The Short Answer
In Ireland, people generally do not tip for many services, except in restaurants and other eateries, and some other exceptions.
Tipping in Restaurants
In restaurants, Irish people typically tip between 10% and 15% of the bill, depending on the service. If you give a 20% tip, great! You may have had excellent customer service! (Or you may have had one pints of Guinness too many!)
Note: Beware the Service Charge
- On the check, look out for the words 'service charge'. This is a built-in tip, typically of around 10%
- A service charge is not usually included, but you it may be added to your bill if you are dining in a large group (e.g. 10 people or more)
- For example, if the bill is 55 euros and says "Includes a service charge of 10%", then just by paying the bill you have already tipped 5 euros
- If you are unsure about the service charge and whether it does or doesn't include your tip, don't be afraid to ask
Tipping in Cafes and Coffee Shops
Irish people do not always give tips in less formal cafes and coffee shops, but customers will often leave a tip of consisting of small change, generally around one or two euros or thereabouts, or around 10% of the bill if it is a larger bill. Many coffee shops, particularly trendier ones, will have a tips jar near the cash register. While minimum wage laws are strictly enforced in Ireland, tips are nevertheless appreciated by hard-working staff. Personally, I always leave a tip. That is my personal choice. I have worked hard jobs in the past and I have always appreciated tips.
Tipping in Hotels
One of my first jobs was working in a hotel as a kitchen porter. I do not think, in Irish hotels, that the staff expect tips for every single task or favour. For example, I do not expect to give a tip to the receptionist just because I have asked her a question about where to find a restaurant in the area, and she has given me an answer. That is just part of her everyday job. I am uncomfortable with tipping hotel staff in Ireland "in the moment" in the way that US hotel staff seem to be tipped. However, there are some exceptions, and I do believe in tipping hotel staff as a reward for hard work and personal attentiveness. For example, if you ask a porter to carry a set of suitcases to your room, this is clearly hard work, and a "special request" (I used to do this, and it's not fun!). A euro or two is fine. A five euro note would be a too-generous tip in this instance. For staff that you're going to see frequently, a better approach is perhaps to avoid "in the moment" tipping and tip on the exit. For example, at the end of your stay, you could leave an envelope with an overall tip for all the staff (maybe 10 euro for all of the reception staff during a three-day stay, if they were particularly helpful). It would really depend on the level of service, length of service, and how the staff had made me feel.
Tipping Taxi Drivers
Taxi Drivers do not expect tips, and many drivers will often round down the bill, especially on longer fares. However, no driver will refuse a tip, even after rounding down the bill. A tip of one euro is common for in-city journeys. Personally, I always tip taxi drivers. I usually tip one euro, or at least try to round up to the nearest euro.
Tipping in Bars and Pubs (Tip: Don't!)
Irish people do not tip the bar staff, no matter how drunk they get!
Tips Jar. Image by Sameer Vasta