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It is better to change your currency into Irish Punts† retailers prefer it. They do take British pounds and American dollars but you could be easily ripped off. Exchange Bureaus can be found at the airport, train stations and in the city center.
UPDATE: Since 1st Jan the Irish punt is no longer the currency used in the south of Ireland - it has been replaced by the Euro. Exchange rate: 1 Euro: .787564 Irish pounds. So - change your currency to Euros when you travel to the south of Ireland.