Please advise on the best way to go for converters while we are in Ireland. My husband is especially asking about our iPad and iPhone and making sure we take care of these properly. I of course am asking about my hairdryer :) Thanks.
First, you need to look at the appliances you are taking. Look at the charging "brick" on each device (you may need a magnifying glass). If it says both "100-240 volts" and "50-60 cycles" you are set. These appliances are multi-voltage and auto-converting, and all you need is the correct plug adapter. Don't try to use it with a converter, as this can damage it. Most electronics these days are multi-voltage (camera battery chargers, phones, iPads, laptops, etc), but of course you have to check. If your appliance is dual-voltage, it will have a switch to change it from 110 to 220 (many travel hair dryers work like this). It's not automatic, so be sure to flip the switch to the correct voltage before you go. You will still need plug adapters. If your device has does not go above 120 volts, you will need a converter as well as a plug adapter. Be sure to bring the right kind, or you will fry your device, blow a fuse, start a fire, or some combination of these (not a joke). Also be aware that some devices (many hair flat irons for example) specifically say that they are not to be used with a converter. So, either buy a new dual one in the US, or buy a 220 volt one in Ireland. Many prefer the, latter, as they report that hair dryers and flat irons bought in the US, even when dual voltage and used correctly, just don't get hot enough when used on 220 volts. continued..
continued.. Before worrying about hair dryers, though, make sure you need to bring one. These days, most places (even budget ones) have them, precisely to prevent the fires and blown fuses I mentioned. It may be hidden somewhere in the bathroom, or somewhere else in the room, or you may need to request it from the front desk. The correct plug adapter for Ireland is the top one in this picture (three pronged): http://tinyurl.com/4dd4h. Note that Rick is having a sale, so you can stock up. It's always good to bring one or two more than you think you need, as they're easy to lose.
It may be hidden somewhere in the bathroom, or somewhere else in the room, or you may need to request it from the front desk. I stayed in a couple places in London and Oxford last year where the hairdryer was installed (actually wired into) the desk drawer in the bedroom area, totally opposite and far from the en suite bathroom. The desk had a large mirror, but it was still a bit awkward to have to dry my hair sitting down at the desk because the coiled wire wouldn't stretch far enough to stand comfortably. Once I figured it out in London, I knew where to look in the hotel in Oxford.
Thank you, Harold, for such an in-depth reply; exactly what my husband will understand as those were the questions he had in mind.
My iPAD seems to be charging fine using an adapter. Same with our cell phone. Finding convenient and reliable wifi spots seems to be more of a challenge. There were hair dryers in each B&B or hotel we have stayed in. Agree they are not always located in the best place but it has been doable. Some bathrooms do not have outlets to plug a hair dryer or curling iron into.
Plugs are forbidden in UK and Ireland bathrooms by law. Except for a few low wattage razors.