Super useful and totally free travel guides to Ireland

View of the O'Briens Tower and the blue water and sky
O’Briens Tower in Ireland

Why We Love Ireland – Despite its status as one of the most popular tourism destinations in the world, Ireland manages to feel authentic even at its busiest points. In Dublin you’ll find incredible pub culture, charming architecture, and so much to do that you may be tempted to spend your entire trip there. But even most Dubliners will privately admit that the best experiences of Ireland will be found outside of the city. So be sure to pencil in lots of time to explore the winding back roads of Ireland. Wander the scenic Wild Atlantic Way. Stop by a pub in Killarney or Cork for a pint. Get your party on in Galway. And, of course, don’t forget about the north! Ireland has so much to see, you may just have to come back for a second trip.

Best of Ireland

🏙️ Destinations

View of people in a colorful street in Galway
A colorful street in Galway, Ireland (photo: C.Echeveste / Shutterstock)

Between quaint villages and modern cities, Ireland has it all. Some of the best places to visit include:

  • Dublin – Ireland’s capital city, Dublin is likely where you’ll be starting your adventure. Top things to do in Dublin include the Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
  • Donegle – A county (and town of the same name) in northwestern Irleand, Donegle is home to craggly cliffs, unique fiddle traditions, and the surfing capital of the country (Bundoran).
  • Galway – An exciting community with great festivals, bars, and arts scene, Galway is home to a stunning countryside and a quaint downtown area.
  • Ballybunion – A coastal town in County Kerry, Ballybunion is known for sprawling sand dunes, golf resorts, and some of the best hiking in Ireland.

✨ Things to Do

Ireland is famously filled with castles, ancient sites, and unique landscapes. Some of our favorites include:

  • Cliffs of Moher – Easily accessed on a day trip from Galway, the Cliffs of Moher run along the Coast of Clare for almost 14 kilometers and, at their peak, reach 700 feet high.
  • Bend of the Boyne – Located on Ireland’s east coast, Bend of the Boyne (also known as Boyne Valley) is a 6000-year-old settlement that is home to about 40 burial mounds from Neolithic times.
  • Dublin Zoo – One of the world’s oldest zoos, the Dublin Zoo is home to over 400 animals in carefully designed habitats.
  • Holy Cross Abbey – Located in Tipperary, Ireland, Holy Cross Abbey is a Roman Catholic Monastery that was founded in 1168. Tours of the site are an awesome way to dive into the architecture, history, and significance.
  • Ancient Irish Castles – From fully operational buildings to ruins, there are plenty of beautiful castles to explore. Some of the best include Kilkenny Castle, King John’s Castle, and Slane Castle.
View of a father with her daughter in Dublin Zoon
Father and daughter in Dublin Zoo

Ireland Travel Advice

🗓️ Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Ireland is during its spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) seasons, though if you want to have an authentic Irish experience of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, then you can sneak March in.

🗓️ See the full guide to the best time to visit Ireland.

⚠️ Safety

Ireland is a very safe country to visit. Compared to other European countries, crime is relatively low and the crime that does happen is often fueled by alcohol, so you should avoid roaming along Ireland’s streets late at night. Additionally, it is still a good idea to check the latest US State Department travel advisories for your destination.

👉 Check out our full guide to Ireland travel insurance.

👉 Tips & Things to Know

  • 🧭 – The North and South are Different Countries – If you’ve looked at a map or kept up with the news over the years, then you’ll know that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, while Southern Ireland is an independent country. Keep this in mind when using local currencies.
  • 🚘 – Ireland Drives on the Left – Ireland drives on the left hand side of the road and passes on the right — as they do in the United Kingdom.
  • 💵 – Tipping is Common – Tipping 10-15% is common in Ireland — especially at bars, restaurants, and in taxis. Sometimes a service charge will be added to your bill automatically though, so check this before you leave extra change.
  • 🚌 – Book Transportation in Advance – With the exception of city buses and trains, it’s smart to book transportation in advance. Not only will this secure your spot, but you could also get big discounts.
  • 💳 – Buy a Heritage Card – If you plan on doing a lot of historical siteseeing, then purchasing a Heritage Card is in your best interest. For a nominal fee, this card will give you free admission to a plethora of heritage sites.

👉 Read all of our Ireland travel tips.

🧳 What to Pack

  • ☂️ – Travel Umbrella – There’s a reason Ireland is known as the ‘Emerald Isle’, and that’s because it rains… a lot. An umbrella won’t be for just in case; you’ll definitely use it.
  • 👞 – Waterproof Shoes – For the same reason you’ll need an umbrella, it’s a smart idea to invest in some waterproof shoes before you go to Ireland.
  • 👚 – Layers – Even in the summer, Ireland’s temperature can swing pretty dramatically. Bring layers and plan to add and subtract throughout the day.
  • 🎒 – Day Bag – Even if you’re used to packing light on day trips, I’d advise you to bring a slightly larger bag for Ireland. Between the umbrella and layers, you’ll need it.
  • 💧 – Water Bottle – The tap water in Ireland is drinkable and the country is moving towards a single-use plastic free culture. Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up whenever you can.

🤓 Facts & Info

  • Population – 5 million
  • Capital – Dublin
  • Currency – Euro ($1 = ~0.91 Euro)
  • Language – English
  • Plugs – Type G, 230V / 50Hz.

💵 Budgeting & Money

Credit cards are widely accepted, though some places operate on a cash-only basis.

📰 Ireland Travel Guides

Getting planning your trip to Ireland with all our Ireland travel guides: