Even if you only bought the Republic one, calls to Northern Ireland
numbers will only be 19c/min, and texts 6c so one card wouldn't be
expensive any way (instead of maybe 12cents/minute using NI SIM.)
...and if you visit anywhere else in Europe you only need the phone and
get SIM while there...
You can even phone home and hang up before they answer so someone has
your number in case of emergencies and at no cost so long as they don't
answer the call!! :-))
We went to Ireland last spring, purchased a phone that could have sim
cards put it that had no contract. Found out though that it was easier
to wait until we got in country to get the prepaid cards, they worked
better, and were cheaper. Have to have two cards though, one for NI and
the other for the Free Republic. Can be bought at any phone store over
there. We preordered the phone before we went, just a simple $30 phone.
We also have AT&T but the cost was ridiculous for phone service, but
bought a package for 100 text messages. Could face time back to the
states any place that had Wi-Fi.