matter.
 
**UPDATE ON THIS SOON**
 

What must I do when arriving in Ireland?

As you will see from the screenshot below from the HSE website you must fill in a passenger locator form with your phone number and your address of where you were going to be self isolating for 14 days however it doesn’t mention anything about forced quarantine or self isolation – it simply says you must restrict your movements for 14 days upon arrival in Ireland.
 
Restricted movements, however is very similar to self isolation. Stay in the one place for 2 weeks, don’t use public transport, don’t interact with people, try to get your shopping delivered etc.
 
You should also download the COVID Tracker App – almost 50% of the population of Ireland has already downloaded it.
 

What travel restrictions are in Ireland post-lockdown?

If you are lucky enough to be living in a country that is on the green list or if you’re living in a country outside the green list but are planning to quarantine for two weeks upon your arrival in Ireland then I wanted to let you know what it’s like to travel in Ireland at the moment.
 
I have actually spent the last month travelling around Ireland to the west coast, East coast, and  all of the South, County Cork, County Kerry, County Clare, County Galway and County Waterford and I want to let you know what it’s like to travel in Ireland at the moment. 
 
We are currently in phase 3 of the reopening of Ireland we were supposed to be in phase 4 by now but it’s been postponed until August 10th. You can travel anywhere within Ireland, there are no longer any travel restrictions on distance.

Do I have to wear a mask in Ireland?

Masks are MANDATORY on all public transport and inside of shops and enclosed spaces where social distancing not possible such as petrol stations, supermarkets etc.
 
 
 
 
What is open in Ireland right now?
 
What that means is that all of the pubs in Ireland remain closed unless a pub is opening and operating as a restaurant and enforcing social distancing throughout. So thousands of pubs throughout Ireland remain closed and will not reopen until August 10th or possibly later than that as the government keeps sort of pushing it back and changing their decision on when pubs will be allowed to open.
 
It’s important to keep this in mind as the holiday you’re dreaming of in Ireland might not be quite the holiday you had in mind!
 
In places like Dingle that are known for having fabulous pubs and a great atmosphere and good fun and good craic, You don’t really find the same level of activity and the same atmosphere as you would have before. Most of the pubs in Dingle are still closed so you won’t be able to go out at night if you are visiting.
 
 
Are the pubs in Ireland open?
 
While of course there are restaurants and pubs open where you can book in for dinner booking is almost essential at this stage and restaurants limit you to 105 minutes inside of the restaurant.
 
You must make a booking, you can stay for 105 minutes and you are not allowed to order any alcoholic beverages unless you order food as well. The food has to be valued over €9.50 so it’s a pretty decent sized meal and then you can order a few drinks as well as long as you’re keeping within the time limit.
 
I have heard that some cafes or restaurants or pubs are not a strict I don’t know which ones and I’m certainly not going to name them but there are some where you can go in, get a meal have a few pints and maybe end up staying there for a 5 hours – maybe you’ll get lucky maybe you won’t.
 
 
Where can I stay in Ireland right now?
 
Okay, so what about accommodation?? I stayed in B+Bs, guest houses, an airbnb and I stayed in a few hotels as well.
 
There is very little interaction when you arrive in the hotel. The key is normally in the room, they have taken the payment from your card already and they just let you know where to go and that’s pretty much it.
 
Some accommodation places are not doing the traditional Irish breakfast the way they used to be and some places are just doing very restricted facilities within the hotel room so the hair dryer is missing sometimes, the cupboard has been sorted disassembled, hangers are missing anything extra that you would normally find a hotel room has been removed so that the hotel room feels a little bit sterile.
 
coronavirus travel ireland
 
 
Most tourist attractions in Ireland have now reopened not all of them but most and everything like museums and things like that are open along with social distancing so often you might have to book a time or you might have to queue for a while and you just have to be very careful with physical distancing once you are inside.
 
If you’re planning to do a lot of hiking and outdoor adventure activities then you should be ok for your holiday to Ireland. You can go paddle boarding, you can go out to see fungie the dolphin, you can get a boat to the offshore islands in Ireland.
 
About 2 weeks ago the offshore islands in Ireland opened so now you can go to places like Cape Clear island, Sherkin island the Aran Islands and many other islands and such as the ones that lay off the west coast of Ireland.
 
Aran Islands, July 2020
 
 

Will you be WELCOME in Ireland?

That’s a bit of a difficult question because a lot of people in Ireland are still very much against travellers and tourists coming into Ireland.
 
The fact is there is still a pandemic going on our numbers are rising ever so slightly every day which is not good – we definitely do not want a second wave of coronavirus and people are especially worried about people coming from America.
 
Now the United States of America is not on the green list so we really don’t think people from there should be coming but there are flights operating and people from the USA are coming to Ireland on an almost daily basis.
 
If they’re willing to quarantine for two weeks before they go out that’s ok but even then it doesn’t seem like Americans are that will come in Ireland at the moment.
 
You will probably be asked where you from when did you get here did you quarantine? How are the coronavirus cases in your own country? So bit like the Spanish Inquisition …you’re going to get a lot of questions!
 
If you come here to Ireland on holiday at the moment it’s not really killed me in a full stop or 100000 welcomes as you would normally expect in this beautiful country.
 
 
Okay, so so in summary:
 
Most accommodation is open…B&bBs, guest houses and hotels but there is not much interaction when you check in but apart from that it’s ok.
 
You will NOT find any live music in Ireland at the moment sadly so no live music in the pubs or hear live music in your hotel.
 
You can only drink alcohol / order a drink if you were ordering food at the same time so if you go out to a restaurant and order food and then you can have a few drinks but when you return to your hotel and garter hotel bar you will not be able to get a drink before you go to bed unless you have dinner in the hotel.
 
Like I said most attractions are open but you might find a bit of hostility from some tour operators the pubs are not open restaurants are open but you must have a booking cafes and stuff are open but you know hearing social distancing a lot of them open just for takeaway only.
 
I’m sure you will still have a good time but these are difficult times!
  • Pablo
    August 6, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Hello Janet. Thank you for all the information you provide about travelling to Ireland. I´ve got a doubt regarding the entry from a country, which is in the Green List and maybe you could help me. In the Locator Form, the government ask about your point of departure, which is a bit ambiguous. Let´s say I am travelling from Ireland to France and then on my flight back to Ireland I am flying from Italy, or I am flying from Ireland to Sweeden and then I am taking the flight back to Ireland from Norway. Would I have to restrict my movements in that case?

    Thanks in advance and kind regards

    • Janet newenham
      August 6, 2020 at 10:26 pm

      Hey! I would say technically…NO. As the Green List is based on where you are coming in from.

      However, if you wanted to be a good person and felt you were coming from a place with a higher risk of the virus, then I still would restrict movements. What way you want to interpret that is up to you. Some people stay in one house for 2 weeks, others travel bit only go to outdoor attractions. Also they say you can fly Via a non-green list country to get here…but you can’t leave the airport.