Known for its stunning beauty, majestic scenery, and rich history, Ireland is a destination on many traveller’s bucket lists. If you’re planning a trip to the Emerald Isle, take a look at these travel trips for travelling in Ireland and some advice to make the most of the visit.
When to go
Summer is the warmest time of year in Ireland and has the longest days, so it tends to be the busiest and most expensive season for travel. If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy lower rates and pleasant weather, you can visit between March and May or September to November. If you don’t mind the cold, you can visit during the winter months. You’re unlikely to encounter any crowds, and the temperatures usually stay above freezing most days.
How to get around
Ireland has plenty of options for transportation while you’re visiting. Road trips offer stunning scenery and a chance to explore areas off the beaten path, so you may want to rent a car. Keep in mind that people in Ireland drive on the left-hand side of the road, however, so it requires a little adaptability. If you prefer to leave that to the locals, you can hop on a train to get around or get on the bus. If you choose buses, keep in mind that they won’t stop unless you flag them down.
Prepare for unpredictable weather
Ireland’s weather is unpredictable, no matter the season. You can expect it will rain a bit during your time there, which is what gives the landscape it’s signature green vegetation. You’ll also get sunny, warm days, as well as cold, windy days. To ensure you’re comfortable during your trip, anticipate weather changes by packing layers and rain gear, such as rain boots and a stylish raincoat, and prepare to go with the flow. If you have the supplies you need to stay warm and dry, you’ll enjoy your time much more.
Northern Ireland uses different currency
One thing you’ll wish you knew is that Ireland is divided into two countries: the Republic of Ireland to the south and Northern Ireland to the north, which is part of the United Kingdom. If you travel across the border, what to know is that Northern Island uses pound sterling, not the euro. If you’re using a card and ATMs, the difference won’t be too noticeable, but it will matter if you’re planning on exchanging and carrying a lot of cash.
You can shop tax-free
Travellers from outside the EU can shop in Ireland tax free. All you have to do is apply for a Fexco Horizon Card before you arrive, then register and use it at any affiliated location in the country. When you’re headed home, you can claim back sales tax on your purchases. There’s even an app you can download to order and register your card and locate affiliates to shop. It also tracks your purchases, so you can make sure that you don’t miss out on any savings.
Plan as much time as you can
Despite its small size, Ireland is packed with things to see and do. In most cases, you won’t be able to see all you want on a short trip, especially if you’re planning to travel some great distances. When you’re working out your itinerary, consider whether you can plan some extra time for your vacation. It won’t add much to your cost and planning, and you’ll be happy you did it once you see all the additional experiences you can fit in.
Enjoy the food
Irish cuisine may not get the attention of Italian or French food, but it’s delightful in its own right. While there’s not a lot of variety, Irish food focuses on simple, hearty dishes with a lot of flavour. Also, everything comes with potatoes in one form or another, which is a perfect complement to the meal. Be sure to try some traditional Irish dishes, such as Irish stew with lamb or beef, bacon and cabbage, potato pancakes, and coddle, a dish of sausage, bacon, and potato.
Choose guided tours
If you want to make sure you see the highlights of Ireland, consider booking a guided tour. You can find all types of tours that give you insight into Ireland’s top sights, such as brewery tours, castle tours, cave tours, coastal walks, movie and television filming location tours, ghost tours, and more. In addition to learning more than you would on your own, you’ll also have the benefit of a group of travellers and a guide who can give you some helpful travel tips.
See the UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Ireland is home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 2 of which are in the Republic of Ireland and the other in Northern Ireland. Brú na Bóinne, also known as the Boyne Valley tombs, is in County Meath and is home to one of the most important prehistoric landscapes from the Neolithic period, including the megalithic graves of Knowth, Newgrange, and Dowth. There’s also the Skellig Michael monastery, a monastic site on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a collection of 40,000 basalt columns that resulted from an ancient volcanic eruption.
Spend time in Dublin
A lot of Ireland is rural and quiet, but Dublin is a very lively city. The modern city is filled with unique experiences and vibrant nightlife, especially surrounding rugby or football matches. Dublin is also home to many unique points of interest, such as the Trinity College Library, Dublin Castle, the Guinness Storehouse, Christ Church Cathedral, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. There’s also the Dublin Zoo, a naturally landscaped zoo that’s a popular spot for families with children. Whether you choose to stay in Dublin or just include it in your itinerary, it’s a city that can’t be missed.
Ready to plan your trip?
From the excitement of Dublin to the mysterious prehistoric sites on the coast, Ireland is filled with beauty and wonder. Now that you have all the essential information before visiting Ireland, it’s time to plan your trip. Browse deals on Ireland vacations from Expedia to save on your trip and start preparing your itinerary.