While planning your international move there's probably going to be times when you're going to need to make calls to Ireland from abroad. This article will:

  • help you understand how to call Ireland from your home country
  • give you an explanation of the different kinds of phone numbers you will encounter in Ireland
  • summarize which numbers you can't call from outside Ireland
  • describe why some numbers are best avoided when calling internationally

Calling Ireland from overseas
Making a call to Ireland from abroad is quite simple really. Basically you need to begin by dialing your country's exit code (e.g. 011 in the USA), then add Ireland's country code (353), then the area code minus the leading '0' (e.g. just dial 1 in the case of Dublin, or 21 for Cork city), and lastly the remaining digits of the telephone number.
So to call a Cork number of 555-5555 from the United States you would dial 011-353-21-555-5555.
Exit codes vary from country to country. You'll find a list of almost all countries exit code at this link.
For a complete list of dialing codes in the Republic of Ireland see this Wikipedia page.

Which Irish numbers are best avoided when calling from abroad?
When calling Irish mobile/cell numbers from abroad you should know that you will mostly likely be dialing what your provider considers to be a 'premium' number. Unlike USA cell numbers, Irish ones do not fall in to the same bucket as landlines. I can call an American cell number from Ireland, and it will be no more expensive than dialing a landline number there.
So how do you recognize an Irish mobile number you might ask? All of them begin with 08X, the most common being 085, 086 and 087. There are others, and you can find them all at that link above.
When you finally do arrive in Ireland, you will experience the same issue here. Unless you have a calling plan where mobile calls are built in, you will generally incur higher costs to call your friends on their mobile numbers than you would if you called them on a landline.

Irish phone numbers you can't call from abroad
Calling Ireland from overseas
There are certain numbers that you might come across that you won't be able to call from abroad. We have a system of 'LoCall' numbers that businesses/services can acquire whereby the caller is generally charged at their local rate, as opposed to an otherwise higher national rate.
For example, if I'm in Cork, and I call a Social Services number beginning with 01 (Dublin), I would incur a higher cost/min, than if I were to call the same service's LoCall number.
Generally you will find these numbers begin with 1850 or 1890. While abroad, if you find some place you wish to call, and they advertise something like 'LoCall 1890..." you will need to search for an alternative. More often than not when I see a LoCall number advertised online, I will also see another number listed for international callers.

Calling Northern Ireland
Calls to Northern Ireland from abroad must be made using the United Kingdom country code (44) and not the Republic's 353 code.
If however you are making calls to Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland you have 2 options. You can either call using the international method e.g. 00-44-xxxxxxx, or you can use a national code to get through to NI, which is 048. Strangely, even though you'll end up calling the same actual phone, the cost may be lower if you use the 048 national code.
To use the 048 code from the Republic, you would drop the normal area code of 028, and replace it with 048.
For example to call Belfast City Beat Radio station from Dublin, you would dial 048-9023-4967, but you could alternatively use the international format of 00-44-28-9023-4967.
Last tidbit of info...you cannot use the 048 code to call a mobile phone number in Northern Ireland. You have to go with the standard international dialing method.

You might find the information in this article useful before you move to Ireland, but your friends and family might find it useful after you get here. I suggest sharing the information with them before you leave for Ireland.

Useful links
A great VOIP calling plan - Vonage
Golden Pages Ireland
Eircom Phone Book