Just for comparison, when we were in Italy at this time last year, it took about $1.42 to buy one Euro. Right now, the rate (again, it will cost a few cents more per dollar) is $1.27 to €1. The lowest I saw was back in July or August, at around $1.21.
I am telling you this because it makes good sense to have at least some Euro in your pocket when you land in Dublin. We want to be able to land, get our luggage and get on the motor coach, not spend precious minutes in the airport searching for exchange booths or ATMs, and trying to figure it all out while sleepy.
How much do you want to pre-purchase? Well, it depends. You could get enough for the whole trip (lunches, gifts, beverages). Or maybe you'll just want €50-100 to get through the first day or two. That's up to you!
I'll check in at AAA on Monday or Tuesday, to be sure that there is still no service charge for AAA members. If any of you have other suggestions, please leave a comment.
UPDATE: I can confirm that there is no service charge at AAA for members. Their cost for a Euro seems to be the exchange rate plus 6%. I'll check with a couple of banks regarding their fees and percentages.
Most credit cards add 3% to the exchange rate, so it makes sense that you plan to make major purchases by credit card - and we can do some research on the best ones- but know that you will need some cash (which can also be gotten from an ATM- check with your bank about service fees and percentages).
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: I checked on-line with Wells-Fargo (because local branches no longer do the ordering, with this financial institution, you have to order online) here: Wells Fargo Foreign Exchange. It seems to add about 5% to the exchange rate, plus a $15 shipping/handling fee. Depending on how many Euros you wish to purchase (and whether you go in on an order with other people to spilt the handling fee), AAA or using a bank can either be a toss-up or (for lesser amounts AAA, for higher amounts with others, a bank).
Here's a quick calculation: $200 Euros cost $271.18 at AAA on Friday Nov. 16, and $268.72 + $15= $283.72 through Wells Fargo on-line ordering.
Anyway- it's still too early to pay too much attention to this!