Going to Ireland for the first time? This lush green country, aptly named ‘Emerald Isle’ sure packs a punch when it comes to attractions.
There are diverse landscapes, ancient archeological structures, old churches and lots of castles. It’s not the biggest country in the world but daunting nonetheless.
Ireland is an easy country to get around in, the Irish are warm and accommodating, and going there looks like a huge epic adventure. Make the most of your trip by taking into consideration these travel tips for Ireland.
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22 Travel Tips For Ireland For First-Time Visitors
Travel Tips Before Going to Ireland
1. Ireland is a great place to visit any time of the year because of its mild, temperate climate.
However, if you want to be sure that most attractions are accessible or open, the best time to visit is during the shoulder season.
These are months that are in between the peak and low seasons. There’s March to May and September to November. During these months, temperatures are still mild, tourist sites are less congested and you’d definitely enjoy the beauty of the Emerald Isle.
2. Ireland is beautiful at any time of the year but it also has pretty unpredictable weather. Expect rain, even during summer.
It’s best to be always prepared so pack an umbrella, slip-proof shoes, a cardigan, and a waterproof jacket to stay warm and dry. Check out this packing list for Ireland for all seasons.
3. Don’t forget to bring your adapter plug, especially if you travel with multiple electronic devices.
You would surely want to capture and document your trip so your cellphone and camera needs to be fully charged before you leave your hostel or hotel. Pack your adapter to help save time while in Ireland with a busy itinerary.
4. An essential advice not just when traveling to Ireland but to any other country is to buy travel insurance.
Good travel insurance will protect you and take care of you when you get sick or injured while traveling, as well as during theft and cancellations.
It is pretty much your very own comprehensive protection if anything goes wrong while you’re on vacation. Never go on any trip without it.
5. Make sure to check first if you need a visa to go to Ireland to avoid unnecessary inconveniences. For Philippine passport holders like me, you can check out this guide on how to apply for Ireland Tourist Visa for Filipinos.
Travel Tips for staying in Ireland
6. If you’re looking for an easy way to save some cash while in Ireland, it’s best to stay in a hostel. They’re cheap, give you access to the bare necessities and usually includes free breakfast. Check out this list of places to stay by cities.
7. However, even if it’s slightly pricier, a bed and breakfast is a great option as well. You get to stay in a homey atmosphere, and has additional opportunities to interact with locals.
Bed and breakfasts and guesthouses also often serve Irish food instead of getting them in pricier restaurants outside. These accommodations are often in old or historic houses, some are even in castles.
8. You can also combine your accommodation choices. For example, stay in a hostel when in big cities like Dublin or Belfast, then book a guesthouse then in smaller cities or towns.
Travel tips in eating in Ireland
9. Take advantage of the free food, especially free breakfast in your accommodations. Be sure to eat right before going anywhere.
10. Ireland has some cool low-cost local supermarkets. Take advantage of these by buying some basic pick-me-ups like canned or bottled juice, cereal bars, digestive biscuits, and crisps.
They come in handy when you get hungry in between exploring sights or during long-distance trips to the countryside.
11. A great way to save some cash is to eat early, whether it’s lunch or dinner. Many restaurants in Ireland offer budget lunch nor dinner to the’early birds’ and they’re cheaper.
There isn’t a lot of options though as they’re usually set meals. It is another way to experience local cuisine, too!
12. Try at least any of the food and drinks that Ireland is known for. Have the traditional Irish breakfast, some stew, bangers, and mash or even fish and chips.
Have a pint of Guinness, a glass of whiskey or Irish coffee. Trying these definitely adds to the experience.
Travel tips getting around Ireland
13. Ireland has excellent public transportation, so take advantage of it especially in the big cities. Most offer free wifi, have friendly drivers and are known to always arrive on time.
14. If you want to save more, get a LEAP card. This is a card you can top up to use on Ireland’s public transportation. With the card, you get discounts on fares compared to cash tickets. It’s very useful in Dublin and Belfast as well as Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford.
15. If you’d like to explore Ireland past the big cities at your own pace, it is best to rent a car. It’s quite easy to rent a car in Ireland and in the long run, it will be your cheapest option.
Renting (or hiring) a car is also a fantastic way to see most of the Emerald Isle as there’s a lot of scenic drives going from one city or town to another. If you’re unfamiliar with driving rules in Ireland, you can check out this guide for driving in Ireland.
16. Try ridesharing, which is another lowcost means of transportation for visitors in Ireland.
Here, you only have to pass a small background check to get approved. The drivers who rideshare are also registered and vetted. Once approved, the driver will pick you up.
With this option, you only need to pitch in for gas. Two good ridesharing apps you can try are BlaBlaCar and CarpoolWorld
Travel tips for enjoying Ireland
17. Be sure to get a Heritage card — it’s a card you can to up and gives you access to some of the best attractions across Ireland. Specifically, the Heritage card gives free admission to site managed by the Office of Public Works.
These include Dublin Castle, Ennis Friary, the Iveagh Gardens, Glenveagh National Park, Killarney National Park, Ross Castle, and more. This is valid for a year so you can explore as much as you want here.
18. When in cafes, restaurants or even spas, know that Ireland does not have a set culture on tipping. However, a few euros will be very much appreciated easily especially for exceptional service. Check out this tipping tips for Ireland.
19. Don’t drink too much when in a pub. If you’re trying to save but want to experience Ireland’s pub culture, go ahead and order a pint of Guinness. Pub drinks are a bit pricer, so stick to just one pint.
A fantastic way to do this is to find a pub with a great atmosphere and especially one with a band that features traditional Irish music. Then, you can order one drink and enjoy the rest of the evening
20. Talk to as many locals as possible — in your hotel or bed and breakfast, a pub or wherever you happen to be. The Irish are a friendly, accommodating lot and are happy to help out visitors to their country.
22. Ireland is 32,595 square miles (84,421 square kilometers) and is packed full of sights. Pace yourself and don’t squeeze ten attractions in a single day or two.
When in Ireland, you may opt to visit just a few sights or try around two interesting activities in a day. Be sure to really enjoy and savor each place you visit.
Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries for the past 8 years. I also lived in 3 continents – from the Caribbean, South East Asia to Africa. But despite living in several countries, my love for Ireland remains the same. A country that had been a part of my life since I was 14 because of my love for Irish music and bands. Ireland Travel Guides was born because of this passion and hopefully, in some little ways, this website will be able to help you on your next trip to Ireland.