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On this page: Using Internet Cafes, Prepaid Phone Cards and Cell Phones.

On my first trip to Spain, in 1999, I used a calling card issued by my long distance company to call home. On receiving my telephone bill, I was a little surprise to find the 10 minute call from Spain had cost me over $20 USD.

Since that trip in 1999 I have discovered there are a lot cheaper ways than calling cards to keep in touch with the people back home; some very inexpensive.

Internet Cafes - Since I had a cell phone for this visit, I didn't use any of the Internet Cafes in Ireland. We frequently came across Internet Cafes in our touring of Ireland. In Spain, I found Internet Cafes to be one of the cheaper ways to keep in touch. Unfortunately, I did not take the time to price the Internet Cafes in Ireland.

To use an internet cafe for e-mail you might want to sign up for an e-mail account with a company such as or Since you are using someone else's computer there is no reason to leave information (cookies, history folders, connection settings) that might allow someone to access your regular e-mail account. Before you leave home sign up for a temporary e-mail address and share this e-mail address with family/friends. Fill in the address book on the temporary account so you will have your friends e-mail address available when logging in to the temporary account from over seas. Once you return from Spain you can clear the address book or deactivate the account.

Prepaid Phone Cards - Prepaid phone cards appear to be one of the most economical ways to call home. Pre paid cards are available in Ireland (they can be bought from the stores at the airport, I did not check the rates) but I usually use a USA carrier phone card. In my case the US domestic rate for pre paid long distance is 3 cents per minute. When I call to the USA from Ireland , 3 to 10 domestic minutes are used up on the card for every minute talking on the phone, costing me anywhere from 10 to 35 cents for the international call. More minutes are consumed when using a phone booth or making a call to a cell phone in Ireland than calling from a USA residence to a Ireland residence. Using prepaid phone cards does require one to shop around for the best value cards, you can contact the long distance carrier directly to find out how many minutes are consumed for international calling.
One other note; if you are planning to make long distance calls within Ireland (i.e. Ireland city to Ireland city) you might do better buying your prepaid card in Ireland. Once when my wife made a call from Southern Ireland to Northern Ireland, using a USA long distance carrier, she was hit with an exceptionally expensive charge. I suspect, by calling the so-called local access number for Ireland she was connected to facilities in the USA, which then re-routed her call back to Ireland. The long distance costs in this case were the combined total of the cost of the call to the USA and then the call back to Ireland.

To use a prepaid card in Ireland you will need to obtain the local access phone number for the long distance carrier issuing the phone card. For example, the AT&T access number for Southern Ireland is 1800 550 000 ( Northern Ireland - 0-800-89-0011). Once you dial the access number you should receive directions to enter your card number, etc. With the phone card I use, in order to enter the pre-paid card menu, I have to enter the USA 1-800 number right after entering the local access number for Ireland. When listening to your dialing options keep in mind there are at least 2 different types of phone cards, pre-paid and regular long distance calling cards.
Note: Write down the prepaid phone card's access numbers and card number down and take a a couple of copies with you to Ireland. Should you lose the card there is a good chance you will still be able to use the card's numbers to make a call home.

Cell Phone - Cell phones are handy tools, indispensable for the business traveler they may also provide additional security for all travelers. Some USA providers offer international calling at a rather steep price. Occasional international travels may want to look in to renting a phone in Ireland. Frequent international traveler's might find it better to buy a "unlock" cell phone, able to use the prepaid cell phone minutes for the country visited. You can learn more about unlocked phones by going to my page about using a cell phone in Spain. The phone on the Spain site is the same one I bought for Ireland.

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Most of the information on this website was gather during my families July 2004 visit to Ireland