Volunteer in Ireland: Failte!

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Ireland is a popular vacation spot, but there are plenty of opportunities to make a difference while enjoying the sites and sounds of this beautiful country. Volunteering in Ireland is a great way to give back, while creating rewarding personal memories at the same time. As you will see in our listings below, there are plenty of excellent opportunities for you to give back as a volunteer in Ireland. Filling your passport with the stamp of the Republic of Ireland is a worthy (and fun!) endeavor, but giving back as a volunteer in Ireland is truly something to be proud of.

If you are looking for an excuse to travel abroad to Ireland, volunteering is a rewarding and relatively inexpensive way to indulge in all the Emerald Isle has to offer. With or without an Irish heritage, volunteers will quickly feel compelled by the rolling green hills, ocean-side cliffs and medieval castles dotting the countryside. Make friends with a leprechaun while drinking a Guinness in the pub like a local, while resting easy because you know you are contributing to the betterment of this island gem.

  • Ireland hosts around 7.3 million tourists each year - more visitors than the country's population of 4.2 million
  • Over 40% of the population resides within 100 km of the capital, Dublin
  • Unemployment is currently around 14.4%
  • About 5.5% of the population lives below the poverty line

Animal Welfare: Animals, especially horses, are an important part of Ireland's history and culture. Be a positive influence on that culture by volunteering at an animal shelter or offer your expertise at horse training camps.

Environmental Conservation: The Irish landscape is steeped in history that crumbles a little more each year. Help keep Ireland's rich heritage alive by restoring historical homes and estates. Jobs include renovation, reconstruction and gardening.

Volunteer outdoors in Ireland
Volunteer outdoors in Ireland

Special Needs: As in many places around the world, kind, caring people with good interpersonal skills are needed for important social work. Volunteer with adults with physical and mental disabilities in homes in the city or in the countryside. Duties include supporting adults in daily activities and teaching classes and workshops.

Assisting the Homeless: In Dublin alone, there are nearly 3,000 homeless people, a statistic that includes families with children under 18. The homeless need not be hopeless. Lend a hand by working in emergency centers, transition homes and housing projects.

At Risk Youth and Children's Projects: A great way to experience Ireland is by learning about the culture through education. Have fun while teaching and learning and preserving the culture of Ireland one child at a time. Work with local youth at summer camps focused on building community through theatre, art and other creative projects.

  • Ireland has an unemployment rate of about 14.4% and about 5.5% of the population lives below the poverty line. The country is, however, thriving in culture and has been building its economy every year since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008.
  • If you are looking to save money while volunteering, try to find a program that provides free room and board so as to have money to travel and eat during time off. Clever travellers can get by on about 50 euros a day, including a stay in a hostel and food.
  • Travelers visiting Ireland from the US need a valid passport, but do not need a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. It is a good idea to exchange your US cash for Euros before arriving in Ireland as many Irish financial institutions have stopped accepting or cashing travellers checks. Credit cards are widely accepted, but debit cards from US banks will not always be accepted at ATMs and other locations. And remember, look right first when crossing the street because in Ireland cars travel on the left side of the road.
Health and Safety of Volunteers in Ireland:

Ireland is a very safe country for volunteers. No vaccines are required and no visa is necessary for stays up to three months. The official language is English and Ireland is part of the European Union, so the main currency used is Euros. Ireland is not the cheapest country in which to volunteer.

Ireland is located in a temperate climate with mild winters and cool summers. It is often humid and is overcast about half of the time.

Why Volunteer in Ireland?

Ireland is a beautiful country that's worth spending some time in, as 7.3 million visitors each year have already figured out. Volunteering not only affords you the opportunity to help the homeless, support those with special needs and conserve cultural heritage, but it also grants the ability to explore this special island on a tighter budget. Preserve the culture of volunteerism, eat a potato at the pub and in no time you will be acting and speaking like a local.

Contributed by Leah Weisman

Leah is a world-traveler and regular contributor to FlipKey.com, which offers a range of short-term rentals in Ireland and around the world. When she's not writing about traveling and volunteering, Leah works as a teacher in Colorado. Learn more about international rentals on The FlipKey Blog.

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