The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are aware of a bombing in Beirut on 19 November, 2013. Our Embassy in Cairo are monitoring the situation. We are not aware of any involvement of Irish citizens at this time. If you are concerned about an Irish citizen in Beirut contact the Department on 01 4780822.
Irish citizens are advised to exercise extreme caution in all areas of Lebanon and to avoid all travel to military sites, refugee camps, border areas, areas south of the Litani River, the Tripoli area of northern Lebanon, the Bekaa valley, the city of Saida/Sidon in the south and the southern suburbs of Beirut, not including Beirut International Airport.
The political situation in Lebanon is fragile, with potential for the overall situation to deteriorate quickly and for dangerous incidents to occur. Political tensions and security concerns are heightened at present as a result of unrest in neighbouring Syria and the wider region. Sectarian clashes and violence have been particularly frequent in the northern city of Tripoli, but they have occurred in a number of other locations too, including Saida/Sidon, in the south and in south Beirut. Kidnappings of both local people and foreigners have also occurred.
Irish citizens in Lebanon are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations and to monitor this travel advice and the local media for updates on the situation. If caught up in a demonstration, Irish citizens should not attempt to take photographs and should leave the area immediately. Irish citizens should also ensure that they carry valid i.d. with them at all times.
The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Lebanon. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Irish Citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
Safety and Security
The political situation in Lebanon remains fragile and there is a potential for violent incidents to occur at anytime and without warning throughout the country. Political tensions and security concerns are heightened at present as a result of unrest in neighbouring Syria and the wider region. Protests, sectarian violence and kidnappings have occurred throughout the country, particularly in the northern city of Tripoli.
There have also been a number of attacks by al Qaeda-linked militants, mainly in the south. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and Lebanese Government interests, particularly the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), have been targeted for attacks by some of the militant groups, some of these involving fatalities. Unexploded ordnance, particularly in the South and in the Bekaa Valley, also presents a risk.
There is a significant threat of terrorism in Lebanon including the possibility of indiscriminate attacks on public places frequented by foreigners.
The risk to tourists from petty or violent crime is relatively low, though Irish citizens should take sensible precautions.
There is a significant risk of kidnapping for ransom in Lebanon. The risk is particularly acute in the Bekaa Valley but incidents have also occurred elsewhere in the country including Beirut.
The road to the airport is subject to sporadic closure due to various factors, including local sectarian clashes, civil unrest and protests against government policies.
As road standards are variable, you should avoid driving outside the main cities at night. Should you choose to drive your own car in Lebanon, you should be aware that vehicles with diesel engines are now banned.
An international driving permit is compulsory in Lebanon. This must be certified by authorities on arrival. The accident rate in Lebanon is high.
Local Laws and Customs
Although Lebanon may seem less conservative than its neighbours in the region, it is advisable to dress modestly when visiting sites of religious significance, and areas outside the main cities.
During the holy month of Ramadan, eating, drinking or smoking in public in certain areas may cause offence.
Irish citizens are reminded that whilst in Lebanon, they are subject to local laws, including ones that may seem harsh by Irish standards.
Parents in particular should be aware that local laws regarding custody etc of children are significantly different to those in force in Ireland.
Possession, use and trafficking of controlled drugs are all serious offences in Lebanon, which carry custodial sentences.
It is prohibited to photograph or videotape government buildings or military personnel, equipment and installations.
If you are required to engage in activities that involve local legal matters, particularly with regard to family law, you are strongly advised to seek professional legal advice.
Natural Disasters and Climate
The temperature in certain areas during the summer months in some areas can reach over 40 degrees celcius. Visitors are reminded to drink plenty of water to avoid dehyrdation.
Lebanon is in an earthquake zone and travellers to Lebanon should familiarise themselves with what to do if an earthquake occurs.
Bush and forest fires offten occur during the summer months in Lebanon (usually June to September) particularly in heavily forestred areas.
Sand and dust storms are common.
Additional Country Info
Irish citizens require a visa to enter Lebanon. For entry requirements for Lebanon, please contact the Embassy of Lebanon in London.
Any Irish citizen in Lebanon (resident or visitor) or who intends to travel there is advised to register their details with the Embassy of Ireland in Cairo. Please click here to do so.
The Department of Foreign Affairs also operates a 24 hour emergency service for citizens in need of consular assistance on 00353 1 4780822.
In general tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water is cheap and readily available.
Having Israeli stamps in your passport, or entry/exit stamps from Egypt’s and Jordan’s borders with Israel will prevent your entry into Lebanon.