Tips for Traveling to Ireland

5 Useful Tips for Traveling to Ireland

Ireland is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations for a reason. And while the Emerald Isle is a relatively easy place to visit, there are still a few tips for traveling to Ireland that you should know in order to make the most of your visit to this enchanted land.

So be sure to read through these quick things to know before traveling to Ireland, because hopefully these tips for visiting Ireland will help you to make the most out of your Irish trip!

Before we start, be sure to also check out my Ireland Itinerary and my guide to Ireland travel insurance

5 Tips for Traveling to Ireland

Tip#1: Be Prepared for Every Season … In the Same Day!

Traveling in Ireland Tips - The winds at Cliffs of Mohrer on my face
My hair doesn’t normally look this good – that’s just the crazy weather in Ireland!

Ireland is famous for its damp but unpredictable climate. It can be bright and sunny one minute, and windy and rainy the next. So be sure to wear layers and to always keep a raincoat or a travel umbrella nearby. Most importantly, keep a good attitude through it all: the shifting weather is all part of the fun of traveling to Ireland, and all the rain is why Ireland is so green and lush!

Tip #2: Don’t Spend All Your Time in Dublin

Traveling in Ireland Tips: Buildings in Killarney
Killarney – one of many cool destinations outside Dublin!

Look, Dublin is a popular tourist city for a reason. It’s got an incredible pub culture, charming architecture, and enough to keep you busy for a few days. Dublin is so charming, in fact, that it can be tempting to spend your entire trip there. There is just so much to do, even on rainy days in Dublin (of which there are many), that the city tends to suck people in.

But even most Dubliners will privately admit, if asked for tips for traveling to Ireland, that the best parts of Ireland are outside of the city.

And while the island is small and it is perfectly possible to sample Ireland’s green landscapes on day trips from Dublin, to really immerse yourself in Ireland you should plan to stay in any one of Ireland’s other awesome cities, towns, villages, or hamlets.

Plus, Dublin is more expensive than the rest of the country, and you’ll find better deals in the countryside. If you need some inspiration, check out our guide on what to see in Ireland in 7 days.

Tip #3: Enjoy the Craic!

Tips for Traveling to Ireland: Pubs in Killarney
“Enjoy the Craic” at one of Ireland’s many pubs (Pictured here: the Laurels pub in Killarney)!

You won’t be in Ireland long before you hear the word “craic” bandied about somewhere. So what does it mean exactly? Well, I’ve heard a number of different translations depending on context, but it usually means something like “good times,” “party,” or “entertainment,” though it can also mean “gossip” or “chatter.” See here for a primer on the various levels of craic – it’s definitely one of the things you should know before traveling to Ireland!

In any event, craic epitomizes Ireland’s sociable culture. So saddle up on that pub stool, put away your smartphone, and prepare to actually — you know — talk to the people around you. You never know what kind of craic you might get into!

Tip #4: Try Ireland’s Other Stout – Murphy’s

Tips for Traveling to Ireland: a Pint of Guinness
Guinness isn’t the only stout in Ireland!

I don’t think there is a brand that is more intertwined with a single culture than Guinness is with Ireland. And Guinness, for all its mass-marketing, is still definitely something you’ll want to partake in while in Ireland. But did you know that there is another stout that rivals Guinness in Ireland?

Murphy’s Irish Stout maintains a loyal following throughout much of the country, and especially in its hometown of Cork. You can find it next to the Guinness in most Irish pubs and you’ll find that it has its own unique dark flavor. People tend to have a strong preference between the two stouts, so try both early on and be prepared to choose a side in the great Irish stout war!

Tip #5: Rent a Car to Fully Experience Ireland’s Countryside

Traveling to Ireland Tips: A Cow

Sure, it’s entirely possible to travel around Ireland by bus and train. In fact, the trains are really nice and, even where they don’t run, the buses are pretty plentiful. Plus, there are plenty of tour companies willing to shuttle you around to the country’s many sites. So, you definitely don’t need a car and not everyone would include it on a list of tips for traveling to Ireland.

But the best parts of your trip to Ireland are probably going to be things like finding your new favorite pub in some random country village, stumbling upon an under-touristed castle set against green rolling hills, or doing a road trip to explore the many incredible Game of Thrones filming locations in Ireland. These sort of spontaneous adventures are much easier to have if you have your own wheels. Plus, Ireland’s roads are of good quality and are incredibly scenic. There is nothing quite as exciting as driving through Ireland’s green countryside!

Oh, and one last critical tip for traveling to Ireland with a car: remember they drive on the left!

What are your favorite tips for traveling to Ireland?

Let me know your best tips for traveling to Ireland in the comments. And be sure to let me know if you have any questions about visiting Ireland, things to know when traveling to Ireland, or just general tips for traveling to Ireland. It’s an incredible, gorgeous country, and I hope you have as much fun there as I did.

Lastly, before you go to Ireland, my final tip is to be sure to read my Guide to Ireland in 7 Days on a Budget! It’s packed with detailed itineraries, plus loads of more things to know about traveling to Ireland.

And if you’re on Pinterest, be sure to Pin this for later here:

Although #Ireland is known to be one of the world’s most popular travel destinations, it still manages to feel authentic even at its busiest points. In this article, we’ll give you five useful tips for visiting this enchanted land that will help you make the most out of your #Irish trip!
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Known as the #EmeraldIsle, #Ireland is a relatively easy place to visit. Nevertheless, here are five useful tips for traveling to Ireland that you should know in order to make the most of your visit to this enchanted land!
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Traveling to #Ireland any time soon? Whether you’re wandering the scenic Wild Atlantic Way, stopping by a pub in #Killarney or Cork for a pint, or getting your party on in #Galway, be sure to read through these five useful tips for visiting the #EmeraldIsle that will help you make the most out of your #Irish trip!
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4 thoughts on “5 Useful Tips for Traveling to Ireland”

  1. Hello Nate. I will be traveling to Ireland in July 2018. Where would you suggest I start my tour. Will be hiring a car at the Dublin airport . Need to make accommodation reservations. This is my 1st visit. So don’t know much about the different cities and places. Will be there for 8 Days And would like to visit as many places as possible

    1. Hi Tweedy,

      Where will you be coming from? If you’ve got a car already, and you’re not coming off some long flight that will make you tired, I’d say it makes sense to head straight west and then loop back to Dublin at the end of your trip. So that means you could start in Cork, Killarney, or Galway depending on what you’re looking to see.


  2. Hi Nate! I just stumbled onto your blog as I looked for tips for our upcoming trip. We are hoping to go in August or September. Is there a difference in temperature during those two months? I’m from Alabama, so I’m used to heat and rain, but I’m hoping for some warm not very hot temps. Fingers crossed! We are planning to rent a car and see where the road leads us. Any tips on packing? I have heard that the cars are tiny, so is it best to pack in a carry on? Thanks for your great info.

    1. Hey Priscilla! I think you’re going to love Ireland, although fair warning that it may not be quite as warm as you want (though it will depend and you might get lucky). Get ready for rain more than anything else!

      And while the cars are tiny, unless you are a family, I think you’re going to be fine with a normal size suitcase. For packing, just be sure to bring gear for the rain (umbrella, rain jacket, some good waterproof shoes). Otherwise just good layered clothing and you should be fine!

      Have a great trip and please do let me know if there is anything I can help with!

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