Tipping etiquette in Dublin can be quite confusing, even for local Dubliners. The best way to describe the tipping culture in Dublin is that it is never expected but always a welcome surprise. There is a minimum legal wage in Ireland of approximately €9 per hour or 10 US dollars. There are very few Irish workers who factor tips into their overall wage so they are not depending on this money, unlike, for example bar staff in the United States. There are however some unscrupulous employers who might not pay the minimum wage. Luckily this is extremely rare, so you can assume that each person you encounter in the service industry in Dublin is paid a living wage.
The only people that might expect a tip are waiting staff in a restaurant. The tipping system in most restaurants in Dublin is outlined on the menu. You will either see “Service Included” or “A Service Charge of X amount will apply”. Service Included means that the restaurant management have factored the gratuity into the cost of your meal, meaning you do not have to tip. A Service Charge means that you will be required to pay a gratuity whether you like it or not. Finally if there is nothing written on your menu the staff will usually expect a tip of approximately 10% - 15% of the total cost of your bill. When you tip in Ireland the staff are normally very grateful and you will feel like you have done your good deed for the day.
Bars, Pubs and Clubs
You are not expected to tip in bars and clubs around the city, even in the swanky ones. This is certainly one of the areas of Dublin tipping culture where a gratuity is very welcome. Some Dubliners will use tactical tipping in pubs and bars. People will tip tactically if they want to skip the queue at a busy bar on a Friday or Saturday night. Because tipping is not the norm the bar staff easily remember the faces of those who tip and are far more likely to serve you promptly the next time. The average amount to tip in a Dublin pub is 10% - 15%. Do not leave the tip on the bar counter like in the United States, hand it to the bar man or ask him to keep the amount you want to tip, like “keep two Euro for yourself buddy”. Unlike other countries security staff are never to be offered a gratuity. If you do offer security staff gratuity to gain entry or skip a queue you are likely to encounter some hostility, so do not do it.
Taxi drivers or cab drivers as they are known in other parts of the world do not expect to be tipped in Dublin. Under no circumstances should you feel obligated to tip, but it if you do tip it will most likely be greeted with a smile and a “cheers buddy”. Irish people either do not tip but they will often round up the fair to the nearest Euro. All taxis in Ireland use a meter which should be visible to the passengers at all times, so you should know towards the end of your journey how much if any, you intend to give as a tip.
Bus/Walking Tours of The City
This is tricky area of tipping culture in Dublin as the vast majority of the people that take tours of the city are obviously not locals, so international rules apply. Some Walking Tours of the city are free so the tour guides depend on gratuities to make a living. On the free walking tours the policy on gratuities will be made abundantly clear at the start of the tour. For all other excursions around the city it is entirely at your discretion whether you want to tip or not.
Cafés and Bistros
In small cafés and restaurants gratuities are a welcomes surprise. Sometimes you will see a small tip jar at the cash register with the word “Tips” written on it and some coins inside.
Tipping is not expected in hotels, for example a receptionist does not expect a tip because you asked where the bus to the airport leaves from. Like in all areas of tipping etiquette in Dublin, if a member of staff has performed a task that was above and beyond what you might normally expect then you can give them a small gratuity.