Eir is one of the top mobile operators in Ireland offering excellent connectivity and speeds across the country. As a tourist visiting Ireland, getting an Eir SIM card or eSIM can help you stay connected with high-speed mobile data during your travels. In this guide, we will provide a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know about using Eir Ireland as a tourist.

Eir SIM cards and eSIM featured image

1. Quick facts about Eir

Eir SIM card and eSIM

Eir square center

Eir is the largest indigenous technology company in Ireland, providing fixed-line, data and mobile services to approximately 2.4 million customers. eir Business (formerly eircom Business Solutions) delivers mobile, voice, data, broadband and ICT services to SME, enterprise and public sector organisations.

Here are some quick facts about EIR:

  • Formed in 1984 as Bord Telecom Éireann
  • Eir is the second largest mobile network operator in Ireland after Vodafone.
  • It has over 1.1 million mobile subscribers currently.
  • Eir mobile services operate on the 4G LTE network using 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz frequency bands.
  • The company is currently owned by a consortium led by French telecom billionaire Xavier Niel.
  • Eir also provides landline, broadband, TV services across Ireland.

Overall, Eir is a good choice for mobile users in Ireland. It offers 99% 4G population coverage across Ireland, reaching every single town, city and county. It also has the largest 5G network in Ireland with coverage available in all 26 counties.

2. Eir Coverage and Speed in Ireland

You should know clearly about Eir network coverage and speeds before getting their SIM card in Ireland.

2.1. Eir Coverage in Ireland

Eir coverage map

Eir coverage map

Eir network offers more than 99% 4G coverage across Ireland. Trusted by over 1 million Irish customers who use our voice and data network every date.

  • Eir’s 4G network has excellent coverage reaching over 99% of the population in Ireland. It’s strong and reliable mobile connectivity across cities, towns and rural areas.
  • Eir’s 5G network has invested in 5G and had availability of 46.4%, however their median 5G download speed of 190.6 Mbps lagged behind Three and Vodafone whose 5G networks had rolled out further.

In summary, while slightly behind for 5G speeds currently, EIR leads other Irish operators in terms of overall network availability, both for 4G access and median download/upload speeds according to this independent report. Their infrastructure delivers consistent nationwide coverage.

2.2. Eir speed

Eir download speed experience
Eir upload speed experience

Eir has the second-fastest 5G download speeds in Ireland, behind Three. According to Opensignal’s September 2023 Mobile Network Experience Report, the median 5G download speed recorded on Eir’s network was 190.6 Mbps.

While Eir’s 5G speeds were good, they trailed behind the leaders. Three recorded Ireland’s fastest median 5G download speed at 223.4 Mbps. Vodafone was second fastest at 211.6 Mbps.

  • Eir’s 5G speeds: Eir is expanding its 5G network nationally as evidenced by the increased median download speed of 190.6 Mbps. As with all 5G networks still in rollout, speeds can fluctuate depending on phone model support and specific location within a coverage area.
  • Eir’s 4G speeds: Eir displayed “very consistent” speeds across all time periods measured – morning, afternoon, evening and night. Eir’s median 4G download speed was recorded as 45.1 Mbps. Their 4G performance clearly supports reliable nationwide mobile broadband connectivity.

3. Eir connectivity options for travelers to Ireland

These are some of the primary connectivity choices offered by Eir for tourists who are traveling to Ireland.

Connectivity OptionProsCons
Eir Prepaid SIMinexpensive; activated quickly; data includedshort validity (30 days); requires Irish address for purchase
Eir eSIMorder online before trip; activated instantlymust have compatible device; high upfront cost
Eir Travel SIMlong validity (90 days); large data allotmentpurchase only at Dublin Airport; higher costs than prepaid
Eir Global Plandata roaming in 100+ countries; no extra chargesexpensive monthly fee; auto-renews; limited Irish usage
Eir WiFi Hotspotsfree access; no SIM needed; widespread coveragereliant on hotspot locations; security concerns; no cellular data
Eir Broadband Buddyshared broadband data via app; no extra chargesrequires Irish contact; hotspot-reliant; security concerns

In summary, Eir prepaid SIM provides the most cost-effective option while the eSIM and Travel SIM offer activation flexibility. Global plans eliminate roaming worries but have higher recurring costs. Free hotspots and sharing via the Buddy app are limited connectivity solutions.

4. Best Eir SIM cards for tourists & cost

Eir SIM card

If you opt to purchase a domestic prepaid sim card in Ireland, I have some exciting information for you. The prepaid data packages are reasonably priced and offer unlimited data within Ireland, as well as complimentary EU roaming.

Here is a table of the different Eir SIM card options for tourists:

PlanPriceDataCalls & TextsRoamingValidity
Starter€102GB200 mins, 200 textsNone30 days
Pay as you goTop up in €5/€10 incrementsData added per incrementCalls/texts deducted from creditNoneCredit expires after 90 days
€15€154GBUnlimited calls/textsEU/EEA30 days
€20€208GBUnlimited calls/textsEU/EEA30 days
€25€2512GBUnlimited calls/textsEU/EEA30 days
€30€3015GBUnlimited calls/textsEU/EEA30 days
€40€4020GBUnlimited calls/textsEU/EEA30 days
€60€6050GBUnlimited calls/textsEU/EEA90 days

Key Notes:

  • Starter plan has lowest price but limited data and calls
  • Pay As You Go offers flexibility but expires after 90 days
  • Higher priced plans have more data and EU roaming included
  • Only the €60 plan has extended 90 day validity period
  • All plans include unlimited calls/texts within bundle allowance

Overall, Eir prepaid SIMs provide great value with the convenience of no contracts or credit checks. The data-only SIMs are excellent for tablets, laptops and mobile hotspots.

If you intend to consume a large amount of data, it may be beneficial to acquire an eSIM from alternative providers like esimireland.com. These providers often have more cost-effective data packages compared to Eir.

5. Does Eir Ireland support eSIM?

Yes, Eir does provide eSIM activation for compatible devices

Nevertheless, the process of activating an eSIM with Eir can be complex as it requires scanning QR codes and using a specific app. This may make it more convenient for tourists to obtain a physical Eir SIM card instead of dealing with the eSIM.

However, if you have a phone that supports eSIM and are interested in trying it out, continue reading for information on compatible devices in the eSIM Compatible Device List.

Additionally, you have the option to experiment with other carriers’ eSIMs. One such option is esimireland.com, which utilizes Vodafone’s network and offers access to various plans.

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6. Where can you buy an Eir SIM card and eSIM

If you want to find where to buy Eir SIM card or eSIM when traveling to Ireland, here are some options for you.

6.1. Where to buy Eir SIM for Ireland

Eir SIM card and eSIM store

There are lots of places, where will be happy to assist tourists buying Eir SIM card in Ireland

  • Eir Stores – Eir has numerous retail stores located across Ireland in cities and large towns. Stores stock all Eir prepaid and pay monthly SIM cards.
  • Newsagents/Convenience Stores – Many local newsagents, Spar or Centra convenience stores carry a supply of Eir prepaid SIM starter packs that can be purchased with cash.
  • Supermarkets – Larger supermarkets like Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Aldi and Lidl often have a mobile phones/SIM cards section where you can pick up an Eir pay-as-you-go option.
  • Online via Eir.ie – Eir’s website allows you to order a SIM card package that will be delivered by post. Pay extra for express shipping option.
  • Dublin Airport – The shops after security in both terminals stock Eir Travel SIM cards designed for visitors that provide 90 days validity.
  • An Post Stores – Post offices around Ireland sell basic Eir pay-as-you-go SIM starter packs if no other retailers are nearby.
  • Major Mobile Retailers – Stores operated by Three, Virgin Media, Vodafone will likely carry Eir prepaid options too for convenience.

6.2. Where to buy Eir Ireland eSIM

For those want to try Eir eSIM, there are somewhere to purchase this type of SIM in Ireland.

  • Online at eir.ie – Eir allows you to purchase an eSIM plan directly from their website. You’ll provide IMEI number of your compatible iOS or Android device.
  • Over the phone – Call Eir customer support in 1783 from within Ireland and provide your phone details to activate an eSIM on your account.
  • Eir retail stores – While less common than physical SIMs, some larger Eir stores may offer the ability to activate an eSIM on your phone immediately.
  • Through a compatible operator – If traveling from overseas, check if your existing cellular provider offers the ability to add an Eir eSIM to your global roaming plan in advance.
  • On arrival at Dublin Airport – Eir operate an information desk in both terminals where staff may be able to activate an eSIM for you upon landing.

Online purchase via the Eir website is the most straightforward option whenever ready. Some in-person assistance may be available too.

7. How to activate Eir Ireland eSIM

Follow these steps to activate your Eir eSIM before traveling to Ireland:

7.1. How to use Eir Ireland SIM card

  1. Turn off your phone and insert the SIM card
  2. Turn your phone back on
  3. Dial *101# to check your number or top up credit balance
  4. Data is automatically enabled
  5. You can now make calls, send SMS and use data.
  6. Top-up when required to recharge your prepaid credit.

Read more: How to Install Ireland eSIM: Full Guide

7.2. How to activate Eir Ireland eSIM

  1. Ensure your iPhone/Android device supports eSIM
  2. Purchase an eSIM plan
  3. Eir will SMS an activation link to the phone number provided during purchase.
  4. Open the link in your phone’s internet browser. Accept the terms and conditions.
  5. Your phone will automatically download and install the Eir eSIM
  6. Once installed, the Eir mobile service should then be available.
  7. Manage your account through the My Eir app or online customer portal.
  8. Top up credit online or purchase vouchers as with a regular SIM for payment packages.

Please check your detailed instructions below:

 Great job! Your Eir cellular service should now be fully operational during your travels in Ireland.

8. Ireland Eir Call & SMS rates

Here is a table of Ireland Call & SMS rates:

Call/SMS TypeRate (inclusive of VAT)
National callsRates according to customer’s mobile plan
Calls to UK landlines (Band 1a)0.25 USD per minute
Calls to UK mobiles (Band 1b)0.25 USD per minute
Calls to UK premium rates (Band 1c)1.38 USD per minute
Calls to Europe landlines (Band 2a)0.25 USD per minute
Calls to Europe mobiles (Band 2b)0.25 USD per minute
Calls to EU landlines and mobiles (Band 3/3a)0.25 USD per minute
Calls to rest of world (Band 4)0.49 USD per minute
Calls to USA & Canada (Band 5)0.49 USD per minute
Calls to South America etc (Band 6)0.49 USD per minute
Calls to Australia, NZ (Band 7)0.49 USD per minute
Calls to Pacific Rim (Band 8)0.49 USD per minute
Calls to Middle East (Band 9)0.49 USD per minute
Calls to rest of world (Band 10)0.49 USD per minute
Satellite phone calls (Band 11a/11b)7.62 USD – 1143.07 USD per minute
National SMS0.096 USD per SMS
EU & UK SMS0.079 USD per SMS
Other international SMS0.16 USD per SMS

9. Useful USSD codes for Eir Ireland SIM/eSIM

Here are some common USSD codes that may be useful for Eir Ireland SIM/eSIM users:

Check Balance/Credit:

  • *123# – Check prepay credit balance
  • *101# – Check post-pay account balance

Top Up Credit:

  • 123value# – Top up prepay credit by entering amount.
    e.g. 12310#

Account Details:

  • *141# – View account details like number, plan etc.

Data Bundle Activation:

  • 1211# – Activate 1GB data bundle
  • 1212# – Activate 3GB data bundle

Call Divert:

  • *43# – Enable call divert
  • 43number# – Divert calls to specific number
  • #43# – Disable call divert

PIN Management:

  • 04pin# – Change SIM PIN
  • 05pin# – Unlock PIN-blocked SIM

Customer Service:

  • *150# – Contact eir customer support


  • 17voicemailPIN# – Set up voicemail
  • *186# – Access voicemail

Hope this gives you a good starting point for some common USSD codes on Eir networks! Let me know if any need more explanation.

10. How to top-up Eir Ireland SIM/eSIM

You can easily top-up your Eir prepaid SIM/eSIM using multiple recharge options:

Online Top-up

  • Fastest way is to top-up online using credit/debit card on Eir website or mobile app.
  • Choose amount, enter mobile number and make payment to instantly recharge.

Top-up Vouchers

  • Buy Eir top-up vouchers from stores, petrol pumps, retailers. Vouchers start from €10.
  • Dial *501*voucherPIN# to redeem voucher and recharge your prepaid SIM.

Auto Top-up

  • Set up auto top-up on Eir App or website for recurring recharges.
  • Choose top-up amount and payment method for hassle-free auto recharges.

MyPost top-up

  • Pay at Ireland Post Office counter and provide mobile number to top-up.
  • Minimum recharge amount is €10 across post offices.

Keeping your Eir SIM topped up is easy with multiple online and offline recharge options. Set up auto top-up for maximum convenience.

11. Alternatives to Ireland Eir

While Eir has excellent coverage, speeds and rates, here are some alternatives you can consider:

  • Vodafone Ireland: One of the largest mobile operators in Ireland. Offers pay monthly and pay as you go plans. Good coverage nationwide.
  • Three Ireland: Also, a major player. Known for affordable plans and frequent promotions. Excellent value for money option. Nationwide 4G coverage.
  • Virgin Mobile: Runs on the Vodafone network. Similar plans and coverage as Vodafone but with occasional special offers. Uses Vodafone infrastructure.
  • 48 Ireland: Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses Three’s network. Low-cost plans and flexible monthly contracts. Good for light users.
  • Tesco Mobile: MVNO operated by Tesco Ireland. Runs on Three’s network. Offers monthly plans plus discounts when you shop at Tesco.

While Eir is recommended, tourists can choose among top Irish networks for best local SIMs. 

And esimireland.com lets you use their eSIM data plans as a pay-as-you-go roaming solution without switching physical SIMs when traveling to Ireland. 

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12. FAQs about Eir in Ireland

Does Eir have good coverage in Ireland?

Yes, Eir has excellent 4G and 4G+ coverage reaching over 99% of the population in cities and rural areas across Ireland. It provides strong and reliable mobile connectivity.

Can I use Eir eSIM on an unlocked phone?

Eir eSIM will only work on unlocked phones that have inbuilt eSIM capability and support for Eir. Older unlocked phones don’t support eSIM.

Are there Eir stores in Dublin airport?

Yes, Eir has a store at the Dublin Airport (Terminal 2) arrivals where you can easily purchase prepaid SIM cards and get help activating if required.

How long does an Eir prepaid SIM remain active?

Eir prepaid SIMs have a standard validity of 180 days. As long as you top-up the SIM at least once in 180 days, it will remain active.

Can I roam across EU with Eir SIM?

Yes, Eir prepaid SIMs allow you to roam across the EU at domestic rates without any extra roaming charges, subject to fair usage limits.

13. Final words

Eir provides excellent connectivity with wide 4G coverage, high speeds and great value prepaid packs for tourists visiting Ireland. Their easy availability, eSIM support and hassle-free activation make them the top choice SIM card in Ireland. Follow this guide to enjoy seamless mobile data and calls during your Ireland travels on Eir network.