Ireland in detail

Health & insurance

Before You Go

Health Insurance

EU citizens equipped with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available from health centres or, in the UK, post offices, will be covered for most medical care – but not nonemergencies or emergency repatriation. While other countries, such as Australia, also have reciprocal agreements with Ireland and Britain, many do not.

In Northern Ireland everyone receives free emergency treatment at accident and emergency (A&E) departments of state-run NHS hospitals, irrespective of nationality.

In Ireland

Availability & Cost of Healthcare

Excellent health care is readily available. For minor, self-limiting illnesses, pharmacists can give valuable advice and sell over-the-counter medication. They can also advise when more specialised help is required and point you in the right direction.

Tap Water

The Irish have traditionally always drunk tap water, but in recent years have introduced filter systems to combat the presence of potentially toxic chemicals called trihalomethanes (THMs) in the water supply, which have exceeded EU-sanctioned levels in various parts of the country, including Kerry, Cork, Kilkenny city, Waterford, Wicklow, Meath, Mayo, Roscommon, Donegal and Galway.

Although the potential issues are only associated with long-term exposure to THMs, you should make sure to drink only filtered or bottled water while in Ireland, and never drink from the bathroom tap.