Visiting Ireland

We are delighted that you are curious about visiting Ireland as a Scout or Guide! You will be extended every welcome. This guide will hopefully tell you all you need to know in relation to coming to Ireland. Unfortunately, Scouting Ireland is not in a position to help you to plan your trip. However, we have prepared this guide to make your planning much easier. I hope you enjoy all that Ireland has to offer!

Yours in Scouting

International Team

Coming to Ireland – The Formalities

Scouting Ireland recommends that you contact your International Commissioner and inform that person that you will be travelling to Ireland a reasonable length of time before your trip.

This way they can contact Scouting Ireland to formally notify it of your trip. This is common practice and allows National Scout and/or Guide Organisations to work together in ensuring safe and enjoyable international experiences for young people.

A variety of maps of Ireland and its regions are available from Ordnance Survey Ireland on

Where to stay?

National Scout Centres

Scouting Ireland has 5 national campsites, each of which it's own unique charms.

Local Scout Centres

If you wish to stay in local Scout facilities around the country you should contact the local group directly. Some may be in a position to help you. They may, understandably, charge a small fee in order to support local Scouting and cover the costs of things like light and heat.

Non-Scout Facilities

An Óige or the Irish Youth Hostel Association (IYHA) is the Hostelling International's association for Ireland. An Óige operates (as of 2017) 24 youth hostels in Ireland, some of which are only open in the summer season. The hostels in Dublin, Cork or Galway, are open all year round as well as hostels in Fossa in Killarney, County Kerry; Cong in County Mayo, in Gweedore in County Donegal and in Glendalough in County Wicklow.

How to travel?

Bus Éireann

Bus Éireann is the national bus service, which operates an extensive intercity network plus local services in major towns. Bus Eireann's website provides various options for buying online bus tickets which offer a 5% discount compared to buying them at the station or on the bus. Online tickets are scanned by drivers one at a time, so if travelling in large groups be sure to arrive at your pick-up point well in advance. Your ticket(s) for the return journey will be given to you as you redeem your internet ticket on your outward journey, so make sure to retain it/them.

Other buses shows timetable results from almost all of the other main operators of long distance buses in Ireland.

Iarnród Éireann

Most trains in Ireland (all operated by the state-owned Iarnród Éireann, also known by their English name Irish Rail) operate to and from Dublin. The frequency and speed of services is being considerably increased, especially on the Dublin-Cork line. If you book on-line for intercity travel, be aware that there may be a cheaper fare option available to you at the office in the station itself. Seats can be booked, but this seat reservation service cannot always be relied upon. If travelling in large groups, you can contact Irish Rail who may be able to reserve entire section(s) for you. Advance booking can result in big savings and booking can be made a month in advance. Note that there are two main stations in Dublin - Connolly Station (for trains to Belfast, Sligo and Rosslare) and Heuston Station (for trains to Cork, Limerick, Ennis, Tralee, Killarney, Galway, Westport, Kilkenny and Waterford.) In Northern Ireland, almost all services are operated by NIR (Northern Ireland Railways). Tickets to Belfast train station also cover shuttle bus service to the city centre, just show your ticket to the bus driver. In the Dublin city area the electrified DART (acronym for Dublin Area Rapid Transit) coastal railway travels from Malahide and the Howth peninsula in the North to Bray and Greystones in Co. Wicklow via Dún Laoghaire and Dublin city centre. An interchange with main line services and the Luas Red Line is available at Dublin Connolly. A helpful app can be downloaded to assist with rail travel.

Dublin Bus

Dublin Bus operates an extensive network of 111 radial, cross-city and peripheral routes and 18 night routes in the city of Dublin and the Greater Dublin Area. Day and weekly tickets can be purchased from local newsagents.


Dublin has a tram system, known as Luas (the Irish word for 'speed'). There are two lines. One (the red-line) operates from Dublin's Docklands starting at The Point (beside the O2 Arena) and the city centre (Connolly Station) to a large suburb south-west of the City (Tallaght) and the other (the green line) runs south-east (to Bride's Glen) from St Stephen's Green. These lines will be expanded in 2017-2018. Tickets must be purchased from machines before boarding the tram. Tickets are checked in the Luas at random by guards but generally ticketing works on a trust system. The Luas tram provides a very useful link between Dublin's Connolly and Heuston railway stations.

Private transport

There are many private bus companies around the country. These can be quite expensive but may often be the only option. The campsite or hostel you book will be able to recommend providers.

Car Rental

There is no shortage of car rental companies in Ireland with all of the major airports and cities throughout Ireland being well catered for, while the ports of Rosslare and Dún Laoghaire are served by Hertz and Dan Dooley respectively. Renting a car in Ireland is very similar to the processes elsewhere in that you need a credit card in your own name and a full driver's license for a minimum of two years without endorsement. Almost all car rental companies in Ireland apply a minimum age of 18 in order to rent a car, though some have limits in excess of this. In many cases you will need to be 28 in order to rent a full-size car.


Taxis can be ordered without a booking fee by using the Hailo App.


Ireland is beautiful for biking, but a good touring bike with solid tires is recommended as road conditions are not always excellent. Biking along the south and west coasts you can be prepared for variable terrain, lots of hills and often into the wind. There are plenty of campgrounds along the way for long distance cyclists. Helmets are not legally required, but widely available for those who wish to use them and advised by Scouting Ireland. A number of greenways and cycle trails have been developed. You can find out about them here. No permit is required to cycle on canal towpaths in the Republic. It is advisable to determine if a permit is needed to cycle on specific towpaths in Northern Ireland.


Ireland is a walker’s paradise. Whether you choose the road more or less travelled, you will not be disappointed. Waymarked trails Ireland has an outstanding network of medium-distance and long-distance walking routes known as National Waymarked Trails. There is a large variety of walking and cycling trails available for people to use and enjoy in Ireland. Horse riding and canoe trails are also being developed. Looped Walks Over 150 National Looped Walks have also been developed throughout the country. These walks are predominantly located off-road, ranging in length from an hour, to half-day and full-day walks, and are all designed so that users do not have to retrace their steps. Discover Ireland Long Distance Trails 

Hitchhiking is not common in Ireland and is not advised.

What to do?

General tourist information

A lot of general tourist information can be found here.

The Scout Shop

link to scout shop.

Partnering with Irish Scout Groups

If you wish to partner with an Irish Scout Group, you may choose to use Facebook or search for websites to find a group local to where you intend to stay. The summer months can be very busy for Irish Scouts but many will be delighted to meet with you on your visit to Ireland.

Scouting in Ireland

Scouting Ireland (Irish: Gasóga na hÉireann) is the sole World Organization of the Scout Movement-recognised Scouting association in the Republic of Ireland; in Northern Ireland it operates alongside The Scout Association of the UK. Scouting Ireland is a voluntary, non-formal educational movement for young people. It is independent, non-political, open to all without distinction of origin, race, creed, sexual orientation, spiritual belief or gender, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by Baden-Powell and as stated by WOSM.

Scouting Ireland has its basis in two separate Irish Scouting organisations — the Scouting Association of Ireland (SAI), and the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland (CBSI). The former traces its roots to 1908, and the latter was founded in 1927 – both trace their legacy to Lord Baden-Powell's Scout Movement.

By 1908, the influence of Baden-Powell's Scout movement had spread from Great Britain to Ireland. The earliest known Scouting event in Ireland took place in the Phoenix Park in 1908 with members of the Dublin City Boy Scouts (later Scouting Ireland S.A.I.) taking part.

Because of the impacts to available leadership, the coming of the Great War in 1914 could have affected the viability of Scouting in Ireland. However, patrol leader members took over much of the leadership activities when adult leaders volunteered for active military duty. Scouts contributed to the war effort in several ways; notably Sea Scouts, who took supported regular coast guardsmen.

In Dublin in the 1920s, two priests, Fathers Tom and Ernest Farrell, followed the progress of Scouting. After some study and experimentation, they made a proposal to the Catholic Hierarchy of Ireland and were granted a constitution and Episcopal patronage in November 1926. Thus, the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland (CBSI) (Gasóga Catoilicina hÉireann) was created. .

When war (and The Emergency) came again in 1939, Scouts carried on under the direction of their patrol leaders, and undertook service tasks. Including acting as messengers, fire watchers, stretcher bearers, salvage collectors, etc.

In 1965, the CBSI joined with the Scout Association of Ireland to form the Federation of Irish Scout Associations, FISA. Through FISA, all Irish Scouts were able to play a full part in international Scouting. Prior to this, because the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) traditionally recognises only one Scouting body in each country, only the SAI had been recognised by WOSM (since 1949). Similarly, the Northern Irish Scout Council (NISC) had observer status in the Federation, as the CBSI's membership extended across the 32 counties on the island of Ireland and WOSM usually only recognises associations that observe political frontiers.

Although aligned through FISA, these two separate Scouting organisations (the SAI and the larger CBSI) operated as separate entities through the latter half of the 20th century. Then, on 1 January 2004, the two organisations were merged to form "Scouting Ireland". This followed a poll in May 2003, when both associations voted to join together to form a new single association. This in turn had followed from a 1998 decision to set this process in motion.

Scouting Ireland now has c.45,000 members across the island of Ireland (as of 2013), including Northern Ireland, where it works in partnership with the Scout Association in Northern Ireland (SANI), part of The Scout Association. As an island nation, Scouting Ireland has a number of strong Sea Scout groups around the country.

Local volunteers are now supported by a centralised full-time (professional) staff, who support the day to day running of the association.