Communications

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Communications

Internet

If you're traveling with a laptop, carry a spare battery and adapter. Most laptops will work at both 120V and 220V, but you will need an adapter so the plug will fit in the socket. In the countryside, a surge protector is a good idea.

Going online is becoming routine in Dublin, thanks, in part, to the Wi-Fi hotspots—which allow you to make a wireless connection from your laptop onto a network—popping up across the city. Net House, an Internet café chain, has the most locations in the country, with nine in Dublin and one in Cork.

There are also many independent Internet cafés across the country. Prices vary from the low end in Dublin of €2.60 per hour to €5 per hour in smaller cities. There are also many Wi-Fi hotspots (not just focused on Internet users) throughout the country, such as the Insomnia Coffee/Sandwich Bar chain in Galway. Dublin Airport and Dun Laoghaire Harbor have facilities to access wireless connection to the Internet. Most hotels in cities and large towns now offer a Wi-Fi hotspot in the lobby or lounge. A Wi-Fi connection can cost about €9 for an hour or €22 for unlimited access within a 24-hour period. In most cases, however, Wi-Fi access is free if you are using the facilities of the hotel or café.

Contacts

Cybercafes. Cybercafes lists over 4,000 Internet cafés worldwide. www.cybercafes.com.

Phones

Ireland's telephone system is up to the standards of the United Kingdom and the United States. Direct-dialing is common; local phone numbers have five to eight digits. You can make international calls from most phones, and some cell phones also work here, depending on the carrier.

Do not make calls from your hotel room unless it's absolutely necessary. Practically all hotels add 200% to 300% to the cost. As expensive as mobile phone calls can be, they are still usually a much cheaper option than calling from your hotel.

The country code for Ireland is 353; for Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom telephone system, it's 44. The local area code for Northern Ireland is 028. However, when dialing Northern Ireland from the republic you can simply dial 048 without using the U.K. country code. When dialing an Irish number from abroad, drop the initial 0 from the local area code. The country code is 1 for the United States and Canada, 61 for Australia, 64 for New Zealand, and 44 for the United Kingdom.

Public pay phones can be found in street booths and in restaurants, hotels, bars, and shops, some of which display a sign saying "you can phone from here." There are at least three models of pay phones; read the instructions or ask for assistance.

Calling Within Ireland

If the operator has to connect your call, it will cost at least one-third more than direct dial.

Directory Information

Republic of Ireland (11811 for directory inquiries and operator assistance in the republic and Northern Ireland; 11818 for U.K. and international numbers;.)

Northern Ireland. (118118 for directory inquiries in Northern Ireland; 118505 for international directory inquiries, which includes the republic; 155 for the international operator; 100 for operator assistance for calls in Northern Ireland.)

Public phones take either coins or cards, but not both. Card phones are rapidly replacing coin-operated phones, and are also cheaper. Phone cards can be bought at newsagents, convenience stores, and post offices in units of €5 upwards. It's worth carrying one, especially in rural areas where coin-operated phones are a rarity. In the republic, €0.40 will buy you a three-minute local call; around €1.50 is needed for a three-minute long-distance call within the republic. In Northern Ireland, a local call costs 20p.

To make a local call, just dial the number direct. To make a long-distance call, dial the area code, then the number. The local code for Northern Ireland is 028, unless you're dialing from the republic, in which case you dial 048 or 004428, followed by the eight-digit number.

Calling Outside Ireland

The country code for the United States is 1.

The international prefix from Ireland is 00. For calls to Great Britain (except Northern Ireland), dial 0044 before the exchange code, and drop the initial zero of the local code. For the United States and Canada dial 001, for Australia 0061, and for New Zealand 0064.

Access Codes

AT&T Direct (1800/550–000 from Republic of Ireland; 0500/890–011 from Northern Ireland.)

MCI WorldPhone (1800/551–001 from Republic of Ireland; 0800/890–222 from Northern Ireland using British Telecom ; 0500/890–222 using Cable & Wireless .)

Sprint International Access (1800/552–001 from Republic of Ireland; 0800/890–877 from Northern Ireland using BT; 0500/890–877 using C&W.)

Calling Cards

"Callcards" are sold in post offices and newsagents. These range in price from €5 to €30.

Mobile Phones

If you have a multiband phone (some countries use different frequencies from those used in the United States) and your service provider uses the world-standard GSM network (as do T-Mobile and Verizon), you can probably use your phone abroad. Roaming fees can be steep, however: 99¢ a minute is considered reasonable. And overseas you normally pay the toll charges for incoming calls. It's almost always cheaper to send a text message than to make a call, since text messages have a very low set fee (often less than 5¢).

If you just want to make local calls, consider buying a new SIM card (note that your provider may have to unlock your phone for you to use a different SIM card) and a prepaid service plan in the destination. You'll then have a local number and can make local calls at local rates. If your trip is extensive, you could also simply buy a new cell phone in your destination, as the initial cost will be offset over time.

If you travel internationally frequently, save one of your old mobile phones or buy a cheap one on the Internet; ask your cell phone company to unlock it for you, and take it with you as a travel phone, buying a new SIM card with pay-as-you-go service in each destination.

Contacts

Cellular Abroad. Cellular Abroad rents and sells GMS phones and sells SIM cards that work in many countries. 800/287–5072. www.cellularabroad.com.

Mobal. Mobal rents mobiles and sells GSM phones (starting at $49) that will operate in 140 countries. Per-call rates vary throughout the world. 888/888–9162. www.mobal.com.

Planet Fone. Planet Fone rents cell phones, but the per-minute rates are expensive. 888/988–4777. www.planetfone.com.

Rentaphone-Ireland.com. Rentaphone will have a phone awaiting your arrival at Dublin Airport. 087/683-4543. www.cell-phone-ireland.com.

Vodafone. For details of SIM-card purchase (€10) and price of calls on pay-as-you-go plans. 01/203–8232. www.vodafone.ie.

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