IRELAND has changed a lot in the last fifteen years. Recently, while traveling in Ireland, I decided to take an informal survey on tipping/gratuity customs in the 21st century. My research is based on interviews with restaurant and pub patrons as well as the wait staff, bartenders, and pub owners. To get a perspective on the entire Republic/Country, I surveyed folks in Dublin, Dingle, Doolin, and Galway. The results were quite a surprise and have prompted me to modify the information I give to my tour members. Here is how it all stacks up:
The “old Irish people” never tip. They count their pennies to the tee.
Modern and younger Irish people (under 35 years), usually tip when ordering food. Seldom when just have “the drink.”
City Pubs – If you are simply served a drink by the guy/gal behind the bar – no tip is expected.
Country Pubs – If it is not busy and the bartender “chats you up” (strikes up a conversation), then leave a 15% tip with each drink or at the end of your drinking session. If the bartender is the proprietor, then no gratuity is expected, however it does not hurt to offer to buy him/her a drink.
Restaurants and Pubs that serve food – A 15% tip is standard for good service. Up to 20% if exceptional service and extra “chatting up.”
To wrap it all up, restaurant and pub staff are more and more giving good service and hope for the tip. My advice is do the right thing and chip in to help the sluggish Irish economy.