Shrouded in a veil of mystery, Ireland entices and surprises all who step foot within its mystical boundaries.
Fairy tales, stories, myths, and legends rule the land along with stunning landscapes, many of which can be found on the Wild Atlantic Way.
And when everything is said and done nothing quite beats a relaxing pint in a pub with the locals while listening to traditional Irish music.
This Ireland travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
- Currency: is the EURO and is around 1 euro to 1.15 USD
- Power: voltage is 230 V 50 Hz; Power sockets G
- Visa: 90-day visa on arrival for most nationalities (click here for more info)
- Driving in Ireland is done on the left-hand side of the road!
- Value added tax (VAT) is charged on purchases, such as meals at restaurants, shopping expenses, and hotel accommodations. If you are resident of a non-European Union country, you can get a refund of this tax in certain participating shops. For more info on VAT refunds, click here.
- Best Sim Cards: We use KnowRoaming. PlanetD readers receive an extra 50% off using promo code DDSave50
- When to visit Ireland: Expect rain and clouds year round and it can get below zero in the winter. Best times to visit are March to May and then September to November when the temperatures are still good and the crowds are smaller.
- Best Way to get around: The best way to explore Ireland is by renting a car.
Budget: These can run between $50-60 USD per night, have a private bathroom and often include a free breakfast. Note that prices increase in larger cities like Dublin and at busy times of the year by about $10-20 per night.
Mid Range: These usually run about $70-90 USD per night and usually come with free wifi and free breakfast. Air B&B is a really popular option in Ireland with most accommodation, with a private room, going for about $65/night.
High End: If you want to be pampered on you visit Ireland it is possible in the larger cities like Dublin where high-end accommodations like the Fitzwilliam Hotel can start at $400/night. In the smaller cities, it might be best to check out an Air B&B for more of a selection.
If you are doing the Wild Atlantic Way please check out our Accommodation Guide for that trip.
We found the best way to keep food costs down, especially for dinners, is to look for the “Early Bird” special. Most pubs and restaurants offer this at a certain time a day and you can get a meal for a fraction of the cost it would normally set you back.
Fast food will cost you around $5-6, a good hearty meal in a pub will run between $10-15 and dishes in high-end restaurants start at approx. $21.
Most importantly a pint of Guinness will set you back about $5!
Getting to Ireland: Dublin Airport is the main hub for travelers but you can also get to Ireland through various combinations of Air and rail and ferry from Britain. It will take longer but it's often cheaper depending on where you are flying from.
You can check for the best flights to Ireland on Skyscanner.
Inter-city Transportation: With Ireland being a fairly small country getting around is fairly easy and cost-effective. If you are only traveling the main cities then bus or train is your best way.
Train cost varies by distance but to get from Dublin to say Cork will run you $60-75 and takes about 2.5 hours. Considering that is only about $12 more than the bus it is the preferred way to travel.
City Transportation: We thing Ireland has some of the best public transport around. It is fast, timely, inexpensive and all busses and trains have free WIFI.
In Dublin expect to pay 3 Euro for a single journey. For a cheaper option use their Bikeshare service.
Car Rental: By far the most flexible way to discover the country is by renting a car. It is fairly reasonable ($40/Day) and allows to reach those charming little towns you might not otherwise be able to discover.
Just remember they drive on the left-hand side of the road and almost all cars are a manual transmission. If you want an aoutomatic you will have to pay more.
Ireland's weather is mild throughout the year. In fact, the country's weather can be summed up perfectly in three little words: mild, moist and changeable with lots of rainfall.
- Pack a raincoat – chances are that you will encounter rain no matter what month you travel. A light rain shell is highly recommended as it will combat the rain AND wind you will probably face in Ireland.
- Layers – When traveling to different climates remember that layering is the key to effortlessly transitioning from cold to hot climates or vice versa. For travel during winter months, make sure to bring a heavier coat as air frost can be common in certain areas.
- Footwear – Whether you are exploring Ireland's rocky countryside or spending the day discovering the country's cities by foot, expect to spend a lot of time on your feet. Pack a pair of lightweight, durable, waterproof and comfortable shoes and/or a pair of light boots with lugged soles and ankle support if you plan on doing a lot of hiking
- Classic Basic items – You do not need to be a fashionista to blend in. The key is in embracing neutral-toned items that can be mixed and matched easily. Avoid logos, baseball caps, shorts, hoodies, flip-flops, and running shoes as these items scream tourist!
Things to Do
- The Best Things to do in Northern Ireland
- Skellig Michael – The setting for the latest Star Wars Film, The Force Awakens
- Take a Game of Thrones Tour – Much of the series was filmed in Northern Ireland, so why not relive those TV moments in person?
- Kayak at Nighttime – Let your eyes adjust to the dark as you paddle underneath the stars in Country Cork
- Horseback Ride in Dingle – There is no better way to experience the quiet Irish countryside than to ride a horse into the hills.
- Try Coasteering – With all the cliffs and caves on Ireland’s Atlantic Coast, it was made for coasteering. Coasteering involves climbing, jumping, scrambling and swimming around the rock pools, cliffs, and caves of the intertidal zone.
What not to Miss
- Check out Giant's Causeway – whether you believe the scientific explanation or the legend of Fin McCool and the Giants Causeway, the sight of 40,000 or so pillars should not be missed.
- Visit the most photographed location in Northern Ireland – Lined with the twisted branches of beech trees which form an arch over the road, the Dark Hedges make a spectacular background for some epic photography sessions.
The Wild Atlantic Way
Considered one of the most epic road trips in the world, this drive has something for everyone. From the incredible scenery to the incredible people this is a something you should definitely add to your bucket list.
- Tips for Driving Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way
- 27 Photos that will make you want to Discover Ireland right now
- Where to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way
- Explore some of the best scenic views on the Wild Atlantic Way
Places to Stay
Whenever we travel to Europe we make sure to start with these companies.
We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices as well as great customer service.
We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.
Booking.com: This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It is usually the has the cheapest prices, especially in Europe and we love their interface. Not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
Trip Advisor: What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation. TripAdvisor is where we go when we want to compare prices with multiple accommodation providers.
Air BnB: Airbnb is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It can sometimes be cheaper than hotels and it is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
Skyscanner: This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
Hostelworld: With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
Rome 2 Rio: If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs. I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
Get Your Guide: For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world's largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
World Nomads Insurance: When traveling to Ireland you always should have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.