Medical Assistance

Health and Medical Information

When traveling or residing abroad, it is not uncommon for U.S. citizens to require medical assistance and treatment in Irish facilities. The Department of State provides general medical information for Americans traveling abroad.

The U.S. Government assumes no responsibility for payment of medical expenses for private individuals. Additionally, the U.S. Medicare Program does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside of the United States.

It is important to note that long waits for access to medical specialists and admissions to hospitals for certain non-life-threatening medical conditions is common.  Emergency rooms in public hospitals may be very busy.

You can find links to information about medical services in Ireland below.


If you require medical treatment for minor injuries or illnesses, hospital Emergency Departments may have long waiting times as serious cases are treated first.  For the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns that are unlikely to need admission to hospital, you may wish to visit your nearest Injury Unit: 

A local General Practitioner can treat minor illnesses and injuries:

You can find a list of your nearest General Practitioners,Family Doctors, Pharmacists, Dentists, and Hospitals here: 


  • Hospitals in Ireland may not accept American insurance coverage.  Patients are expected to pay all costs up-front at the time of treatment and apply for reimbursement from their own travel insurance later.
  • Modern medical facilities and highly-skilled practitioners are available in Ireland.
  • Carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.  Also carry a list of your medical history and all medications you are taking (including dosage and brand-name).
  • Most over-the-counter (OTC) medications are available, but many U.S. brands are not.  Some U.S. OTC medications may require a prescription in Ireland.
  • Irish pharmacists may not be able to dispense medication prescribed by U.S. physicians and may direct you to obtain a prescription from an Irish doctor.
  • A list of Irish general practitioners in each area of Ireland may be obtained from the website of the Irish College of General Practitioners.
  • We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare is not valid overseas.
  • Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.   See the Department of State webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
  • Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.  Also, carry a list of your medical history and all medications you are taking (including dosage and brand-name).  Such lists will save Irish medical staff a lot of time, in the case that you are admitted to an Irish hospital during your vacation.

We would also advise you check with your airline to make sure you have everything they require you to bring with you to be allowed to take the medication on board the aircraft.

Drugs and medications being brought into Ireland are subject to Irish Customs. On the Irish Revenue and Customs website there are details on items that passengers may bring in from outside the European Union area. You will also find a detailed list of items prohibited from entering Ireland on the following website:

You may find some more useful information on the following website:

Before leaving the United States:

Persons who need to bring medication into Ireland should ensure that they bring sufficient quantities of the medication, together with a letter from their U.S. physician stating that the medication is necessary and is for the patient’s own use, together with a copy of the prescription, to avoid being questioned by either U.S. or Irish customs.

Persons already in Ireland who require U.S. medication:

Such persons should first check with their local pharmacy and learn whether their medication is already available in Ireland under a European brand name. If the medication is available, the person should then attend a local general practitioner, who can prescribe on their behalf.

If the medication is not available in Ireland:

The patient’s U.S. physician should forward to the patient a prescription for the drug, together with a letter from the doctor stating that the patient requires this drug to treat an illness (please specify the illness), and stating that the drug is for the patient’s use only. The physician or pharmacist in the U.S. can then mail the drugs to the recipient. The letter from the doctor and the prescription should be retained to be presented to local customs.