Travelling to Northern Ireland for Business? Here’s What You Need to Know

Northern Ireland is a unique place in a variety of different ways. The only part of the UK not located on the island of Great Britain (British Overseas Territories and Dependencies are under UK sovereignty but are not considered UK territory), Northern Ireland has a history and culture that makes it distinct from both Great Britain and Ireland. If you have never travelled to Northern Ireland before, arming yourself with the right knowledge beforehand will save you stress and worry later on.

Travelling from GB

Flying to NI from the mainland UK is quick, cheap, and easy. However, you should always have contingency plans in place if things go wrong. For example, a flight cancellation can throw a spanner in the works and derail your entire trip. Make sure that you understand the rules around compensation for cancelled flights.

If you are in any doubt about your rights, then Flightright should be your first port of call. Their website is super simple to use and tells you everything you need to know, including your rights and how to claim compensation under EU law. You can find flight cancellation advice on this site.

Assuming that there aren’t any issues with your flight, you should find travelling to NI easy and painless. However, you should note that visiting NI is not quitelike visiting another area of the UK. You will need photographic identity to travel to NI, although not necessarily your passport. Travel between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic is free and doesn’t require a passport.

You can also choose to get a ferry from the UK mainland to the island of Ireland. The best place to cross if you are doing this is Liverpool. The journey from Liverpool to Belfast takes around 8 hours, and you have the option of sailing at night if you want to sleep through it.

Do I Need Euros?

Northern Ireland is part of the UK and, accordingly, they use the British Pound Sterling as their currency. The Republic of Ireland, however, is a member of the Eurozone and use the Euro as their currency. Because the two territories are – for all intents and purposes – borderless, people, goods and currency flow freely across the island of Ireland.

As a result, many larger businesses in Northern Ireland will accept Euros. If you are travelling from elsewhere in the UK, there’s no sense in exchanging your GBP for Euros. If you plan on visiting the Republic while you’re visiting Ireland, you will want to get yourself some Euros. Note that if you do find a business that takes Euros in NI, they will rarely give you the best exchange rate.

Is Northern Ireland Safe?

Northern Ireland isn’t just safe, it has the second-lowest crime rate of anywhere in Europe. Even during the decades of unrest, known as the Troubles, Northern Ireland has never been a dangerous place for tourists.

Unfortunately, a perception still persists throughout much of the UK that Northern Ireland is dangerous, or more dangerous than the rest of the UK. We are happy to put that misconception to bed, however. As we said above, Northern Ireland isn’t just safe, it’s really safe.

Visiting Belfast

Belfast is a relatively small city as far as capital cities go. However, it is a beautiful city with plenty for visitors to see and do. Whether you fly into Northern Ireland or ride on the ferry, chances are that you will arrive in Belfast. If you have time before your other commitments, it is worth exploring Belfast. Not only will it be an enriching cultural experience, but if you’ve never been to Northern Ireland before, then Belfast will give you an idea of what to expect.

Belfast is the cultural and economic centre of Northern Ireland, so there’s a good chance that if you’re heading there on business, you will be spending a lot of time in Belfast anyway. Because of its small size, public transport makes getting around Belfast a breeze, although there’s a lot to be said for walking through its streets and taking it in properly.

Given how quick and easy it is to travel from the mainland UK to Northern Ireland, it’s surprising how few people make the trip. If you are going to be heading to Northern Ireland for business, then use this as an excuse to explore the territory further. If you’re travelling from the mainland UK, then you should find it a relatively painless experience – the money is the same, the laws are the same, and the culture, while different, is similar enough to the rest of the UK that you should feel comfortable.

Once you’ve been to Northern Ireland, you will wonder why it took you so long. For businesses who are looking to the future, Northern Ireland may soon be a more attractive investment destination than the rest of the UK, so take any opportunity to establish a network there.

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