Ireland Covid-19 Travel Updates - Quick Links

🛬 When Can I Travel To Ireland?

📈 Vaccination Stats Ireland

💉 What Vaccines Are Approved In The EU?

😷 Will I Have To Quarantine?

⬆️ What If My Tour Goes To Northern Ireland?

🛃 What Happens When I Return?

🧪 Do I Have To Be Tested To Go On Tour?

🚐 Will My Tour Experience Change?

First and foremost, we hope that past and future guests are staying safe, wherever you are around the world.

We have been in direct contact with the Irish government throughout the pandemic and continue to monitor the situation closely.

Now read on to find out exactly how you can travel to Ireland in 2021 and 2022.

When Can I Travel To Ireland?

The brilliant news is that Ireland is now not only open for international travellers, but that Irish society and the economy will fully reopen from October 22nd 2021.

Almost all internal travel and health restrictions will be lifted from that date, bar the requirement to wear masks in healthcare, retail and certain other public indoor spaces.

With regard to arrivals, adult travellers who arrive in Ireland with an accepted proof of vaccination or the EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) will have no travel-related testing or quarantine requirement.

Whether your trip originates in the USA, Canada or elsewhere in the world, you will be able to enter Ireland as long as you can prove you are fully vaccinated or have the EU Digital Covid Certificate.

Travellers aged between 12-18 will require a negative PCR test.

Children under the age of 12 have no testing or vaccination requirement.

Vaccination Statistics in Ireland

The Republic of Ireland boasts the second-highest level of fully-vaccinated people in Europe, as a percentage of the total population (57.4%). The figures are even better for the adult population.

As of Sept 10th 2021, the latest estimated figures show that over 90% of the adult population in the Republic of Ireland and 74% in Northern Ireland are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

92% of the adult population in the Republic of Ireland and 84% in Northern Irelands have received at least one dose.

Please note, official vaccination figures are currently unavailable in the Republic of Ireland due to a recent cyber attack.

⚠️ Important: US Travellers Unaffected By EU Downgrade

The recent decision by the European Council to move the USA from a travel 'safe' list WILL NOT affect American travellers coming to Ireland.

Current travel advice when arriving from the USA remains in place and will not change in the near future.

We have received confirmation that Ireland is free to ignore the EU decision.

An Irish health department official stated:

"The EU recommendation is non-binding and Member States retain control over their own border restrictions"

This is due to Ireland not being part of the Schengen Area.

CDC Travel Advice for Ireland and the UK

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its advice for travelling to Ireland in August 2021.

Although travel is not currently recommended to Ireland (or the UK) from the USA, we believe that this is mainly due to a cyber hack on our health system here in Ireland. This has meant that infection rates cannot be internationally verified at the moment.

Despite this, government sources continue to release vaccination statistics. 89% of the adult population in the Republic of Ireland are now fully vaccinated and everyday life is virtually back to normal.

⚠️ IMPORTANT: This recommendation DOES NOT prohibit travel to Ireland or the UK from the USA, but warns against it.

Neither requirements for entry to Ireland nor requirements for re-entry to the USA have been affected by the CDC advice.

Likewise, your experience once you arrive in Ireland and on tour with us will also not be affected by this advice.

Mask-wearing and social distancing in public spaces, as recommended for all travellers by the CDC, is already common practice across Ireland.

Our 2021 touring season is well underway and international guests have been arriving into Ireland.

While things are a little different than normal on tour, feedback from our 2021 guests has been overwhelmingly positive:

"We had the best time. We have 100s of pictures and memories... Vagabond Tours did a great job planning the Castles & Kingdoms Tour.

Thanks to Edwina, our great driver and guide... Somehow I think she even controlled the Irish weather."

Larry, July 2021

Browse the latest Covid-19 travel notices from the CDC

How To Complete The Passenger Locator Form

Before arriving into Ireland, visitors from outside the EU must complete a Passenger Locator Form.

The form will be checked prior to departure to Ireland by the relevant carrier. Visitors may be asked to provide the vaccination certificate indicated on their form. On arrival in Ireland, spot checks will be carried out on proof of vaccination and RT-PCR tests, as appropriate.

The Passenger Locator Form allows for only one address during your stay. As our tours stay in multiple locations, you are welcome to use our VagaHQ address in Ireland on your Passenger Locator Form:

Vagabond Tours Ltd.

Unit 52, Newtown Business and Enterprise Centre
A63 PA07s

The above applies only to fully vaccinated guests or those with an EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) whose origin country has not had the Emergency Brake mechanism applied

What Vaccines Are Approved in the EU?

The following vaccines are approved in the EU:

  • Comirnaty (Pfizer)
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Spikevax (Moderna)
  • Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)

For guests arriving to Ireland from the USA, Canada and elsewhere outside the EU, only official Covid-19 vaccination records showing the correct dose of the above vaccines will gain you entry to Ireland.

Do I Qualify As Fully Vaccinated In Ireland?

To qualify as 'fully vaccinated' under Irish government rules, incoming travellers must have received a full course of any one of the above list of approved vaccines.

In addition, you must have completed your full vaccination course a set amount of days before travelling.

Find more details in this table:

A full course is any one of the following Fully vaccinated after:
2 doses of Pfizer-BioNtech Vaccine: BNT162b2 (Comirnaty®) 7 days
2 doses of Moderna Vaccine: CX-024414 (Moderna®) 14 days
2 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine: ChAdOx1-SARS-COV-2 (Vaxzevria® or Covishield) 15 days
1 dose of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Vaccine: Ad26.COV2-S [recombinant] (Janssen®) 14 days

If you have not received your vaccine according to the exact dosage and timetable above — i.e. mixed vaccines — you do not meet Ireland’s definition of 'fully vaccinated'.

If you have received mixed vaccines and are arriving into Ireland from the USA, Canada or another country not on this designated list, you will need to:

  • present evidence of a negative result from a RT PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in the Republic of Ireland
  • self-quarantine for 14 days.

The definition of 'fully vaccinated' in Northern Ireland (UK) are similar to those of the Republic of Ireland:

‘Fully vaccinated’ means you must have had a final dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 whole days before you arrive in England. The day you have your final dose does not count as one of the 14 days. If you were vaccinated in 2 doses it must be with the same (MHRA, EMA, Swissmedic or FDA) approved vaccine. For example, if your first dose was Moderna your second dose must also be Moderna.

Read more about who qualifies as fully vaccinated in the UK

Will I Have To Quarantine?

If you don’t carry valid proof of vaccination or the EU Digital Covid Certificate when you arrive in Ireland from a country to which the emergency brake hasn't been applied, you will need to:

  • Present evidence of a negative PCR test result within 72 hours prior to arrival into the country;
  • Self-quarantine at an address provided on the Passenger Locator Form (this will be subject to spot checks);
  • Undergo post-arrival testing, provided by the Irish health service.

A mandatory 14 day hotel quarantine is only required if you arrive in Ireland without proof of vaccination from a country to which the emergency brake mechanism has been applied.

What’s the Emergency Brake?

The EU will apply an 'emergency brake' mechanism to countries where Covid-19 and/or variants of concern are becoming widespread.

If you arrive in Ireland from a country to which this mechanism has been applied, you will have to undergo some form of quarantine. This will be dependent on your vaccination status.

The emergency brake mechanism will be continually assessed by the EU based on the spread of variants. All relevant updates will be posted here. Confirmed 2021 guests will be notified directly of major changes.

Read the official Irish government advice on travelling to Ireland during the pandemic

What If My Tour Goes To Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom (UK).

⚠️ Guidelines for incoming travellers to Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK have recently changed.

We are delighted that fully vaccinated travellers coming from the USA and other 'amber' countries on this UK government 'traffic light' list can now access Northern Ireland without an isolation period or a test on Day 8.

Canada has now been moved onto the UK 'green' list.

There may be limited Covid-19 testing requirements that affect a small number of tours. We will be in touch with the affected guests directly.

We will continue to actively monitor the coronavirus status of both the United States and Canada and update you immediately in the event of a major change.

Find out which Vagabond and Driftwood tours visit Northern Ireland

What Happens When I Return?

For Returning US Citizens

Before boarding a flight to the United States, all air passengers, including US citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have either:

  • a negative Covid-19 test result;
  • or documentation of recovery from Covid-19 in the past 3 months.

Conditions for the above test:

  • Test must have been taken within 3 days of flight departure time;
  • Passengers must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen or RT-PCR with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA);

Read the full conditions for re-entry to the United States from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For Returning Canadians

If you're flying to Canada, you must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of your flight to Canada.

The above is applicable to all entrants to Canada from the age of 5 up.

Antigen tests are NOT accepted by Canada.

Read the full conditions for re-entry to Canada including the list of accepted test types

If your flight is the next day following the end of your tour, please email and we will be in touch to discuss RT-PCR testing options and prices available on tour.

⚠️Please Check Your Airline Test Requirements

Important: Aer Lingus will accept negative antigen tests from guests returning to the US.

However, this may not be the case with other airlines.

We strongly recommend that all guests check the specific test requirements of their airline before travelling.

Can I Get Tested At Dublin Airport?

Yes. You can get tested at Dublin Airport before your departure.

Two private companies, RocDoc Health Check and Randox are providing RT-PCR and rapid/antigen testing at Dublin Airport.

You will need to book the service in advance, leaving enough time to get tested and make your way through security.

Read more about this service and the booking process on the Dublin Airport website

Where Else In Dublin Can I Get Tested?

If you have a little more time in Dublin before your departing flight, we would recommend getting tested in the city.

No matter where your hotel is in Dublin, there are plenty of test facilities available.

A number of testing centres are within easy walking distance of our tour drop-off point at the Grand Canal Hotel.

Read our list of Covid-19 testing centres in Dublin [pdf, 115kb]

Antigen Testing At The Grand Canal Hotel

We want you to relax and enjoy the full Ireland experience without worrying about testing on tour.

In this regard, we are delighted to partner with Gallery Quay and Hanover Quay pharmacies to provide antigen tests at the Grand Canal Hotel, our drop-off point at the end of your tour.

Antigen tests will be completed by a qualified pharmacist at the Grand Canal Hotel. A digital certificate with your test results will be uploaded to the Health Passport Worldwide App.

If you would like to avail of an antigen test at the Grand Canal Hotel, please email

Are Home Test Kit Results Accepted By US Authorities?

The good news is yes, RT-PCR and Antigen home test kit results are accepted by the US authorities.

The CDC has specific requirements regarding the type and sampling method used for home tests.

It is unclear whether the home test kits supplied in Ireland comply with CDC guidelines. It is also unclear if these will be accepted by airlines, so it is important to check the specific requirements of your airline before travelling.

Do I Have To Be Tested To Go On Tour?

All travellers arriving in Ireland must show proof of vaccination OR a valid EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) to avoid quarantine.

As a result, we expect the number of unvaccinated guests on our tours this season to be negligible.

While testing is not a prerequisite of our tours, we require all guests to sign a pre-tour disclaimer stating that they do not exhibit any Covid-19 related symptoms.

Some guests carrying a DCC may have recovered from Covid-19 but may not be vaccinated.

In such a case, the guest in question will be required to show evidence that they have complied with Irish government requirements.

These include self-isolation and the provision of a negative PCR test result, taken 72 hours prior to arrival, followed by a further negative RT-PCR test result post-arrival.

Will My Tour Experience Change?

The welfare of our guests and staff, as well as that of the communities we visit, will always be paramount.

While Ireland is now fully reopened — and the legendary Vagabond craic is guaranteed — we have put precautionary measures in place to keep everyone safe:

😷 Wearing of masks is mandatory in all indoor settings, including on Vagabond tour vehicles.

🧴 Hand sanitising is required before entering Vagabond tour vehicles and all public indoor settings.

💺 Tour vehicles will have assigned seating. To allow for daily cleaning, guests will be permitted to change seats only once per day.

🍽️ Dining and drinking indoors in restaurants/pubs is permitted in the Republic of Ireland for fully vaccinated people and their dependents. Indoor hospitality for all is permitted in Northern Ireland.

🏨 Residents in hotels are currently permitted to dine/drink together at one table in maximum groups of 6 people.

📏 Social distancing measures remain in place in all public places in Ireland; while we will do our utmost to avoid it, social distancing may lead to delays when visiting certain attractions.

🎶 Live music is permitted in pubs and other venues in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland under certain restrictions.

🤧 The adoption of good personal hygiene continues to be a requirement e.g. coughing or sneezing into your elbow, sleeve/handkerchief.

We have updated our standard operating procedures to ensure the highest standards of cleaning and hygiene of our vehicles.

Our destinations, suppliers and partners are all compliant with the latest scientific guidelines.

Our VagaGuide team has received additional training to minimise the risk of contamination or spread of infection.

Vagabond Tours Failte Ireland Safety Charter

All our permanent staff are trained to comply with Ireland's Covid-19 Safety Charter standard for tourism businesses.

Find out more about our commitment to Safety and Hygiene

Have Tours Been Affected?

We experienced significant disruption to our scheduled tour departures in both 2020 and 2021.

Looking forward, the first international Vagabond Tours of 2021 are now on the road. Our whole team are so happy and excited to finally get back touring!

We will continue to monitor the situation carefully, following international best practices and adhering to guidelines set by government authorities.

If there are any major changes to your tour departure or itinerary, you’ll find out directly from us by email and/or phone. This blog will also be updated regularly.

Do you have questions about your tour? Please contact our Sales & Reservation staff via or on our Contact Us page.

Our standard terms and conditions apply to all scheduled departures.

Flexible & Fair: Our Worry-Free Booking Terms

The world of travel is uncertain right now. To help with decision-making, we’ve prioritised flexibility and fairness with the following changes:

  • A reduced deposit of €100 per person secures your place on any tour.
  • Unlimited free changes to your booking up to 30 days before your departure date.
  • No upfront cost to hold your tour place for 7 days while you make your decision.
  • Final payment is not required until 30 days prior to your departure date.
  • Tour Balance payments can be made in bitesize chunks to help spread the cost.

Browse our Terms & Conditions

Flexible Gift Card Option

If you intend to travel with us in the future but aren't ready to choose a date yet, that's completely understandable.

Our new adventure Gift Cards are a great option. They can be of any amount and their value lasts indefinitely.

Find out more about Vagabond and Driftwood Tours Gift Cards

Changed Terms

We have relaxed our balance payment terms from 60 to 30 days prior to departure.

We have put in place the following changes to our refund and cancellation policy:

Notification Period Normal Terms
30+ Days

Deposit is non refundable (can be deferred to another tour).

Full refund (excl. deposit)

30 Days or Less

Deposit is non-refundable (cannot be deferred to another tour).

No refund.

Travel Insurance and Coronavirus

We strongly advise all guests to be covered by an insurance policy when they travel. Your policy should cover medical expenses, travel costs, and cancellation fees.

We advise checking with your insurance company if they have a Government Travel Advice Benefit (or similar) which you can add to your policy.

In addition, we suggest that guests double check with their own insurance companies for all related travel cover, including flights and any additional accomodation outside of your Vagabond tour.

Read why we strongly recommend purchasing insurance before you travel.

We will continue to monitor this changing situation and we will follow the advice issued by national and international bodies. If there are any major changes, we will let you know.

Still Have Questions?

Read the answers in our Covid-19 Travel FAQs

How To Contact Us

If you have any concerns about your upcoming tour, please do not hesitate to contact us.

☎️ By Telephone

From Ireland: +353 (0) 1 563 4358

From USA (Toll Free): 833 230 0288

From CA (Toll Free): 833 681 6903

📨 By Email

PLEASE NOTE: Our office hours are MONDAY TO FRIDAY 9.30am-5pm GMT. Our phone numbers divert to Ireland so 'your' time might be the middle of the night for us. Please leave a message and we'll get straight back to you.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Rob Rankin

Managing Director - Vagabond Tours

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