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Drinking water in Ireland

My friend and I are going on a tour of Ireland in about a month. We will be stopping at some pubs and distilleries as a part of the tour. We aren't big drinkers but will try a half pint or glass of wine.

My question is- would it be alright to order water? Is the water safe to drink? I know it seems naive to ask this, but I was wondering ... I don't want to drink too much liquor and I can only drink so much tea (decaf is better for me).

Any advice, or am I just worrying too much???

Posted by
6 posts

I spent two weeks in Ireland in July. While my husband was happily tipping back pints of beer or whiskey, I'm not much of a drinker either. I ordered water almost everywhere we went, and the occasional Coke as it tastes MUCH better there, and had absolutely no problems. I also always had a water bottle in my backpack and refilled it from drinking fountains with no issues.

As a side note, we stopped briefly in Ballyvaughan and while I was taking photos of the old fountain erected in 1875 I noticed locals coming with huge containers and filling them. I spoke to one older gentlemen who said he gets all his drinking water from that fountain (there is a tap and a spout). Out of curiosity I filled my bottle and took a sip. I promptly filled every spare bottle I could find as it has to have been the "cleanest" tasting natural spring water I have ever had.

Posted by
135 posts

I have been travelling in Ireland for forty five years - the tap water there is perfectly safe to drink, being treated to the same standard as other W. European countries. Like anywhere, the water varies in softness according to local conditions, but it's all good.

Posted by
711 posts

Is the water safe to drink? You are going to a western European country, not Mexico. That question is at least 50 years out of date. In pubs. since they are businesses, the thing to do is order non-alcoholic beer, mineral water (still or carbonated) or a soft drink of some kind. Since I cannot drink alcohol, I have developed a taste or tolerance for carbonated water if non-alcoholic beer is not available. Since the folks on the other side of the Atlantic do not share our ho-hum approach to driving under the influence, non-alcoholic beers are pretty common.

Posted by
1803 posts

Tap water is overall quite safe in Ireland. I have family there and have been going for decades and only one year (2007) can I recall the tap water being unsafe for consumption as the water supply in Galway was contaminated and cases of cryptosporidiosis had cropped up - it was an isolated instance and the rest of the country was fine. We had to use bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth. It's nothing I would actively worry about, and rest assured, on that one occasion it did happen, it was constantly on the news, in the papers and signs were posted at all restaurants, pubs and hotels notifying people of the problem. The distilleries on the tour won't care if you partake or not - and you may want to check with your tour guide about the possibility of skipping the distillery tour and going off on your own for that time to do something else nearby as I can't imagine a non-drinker is going to find a distillery tour all that exciting. Pubs expect you to get something if you are occupying a table or a seat at the bar. Order a soda, or a glass of orange juice without the vodka, or a non-alcoholic "beer" like Kaliber. Some pubs actually have herbal tea on hand (if you want something with no caffeine). If you do decide you feel the need to somehow have a drink, you can get a half pint (beer or hard cider), or have a coffee with a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream. And nobody will care if you drink half of it and leave the rest to be thrown out.

Posted by
13968 posts

All the pubs have soft drinks. Do try a glass of cider. It has the alcohol content of beer (about 1/2 that of wine). If you're with a group and many are buying drinks, I wonder if anyone will care if you don't. The pub is also where you will eat many of your lunches and dinners. If you are ordering food, I don't think anyone will care if you stick with water. The best lunch is usually a bowl of thick vegetable soup with brown soda bread and butter - around €5 and fills you up nicely.

Posted by
5258 posts

If you must have bottled water be certain you buy water labeled Still water. Otherwise you'll get carbonated water. Kind of like drinking club soda. Water is fine in Ireland, its not a third world country.
Pubs are gathering places for families, so don't be surprised to see gran and the wee ones in their prams.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks to everyone for their advice and replies. I will take them all under advisement- I do like the idea of trying hard cider. I've had some here in the US and I really like it (just like plain old apple cider).

I was talking about my trip with a coworker who lived in Ireland for a short time. She was trying to discourage me from drinking water and I thought maybe there was something wrong with it. She may have been trying to get me to try the pints, etc.

We will give the pints or half pints a try, anyway. I am glad to see I can leave an unfinished drink and not insult anyone.

Posted by
11432 posts

mkb I personally would not ask for a glass of free tap water anywhere unless I ordered some food or another drink.. maybe that's what your friend was hinting at?
I am not a beer drinker either.. and in one pub I ordered a glass of wine and a few locals who we had been chatting with ribbed me about that... luckily my mate was drinking a guiness ( sorry about spelling.. but you all know I mean that dark nasty beer, lol ) .. but I found hard cider easy to find..
We went on a rural pub tour and one interesting thing I learned is that while in North America hard cider is considered a bit of a "womans drink" but not so in Ireland.. partly because cider is stronger in alcohol then most beers( so be careful.. lol )

I tried and enjoyed a cider called Bulmers.. here its sold as Magners.

Posted by
23586 posts

Magners is made by Bulmers but in Ireland. Bulmers is made in England. Both are much stronger than most US beer. It is advised to be careful with cider until you have learned how it behaves (and how you do).

Posted by
4471 posts

The Bulmers companies in Ireland and the UK are totally separate and have been for around 50 years; the Irish company only has the rights to use the Bulmers name in Ireland and hence use the name of their original founder Magner outside of it.