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Before you travel, take an international cell phone from PlanetFone. Another option is go to Tesco when you arrive and buy a cheap Mobile there (and then call Home with the Number). If your USA Phone that is on GSM networks (AT&T, T-Mobile in the USA) then all you need is the Tesco SIM card at the same Tesco stores. This is one of the cheapest and used by "locals" for their calls.
As with most things, research BEFORE you go can save you a fortune. Use your USA or other GSM Cell phone until you land, then buy a SIM card and install it in your phone right there (saving your existing SIM card for later use).
Many USA carriers now offer cellular service in Ireland but they are way too expensive when calls can be 1 cent a minute with Tesco (cheapest mobile service around Ireland). However, if you are roaming on a "Home" mobile phone, the rates are usually excessive ($1.00 or more plus taxes in and out) when others, as in local people, are paying around 1 cent per-minute, with free incoming calls.
Another solution is to rent an international cellular phone from . They'll deliver the international cell phone to you before you leave for your trip and the rates are fair. Don't hesitate to and compare to other services. New discounts are posted periodically. AAA members save even with their membership as it is good to check with them about all aspects of your trip (you do not have to buy from them to ask questions) . If you take care of your cell phone needs before your trip, you have that much more time to dedicate to your vacation (but it is often that you pay for that convience, and obtaining a SIM card or mobile in Ireland is cheap and easy as it is in NI and the UK.