Get a HSE COVID-19 PCR test

To get a free COVID-19 (coronavirus) PCR test at a HSE COVID-19 test centre you can:

You cannot use a HSE COVID-19 test result for international travel from Ireland. If you need a letter for travel, you need to have a negative PCR test from a private company. They will give you the letter you need to travel.

Using COVID-19 antigen tests

Antigen tests are an extra measure to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19 (coronavirus).

You do the tests yourself. You use a swab to take a sample from your nose. Unlike a COVID-19 PCR test, the test sample does not have to go to a lab. You usually get your result in 15 minutes.

The information on this page is about using antigen tests you buy in a retail outlet yourself.

There is different advice for:

If you have symptoms of COVID-19:

When to do antigen tests

You can do antigen tests regularly if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and you are regularly in high-risk environments.

High-risk environments include:

  • cinemas, theatres or concerts
  • bars or restaurants
  • participating in contact sports
  • multi-household visits
  • car sharing with people from other households

Do 2 tests each week with 3 days between each test. Antigen testing is more accurate if you leave a few days between each test. It can take time for the virus to show up in your system after you are exposed.

Even if you do antigen tests regularly, follow the public health advice on how to protect yourself and others.

Read about the limitations of antigen tests