The Ultimate Ireland Packing List

When going to Ireland for the first time, I wasn’t exactly sure what to pack.

Approaching Dingle Town, Co. Kerry

And apparently I wasn’t that good at it, because upon arrival I realized that I forgot my all-important toothbrush! Since then, I have become a master packer. I am pretty sure I could pack us up and be ready to go in under an hour.

Outlined below is the Ultimate Ireland Packing List. This is the one we actually used for the past three trips. It has everything that we could possibly need for a trip to Ireland.

I should mention however that an Ireland packing list is personal. Everyone has different needs. Use this one as a guide and write-in anything that you think you would need to add.

A couple of packing tips:

  1. “Pack half as much and take twice the money.” If you think you need to bring more stuff, you very well may, but most people don’t.
  2. You probably won’t even need to take everything on this list.
  3. If you forget something, you can buy it in Ireland most of the time. It is always fun to act like a local anyway.
  4. Don’t buy new if you don’t really need it—See something on here you would like but don’t already have? Improvise.
  5. If packing for more than week, you won’t need any more than this. Drop off laundry at a laundrette in town and pick it up clean and folded at the end of the day.
  6. Travel light. It makes things much easier in the long run.
And now…The List  (or see the PDF version of The Ultimate Ireland Packing List).
Walking Sheep's Head


  •         8 Pairs of Underwear & 3 Bras
  •         8 Pairs of Socks
  •         1 Sleepwear Set
  •         3 Pants
  •         6 Shirts & 4 undershirts
  •         1 Sweater/Fleece
  •         2 Sets of Comfortable Shoes (or 1 Walking & 1 Hiking)
  •         1 Belt
  •         1 Hat
  •         1 Scarf
  •         1 Waterproof jacket


  •         Toothbrush
  •         Toothpaste
  •         Floss
  •         Wash cloth
  •         Shampoo
  •         Conditioner
  •         Body Wash/Soap
  •         Deodorant
  •         Razor
  •         Shaving Cream
  •         Hair Brush
  •         Hair Ties
  •         Hair Products (e.g. Gel, Hairspray)
  •         Make-up
  •         Chap Stick
  •         Tissues
  •         Hand sanitizer
  •         Baby wipes
  •         Earplugs
  •         Cotton Balls (For Windy Conditions)
  •         Sunscreen

First Aid Supplies & Other Toiletries:

  •         Band Aids/Disinfectant
  •         Pain Reliever (Tylenol/Aspirin)
  •         Imodium/Pepto-Bismol
  •         Motion Sickness Medication
  •         Vitamins
  •         Vitamin C Drops
  •         Feminine Hygiene Products
  •         Contact Lenses
  •         Safety pins
  •         Fingernail clippers
  •         Q-tips
  •         Tweezers
  •         General Medications in original bottles with labels

Travel Gear

  •         1 Medium Size Suitcase
  •         Daypack/Backpack or Purse
  •         Luggage Tags
  •         Money belt
  •         Dirty laundry bag/trash bag
  •         Packing Cubes
  •         Extra plastic bags: Quart & Gallon

Travel Documents/Money:

  •         Plane Tickets
  •         Passport
  •         Copy of Passport in Separate Safe Location
  •         Driver’s license
  •         Health Insurance Information
  •         Travel Insurance Information
  •         Wallet
  •         100 Euros cash
  •         Credit/Debit Cards
  •         Current Bank Statement
  •         Front & Back Copies of Credit/Debit Cards including Contact Info in Separate Location

Keeping You Organized” Ireland Binder:

  •         Ireland Itinerary
  •         Directions
  •         Bed and Breakfast Reservations
  •         Car Rental Reservation Information
  •         Michelin or OSI Ireland Map
  •         Key Attraction Information and Coupons
  •         US & Irish Emergency Numbers
  •         Journal/Notebook
  •         Pens
  •         Receipt Holder
  •         Business Cards/Contact Info
  •         Addresses to Mail Post Cards


  •         Cell phone & Charger
  •         Camera & Charger—If Batteries are Required Bring Extra!
  •         Memory Cards
  •         Ireland Adapter
  •         Alarm Clock Device (Cell Phone/iPad)
  •         E-reader/Notebook
  •         Associated cables

Random Bits:

  •         Travel Books/Guides
  •         Snacks
  •         Empty Refillable Water Bottle
  •         Airplane Entertainment
  •         Walking Sticks
  •         Small flashlight
  •         Umbrella
  •         Sunglasses
  •         Music CD or 2 for the Car
  •         Plastic Cutlery for Picnics
  •         Extra Space!

Write Your Additions: 

  • _______________________________________________
  • _______________________________________________
  • _______________________________________________
  • _______________________________________________

Ireland Pre-trip To Do List


In the Weeks Before You Leave:

  •         Check passport does not expire within the next six months
  •         Check credit/debit card expiration dates
  •         Call credit card/banks & set travel notification to Ireland
  •         Check out what hospitals are covered by health insurance and understand claim process
  •         Decide if travel insurance is right for you
  •         Get about 100-150 Euros from your bank
  •         Hold Mail
  •         Pay all bills due while gone
  •         Re-confirm reservations with bed and breakfast owners/Indicate time of arrival
  •         Leave itinerary, contact information with loved one at home

The Day Before You Leave:

  •         Clean-out wallet (no need to take everything)
  •         Charge all camera batteries
  •         Clean out Fridge/Wash the dishes/Take out trash
  •         Pack food for airport and plane
  •         Unplug electrical items at home
  •         Check-in for flights online

Double/Triple Check in the Moments Before You Leave:

  •         Passport
  •         Plane Tickets
  •         Driver’s License
  •         Camera
  •         B and B Information
  •         Car Rental Information
  •         Map
And there you have it! The ultimate Ireland packing list. You should be all set for your amazing trip now. Get packing!
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256 Responses to “The Ultimate Ireland Packing List”

  1. mary miskell January 9, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    thanks, wish i had had this when i went to ireland last year. you should market this list for all travellers. you would make a fortune.

  2. Stephanie January 9, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Hi Mary–Thanks so much for the compliment. I hope it helps for your next trip!

  3. stone huts January 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    Don’t bring CDs. always listen to the radio, National and local. you will get a great sense of the country if you listen as you travel. Irish radio is very different to radio in the U S, make it part of the experiance.

    • Stephanie January 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

      Great Suggestion! We listen to the Irish radio too. It is uniquely different from the US and really fun to hear local news, events, etc. We also like to have a CD or two to bring with us. On each trip, we have listened to only one or two that we broght with us. Now, everytime we hear a song from that CD, it takes us right back to Ireland! We love the nostalgia it creates for us later. Thanks for the comment Stone Huts! :-)

  4. Kit March 9, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    Thanks for the list. I start packing next week and your list is a good guide. The question for me is how heavy a coat should I bring for our late March trip?

    • Stephanie March 10, 2013 at 11:22 am #

      Hi Kit! The temps in Ireland in March are usually upper 40’s or low 50’s. My suggestion would be to not bring a heavy coat, but rather a nice rain coat that you can put a few layers under. If you get a sunny day you will feel the warmth and won’t need too much insulation, but if it is rainy and windy you will be glad you packed a some extra layers. Perhaps a long sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt/sweater, and a solid rain jacket might work for you. Enjoy your trip! It is coming up so soon!

  5. Amber March 10, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    Hi, Great list. Seems a bit much though for leaving extra room. Do European cars have ports to connect ipods? And is taking a umbrella and poncho a must? We are traveling this summer. I don’t really want to bring things I don’t need.

  6. Stephanie March 12, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    Hi Amber! I believe some cars do have ports, but we haven’t had any luck yet. We usually get the smallest economy available without many bells and whistles. You would need to check with the rental agency you are working with to find out specifically for your rental. I have found most are responsive by email.

    I would not say an umbrella and a poncho are an absolute must. However, it most likely will rain sometime during your trip, so just be prepared to get wet and have a good rain jacket, and you should be just fine.

    If you don’t want to bring too much, pack lighter! You can always pick things up along the way if you find you really really need them. Plus, its kinda fun to shop like a local. Enjoy your trip this summer. Sounds like it will be a blast!

  7. Shelly June 10, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    Will be travelling in July, is a coat still necessary? Last 2 weeks of July. 1 week outside of Dublin and second week in Connemara. Any suggestions of things to do while in these areas? :)

    • Stephanie June 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      I would suggest a layer-able raincoat. It will likely be warm some days and chillier on others, but almost definitely it will rain. There are many many things to do outside of Dublin and in Connemara! You will really enjoy your time there. Don’t miss Powerscourt House and Gardens or Kylemore Abbey–both are lovely!

  8. Donna June 25, 2013 at 10:42 am #


    We leave this Friday, and will only be there for the first week in July. We’ve rented a house in Tipperary, so most of our sight-seeing will be in the southern portion of the island. We will be going to the Cliffs of Mohr then over to the Aran Islands, and hopefully going up to County Donegal for a day. We want to see Blarney, will be taking in a medieval meal at Bunratty Castle, going to the Rock of Cashel, will spend a day and a half in Dublin. We arrive in Dublin and depart from Shannon – any suggestions for what else to see? There will be five of us – my husband, our 20-year-old son, my father-in-law, my mother, and me, so we’re a diverse group and this will likely be our only trip to the Emerald Isle.

    Thanks so much for this packing list suggestions!!

    • Stephanie June 25, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

      Hi Donna! You seem to have a very ambitious trip planned! You have suggested a lot of really great things to see in Ireland. May I offer a few suggestions?

      Don’t underestimate the time it will take to get from point A to point B. While, indeed, the roads look short on a map, once you arrive you will find them to be narrow, full of curves and possibly sheep! :-) I would suggest using routeplanner to get driving times for each leg of your trip (I always add extra time (an hour+) for ooohh and awww stops!).

      Also, because you have such a diverse group, you may find that different age groups have different levels of energy. Staying in a town can allow for some to stay out longer and others to stay in and rest. I usually suggest at least two nights in one location to really explore the area and to allow for some relaxing for those who need it. It doesn’t appear that you will have a lot of extra time for the number of places you would like to visit, but perhaps this can help?

      Day 1: Arrival, Dublin (stay in Dublin)
      Day 2: 1/2 day Dublin; Drive to Cashel via Kilkenny (Stay in Cashel)
      Day 3: Rock of Cashel, Hore Abbey, Cahir Castle (stay in Cashel)
      Day 4: Drive to visit Galway City (stay in Galway city)
      Day 5: Day trip to Aran Islands via Rossaveal (stay in Galway City)
      Day 6: Return to Shannon Airport via Lisdoonvarna, Doolin, and Cliffs of Moher; Bunratty Banquet in evening (stay in Bunratty).
      Day 7: Return flight home

      While this itinerary does not include Blarney or Donegal. I think you will be the better for it. A week is surprisingly short and you are traveling some pretty good distances. Try not to get in the mindset of seeing everything—unfortunately there will always be things you need to cut out, but you will truly enjoy the things you do get to see.

      I hope this was helpful! Please let me know if I can clarify anymore!!

  9. Rosemarie July 9, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    Thank you so much for this. It is exactly what I was looking for and it will be a great guide. I will be traveling with my husband’s family, first week will be a bus tour from Dublin to Galway. The second week will consist of a big family reunion and visiting family in Ballinasloe for the second week. There is a total of 11 of us making the trip and it is my first trip overseas.

    Thanks again.

    • Stephanie July 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

      I am so glad this helped Rosemarie! I have always wanted to take a big family trip abroad! Sounds like you are doing it right with a little bit of time with your family and a bit of time “reunioning”. Hope you really enjoy your first trip abroad!

  10. Robin July 10, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    You know how every tourist town and airport in America sells sweatshirts with their name on it? (I live in Vermont, and you can buy “Vermont” sweatshirts EVERYWHERE!) Well, I was wondering if Ireland was the same way?

    You see, I was thinking that instead of packing a sweatshirt, I could buy one when I got to Ireland – clothing and a souvenir all in one! What do you think?

    • Stephanie July 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Yup! Lots of shops sell Ireland sweatshirts/jackets. Particularly in more tourist centered towns like Killarney. I am pretty sure you won’t have a problem at all. Happy shopping!

  11. Mariann Fuca July 14, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    What a wonderful list! We’ll be leaving on Thursday for a 12-day CIE Tour. This is our first trip to the Emerald Isle and we are so excited! I read that Ireland is going through a sort of heat wave. I had planned on taking two pairs of jeans and two capris but was wondering whether or not to pack shorts? (BTW, my husband and I are in our late 50s)
    I have read everywhere that most people dress very casually. Do you have any advice?

    • Stephanie July 14, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Surprisingly, Ireland is seeing quite a bit of warmer weather at the moment! If you want to pack a pair of shorts and have the room, there is no harm in hoping! :-) Ireland’s weather is notorious for changing momentarily, which is why it is always suggested to have layers at the ready. You can absolutely dress casually, unless you happen to be attending a restaurant that requires fancier attire. You will have a great time and I will cross my fingers that the weather holds out for you!

  12. Margaret Doheny August 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    Thank you for this great list! My husband and I will be on a CIE 9 day Folk & Pub tour beginning Sept. 7th. Do you have any advice on packing for the weather at that time of year?

    We start out in Dublin and will be travelling to the south-east, south and western seaboard, then back to Dublin.

    Thank you, Margaret

    • Stephanie August 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

      Hi Margaret! You are going at our favorite time of year. September is often delightfully void of large crowds and summer weather is still hanging on. I would suggest having a few things to layer as there may be some chilly or windy days and of course have a rain jacket. I would be expecting temps in the 60’s (sometimes a little warmer, sometimes a little cooler), so if you have clothing to cover that range you should be good!). Enjoy your trip!

  13. Brian September 15, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Stephanie: Thanks for the list. My brother, sister-in-law, mother and I leave for Ireland on Wednesday, September 18th for 10 days. This will be my 1st trip abroad and I’m really looking forward to it. My dad’s side of the family comes from Ireland and I find that I’m very drawn to the music. Flying into Dublin and heading south along the coast, west to Killarney, Limerick and then back to Dublin. Looking forward to fun pubs, good music and fresh seafood. Any suggestions for traditional Irish dishes?

    • Stephanie September 16, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      Hi Brian! If you happen to be headed to Kinsale, a lovely coastal village west of Cork, don’t miss Fishy Fishy, an excellent seafood restaurant. You won’t be disappointed. Killarney is chock full of good restaurants with trad music most nights all over town. You could check out Quinlan’s Seafood Bar ( for good seafood and Danny Man’s for dinner or drinks and music ( Hope this helps a little. We often stumble upon great finds in Ireland without knowing much in advance, part of the adventure. Hope you find some good things too! Do let us know when you get back.

      Hope you have a wonderful time!

  14. Kymberly January 6, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    I am traveling to Ireland on the 19th of this month any helpful suggestions on what to bring

    • Stephanie January 6, 2014 at 9:42 am #

      Hi Kymberly,

      Ireland has been having some pretty awful weather lately. With quite a bit of flooding in the west. However weather can change a moment’s notice so I wouldn’t dispair too much. Just remember to bring lots of layers and very sturdy rain jacket. Don’t be dismayed if it does rain everyday. Get out there and get a little wet (it won’t hurt and the warm up in the pub is even better then). Enjoy your time–it is still incredibly lovely in January!

  15. Kay January 10, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    We are a family of 4 going to Ireland in this summer. What kind of electrical outlets adapters would you suggest, we’ll mainly use it for phones, ipads, camera.

    • Stephanie January 10, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      Hi Kay! We use a international adapter you can find in any travel store or even wal-mart to charge the types of things you are describing. The Ireland plug looks the BS 1363 (Type G) found on this page: On our adapter and many others, the Ireland setting is also the UK setting. Hope this helps!

  16. Gina J January 19, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    Hi Stephanie, I will be traveling to Cork, Ireland the first week in March. Do you have any recommendations for things to do, places to eat and where to shop? Thank you so much!

    • Stephanie January 20, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      Hi Gina! We absolutely love Cork. It’s such a great city. I feel like you get a bit more authentic “Irishness” in Cork than perhaps her sister, Dublin. We really enjoyed our dinner at Reidy’s Valut. For great craic, head to An Spailpin Fanac–fantastic trad nights and they pour a good pint! Don’t miss a walk about in the English Market (pick up some cheese and crackers and have a picnic–perfect mid afternoon pick me up!). We love cathedrals and St. Finbarr’s certainly did not disappoint. Fellow blogger did a pretty great write about one day in Cork with all sorts of other ideas too:

  17. Lisa February 7, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    We are going to Ireland for 3 weeks this summer. I love your packing list. Do you travel with just carry on luggage or do you check a bag? What size luggage do you use? I think I can get everything in a 21 in carry on but not sure my husband can. Any tips for what size luggage?

    • Stephanie February 9, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

      Hi Lisa,
      3 weeks would be wonderful! We each usually have a carry-on (actually, we use backpacks instead of suitcases) and then between the two of us we check one regular size suitcase that has an expandable zip (great for holding unfolded laundry and souvenirs on the way home).

      I just measured and the checked suitcase and it is about 25″ by 15.” We probably could fit everything into two 21″ carry-ons, but I tend to not like to lug a rolling carry-on in the airport. Although, I do feel like I am tempting fate since our checked luggage has yet to be lost going to Ireland. :-) Enjoy your trip!

  18. Sonya March 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    Stephanie, your Q&A has been very helpful! There will be 4 of us traveling the first 2 weeks of June. The first 6 days we are with the CIE tour company all necessities have been paid for. Then we take off on our own. We plan to travel by train to Belfast. Do you have any suggestions on what train and reservations? Once in Belfast we plan to stay a few days and then head to Edinburgh. Have you been there and have suggestions? I am really stumped as to how much money I should bring in Euro and Pounds… when calculating from your list and with the exchange rate I am thinking probably cashing in $1500 for foreign currency. Does this seem completely outrageous?

    • Stephanie March 24, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

      Hi Sonya. So glad the site has been helpful for you! You will just love your time in Ireland. I am sure of it! If you are planning on rail to Belfast from Dublin, check out this site: You will likely want Dublin Connolly Station to Belfast Central. It should be a direct ride and take a little over 2 hours. I haven’t been to Belfast or Edinburgh (unfortunately!), but of course they are on the bucket list.

      How much cash you will need for the trip really depends on what you plan to do, but if you calculate in everything (food, lodging, extra expenses) having a little over 100 euros or pounds a day should be plenty and give you a some cushion.

      Also, I would be sure not to bring $1500 in euros or pounds with you. The best way to get cash while you are in Ireland or Edinburgh is with an ATM. You will get the best exchange rate and you will be able to take out what you need. Be sure to tell your bank where you are going and for how long. We usually only carry about 100 euros with us on the plane ride over and take out money as we need it. Securing it in various places just to be safe. Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip!!

  19. Kate March 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thanks so much for the wealth of information on your site. It has been so helpful in planning our first trip to Ireland. Hoping you could give us some tips on what not to miss while we have 1 and 1/2 days in the Burren (staying at Orchid House in Fanore, looks beautiful!).

    Any tips not the rest of our itinerary would be welcome!
    Fly into Shannon,
    Fanore (arrive early am, booked 2 nights)
    Galway 2 nights-explore the Connemara region and the city
    Cong 1-2 nights (more Connemara and Ashford castle)
    Co Leitrim 2 nights(husbands family immigrated from here, explore the area, staying near Lough Rynn Castle in Mohill)
    Dublin-2 nights. Non negotiable for my husband. ;)
    See Rock of Cashel, onto Bunratty 1 (2?) nights
    Fly out of Shannon

    Any tips would be helpful. Thanks so much. I have learned so much from your blog!

    • Stephanie April 1, 2014 at 9:32 am #

      Hi Katie! So glad to hear the has been helpful. Sounds like you have a fantastic itinerary for your upcoming trip! I really hope you love the Orchid House. We thought it was the perfect peaceful start and couldn’t have had a better experience.

      You have a pretty good pace, staying two nights in most places. I think that you will find this helps you explore more than most. I am sure you have a trip to the Cliffs of Moher planned during your time in the Burren. It’s not to be missed! Driving to Galway you will certainly want to take the coastal route which is beautiful. There is a great little tea shop in Ballyvaughan,

      Galway is a fantastic city, which you could easily spend several days in, but I would concentrate the one full day you have for the city. Then the next day (if you don’t mind a bit of a drive) get an early start and make your way to Cong via Clifden, Letterkenny and possibly Kylemore Abbey. You’ll see the best of Connemara and should even be able to get out and explore some of the National Park. They have a great wooden trail that you can hike up to a look out point over Connemara.

      I don’t have much advise on county Leitrim, as we have yet to explore the midlands (oh so much to do!!). But I think you’ll find the area to be delightfully less crowded than some of the other places your visiting.

      On your way back from Dublin you will likely drive through Kildare, which has a few cool things to visit like the Irish National Stud Farm and Castletown House. This all depends on how much time you have or what you would like to do of course, but just a couple ideas to get you thinking for things along the way.

      I hope this helps! Enjoy planning and your experience. I am sure you will love it!

  20. Meg April 4, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    Hi Stephanie,

    My husband and I are planning our first trip to Ireland for this September- I’ve learned so much from your website already… thank you!

    Odd question: Do you have any recommendations for a good camera? Your pictures are beautiful.

    Thank you!

    • Stephanie April 5, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

      Hi Meg! Thanks so much for the compliments! We use a simple point and shoot camera for our pics. It’d be great to have a dslr, but they are pretty expensive and bulky. So we just never upgraded. We have a Cannon PowerShot SD780 IS Elph. It is a couple years old now, but we have had a couple of Elphs and really think they are great. It is super tiny and can fit in my back pocket. There are certainly better cameras out there, but for the price, we’ve been really happy with it. Hope you get some great shots!

  21. Kate April 4, 2014 at 10:41 pm #


    Thanks for the wonderful advice! We are including Clifden now in our itinerary and are considering changing our accommodations there from Cong. I really want to see Kylemore Abbey as well as hike Diamond Hill. Thanks again for all your suggestions. It was your website that inspired us to make this trip a reality! (We also booked Corrib house in Galway, I just saw you had stayed there also. It looks fabulous!)

    • Stephanie April 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

      Hi Kate! We just loooved our time in Connemara. Clifden and Kylemore…please take me back with you!! They are fantastic.

      Diamond Hill is a relatively easy hike if you take it slow. We had several serious walkers pass us, but we were enjoying the view and taking it all in. When you are at Kylemore keep your eye on the mountain across from the car park looking away from the Abbey. You’ll see tiny people walking up top and that’s Diamond Hill! We were at Kylemore the day before we climbed Diamond Hill and thought, hey, how’d they get up there? Not realizing that was Diamond Hill, one of the things we were contemplating on doing the next day. So glad we did. It was really neat to look down on Kylemore and Connemara.

      Corrib House is simply lovely. We can’t help but gush about that place every time we talk about our trip to Galway. The food–oh my. You will know what I mean. Delicious!

      Really, really enjoy your time! #jealous :-)

  22. Ethel April 5, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    I am going to Ireland April 20 thru April 29. My passport expires august 14. I was told that that was ok. Are you sure it needs to be 6 months and not 3?

  23. Rosemary Hood April 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    We are leaving for our first trip in exactly one month: May 6. I have been advised it would be in the 50’s-60’s and that the Irish Day Tours are very good. We are staying
    in Powerscourt and all four of us are 71!!! We do have a car rental (automatic) but I confess I am nervous about driving on the left!!! Can I see enough of Dublin on the
    “off and on” bus? I’m very excited as you can tell as I have “Irish roots.” Your tips are fabulous and I have printed them all.

    • Stephanie April 7, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

      Hello Rosemary! Thank you so much for commenting! I am so glad to hear you are excited about your upcoming trip! Less than 1 month now! :-)

      I can certainly understand being concerned about driving on the left. I would like the car in a garage or at the rental office until you leave Dublin. The ‘off and on’ bus will just fine for getting around. Plus even if you don’t want to get off, it is a lovely ride around Dublin with lots of information. If you muster up the courage to take your car out on the road, I would designate a “navigator” (typically my job) to help you identify on coming traffic, hazards, and simply say left!, a lot. Also, one of the best tips I can give for driving in Ireland is this: when local drivers come up behind you and clearly want to go faster than you are comfortable with, just simply, pull over. No need to be worried or feel rushed. They will be grateful for you pulling over and it will make you much less apprehensive about driving.

      I do hope all four of you enjoy your time in Ireland and have fun exploring your roots! ~Stephanie

  24. Sarah April 9, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    Hi Stephanie,

    So glad I stumbled across your website, so much helpful information. I am starting to plan my first solo trip to Ireland! I was hoping you might be able to suggest the best time to visit. I know July/August are the summer months and tend to be warmer but I wasn’t sure if a November trip would be awful weather wise. I don’t have any certain month that I need to plan for.
    Any suggestions on best things to do while traveling alone. Also renting a car? Take public transportation/buses?

    Thanks!! :)

    • Brian Conklin-Powers April 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

      Sarah: I’ll just throw my two cents in here…I visited Ireland last year for 10 days beginning September 18th. We had fabulous weather, only one partial day of rain. We did rent a car. It took a bit of getting used to, but you pick up driving on the left pretty quickly. I wasn’t a fan of driving in Dublin and would suggest public transportation in the city. If you plan to travel any of the peninsula’s on the southwest coast, find out which direction the tour buses travel around the peninsula…and drive in the opposite direction!

      Have a great time! I’m jealous.

      Cheers. Brian

      • Sarah April 9, 2014 at 6:17 pm #


        I appreciate your input! After reading some more I’ve decided that I too might try to plan my trip for September, seems to be a perfect time as the days aren’t too short and the weather is still decent. It will definitely be 7 days but I’m hoping I can manage 10!

        I wouldn’t be too nervous about renting a car and driving on the wrong side except that I’ll be by myself. Might be dangerous! Haha

        And love the advice about traveling opposite the tour buses! Perfect! :)


        • Brian April 9, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

          Sarah: Just curious…What’s your draw to the Emerald Isle…and I’m curious, too, about travel by yourself. Have you done this before…and if so, to what countries? I’ve been thinking about a future trip to Scotland and thought about venturing on my own.
          Cheers. Brian

          • Sarah April 9, 2014 at 9:29 pm #


            Visiting Ireland is something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember. I have an Irish background but not anyone who has been born there for generations. I guess it’s just a fascination that I have.
            As for going by myself… I am a single mom and most of my friends have had new babies in the past year and are not up for traveling right now. My daughter is 7 and I have a good support system so I’ll be able to leave her home and be able to explore on my own. I would love to have someone to travel with but I also like the idea of being able to see everything at my own pace and how I want to. Something very intriguing about that. :)


          • Brian Conklin-Powers April 10, 2014 at 9:06 am #

            Sarah: I am happy to provide more details of our trip if you want to contact me directly:

    • Stephanie April 13, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

      Hi Sarah,

      It looks like Brian has taken good care of you and all your questions bellow. :-) I agree with hi assessment of September. That is our absolute favorite time to go. Typically the best weather we have ever had and a lot less crowded in the primarily touristy areas. Also I encourage you to rent a car too! I know you’ll be alone and that is certainly daunting, but the best part about being alone is there is no one from stopping you to pull over and look at the map every two seconds. :-) I would certainly have a good handle on where you are going roughly before you leave, but wrong turns can make delightful side trips! I think you will love the freedom a car gives you. Plus you can build in visits to some great towns to explore for car free days too. Good luck and enjoy your trip!!

      • Sarah April 14, 2014 at 9:39 am #


        Thank you very much for your response. I have decided that I am definitely going to book the trip for September. The renting of a car does make me nervous but I’m going to attempt it and make the best of it!
        I believe that I will fly into Shannon and then depart from Dublin so that I can visit a few sites in between and then return the car once I get to Dublin.
        Any other advice you might have?

        • Stephanie April 15, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

          Hi Sarah,
          You won’t be disappointed with your itinerary at all. Starting in Shannon and ending in Dublin offers some of the ‘best of the best.’ Not really knowing how much time you have, you could certainly hit a lot of spots. I would probably do a mix of coastal time (Dingle, Kerry or Beara Peninsulas) and fantastic towns (Killarney, Kenmare, Kilkenny). You can through in a few good historic sites along the way (Rock of Cashel, Glendalough). Now, you wouldn’t be able to do all of those likely, but a good mix can make for a great trip!

          The best tip I can give for a first time driver is to pull over when it is clear a local wants to get by you. They’ll thank you for it and it will make you feel much less anxious to go at your own speed.

          Other than that–enjoy enjoy enjoy! :-)

        • Jessica April 15, 2015 at 1:45 pm #


          I am leaving for Ireland next week for the first time (yay!) but I just wanted to give you a heads up on some things I just encountered with our car rental process, since I had never rented a car in another country either. We rented an automatic through Aerlingus (but Budget is the rental company), which had the best deal that included the theft protection and collision damage waiver and ended up being the best deal because of that. I came to find out that the hold on my credit card would end up being 1350 euros unless I got the additional insurance which will end up being offered to me at the desk when I pick up the rental at the airport. So you basically will need every insurance offered to you in order to get rid of all holds, but Budget still seems to be the best and Aerlingus also seemed to still offer the best deal overall. Also make sure you get that extra insurance through Budget, not the company that will offer it through Aerlingus at a cheaper rate. (I don’t know your money situation but I’m sure no one wants a 1350 euro hold on their credit card the day they embark on a 10 day vacation!) It was harder than I thought it would be to get all of this information straight because the 800 number for Budget couldn’t answer questions and it costs $1.69/min to call over to the desk at the Shannon airport…they also probably think I’m crazy because when I did finally find the information, it seemed to be right in front of me the whole time. I also found that this is all the norm in Ireland because Enterprise and Carhire had higher holds that they placed and I couldn’t find the prices per day for their extra insurance to get rid of that hold.

          I hope this information helps! My friend and I are doing what you said you were thinking of, flying into Shannon and out of Dublin. Have fun planning and good luck!

  25. Rikki April 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    Hi Stephanie – this is GREAT…I have been looking for the short list of what to pack so thank you!!
    I am taking my aunt and my mom on their Irish Bucket List trip in July (1 week in Dublin and 1 week in Ardgroom – I rented houses for us for each week so we can “live like the locals” ha ha) and I have a pretty good itinerary for Dublin but am wondering what your thoughts are for the southern end of the island? They both have pages of things they want to see but I am being their reality-check and I know we’ll have to whittle their list down to the bigger ticket items…suggestions?

    • Stephanie April 25, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

      Hi Rikki— How fun it will be to play tour guide for a couple of weeks. :-)

      You have picked an awesome spot in the South with Ardgroom. I can think of a few things that would be on the top of my list. First would be Skellig Michael: Assuming that everyone can walk up the steps, it is an amazing place to spend the day (pack a picnic but don’t drink tea for breakfast–no bathroom breaks!).

      I would also probably choose Mizen Head ( as another bucket list item. Beautiful!

      Stick to exploring towns like Kenmare, Killareny and Bantry. There are also great things to explore on the Beara Peninsula like Healy Pass.

      Good luck with the planning and have a great time!!

  26. Kathy April 28, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    This is a great list Stephanie, thank you. I just did a ‘dry run’ of packing the bare minimum of clothing etc. as your list suggests, and to my delight it all will fit in my small piece of roller luggage! This will, I’m sure, be a help as we leave in two weeks for an 18 day stay, staying two to four days at each location. Our second trip, and we are getting quite excited!

    • Stephanie April 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

      Ooohh! How lucky you are!! I am so glad the list has helped you pack for what I am sure will be an amazing trip! I do hope you enjoy it (pretty easy when you are in Ireland).

  27. Christine June 8, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    Thank you for your great list. We leave tomorrow for 8 nights and are very excited about our itinerary as we celebrate our 25th anniversary and turning 50 in the same year. We land in Shannon, stay in Doolin (Daly’s House) 2 nights, to Killarney (Earls Court House) for 2 nights, then one night at Ballymaloe House, and one night at Old Head/Kinsale followed by 2 nights at Derrymore House in Glendalough before departing from Dublin. We are wondering about the best route from Kinsale to Glendalough…hope to drive for 2 hours or so then stop for a bit, then finish the drive later (taking advantage of the late sunset!). Should we head through Kilkenny, or Waterford/Wexford? Thanks for any help

    • Stephanie June 15, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

      Hi Christine! I am so sorry for the delay! We were traveling Ireland too and just returned home. I am sure you have already figured out which way to travel through from Kinsale to Glendalough. My advice would be to use Kilkenny has your stopping point. It is such a great city with so much to see and do. Kilkenny has a castle, round tower, fantastic pubs and really great sense of hospitality. I hope you were able to find your way around!

  28. Rachel June 12, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    Hey Stephanie! I am leaving in a few days for a study abroad trip in Galway. I’ll be staying there for 5 weeks, so any recommendations for food/things to do would be awesome!

    • Stephanie June 15, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      Hi Rachel! You have hit on my other passion–study abroad. When I am not working on Infinite Ireland–I am a study abroad coordinator and I love sending students to Galway! You will have such a great time in the city. I would certainly take some time to get to know the city. Wonder around a bit and get a little lost even. We really loved our time at the Corrib House. It’s a cafe and B&B, but if you want a cool place to get a good cup of coffee or a spot of tea and study I can’t really think of a better place in Galway (just across the river from the cathedral/university). I know when studying abroad it is easy to want to jet off to a bunch of other countries during your 5 weeks. However, if you can (and have nice weather) take a few day trips around Ireland. Particularly–head up to Connemara, Clifden, and Westport or Achill. All are accessible by bus from Galway. You can’t go wrong with a day trip to Cliffs of Moher either. I hope you really enjoy your time in Ireland!

  29. natasha June 19, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    yes this is crazy but my hubby, 6 year old son and i are going to be in Dublin for 5 days. I think 1 day in dublin and then venture out for a couple of days maybe 3 fly out early on the 5th day.

    Any suggestions what to do? Want to see a unique castle, countryside, experience what we can, this is a spare of the moment quick trip.


    • natasha June 19, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

      I was looking at the railway….going
      day 1 dublin to galway (maybe rent a car for the day if needed)
      day 2 railway to limerick (again rent a car if needed to get around for the day)
      day 3 railway to cork (again rent a car if needed to get around for the day)
      day 4 back to dublin and enjoy dublin before we fly out the next day…yes world win tour but enough to get a taste…we will be back, just need a break from life.

      What to major things to see in each area???

      Or do you suggest anything else or less???

      • Stephanie June 20, 2014 at 8:45 am #

        Hi Natasha–what fun! You’ll have a great time on your quick trip. Ok–my two cents (take it or leave). Don’t do the rail and don’t go so far. If you are willing to rent a car for a couple of days then why not rent it for the entire time outside of Dublin. You will have a much better experience and much more control over the few days you have. You can easily check off most of type of things you want to do by not driving or riding in a train for most of the day. My best advice? Head to the south east after Dublin.

        Here is an idea…
        Day 1: Dublin (arrive get your bearings, see some sites).
        Day 2: Pick up rental car head for the south east (must see sites–Powerscourt–Gardens, House, Waterfall; Sally Gap, Glendalough)
        Day 3: Kilkenny (Castle, Black Abbey, shopping, restaurants, pubs)
        Day 4: Rock of Cashel, Cahir Castle, back to Dublin

        This will really give you a great taste of Ireland, but will also give you some time to be spontaneous, talk to B&B owners see what else they suggest in the area (there really is a lot to do). Good luck with planning!!

        • natasha June 20, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

          This is great thanks for the info! We decided to rent a car. Curious is it easy to find places to stay on route or must book? Kind of want to see where the car takes us.

          • Stephanie June 25, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

            It all depends on what time of year you are going. Check to make sure there aren’t any holidays or big events where you are headed. If not, you shouldn’t have much problem finding places along the way.

  30. Kathy June 22, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    We are getting ready for our trip of a lifetime! We will be flying into Shannon on July 2nd in the morning. We currently have reservation at a B&B in Dublin for the night of the 2,3 &4 after which we will return to Shannon to meet the rest of our family for a week long family reunion. My question is, is it relatively easy to take the irish rail to Dublin? We will have all our luggage with us.

    • Stephanie June 25, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

      Hi Kathy,

      What fun! There isn’t a rail station at the Shannon Airport so you will need to get to the Limerick train station first (taxi is the easiest option but can get expensive). Irish rail can also be expensive, but probably the most comfortable. You could get a bus to Dublin for a little less comfort and less money. Neither are difficult, but both require getting to Limerick station first. Enjoy your trip and your family reunion!

  31. lucie July 9, 2014 at 6:59 am #

    Hi Stephanie
    Thanks for the list. I am going to Ireland for 19 days in august to see my dad and his wife and children. Do you think I would need more than what is on the list? Thanks xxx

    • Stephanie July 18, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

      Hi Lucie!
      I don’t think you will. And if you think you have forgotten anything, you can always go shopping! When in Ireland look out for Dunnes and Tesco stores which often have most things you might need. Have a great time visiting your family!

  32. Terry July 19, 2014 at 1:52 am #

    I have enjoyed reading you advice to people and the list is so helpful.I am arriving in Shannon 9/1/14. We are taking the bus to Kilarney for three nights at the Old Weir hotel,Kinvara to the Clarehouse,for two nights,Asheford Castle for three nights,Recess to fly fish for one night,Gannons bed and breakfast in Clifden for two nights , and finishing with three nights back in Kinvara or Galway feel for one person a med bag is sufficient? I want to bring gifts home to my family and felt I may need a large bag. Please let me know what you think. Terry

    • Stephanie July 28, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      Hi Terry,
      You should fine with one bag. It will likely mean you will be rewearing things, but we always do without feeling too stinky! :-) One thing I would suggest for gifts would be to bring a collapsible duffle bag. You can find them easily at most big box stores in luggage area. We have a very small nylon one that takes up almost no room and when we need some extra space on the way home, all we have to do is unzip it to stuff dirty laundry or gifts in.

  33. Laurie M July 23, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

    Stephanie, the amount of information you know about Ireland is really incredible. I’m going on a Pub & Music tour through “authentic”. A couple of people I know used them and said it was wonderful. They have been great so far. We leave 8/7-8/17. We start in Dublin & stay for 3 days. Then we move onto Galway and County Clare for Killarney for 2 and then Kilkenny for 2 and then back to Dublin to Depart. All hotel & rental car is included. I’m wondering if $1,000 would be sufficient for that amount of time. I’m hoping to play some golf somewhere on the cliffs of Moher and/or hike. Can you suggest any places? Thanks again for all the great information. Very informative and helpful. Laurie

    • Stephanie July 28, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      Hi Laurie! A music tour would be such fun in Ireland! 1000 dollars or 660 euros for one person should be ok for 10 days in Ireland if you are good with a budget.

      Staying in B&B’s can really help with the cost of food, because you won’t need lunch until mid afternoon. We always stock up on snacks at the first grocery store we see so that we can wait it out until an early dinner for most days. You could also have a larger lunch and a light dinner (or dessert if you are me!). I would say you would want at least 30 euros for food/drinks each day.

      You can figure out how much you want to budget on attractions before hand by deciding which ones are must sees and how much they are going to cost you (like Kilkenny Castle!). For attractions, you will probably want to have 100 euros for entrance fees (check out how much greens fees might be as well). Luckily, hiking won’t cost you a thing!

      You will need some money for petrol for your rental car. I would guess 100-130 euros.

      Then of course you will need to have some money left over for gifts and souvenirs. If you stay on track $1000 should be ok, but I would probably have some money set aside for a ‘just in case’ fund anyway. Good luck and I hope you have a great time!

      • Laurie M July 28, 2014 at 11:05 am #

        Thank you Stephanie.. I think I’ll go with “Just in case” money too. No so great with a budget on vacations. lol.. I think the tour pretty much includes all or most of the cost for the most common attractions. thanks for you input. It is very helpful.

  34. Jess August 19, 2014 at 1:49 am #

    Thanks for the packing advice! I do have a question about clothing alternatives though. I’m travelling for a week this coming Friday all over Ireland with a tour group, and luggage has been restricted to fit on the coach. I’m a bit of a dress lover, so I thought I could save space by packing a dress per day, with corresponding tights to wear with them, that way I could wear the same outfit night and day, with no need to worry about packing extra outfits for nights out. Now, I do wear small dance shorts underneath dresses too, but would it be too windy or cold for this plan to feasibly work? I would, of course, still pack one sweater and pair of jeans.

    • Stephanie August 19, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

      Hi Jess!
      Your trip is so soon! You must be getting excited. Dresses are great to save space, but I typically don’t pack them for Ireland because I get chilly really easily. If you aren’t like me and the forecast is looking warm, it just might work. My best advice though is to have layers. I would be sure to have heavy leggings, a warm sweater and jacket close by. I wouldn’t worry so much about having a different outfit each day. Take a couple of cute scarves and two or three versatile outfits that you can layer up or down and you should be all set. Everyone will be in the same boat (or bus-ha!) so they will likely being doing the same thing. I hope you have a great time!

  35. Ruth.D. August 19, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    I wish I had found your website sooner! Anyway, I have my first ever trip to Ireland booked for the end of April through May 10, 2015. I am staying 2 weeks and most likely will be solo.

    I have a few places I want to go that is a must, such as Belfast and Kerry. I really want insider tips on the best scenic sites to visit since I’ll have such a limited time in Ireland.

    Also, what is the weather typically like at this time of the year?

    Will I have to rent a car? I cannot drive standard. =( I was thinking of taking the train to the places on my list. Is this feasible?

    Also, Ive heard about May Day in Ireland. Has anyone been in Ireland for this holiday?

    • Stephanie August 19, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

      Hi Ruth!
      I am sure you already know that Belfast and Kerry are very much the opposite ends of the Emerald Isle. If you are willing to take a day or two to travel between the two areas, you should have enough time to visit both within two weeks. Normally I would suggest two areas that are closer together, but it all depends on what are the highest priority places on your list.

      Having not been to Northern Ireland yet I can’t give you first hand advice, but from all that I have read the black cab taxi tours and the Titanic Museum in Belfast are fantastic. Giant’s Causeway via the coastal road is an absolute must and Derry is a lovely city.

      There is so much to do in Kerry that its hard to recommend must sees without knowing what things you are interested in, but our favorites include Kenmare, Killarney National Park, Skellig Michael, Dingle town/peninsula, and the Blasket Islands.

      You can take a public transport from Dublin to Belfast and to spots within County Kerry. There are trains between Dublin, Belfast, Limerick and Cork. The bus system is much better for smaller towns, cheaper prices, and service more often. However, if you want the most flexibility, renting a car is the best (we always go for the the more expensive automatic).

      Weather is unpredictable during all times of year, but expect rain with days getting longer. Come prepared with umbrellas, rain jackets and a good attitude about the weather and you will be all set.

      Finally, we haven’t been there during May Day. When you finally decide on your itinerary, check out what events are going on during the holiday weekend locally so you can join in on the fun wherever you are.

      Happy planning!

  36. Rachel August 23, 2014 at 5:44 pm #


    My fiance and I are going to Ireland next May for our honeymoon. I have booked a self-drive tour package with Exploring Vacations. They have been fabulous so far and extremely helpful! We will be there for 10 days and are basically making a circle around the Republic of Ireland. We will be in a different place each night, staying in hotels, B&Bs and castles. We start out in Dublin, and will be going to Kilkenny, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Galway, Westmeath and we’ll end our trip back in Dublin. We are very excited, but do you think that would be too much to cram into 10 days? I’m trying to decide if I should ask them to cut down the number of places we go to as 1 day in each place seems kinda exhausting especially considering driving time. It seems to be their usual tour itinerary, but I’m sure they would change it if I wanted. Thanks so much for the list and all the info! Very, very helpful!

    • Brian Conklin-Powers August 25, 2014 at 9:46 am #

      Rachel: My advice is coming from a honeymoon perspective as much as it is your trip to Ireland. I planned our honeymoon to the Canadian Rockies 23 yrs ago and did much the same as you by trying to see as much as possible in the time we had. There is nothing wrong with that…but it is exhausting. My family and I did something similar in our first trip to Ireland last September. It’s such a beautiful country with so much to see, we tried to see as much as we could. That, too, was exhausting. My inclination is to suggest that you pick a couple of places that you want to see and spend several days in each place. Connect with some people and immerse yourselves in the food and culture of the locales that you choose. That’s what I plan to do when I return to Ireland…but that’s just my two cents. I’d like to hear others weigh in on this, too. Enjoy your trip!

      • Stephanie August 25, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

        Great advice Brian—exhausting is right! We did the same on our first trip to Ireland and have learned to slow down to really enjoy it. While it was a great first trip, I think most visitors get the most out of those immersive experiences or at least we do! :-)

      • Rachel August 25, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

        Thanks Brian, that’s probably what we’ll end up doing! Thanks for sharing your perspective!

    • Stephanie August 25, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

      Hi Rachel,

      Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! I think your inkling is right…that tour has you covering a lot 10 days. You will be packing and unpacking and driving long distances each day just to get to the next location without really seeing any of the sites. I took a quick look at the tour you will be doing I (unfortunately) think they are seriously overestimating what you can accomplish in a day.

      It sounds like you are really enjoying their service, which is great. It would be fantastic if they are willing to be flexible about where you go and how much time you spend in each area. As Brian suggests, pick a couple locations that you really want to spend the most of your time and concentrate on those areas. We like to spend at least two nights in each B&B.

      I am sure you are going to have a great time! Cheers!

      • Rachel August 25, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

        Thanks a lot Stephanie! I agree and I believe they will work with me. It’s so tempting to try and cram lots into one trip! I was there back in 2007 as a side trip. I went to Italy and England and my sister and I went to Ireland for 3 days cause I had been dying to go. We did Dublin and Powerscourt House and Gardens. I’ve been itching to go back ever since! When we were there we took buses so driving will be new. I suppose you have to figure in a lot more time than you might think to get from place to place due to unseen occurrences. Thanks again!

  37. Taryn September 2, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    I am 19 years old and traveling to Ireland for 21 days by myself most likely. Would you suggest not going unless i find a buddy? Is it dangerous? I know that I will be taking precautions just like everywhere. What are your thoughts on the safety rating of Dublin and Galway?

    • Stephanie September 4, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

      Hi Taryn! Ireland is a very safe country and I think a lot of people travel there on their own. There aren’t any specific threats that I would caution you about, but I always suggest checking the department of state’s travel update site before traveling anywhere abroad:

      Dublin and Galway are both pretty safe cities. You will find Galway much smaller and therefore can a little less intimidating. It is also a university town with some great night life and many other people your age.

      I’d also suggest staying in hostels where you might be able to find a travel buddy or two who are also traveling Ireland solo. I hope you have a great time! Three weeks awesome and I have to admit I am a little jealous. :-)

  38. Julia September 10, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    This is all such wonderful advise! I’m traveling to ireland solo in 2 weeks! I have visited with my mother 10 years ago, and we did the 5 day tour and then 5 days on our own at B&Bs. I am renting a car and staying in Westport, near where my grandmother came from ( Meneen) , and finally visiting the family farm. Kind of a pilgrimage for me since my mom died last year. Thank you for all of the information. I’m nervous and excited all at once. Any last minute suggestions would be great!! Thanks!

    • Stephanie September 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

      Hi Julia! I am so glad the site is helpful for you. It sounds like you have a wonderful trip with a touching tribute to your family. It’s good to be a little nervous, but don’t let it get the best of you. You will have a fantastic time! My last minute advice is to slow down and soak it in. Sounds cliche, but if you make a point to purposefully engage your B&B owners, waiters/waitresses and other people you meet on the way. Your experience will be much richer. Perhaps–stop by the neighbor’s homes next to your family farm. You might be invited to a cuppa tea and hear some great stories. Good luck and have so much fun!

  39. Gennie September 16, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    Hello Stephanie; thank you for the useful information,! My husband and I will be leaving for our 1st trip to Ireland the beginning of November for 15 full days. Can you advise the type of weather we may encounter? Would I need a heavy coat?

    I have tried to plan no more than 2-3 hours travel time between our places of stay, but wonder if I might have been a bit ambitious with our itinerary?
    Day 1 – We fly into Dublin in the am, pick up our rental and then make our way to Coolakay B&B near Wexford.
    Day 2 – Stay at Coolakay and explore local area.
    Day 3 travel to Cashel, take in the Rock of Cashel and stay the night there.
    Day 4 – make our way to Enniscorthy to stay and explore.
    Day 5 – Enniscorthy.
    Day 6- Renew our wedding vows (it is our 20th anniversary) at Enniscorthy castle. After the renewal, we need to make our way to Waterford for our anniversary dinner at Waterford Castle (where we will stay for 2 nights) by 6 pm. How long is the travel time between Enisscorthy and Waterford?
    Day 7 – Waterford Crystal factory and explore the city.
    Day 8 – Travel to Cork stopping to see the famine ship on the way. Stay in Cork.
    Day 9 – Blarney Castle. Stay in Cork.
    Day 10 – Jameson Experience. Stay in Cork.
    Day 11 – I don’t have anything planned or anywhere booked to stay but we need to head up toward Mayo for reservations the next day. Any suggestions?
    Day 12 – Ashford Castle.
    Day 13 – Ashford Castle and Hawk Walk experience.
    Day 14 – this is another day I have nothing planned or booked as we need to make our way toward Dublin.
    Day 15 – nothing planned but need to be in Dublin to stay as we leave the next day. Any suggestions on a place in Dublin?
    Day 16 – flight leaves at 1 pm

    Thoughts on this?

    • Stephanie September 18, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

      Hi Gennie,

      What a nice trip you have planned & congratulations on your anniversary! In November, it will be noticeably cool (upper 40’s/low 50’s) and possibly very wet (but that could happen of the year!). I’d suggest a nice warm layer with something waterproof. You also might have to adjust what you do each day due to limited day light–more time for pubs & music!

      Enniscorthy and Waterford isn’t very far–an hour maybe an hour and half with traffic. In between Cork and Cong, you have plenty of choices. A really nice halfway point is Adare–charming town with good shopping, restaurants and a few historic place to see.

      The second to last day could be spent in Galway, which is a lovely town or you go directly back to Dublin and spend some in the big city. If you choose the latter option, return the car as soon as get to the city, which is beyond terrible to drive in! We snagged a great deal on the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin via Priceline the last time we were there. It is one of three 5 star hotels in the city center listed and can be $300 per night and we got it for less than $150.

      I hope you have a great time!!

      Good luck

  40. morgan November 1, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    Stephanie, I notice you don’t mention anything about a hair dryer. There isn’t one provided where we’re staying and unfortunately, I don’t have wash-n-go hair. Any recommendations?

    • Stephanie November 5, 2014 at 10:24 am #

      Hi Morgan! I do have a hair dryer I purchased in Ireland a while ago. Sometimes I take it sometimes I don’t. But I am finding that more and more B&Bs offer hair dryers. If they aren’t in the room, the owner likely has a couple on hand that you can ask for. I find that it is worth saving the space of the hair dryer in my bag for the maybe one or two days I might not have one. That being said, if you do decide to bring a hair dyer along be sure that it has dual voltage or bring a converter. :-)

  41. Francesca November 11, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    Hi Stephanie!
    I’ll be travelling to Dublin for work in January 2015 (M-F) and will extend my stay for the weekend (Sat-Sun). I will shoulder my own expenses during the weekend and I was wondering how much should I budget for shopping or tour costs and food? (the cheaper the better LOL). I will be staying with a friend so I dont have to spend for my accommodation. Also, what activities would you suggest that I should do to experience Ireland? And if I can possibly travel anywhere outside Dublin where would you suggest? (whole day Saturday).

    • Stephanie November 13, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      Hi Francesca–what a wonderful place to go for a business meeting! :-) Costs all depend on what you want to do and your lifestyle. If you plan on going to the pub each night for a few rounds that can increase the cost significantly. If not–I would budget about 50 euros per day on food (assuming that you aren’t staying in a B&B for breakfast). For attractions or tours you may want to budget 25 to 50 euros. Two days isn’t a whole lot of time, but you could possibly take a tour to Wicklow or Kilkenny for the day on Saturday and then spend Sunday in the city. Places like Trinity College/Book of Kells and St. Patrick’s Cathedral are always on my must see list for first time visitors to Dublin. Check out these tour operators for your day trip–I haven’t used them so I can’t recommend specifically, but they may be a good starting place. Have a great time!!

  42. Kathleen November 20, 2014 at 8:19 am #

    Hi Stephanie – wonderful website – thanks so much! My husband and I are planning to spend 2 weeks in Ireland August 2015 – 1 week based in one hotel in Kilkenny City and 5 days on the Dingle Peninsula. I have a whole agenda planned out for Co. Kilkenny including meeting relatives I “unearthed” during my genealogy research who are still living there on the old family farm, and visiting the tombstone of yet another one of my Irish ancestors (a different family). Kilkenny City is an enchanting medieval town with so much to see and do (including kayaking on the River Nore) – it will feel good to settle there for 7 days.

    While on the Dingle Peninsula we are planning to visit the remote and wild Great Blasket Island which has been abandoned since 1953. Practically speaking, since we plan to roam the island for several hours, do you know if there is a bathroom accessible to visitors?! Ha ha – but seriously?

    • Stephanie December 1, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

      Hi Kathleen! haha—a great question!! I hate to break it to you, but no bathrooms on Great Blasket. Its best not to have tea that morning. :-) We didn’t find much cover on the Island, but also were able to get away from the group (only 10 or so of us on our boat)–so if you needed a quick break–you may still be able to find a spot to go. I hope this helps!

  43. Emily December 2, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    Hi Stephanie,

    Your website is super helpful as l plan our honeymoon in Ireland in May 2015. We’ll be in Ireland for 14 days, and I’m definitely going to follow your rule and only pack clothes for one week. I never would’ve thought of doing that if I hadn’t read your blog!
    Quick question, how many pieces of luggage do you suggest I take for a 14 day? I was thinking of taking two suitcases (one checked bag and another carry-on) and then a backpack. Too much, too little?

    • Stephanie December 14, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

      Hey Emily! We usually take two suitcases (one for each of us) and a carry-on each. Sometimes the carry-on is a small suitcase, other times its our backpacks. It really just depends how much extra room we need. Our backpacks are quite roomy, so it works as a part of our “luggage.” If we find we need more room once we are on the ground then I use one of those expandable duffles which really helps us organize (especially with dirtly laundry). I suggest packing and repacking both ways (if you have the time) and see what you think you can work with. Surprisingly, we almost always need less space or things than we bring every time. :-) Congrats on the wedding and have a great honeymoon!

  44. Kandace December 10, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Hey Stephanie!!
    Love this website so much information. My husband and I are planning our trip to Ireland in June 2015, we will be celebrating our 10th anniversary! We are so excited! We have a time share in Kilkenny at Knocktopher Abbey. Do you have any info on this gorgeous place? Also and fun spots or info on Kilkenny would be great! We also plan to rent a car and travel to Dublin. Any places or spots we should def hit on travel? Also I think I read in previous post you mentioned using the ATM with your debit card for euros? Is this right? The best option? Any and all info greatly appreciated!!

    • Stephanie December 14, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

      Hi Kandace! Happy anniversary (I might be a little early–but never too soon to start celebrating I think!). I hear Knocktopher Abbey is really nice. I am sure you will love it and your time in Kilkenny. We stayed in Thomastown for several nights this summer. It is a wonderful area to explore. Take a look at Days 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 for things to do in the area. Dublin isn’t such a far drive, but I would likely start or end your trip there rather than spending time to get there and back in a day. We also loved the Wicklow area for some amazing sites (Glendalough) and wonderful Mountain views (Sally Gap).

      As for money, ATM is by far the best way to Euros in Ireland. Check with your bank to be sure they don’t charge significant transaction fees. If so, you may want to consider opening a no fee account with another bank that doesn’t just for travel purposes.

      I hope this helps & have a great time in June!

  45. Laura January 11, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

    Hi Stephanie!
    Great website and great suggestions for packing! I would have never thought to pack for half the time! My husband and I are going to Ireland the first two weeks of June- we plan on renting a car for part of it too. We fly into Dublin- staying there three days then flying to Scotland for 4 days. We come back to Dublin from June 4-13th. We decided to get a hotel in Galway for a few days and then end in Dublin to split up the trip- and fly home from there. We figured it would be best to split bc driving everywhere from Dublin seemed silly and that way we can do each half equally.
    Any recommendations for each area? Also, we don’t want to stick out like “typical tourists” – what should we wear/not wear? Any places we should def go? We are down for anything really! were in our early 30’s if that helps!

    Thanks again!!

    • Stephanie January 12, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

      Hi Laura,
      In and around Dublin and Galway are fantastic areas to explore. If I were you I would check out all that Connemara has to offer–take a couple of days and head toward Clifden. Check out the Sky Road (my fav), Kylemore Abbey, and Connemara National Park. Galway itself is a fantastic little city–great pubs and great music (also great shopping!). If you head south, you won’t want to miss the Cliffs of Moher. Although there are a lot of tourists–its one amazing site! The Ballyvaghaun Tea Rooms are a great place to stop for a mid-morning snack:

      As cliche as it sounds, try to stay away from bright white sneakers and wearing your cameras around your neck most of the time. You will likely do quite a bit of walking, so comfy shoes are a must. I have a pair of Sketchers Go Walks. They are bit casual, but super comfy and not so obvious. I find that no matter what we do, people know we are tourists as soon as we open our American mouths. Such is life :-) I hope you enjoy your trip–it sounds like a whole lot of fun!

      • Laura January 14, 2015 at 8:09 am #

        Thank you so much for the information and suggestions! We will keep those suggestions in mind! There is so much to see that it is hard to limit ourselves and pick just a few! We have noticed that people have recommended on more than one occasion to not over do it with trying to see everything so we are trying to be more picky!

        I appreciate the suggestions of how not to look like a tourist haha! We will keep that in mind. I plan on keeing my camera in my backpack when not in use so I dont have it out all the time!

        One last question if you dont mind – when going out to clubs or pubs – are there certain dress codes? I know in the states different places do have dress codes – guys have it easier- they can get away with jeans and a button up but with girls its harder – you dont want to over dress or under dress!

        Thanks again!!!


        • Stephanie January 17, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

          You are right to limit what you plan to do. If you have the time and flexibility you can always add something in when you are there. Not stretching yourself too thin will make for a much more relaxing and spontaneous trip!

          Pubs are really casual, no dress code for dinner or drinks. Go as you are. Clubs, especially those in Dublin, may have a little more of a dress code per say. Some will likely expect that you aren’t in sneakers and t-shirts, but there isn’t much refusing at the door based upon not looking cute enough like in the states. I think the biggest thing they are really looking for is that you don’t appear to be too drunk or mischievous. You aren’t likely to get in then. ;-)

  46. Brisa January 15, 2015 at 5:54 am #

    Hi Stephanie, my husband and I are leaving for our first trip to Ireland next month. It will be our 10 year wedding anniversary. I’m loving all the advice on your page. This list is amazing and I will be following it as I start to pack. Thank you so much! We’re going to be flying into Dublin, staying at Fitzpatrick Castle. Sightseeing in Dublin and doing the Guinness Storehouse tour, driving to the Cliffs of Moher and maybe sqeezing in a few more adventures. We’re taking the ferry to France after that. So excited! Can’t wait. Thank you again. Brisa

    • Stephanie January 17, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

      Hi Brisa! It sounds like you have a fantastic trip ahead of you. Ireland and France–you lucky girl! Have a great time. :-)

  47. Brittany January 17, 2015 at 11:32 am #

    Hi Stephanie!
    Thanks for the list it will definitely help while pacing for my trip this summer. I was wondering if there are any travel credit card you (or anyone else) can suggest for me?
    Thanks, Brit :)

    • Stephanie January 17, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

      Hi Brittany! I am so glad this list is helpful. :-) As for travel credit cards, I have to say my #1 go to card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. You can use it in Ireland everywhere they accept cards and there are no foreign transaction fees. Also they show you the currency exchange for the moment they process the transaction on your statement so you can double check there is no funny business. But I guess the best part about this card is the Ulitmate Rewards you can earn for every purchase. You get 40,000 (or sometimes 50,000) points just for getting the card and spending a certain amount in the first few months. That is really big because one round trip ticket to Ireland is 60,000. :-) You can transfer your points to United, which flies to Dublin and Shannon and is a code share partner with Aer Lingus. So lots of pluses in my book. I hope this helps! :-)

  48. Pat Palmer January 25, 2015 at 11:12 pm #

    Thanks so much for the list. I have visited Ireland twice in the past, but never
    Northern Ireland. I will be going to a wedding there in early June. The wedding venue will be outdoors, but I believe there is a plan for indoors if it should rain. What would you suggest I wear as a wedding guest. I am the first cousin of the bride’s grandmother. The bride is from the US, but is marrying a man from Northern Ireland. I am a youngish 77.

  49. Kary January 26, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    So excited to find this site! Thanks so much for all of your insight. I do have a question (I hope I haven’t overlooked that you have already answered it): what is your advice on changing our money from dollars to euros? Bank here? At the airport? Once we arrive? We’re not sure when we should exchange it. Another question I have is: what should we budget as a cost for filling up the gas tank on the rental car we have rented? Thank you again for your information.

    • Stephanie January 27, 2015 at 7:27 am #

      Hi Kary! The best advice is to get money out while you are in Ireland through an ATM. Check with your bank at home before you go to find out if there are any surcharges or transaction fees when you do this. There are some banks out there that do not charge, so you could possibly shop around for a good account for your travels. Even if your current bank charges a small fee, it is usually still cheaper this way than exchanging dollars for euros at a bank in Ireland or in the US. I hope this helps!!

  50. Megan January 27, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    Hello. Thanks for the great list of what to pack. We are going in July, flying into and out of Dublin. We are traveling with a 6 year old, a 5 year old and a 1 year old. We need to spend a couple of days in Sligo with family but also want to do the Blarney Stone (I know it is touristy but a must for us). We have rented a car. What would be the best way to travel to see Blarney Castle, Cliffs of Moher, and the Ring of Kerry and Sligo? What is in between each of these destinations that we can stop and see as well. Much thanks.

    • Stephanie February 1, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

      Hi Megan!

      You’ve got a lot of great things you can see between Sligo and Blarney. No cause for concern over if there will be things to do, rather what will have to be left out! :-) How long do you have in Ireland? I hope at least a couple weeks so that you aren’t feeling like you are in the car the entire time (especially with two little ones!).

      If I were you, I’d hit Galway City in between Sligo and the Cliffs. It would be a great place to stop for a couple of days not only to see the city but possibly Connemara on the drive down. The Burren (near the cliffs) is also a great place for your 5 year old to run around if you want them to let off a little steam. Finally I would also suggest King John’s Castle in Limerick, which is great for just about every age.

      If the Ring of Kerry is a must for you, you might want use Killarney or Kenmare as a base before going to Blarney. Then head back up to Shannon before your departure.

      I hope this helps you get started. Enjoy the visit with your family and have a great time in Ireland!

  51. Kim January 29, 2015 at 11:54 am #

    This site has lots of wonderful information. We are about to book a trip to Ireland in June and have no idea what to do or not to do. I was given a itinerary but I haven’t locked it in. What are your thoughts?
    Three nights will give you the chance to catch your breath after the trans-Atlantic flights and enjoy the city of Dublin.
    O’Callaghan Alexander Hotel – High moderate property in great location. Daily breakfast included.
    Hop-On Hop-Off Tour included.
    Your local host can help you plan other tours such as Guinness Storehouse, Wicklow Tour, Old Jameson Distillery Tour to name just a few.
    Included in package
    Hayfield Manor is a highly rated property and a special country manor. I have booked guests here in the past and they have loved this property and experience. Daily breakfast included.
    Cork, Blarney Castle and Queenstown are included.
    Included in package.
    The Malton – another great hotel option with a good location. Daily breakfast included.
    Ring of Kerry tour included – one of the highlights of Ireland.
    Private car and driver transfer with stop enroute at Cliffs of Moher.
    Dromoland Castle – This property is exceptional and a special experience. Daily breakfast included.

    • ruth devendorf January 30, 2015 at 1:55 am #

      Well maybe my advice wont be welcomed since i havent left for Ireland yet….

      I am advocating self-guided vacation to ireland. We have done this with Paris and Barcelona and have never been disapointed. Unless you want to be told where you are going for the day and how long you can take pictures at each location, then go off on your own. You hae the freedom of changing your plans if aomething else catches your fancy and not being rushed. My bestie and i are doing just that. We are renting a car and driving from dublin to belfast to giants causeway, etc all along the coast down to galway, ring of fire,etc back to dublin. We will be there two weeks.

      If anything i say will be of use to you on your vacation, then just remember that driving the ring of kerry is supposed to be one of the most beautiful routes with spectacular scenery. But ill let you knpw for sure when i get back. :)

      • ruth devendorf January 30, 2015 at 1:57 am #

        I cant type on my phone and i apologize. I obviously meant ring of kerry!

      • Stephanie February 1, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

        Well said Ruth!! :-)

    • Stephanie February 1, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

      Hi Kim!
      As far as I can tell it looks like a decent itinerary with appropriate timing and neat things to do along the way. The downside for me is that all of it is pre-arranged without a lot of opportunities for spontaneity. When you get to see the countryside it will either be by train or with a tour group (Ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle for example). We tend to want to take our time with these places and I am afraid I would feel a bit restrained knowing I’d have to be back on the bus at a particular time. This is the primary benefit of renting a car, in which you have much for freedom and control over your experience. However, I know not everyone wants the responsibility of planning and so this might just be a good alternative.

      I imagine this reply didn’t give you the confidence in your decision to book the tour (sorry about that!). Perhaps the question is less about whether or not this is a good tour, but rather what do you want out of your trip? If not driving and having most everything completed before you go weighs more than independence and spontaneity, then I think you’ve got your answer! There is no wrong or right decision, just what works best for you.

      I hope you have a wonderful time Kim! -Stephanie

  52. Wendy January 30, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    This is such a great site! I just booked a trip for my daughter and I for the last week in March. We are flying into Dublin, renting a car and staying six nights before flying out of Shannon. Her 16th birthday will occur while we are there. We will be driving from Waterford to Killarney that day. Do you have any suggestions for a special place that we can celebrate her Sweet Sixteen?

    • Stephanie February 1, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

      Hi Wendy! What an awesome place to be for your 16th birthday. Your daughter has a pretty good Mom I’d say! ;-)

      Two places come to mind. The first is Blarney Castle. I really can’t think of a better thing to do than to Kiss the Blarney stone on your sweet 16—that’s a pretty memorable thing. If you have time, I’d explore the gardens and the grounds. Absolutely lovely and things should be just about popping out of the ground when you are there at the end of March.

      The second which maybe slightly less exciting to a 16 year old, but still cool nevertheless is the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. This is one amazing site and everyone who comes here is pretty impressed. They have a pretty good tour of the site and the scenery around the site make for some stunning photos.

      Beyond that, be sure to take her to a pub for a traditional music session in Killarney that night. You might have to ask around, but usually you can find a one most nights of the week there.

      Have a great time and I hope your daughter has a fantastic birthday!

      • Valarie February 7, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

        Hi Stephanie,
        My husband an I were very fortunate recently to win two flights out of Canada to anywhere a specific airline flies. We can only travel for one week due to time constraints. We have settled on flying to Dublin. Our only commitment is that we need to be in Dublin for May 15 when Mark Knoffler is in concert. We would like to travel outside of Dublin in a rental car, spend time seeing some sights, enjoying pubs and restaurants and people. We will likely fly into Dublin on May 9 and leave on May 16. any suggestions for must see places, we like character and fun. Any suggestions for mid-rangeplaces to stay in Dublin. Thanks so much. I have enjoyed reading your blog.

        • Stephanie February 19, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

          Yay for free flights Valerie! That’s fantastic! In the time that you have I’d probably stick to the south east or north of Dublin. You’ve got a lot of options in both directions! In the south, Wicklow, Glendalough, Kilkenny and Waterford have so much to offer. In the north, New Grange, Monsterboice, Belfast, Causeway Coast and Giant’s Causeway. You can’t really go wrong in either direction. I’d make a day or two of your time in Dublin–its a short tirp, so keep the driving between places to a minimum. Otherwise—you are going to have a great trip! Enjoy those free flights (and Ireland!!).

  53. Lee February 18, 2015 at 10:12 am #

    Fantastic site and fantastic advice. I’m preparing for my sixth trip to Ireland this April, and I heartily agree with the advice you’ve given regarding layering clothing no matter the time of year and realistic itineraries. Although the southwest coast can get quite warm during the summer–I’ve played golf in shorts there–everything north of there can experience much cooler weather any time of the year. Two years ago at the end of June on a stop in Sligo, it rained furiously an entire day and never got above 52.

    Regarding itineraries, for my upcoming trip of nine or ten days, I’m planning on flying into Dublin, staying for two days, driving to Belfast for two days, going to the northern causeway for two or three days, and ending the trip in Dublin for two or three days. I might add a day or two in either Donegal or Sligo to the trip by reducing the “two or three” day stops to two days each, but even with the good roads in Northern Ireland, I’m hesitant to stretch the trip that much.

    By the way, for those who may associate Northern Ireland with “the troubles,” I encourage trips there. Even at the peak of the religious clashes, there weren’t many problems outside Belfast and Derry, and for the most part, those issues now are historical rather than contemporary. The Glens of Antrim, the Carrick-A-Rede Bridge, and the Giant’s Causeway are all spectacular and worth a trip. I went to the Titanic Museum in Belfast, which was very interesting, and for fans of the Game of Thrones series, several tours have popped up that will take you to some of the outdoor locations used on the show although there are no tours allowed of the studios, which you can see from the Titanic Museum.

    In regards to driving, I’d make one additional suggestion: get a GPS. Not because you’ll need the directions to get between most towns because I’ve found that the signposts are generally good–even if the distances shown on some of the signs in the Republic may be a bit off–and you’ll have no problems getting from one place to another. I like having a GPS for exploring. Lots of the rural areas look interesting but are accessible by single-track roads only, and many of those roads intersect with other roads that look just as interesting. You can truly discover some beautiful countryside on those backroads, but without a GPS, it can be really confusing and time consuming to get back to the main highway. With a GPS, I just enter my ultimate destination and let it take me back to the main road.

    No need to rent a GPS, which may cost almost as much as your car rental; you can find microSD cards for many units through Amazon, many at much less than the price of a rental. If you already have a portable GPS you use in the US, you can just pop the card in the microSD slot (make sure the maps are from the same manufacturer as your unit!) and off you go. If you get a local SIM card with data for a cellphone, you should be able to use the built-in navigation software or add an app like MapFactor Navigator Free that allows you to download maps to your phone and use your phone as a GPS without a data plan. Not a necessity, but if you have extra time on your trip and want to wander a bit, an item that’s nice to have.

    Again, thanks for your wonderful site. Your packing list has reminded me of a few things to take for my upcoming trip. Cead mile failte!

    • Stephanie February 19, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

      Lee–thank you so much! What a wonderful post you’ve made. Its full of really useful information! :-)

      I love your upcoming itinerary. It basically mirrors our plan for Northern Ireland (I think we have a plan for just about every region in Ireland!). Its perfectly paced too. If you decide to head toward Donegal I can’t say enough of about Glenveigh National Park–a lovely spot!

      We’ve never used a GPS in Ireland—but I really think there are only benefits, especially if your bringing one from home. I’ll admit we were living in the dark ages, and didn’t even have GPS for home until recently, but now that we do we’ll be bringing it to Ireland.

      Thanks again for your fantastic comments–enjoy your 6th trip! :-)

  54. Elena March 6, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

    Great reading these posts!! I plan to head to Ireland with my teen sons in September, and Im just starting to plan the trip. Id like to do about 8-9 days…with at least 1-2 days in Couty Mayo area (where the family is from) and the rest to see Clifts of Moher, Bunratty/other castles, Dingle. Im thinking Ill drive it all and the help I need is where to fly in, the best route to hit these, and which towns to stay in. Is ot better to do a self drive tour, or do this myself? Having never been there, Im just unsure of how long it takes to get from one place to another! Any help woudl be much appreciated!!!

    • Stephanie March 7, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

      Hi Elena,

      You best bet for flights with your itinerary is in and out of Shannon–plus that’s my favorite anyway (easy peasy to get in and out of). I am sure you can do this yourself and already have a pretty good idea of itinerary. I use or google maps to estimate driving times (add at least 20% to account for small roads and sheep!). Give yourself more room than you think you need in your itinerary—you will always find things to fill up your days. :-) I think you are going to have a great time with your boys!

  55. Terry March 9, 2015 at 9:34 am #


    I am so happy to have found your site. The packing list lakes a load off my mind. I will also benefit from your advice to other travelers.

    I am going to Ireland early May with three other ladies. We spend one night in Dublin, four nights wherever we’d like, then another night in Dublin. I have been all around the southern coast from Dublin to Galway. It was an amazing trip. The other ladies have not been to Ireland. Of course I would like to see Belfast this trip. I can’t imagine letting the others miss the Cliffs of Moher or Galway. Time is short. I am overwhelmed by Foder’s suggestions. Do you have any suggestions for an itinerary? We want to see the sights, hear the music, shop, hike, etc.

    I know you have not been to Northern Ireland, so if you can’t help, I understand. I’m curious, why haven’t you visited the north? Do you plan to?

    Any guidance you can give will be appreciated.

    Thank you-


    • Lee March 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

      I have not spent extensive time in Belfast, just the portion of one afternoon driving from Dublin to Belfast, dropping my sister off, having lunch, and going to the Titanic Museum with her in summer 2013. I very much enjoyed the Titanic Museum. The drive from the Dublin airport to Belfast is around 90 minutes.

      On my last trip to Dublin last November, my sister took the train from central Dublin to Belfast. I can’t remember how much the fare was but the trip was less than two hours. She went up and came back the same day, visiting the Christmas market in central Belfast, but there are some reasonable options for accommodations in Belfast, including a Premier Inn that is located within walking distance of the Museum and a short cab ride from central Belfast. Premier is a mid-range hotel chain based in the UK that also has an off-airport location near Dublin airport.

      Galway is also doable by train from Dublin, although a longer trip, and is a great town to visit. You may be able to pick up a day tour from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher. I’m not much on guided tours, but for an excursion like that, it might be just the thing. Galway is a bit of a loud pub town–nothing wrong with that, but for peaceful accommodations, I found the suburb of Salthill, about a 20-minute walk along the waterfront from central Galway, a much more pleasant place to stay.

      Unless renting a car, I wouldn’t do much more. A day in Dublin, a ride up to Belfast, either staying there or coming back to Dublin for a second night, a train ride to Galway for several days with a side trip to the Cliffs and then return to Dublin.

      Now, with a rental car, you could pick up the car after your first day in Dublin, drive to Belfast (motorway all the way there so relatively easy to do and Belfast is not as bad as Dublin for having a car, especially if you stay near the Titanic Museum), then drive over to Galway for a day or two, drive to the Cliffs, and then continue down to Killarney for a day or so before driving back to Dublin. The longest drive on that stretch is either the drive from Belfast to Galway or Killarney to Dublin, each around four hours. Everything other than the trip from Galway to the Cliffs and on to Killarney is on a motorway so you can make reasonable time on the roads.

      If you rent a car, make sure you read Stephanie’s excellent post on that–it covers all the issues you need to know.

    • Stephanie March 14, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

      Hi Terry! How fun to be able to have some time on your own to explore with your friends. You post a great question–why haven’t we visited the north yet?? I don’t think I have a good answer for you. :-) We’ve driven through the north, but haven’t made it a destination yet primarily because we really like to take our time when we travel. When we do get there, NI will be the primary focus. I honestly cant wait to go! There is so much to do and see (and I have ancestors from a small town outside of Belfast!).

      I don’t think you will be letting anyone down if you decide to the north and not west. The Causeway, the coastline, Belfast. There is a lot to take in and with only four days I definitely wouldn’t add much more to your itinerary. No matter what, your friends are lucky to have someone so caring to consider everyone’s wants and interests. I am certain you guys will have a great trip!

  56. Tammy March 16, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

    Hi, what a great list! Your suggestions and comments are extremely helpful. My daughter (10) and I are headed to Ireland for two weeks the end of June, flying into Dublin. Taking a train immediately to Limerick…which train station would we use and do you recommend buying tickets ahead of time?

    Also is it easy to get laundry done throughout the country? We two night stays through out our stay…thanks! Tammy

    • Lee March 24, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

      Regarding your question about laundries, that shouldn’t be a problem as many laundries will offer same day service so long as you drop off early enough in the day–by 9 a.m. to be safe. For various reasons, I always try to drop off laundry the first day I intend to be in a town. For instance, in case your schedule does not allow you to drop your clothes off early or if the laundry is unusually busy, you many need to leave your laundry overnight. For that reason, it helps if you pack one full outfit that can either be washed in the sink or doesn’t require washing. For instance, a sweater/jeans combination generally doesn’t require washing at all while you can add some sort of light t-shirt or polo shirt that is made from a lightweight, tech fabric that easily washes and dries overnight.

      Prepare ahead of time. Do a Google search to see which of the towns on your itinerary have laundries that will likely do a wash-and-fold service.

      Also, as a more general point, it’s good to be aware that laundries, just like most retail businesses other than hotels, pubs, and restaurants in Ireland, even in Dublin, tend to close earlier than in the US–5 or 6 p.m. is the norm. Just another reason you might need to pick up your laundry the day after you drop it off.

      One more thing I like to do: bring a written list of what you’re leaving–i.e., six pairs of socks, five undergarments, two pairs of pants, etc.–so that you and the laundry are on the same page about what you’ve left. Dry cleaners in the US give you a receipt that accomplishes this, but you’ll find many of laundries, especially in the small towns outside of Dublin, do not. I’ve never lost an article of clothing in Ireland or the UK, but an experience or two in the US where I have occasionally dropped off clothing for cleaning and folding and lost a piece of clothing or two made me start doing it everywhere. Just in case the laundry mixes in your laundry with someone else’s to run one load instead of two, you and the owner of the laundry will appreciate the convenience of the reference sheet.

      • Stephanie March 28, 2015 at 10:11 am #

        Great points Lee! We’ve never lost an article of clothing at a Launderette before, but we have gained someone else’s socks! Too bad they were too big for for Joe or me. :-)

      • Tammy April 14, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

        Thanks for the tips!

    • Stephanie March 28, 2015 at 10:21 am #

      Hi Tammy!

      Unfortunately there aren’t any train stations connected to the Dublin airport. You will have to get a taxi or take a bus to get to Hueston Station (which is south of the city) to get to Limerick. I do recommend buying your tickets online before you go to get a small discount.

      It looks like Lee has you covered with info about Launderettes. We’ve had our laundry done in Killarney and Waterford–most larger cities will have at least one. Ask your B&B hosts for recommendations.

      I hope you and your daughter have a fantastic trip to Ireland. What fun for a 10 year old! :-)

      • Tammy April 14, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

        Thanks so much!!

  57. Barbara Demusz March 20, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

    Wonderful website Stephanie! I am full filling a life long dream and finally at the age of 60 going to Ireland. My main question is weather in June. We’re going mid June for 9 days. Will the weather be cool enough for jeans or do I need to bring lighter weight pants or even shorts??? and what do you suggest for walking shoes? Thanks!

    • Lee March 24, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

      This could depend on the part of the country you’ll be in. For the most part, I’d say jeans would be fine and I wouldn’t leave a pair of jeans or other warm pants out of my wardrobe, but in the southwest, I’ve had days where it was so warm, I’ve played golf in shorts. It rarely gets much above 80 in Ireland, and during a trip there in June 2013, a cold front moved in where I was staying in Sligo, and it rained hard, was windy, and never got above 52 degrees. In June, July, or August, you really need to pack for spring/summer/fall and shouldn’t be surprised if you have one day where you experience all three within hours!

      • Barbara Demusz March 24, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

        Much appreciated and Thanks for the info. We are going to Southwest Ireland Dublin, Waterford,Killarney, Dingle Peninsula, Doolin, Galway, Connemara so layering my clothes sounds like a plan!!

    • Stephanie March 28, 2015 at 10:36 am #

      Hi Barbara!

      Jeans are probably your best bet as long as they are comfortable for you. I don’t think I’ve ever been so warm in Ireland that I had wished for shorts (although they did have a fantastically warm spell last summer after our trip!). If you have a light weight pair of pants (and enough room in your suitcase), you could bring those along.

      We’ve had wonderfully warm days in June, but also had March-like weather too with wind and cold rain. So prepare for both and hope for the best. :-)

      For shoes, comfort is key for me. I don’t really like the look of walking around in tennis shoes unless we are hiking. Last year I bought these walking shoes and I really love them. They aren’t super stylish, but they aren’t bright white tenny’s either.

      I am so glad your are finally getting to Ireland–once you go for the first time, its hard not to want to go back!

  58. Carroll Hayes March 26, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

    Love this info and your fantastic list – a total help!!- we are headed for 20 days to Scotland and Ireland first of Aug. 2015 – 2 day pre-stay on our own in Scotland – middle 16 day with CIE TOURS and 2 day after stay in Dublin on our own – Sorta best of both options with a rest before touring and rest after for exploring. I made a little different list to add to yours or help on the packing and Back Pack daily packing needs – Thought would add if anything helps anyone – I have been reading as many sites as I can, for tips and suggestions – looking forward to our FIRST of hopeful many trips. * The daily Back Pack list I am including is great – found it elsewhere and sharing it – I love it to have and will use it to follow each evening for the next days adventures. Again Thank you for this wonderful informational site for us all to benefit from!!

    2 weeks + two travel days – 5 jeans – 1 waterproof lightweight pants to pull over hiking pants if it rains- 2 capris or shorts – sweatpants – 10 to 15 tops of cotton material – long and short sleeves – sweater or hooded jacket – rain coat – poncho – 2 waterproof hiking shoes – evening shoes – sleepwear – over coat or wrap for fine dining – elec. converters – luggage locks for bus tours and when leaving in room – your checked bag should be no larger than 62 linear inches (length + width + height) and weigh no more than 50 pounds. Your carry-on bag should not exceed 46 linear inches and weigh no more than 11 pounds.

    The following is a list of some of the recommended things to bring:
    Passport / Driver’s License and other forms of identification –
    Make a set of copies of all of the above to leave at home in case needed to send –
    and in separate location if originals lost –
    Credit Cards, Bankcard, Spending Money / Waist Pouch – to hold these items
    Printed list of all reservations, air/car/hotels and hotel phone numbers
    Maps / Guide Information / Local ATM locations
    Camera and Camera Cards / Electric Converters
    Cosmetics and Personal Toiletries ( separate list )
    Extra Eyeglasses and Contacts and Sunglasses
    Any Necessary Medicine and Doctors Information
    A lightweight windbreaker raincoat / Poncho – large enough to go over day pack
    Two pairs of comfortable hiking shoes
    Umbrella / Flightlight
    Mini First Aid Kit / Mini Nail Kit / Mini Sewing Kit / Mini Medicine Pack:
    ** Motion sickness, Upset stomach/Anti-nausea medicine, and Pain Reliever
    Chewing gum for ear discomfort (if flying)
    Ear Plugs – for windy days
    Inflatable Pillow / Inflatable Lumbar Pillow
    Laundry Bag for dirty clothes / large trash bag
    Zippered Zip Lock Bags
    Small Bag for snacks
    Empty Plastic bag for wet items if it rains
    Day Hat / Gloves if weather is to be on the colder side / Scarf
    Belt / Lots of Socks / Gloves / Winter Cap is to be colder
    Sport Coat or Jacket for evening wear – if going to fine dining restaurants
    Empty Shopping bag rolled for day use as needed
    Empty Duffel for gift purchase to bring home
    Underwear / Bras / Tanks / Optional – Swimsuit
    Lewis N. Clark No-Jet-Lag Homeopathic Flight Fatigue Remedy – wonderful help for jet lag
    Luggage Locks / Converters / Book / Plane Entertainment
    Bathroom supplies – toothbrush / toothpaste / floss / deodorant
    Feminine Hygiene Products – if needed
    Tissues / Wet Wipes / Sanitizer Wipes
    Lotion / Hair Products / Bath Products
    Sunblock / Bug Spray
    Stain Remover Stick
    Safety Pins
    Rubber Bands for rolling items
    Mirror – magnified mirror if needed
    Flat Iron ( hair dryers not necessary as most all places have them )
    Razors / Shaving Cream / Extra Blades
    Wash Cloths- hotels do not supply / Make Up Pads
    Day Pack List for Daily Packing to carry with you on hikes and tours-
    For Your Daily Touring Day Back-Pack: ( was recommended to use individual zippered bags making it easier to find items and to roll many items for easy packing) Binoculars
    Rolled Poncho
    Rolled Raincoat
    Rolled Up Thin All Weather pants – to go over jeans
    Rolled inflatable Pillow / Rolled inflatable Lumbar Pillow – for bus tours
    Flashlight – for cloudy dark days hiking
    Bag Filled: Passport / Documents / Money / Hotel Numbers
    Bag filled: First Aids and Med.s / Mini Toothbrushes / Tissues / Ear Plugs
    Bag Filled: Chapstick / Wet Wipes / Sunblock / Toothpicks / Eye Wash / Gum
    Bag Filled: Snacks – jerky / hard granola bars/ hard candies/ trail mix
    Sanitizer Wipes / Tissues
    Extra Socks
    Rolled Empty Shopping Bag – with zipper closure and small lock if needed to leave on bus
    Camera – Camera Cards
    Bag Filled: Glasses / Sunglasses / Contacts and Wash
    Hat / Scarf
    Gloves if chilly weather expected
    Bag Filled withAll Electronics and cords and plugs
    Phone / Watch
    Refillable Water Bottle / Optional: Folding Hiking Stick

    I always think the more information the better to choose what works best for your needs. Again – a million thank yous to everyone for sharing!!

    • Stephanie March 28, 2015 at 10:40 am #

      Thanks so much for adding to the list Carroll! I agree—the more information and choices the better educated you can be to make the best decisions for you. Everybody is different. I’ve been toying with going with only a carry-on on our next trip! It will be a challenge, but I think I’ll like the idea of traveling light! :-)

      Enjoy your trip to Ireland and Scotland! :-)

  59. Peps March 30, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    Hi Stephanie,

    Looking at all your detailed answers & help i am hoping against hope that you will be able to guide me.
    This will be my first trip to Ireland from US. I will be travelling to Dublin 24 around April End/Early May along with my Spouse and 2 yr old kid. I would be working out of the City west Business Campus. Can you suggest some places/contacts where i can expect accomodation at reasonable rates and quality. Something close to the City West campus else a place from where there is good public transport connectivity even if it is far.
    I am also looking forward to go around places and get to know the Irish Culture. Also planning to visit towns where you would get amazing seafood and enjoy nature

    • Lee March 30, 2015 at 11:33 am #

      You’re in luck. City West has a stop on the Luas light rail Red line, which expands your options if you’re willing to commute to work. The Luas runs right into central Dublin. I took the Red line out to Tallaght which is at the end of one branch of the Red line–you’ll want to look for trains that go to the other branch, Saggart, to get to City West. Either way, it’s probably a 40 minute ride into Dublin from City West. You can buy a 7-day pass for unlimited rides on the Luas for about 25 euro.

      You didn’t say how long you’ll be in the Dublin area, but if it’s a week or more, I’d suggest what the Europeans call a “self-catering” apartment or home. Over the course of a week, self-catering apartments may very well run cheaper than a hotel with the benefits of full cooking and laundry facilities, allowing you to save a little money on dining if you wish and to pack fewer clothes because you’ll have a washer/dryer available. There are a good number of these located in central Dublin, which would allow your wife and child A Google search for “self catering Dublin” should bring up some results, but here’s one option run by Tripadvisor:

    • Stephanie April 16, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

      Hi Peps!

      It looks like Lee gave you some great advice. :-) If you still haven’t booked your accomodations yet. Joe and I have used these sites for more apartment style housing. We particularly like AirBnB because we still feel like we get to know someone local but still have our own place. Many hosts will already have some weeks blocked for the summer, so it might be harder to get accommodations settled. I hope this helps a little and that you have a fantastic time! :-) (If you use this link you’ll get $25.00 off and we’ll get a small credit too–just drop the last bit if you want to sign up without the credit).

  60. Peps March 30, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    Forgot to mention that i would be working in ireland anytime between 3 to 5 months.

    • Lee March 30, 2015 at 11:36 am #

      Definitely look at self-catering–3-5 months in a hotel would be pretty expensive, not to mention a bit claustrophobic! Left a sentence incomplete above about the sightseeing your wife and child could do. Phoenix Park in Dublin is very nice and has a great zoo.

  61. peps April 3, 2015 at 9:54 am #

    thanks lee. Is it possible to get an accomodation under 1000 Euro for a family of 3 on a short term lease..(3-5 months). I checked with a couple of agents and the only think i hear is that they do minimum of 12 months :-(. Just wondering how do people stay in ireland who come on short trips..there must be a way

    • Lee April 3, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

      I think that tougher peps. You fall into an inbetween area. Lots of landlords understandably prefer locking a tenant into a year-long lease. At the other end of the spectrum, the weekly rentals make some sense because companies like have popped up to market and handle those kinds of rentals, which as I mentioned, probably are cheaper than hotels but which still make a nice profit for the landlord and the marketing companies. To insure business, they’re probably willing to offer some sort of discount for a rental of more than a week and up to a month, but probably after that, the discount wouldn’t become steeper.

      Add in that your stay probably spans the shoulder season into July and August, the prime tourist travel months in Europe, and the likelihood of a big discount drops even more. Just as accommodation prices rise in the US for a big holiday weekend or big event, like the July 4th holiday or the hotel prices likely charged in Indianapolis this weekend during the NCAA Final Four, July and August prices could easily double or triple. June is not quite as expensive, but I think landlords are likely to raise short-term rates to a level higher than they charge in April and May.

      And then, your need for accommodations for three increases the degree of difficulty. On your own, you might be able to couch surf and move occasionally from place to place to take advantage of whatever deal you could find. You’d have a very, very, very understanding wife if she agreed to go on those terms.

      I think you have to expand your research and open up some options. First, you might find something in close to Dublin for the early part of your trip that might meet your budget. Maybe if you could stay through mid-June in a close-in apartment in central Dublin and then move towards the suburbs, you could keep within your budget. Second, there are websites that offer mid-term leases that you’ll want to investigate. For instance, try for rental suggestions; there’s a link for “Short Term Lets” that allow rentals of less than a year, but many of them are either too expensive (more than double your budget), not great looking properties (some even look like “council” housing, which is the UK/Irish term for public housing), or not timed to start for your target date. You may even have to give up easy access to public transportation as well as I expect that housing along the Luas lines is probably more expensive than housing further removed. I did find this entry,, which would begin on June 1 and would require a minimum three-month lease that you might be able to pair with another short-term rental running through the end of May. I’m not familiar with the surrounding neighborhood, however–I’d consider looking at a travel or residential forum focusing on Dublin or Ireland in general to see if you could get information about the safety of this or any other neighborhood.

      Hope this helps.

      • Peps May 6, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

        Hey Lee & Stephanie,

        Dint have much luck so far. checked with a couple of agents and they are asking for 1-2 months of deposit for short term letting. Planning to travel around 16th/17th May.
        I could see a lot of properties in Dublin 18. Think this is the closest. Do let me know if you have any other suggestions or info

  62. Alissa April 14, 2015 at 8:52 pm #


    I will be in Ireland 9/18-10/2 on a guided tour but will have a lot of free time. When traveling I really like to visit local markets to shop for one of a kind artisan goods like jewelry and vintage accessories. Do you know of any good ones in Dublin, Belfast, Donegal, Galway, Killarny, or Kinsale?

    Also, I was planning on bringing a pair of knee high hunter rain boots but I read somewhere that most people don’t wear them, that I would definitely look like a tourist. Any opinions on footwear? Tall boots, booties, tennis shoes, birkenstock sandles, etc???

    • Stephanie April 16, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

      Hi Alissa! Sounds like you have a great trip planned! I am all for free time on guided tour so its great that you get a lot. In Dublin, fellow blogger Emily suggests checking out Meetinghouse Square in Temple Bar, which transforms into a farmer’s market with stalls full of produce, cheese, baked goods, olives, and even oysters. Meetinghouse Square happens to have a beautiful permanent umbrellas overhead, making it a great destination even on soggy days.

      In Kilkenny, I quite like Kilkenny design center right across from the castle. There are some unique artisans there. Galway is full of great shops–head for Shop street (ironically) and you should find a bunch!

      As for shoes to wear, I suggest whatever is comfortable for you. You will often find rain boots in Ireland, but they are more or less used for country walks or on the farm then generally wearing them around like we might in the US now. If you will be doing a lot of walking, which is likely, I’d go with something well worn that will give you a little support.. I’ve worn tall boots, tennis shoes, and ballet flats, but generally end up with the tennis shoes (while the least stylish) because they work well for what I end up doing most of the day.

      I hope this helps! Have a great time on your tour. -Stephanie :-)

  63. Shauna April 16, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    My 18 year old daughter and I will be traveling to Ireland for the first time on June 11 for a nine day visit. We will fly into Dublin and fly out from Shannon. We’ll stay in Dublin for two days and then are hoping to head west with a car that we’ll rent. We’d like to go to Dingle Peninsula and Cliffs of Moher. Any suggestions of what towns/cities to stop at along the way? We are considering going to Kilkenny and then heading to Dingle. We feel funny skipping the Ring of Kerry but it sounds so crowded. I don’t want to try to see too much as we really want to enjoy Ireland without feeling rushed.

    • Stephanie April 16, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

      Hi Shauna! Kilkenny on the way to Dingle is a great idea. I’d probably get to Kilkenny and stay overnight for one night, then head to Dingle the next day with a stop at the Rock of Cashel along the way. You’ll want at least a couple of full days in Dingle and another couple of days to drive up to the Cliffs and enjoy that area. All in all, your gut is probably right to leave Ring of Kerry (this time!). I hope you and your daughter enjoy your trip! -Stephanie

      • Shauna April 17, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

        Thank you so much Stephanie! Your info has been so helpful and we’re so happy to have an itinerary. Rock of Cashel sounds wonderful and I think we will stop there.

        • Stephanie April 21, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

          Happy to help Shauna! :-)

  64. sepulveda April 23, 2015 at 11:51 pm #

    What a wonderful list! We are in the beginning stages of planning for our 8 week trip to Ireland starting June 13th! It will be 5 total – my husband, 3 children and me…we travel extremely light – 1 backpack per person! That’s it! Anything we need we can buy there and leave there as donations if necessary. There are sooo many choices on were to stay so a bit overwhelmed…we prefer to stay in one spot most the time as a base and will rent a home. We will travel from there for smaller getaways to explore the treasures of Ireland. All the comments and your answers wonderfully helpful!

    • Lee April 24, 2015 at 7:10 am #

      Hello from Sligo, Ireland where I’m winding down my current trip. I just spent two days in an apartment in Castlerock, Northern Ireland that I found through They are apparently associated with Tripadvisor and have listings all over the world, including Ireland. Although I’ve stayed in hotels most of the time I’ve been here, I wanted to see if I could find a place to stay a couple of days in the middle of my trip that would have a washer/dryer.

      The three-bedroom apartment I took was very pleasant although obviously bigger than I needed for myself, cost me about what a room at a hotel would have cost, and had a nice view of the sea. The washer/dryer was exactly what I needed to help me reduce packing for my ten-day trip–it was all one unit so you might need to Google the manufacturer (mine was Indesit) for instructions on its use. Given that it was the offseason, I was able to get a rental of less than seven days that probably wouldn’t be allowed during the busier summer months, but it doesn’t sound as if that would bother you.

      Now, don’t get me wrong. The apartment was far from perfect. In fact, the owner is probably trying to sell it and rents it currently while maintaining it for sale. As a short-term rental, it was fine, but I’d have a hard time considering a purchase. There were plaster cracks in some places, and the layout was a bit odd with one bedroom almost located at the other end of the unit from the hall bathroom it would have used (my bedroom had an en suite bath so no issue for me). These issues probably wouldn’t bother most folks for a week, especially given the extra space and relatively lower price compared with a hotel room, and as a result, I’d consider any apartment that meets your budget in an appealing or convenient area–and then take a realistic attitude towards the apartment’s condition. For my purposes, Castlerock was fine although I needed to go to nearby towns for pubs and restaurants; however, there was a Costcutter convenience store directly across the street that I used to pick up breakfast items and some laundry detergent so while its location wasn’t great for a single, it might be excellent for a family.

      I’m sure a Google search will reveal services similar to Holiday Lettings, but I was satisfied with their offerings and will probably use them again next spring when I’m planning a trip to Scotland.

    • Stephanie May 6, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

      8 weeks!! Oh you are so lucky to be able to spend so long in Ireland! I gotta say I am quite jealous. :-) Deciding where to stay with a family of five for 8 weeks can certainly be overwhelming. My best advice is to search for self-catering cottage in the town that you want to be located. Google is a fabulous place to start, but email the owners directly to get any questions answered before you book. With so long, you might consider two locations to get to explore another area in depth. We also like airbnb to find interesting places to stay too! I hope this helps and you have a fantastic time with your family!

  65. Christine Kelly May 3, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    I am so glad I found this list. My husband and I are going for the first time June 21-29. We will be flying in to Dublin, travelling to Cork, Limerick, and Shannon. I like the idea of packing light and buying what we might need. I was also worried about what type of shoes I might need. My husband does not like the idea of having to check a bag. I would rather, just to not have to worry about using travel size toiletries! We are going with another couple and are concerned about the amount of luggage fitting into our rental car as we travel from place to place…

    • Lee May 3, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

      Wise to be concerned. When I was there in mid-April, I rented a Fiat 500 with two doors and a hatch. Carrying only my carryon, which was about 10% smaller than the regulation 22x14x9, and a golf bag, I found it a tight fit as a solo traveler. So, to a certain extent, your husband’s concern about checking a bag has a positive side effect: you’ll carry less luggage. By the way, a similar concern arises regarding the size of many hotel rooms–they’re generally much smaller than in the US with very limited storage space. Several of the hotels I was in could probably take no more than six to eight pieces of clothing hung in an armoire–don’t expect any closets! At my hotel in Dublin, I had to leave my golf bag on the floor of the room and step over it each time I went to the bathroom because the room was so small.

      The moral of my story: pack as light and small as you can. One bag each, if possible, and even better, a smaller bag such as I carried. And in regards to toiletries, Dublin, Limerick, and Cork each have multiple locations of the British Boots pharmacy chain. Go there or to other local pharmacies to purchase larger sized toiletries to reduce the amount you’ll need to pack. Given the number of stops you’re making in eight days, consider packing just enough for three days and rotate your clothing. That’s enough so that you don’t wear the same thing twice at any one stop. Sure, you, your husband, and your friends will know you’re rotating your clothing, but who cares? You’re in Ireland!

  66. nancy May 14, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    Four of us are leaving June 27th for Ireland, arriving in Dublin at 5:30 am and spending the day and night and renting a car on June 29th and then touring south/east/west Ireland for 7 days. We have a great itinerary and staying in B&B’s and castles. We are looking for suggestions as to what to do so early in the day in Dublin as we will leave our luggage at our hotel but wont be able to check in our rooms until later in the day. We are staying at the Arlington Hotel in Dublin. Thank you for any suggestions.

    • Stephanie May 14, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

      Hi Nancy!
      One of my favorite things to do in Dublin is see the Book of Kells and Trinity College Long Room. There can be a line, but I think the exhibit is quite worth it. I always suggest watching the quirky animated film Secret of Kells before going so you can see a little of the history before arriving. I also quite love walking Grafton Street (and the side streets) and strolling along in St. Stephen’s Green (just after I’ve grabbed a hot chocolate at Butler’s on the corner). If you keep moving this day it should help you get through the jetlag. :-) Have a great time in Ireland Nancy! -Stephanie :-)

      • Beatrice May 16, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

        Hi Stephanie! I found your site through google and so glad I did. You have answered so many of my questions. We’re headed on June 2 with 2 other couples to Dublin and doing a tour – I know, most advise against it but we’re a pretty easy going group and just want to end our day in a pub ;-) Anyway, I’m not sure you’ve answered this above but wondered about tipping?? You mention taking 100 euros – not sure the rate to dollars but if we stopped to get a coffee and used our credit card, do we add a tip on the card or do you advise dropping in a cash tip – and if so, how much? I’m hoping for warmish weather. Out of the 9 days we are there, how many would you expect it to rain. And when it rains, is it a heavy rain or more like a Seattle rain where it’s enough to be annoying but not enough to carry an umbrella?? Thanks!!

  67. Linda K Gallaher May 25, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

    Hi Stephanie,

  68. Linda K Gallaher May 25, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

    Hi Stephanie, I have been following your Blog for a long time now. My sister and her spouse (They are renting a farm house in Ireland) The place is Millknock Farm just outside the village of Tacumshane,SE corner of Wexford. They have family coming from London, children and grandchildren. I am the only one coming from the US. I will be there from July 25th to August 8th. Several people will have cars, I will not, and I don’t mind getting around on my own a bit. I am searching a lot of tour companies, but I have read that the farm is about 2 hours to Dublin. I really chose your site as the best for all ideas, but especially for the packing lite as my sister said that the rental cars are small..I do not have to pay for the housing, but will contribute to groceries, but also like your information on food places to eat. Do you recommend any tour companies or know how I can get to Dublin from the farm. I still have time and am still reading all of your information. Just wanted to say thanks
    Kindest Regards, Linda K Gallaher

    • Stephanie June 25, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

      Hi Linda!

      You must be getting excited! Your trip isn’t too far away!! Your best bet from getting to and from the farm will be to use the Irish bus or rail system from Rosslare Harbour, which isn’t too far from Tacumshane. They both have regular service daily so that should be easy as long as you can arrange travel to and from Rosslare (which could be a cab).

      Thanks so much for all the complements about the site. :-) I am really glad you find it helpful! Have a wonderful time in Ireland!

  69. Liz May 27, 2015 at 8:53 am #

    My husband & I leave tomorrow!!! We are flying into Shannon, flying out of Dublin. Staying 2 nights in Westport, 1 night in Galway, 1 night in Liscannor, 2 nights in Dingle, 1 night Kinsale, 3 nights in Dublin. We have our car reserved and all sleeping arrangements, but otherwise have a very loose itinerary. Any last minute advice? Must-see things to do/see along our routes? Thanks!

    • Lee May 27, 2015 at 10:40 am #

      If you love great seafood, try Fishy Fishy in Kinsale. I’ve had two great meals in the last six months at The Winding Stair in Dublin. Even if you aren’t beer or Guinness lovers, I always recommend the tour at the Guinness brewery because of the access to the circular, top-floor bar at the end of the tour. Take your camera because you’ll get some of the best views of Dublin and the Wicklow Mountains from there. And you’ll learn cool historical facts, including that Guinness is on a long-term (and I do mean long-term) lease that provides for an annual rent payment of 45 pounds per year–probably reasonable in the 1700s when the lease was entered but unbelievable now, especially given its position in central Dublin. If you’re interested in theater, Dublin has several venues that may very well be presenting a play starring an actor or actress that you may know.

      I assume you are going to do the Ring of Kerry while down in the southwest–if so, I’ve heard that the best way to go is clockwise as there are so many tour buses going in the opposite direction that you’ll undoubtedly get stuck behind them, especially during the busy tourist season.

      In many restaurants and pubs, servers do not push the check on you. In fact, you may find that you need to catch the eye of your server and say “we’ll take the check [tab, bill]” or you might sit there unattended for a long time after you’ve finished your meal. Also, keep in mind that wages in Irish restaurants are well above those in America and that tipping was generally not customary until recently. Now, lots of restaurant tabs will have a line for tipping on the bill. The consensus seems to be 10% is fine if you even want to leave a tip–and I know enough locals who do not.

      Enjoy yourself!

    • Stephanie May 28, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

      Hi Liz! Bon Voyage! I hope you had a safe trip to Ireland. Lee has given you some solid advice already about what to see in a variety of areas. One of my favorite spots near Westport is Achill Island. You will be happy with your two nights in Dingle. The Slea Head Drive has spectacular views around every corner and if you want a real treat spend half a day out on Great Blasket. Don’t miss Murphy’s Ice-cream (and if you really like you can take a second round in their Dublin shop). I second Fishy Fishy in Kinsale, but truly you won’t go hungry in that town–so many great places to choose from. Enjoy your trip!! -Stephanie

  70. Tammy Tavares May 27, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    Coming in September 2015. I always do not pack what I need. Have used a list still in Manchester England was cold. Was there May 2015. Help. And where can I get free travel brochures? We go around first week of September.

    • Stephanie June 25, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

      Hi Tammy–I am afraid in Ireland you could experience cold weather in September too (or in July for that matter). So I find its best to be sure you have layers. I like to go with a nice t-shirt style shirt, fleece/sweater and a rain jacket. So I can take them on or off as needed. For brochures head straight to the tourist board sites for the area you want to visit. Many of them offer electronic brochures you can peruse online, but when you arrive is the best time to get the most up to date and comprehensive ones in the tourist offices. Have a wonderful time Tammy!!

  71. julia June 1, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    i head to dublin this thursday. will be in the country for 2 weeks. be ready for rain. have layers. will i need a heavy jacket? how cold should i be prepared for? and i won’t ever need sandals will i? thank you!!!

    • Laura June 1, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

      Hi Julia,
      I was just in Dublin the last 3 days (currently my husband and I are in Scotland for the next 4, then back to Ireland for the remainder of our trip). It has been very cold- mainly because of the wind. It’s been raining every day but the rain only lasts like 5-10mins and it’s usually a mist or drizzle. Only experienced one down pour. I would definitely suggest layers because the weather is so fickle. When it’s not raining and the sun is shinning it’s very warm. Been in the 50’s and some low 60’s but feels more like 40’s and 50’s bc of the wind. No sandals are needed unless your feet don’t get cold easily. Depending on how cold you get will determine if u need a heavy jacket or not. I usually get cold easily and wished I had a heavier jacket then the spring jacket I brought – but layers are working so far.
      Apparently there is supposed to be a warm front coming next week-low to mid 60’s not sure how that will feel w rain and wind. Wear comfortable shoes too for walking if you plan on train and busing it- trust me you will walk a lot :-) hope this helps and safe travels!

  72. Karen June 12, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

    Going to Ireland in September. Travelling by bus. What kind of rain coat or jacket do you suggest– water proof or water resistant. I don’t want a coat that will make a person sweat.

    • Lee June 12, 2015 at 11:25 pm #

      Would not be too worried about sweating in September or any other time in Ireland. Waterproof jackets are almost always better than water resistant. And if you can find acceptable waterproof shoes for your style, buy those too!

    • Stephanie June 25, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

      Hi Karen!
      Lee’s got it on the nose. You will certainly be better with a waterproof jacket than a resistant one. I don’t seem to have a problem or hear much about sweating in Ireland. Heat waves are rare and even then usually short lived. :-) Have a great time in September!

  73. lucy June 13, 2015 at 6:30 am #

    we are leaving for a 3 month trip to ireland. I will have my 2 girls with me, 6 and 12. My husband and son are flying in later. We will be arriving in Dublin in Jan. We live in the southern united states so I am not sure what the weather will be like. Friends are trying to convince me to rent a car but I think we can get around via LUAS and the irish rail system. What are your thoughts and do you have any special suggestions for that time of year? My 12 year old is going to dance in the irish dance world championships so we are going over early so she can train with her teacher in Ireland. We will be staying in an air B&B. thanks!

    • Stephanie June 25, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

      Hi Lucy!
      Of course renting a car is the best way to see Ireland, but if you are going for three months that is probably cost-prohibitive. I might suggest that you check out which has very extensive bus service through Ireland and will probably get you to some farther reaching corners than the rail system. LUAS is great for the Dublin area. In January, you really need to be aware of how much daylight you have (read: not a lot). So make the most of it and check online to be sure where you want to visit is open (many sites close in November to reopen in March). But my favorite thing to do is curl up with a book or a fireside in a cottage or a pub–locals do too, which tend to lead to great conversations. Good luck your son/daughter in the Irish Dance World Championships! You will have to let us know how it goes!! :-)

      • Lucy June 25, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

        Thank you so much!

  74. Betsey June 14, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

    Hi there,
    My husband and I are traveling to Northern Ireland next month (July 2015) for our 25th wedding anniversary. It’s his first trip to Ireland, my second. We fly to Dublin, then take a bus to Belfast. We will stay there a few days, then head to Portrush where we will stay for a few days (he will golf at Royal Portrush Golf Club). Then we will head to Newcastle for a few days so he can golf at Royal County Down. We will end up back in Dublin – total trip will be 12 days.

    Here are my questions:
    1) What should we take for July weather? The weather looks cooler than it was when I was in Ireland 6 years ago, but on that trip we drove from Dublin to the West coast, and back to Dublin.
    2) I don’t golf. Any suggestions of what I can do while he’s playing? We won’t have a car. Dublin and Belfast are easy — too much to do for the 3-4 days we’ll be in each city. I’m wondering about what to do when we’re in Newcastle and Portrush.

    Any guidance would be greatly appreciated….


    • Stephanie June 25, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

      Hi Betsey! Happy Anniversary! 25 years certainly deserves a trip to Ireland! July will really be very similar to what I recommend for the rest of the year. Pack for layers, take them off and add as needed. Typically most people don’t find Ireland, even in July or August, to be “short” weather. You may find that you have days in between the rain that will warrant short sleeves or just a light jacket. As far as things to do: Portrush will be really easy–the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, Bushmills, Dark Hedges, even Derry isn’t too far away. Newcastle is quite well known for golf and nature activities (parks, beaches). To be honest though, I might hull it to the spa, while my husband was golfing. :-)

      • Lee June 25, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

        Now you’re into my territory. Both Portrush and Down are wonderful courses, but if there’s time, Portrush has a second eighteen, the Valley, that is a fine test of golf, generally easy to walk onto without having to make a reserved tee time (and is the home club of Graeme McDowell who won the US Open several years ago), and costs about 1/3 of the big course next door–at times, your husband will play right next to holes on the Dunluce. And, I’ve found the front nine at the main course at Portstewart awe inspiring. The back nine is fine, just a bit of a letdown after the first nine.

        Both of you might enjoy taking train from Coleraine to Derry. Here’s some information on that– Not a long trip so you could probably ride over in the morning, have lunch, and ride back early to mid-afternoon. The scenery is extremely dramatic as so much of Northern Ireland is.

        My last three trips to Ireland have included a Northern Ireland component with half of my last trip in April devoted to Newcastle, Belfast (which other than the Titanic, I found a bit of a disappointment), and the Causeway Coast. I think you’ll love it!

  75. Mary July 4, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    Anticipating some rainy day on our September 2 – 17 trip touring,
    I would like some insight on a few rain related items
    Length of the all important rain jacket?
    Waterproof footwear? (I have seen many cautions for these on other sites)

    Also, regarding laundry
    Are there self-wash options or at least just washed and not put in a dryer?
    Thanks so much….

    • Stephanie July 6, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

      Hi Mary!

      No matter when you go (June or September) I always tell people to expect rain. However, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Joe and I love going in September as we’ve had the best weather consistently then. Of course I can’t promise it, but I will send you all my good weather vibes I can for then!

      As far as rain jacket, I’ve tried a bunch and this is my favorite so far: It’s lightweight, waterproof and I can layer under it pretty easily.

      We don’t bring waterproof shoes, but we do bring a back up pair we can slip into if ours gets so wet we need to change. We usually aren’t in a spot where we can’t get to cover or get to our car/B&B pretty easily to warrant bringing waterproof shoes. If you think you will be (such as doing a lot of hill walking or hiking), then you might want to invest in a pair of waterproof hiking shoes.

      Umbrellas are really helpful! I usually bring a compact one for each of us.

      Laundry is a little different in Ireland. Self-wash options are not very common. You can drop it off at a launderette, which means someone else will wash it for you, in most larger towns and cities. It isn’t a bad a idea to bring a little laundry soap and do a small load in your sink if you are staying in one B&B multiple nights. You can also ask your B&B host if they would be willing to do a load or recommend where you might be able to have it done.

      I hope this helps Mary!! Have a great trip!

      • Liliana July 20, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

        Hello Stephanie:
        Great Blog!
        I’m planning to go to Ireland in August for a christening, what kind of clothing should I take?

    • Lee July 7, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

      I very much second Stephanie’s comments about a light, waterproof jacket–a shell that you can layer with a sweater, t-shirt/shirt/blouse works well. It doesn’t need to be full length, but it’s nice if it is long enough to cover the pockets on a pair of pants or jeans. You don’t want a heavy rain jacket or coat because Ireland’s weather should be warm enough in September that you’ll probably remove and replace layers several times during a day if it rains.

      In regards to waterproof shoes, I tend to pack a pair of Rockport Hydro-Shield shoes. Some of the styles for men are actually very dressy casual, meaning that I can wear them into any nice restaurant or theater in Dublin. I pack these no matter where I go, not just to Ireland, because they’re comfortable for walking as well as waterproof. If Rockports aren’t your style or you’re not looking for a dressier shoe, I’ve also had great success with a number of low-cut and high-cut Gore-Tex shoes. No matter what shoes you pack, however, make sure you’ll be comfortable walking in them because you’ll do that all over Ireland.

      Regarding washing clothes, if you stay at any self-catering accommodation during your two-week trip (essentially, an apartment), many of them come with a washer/dryer single unit. I used one in a self-catering apartment during a trip this past April. I didn’t initially understand how to use the unit because I’m used to a separate washer and dryer, but fortunately, there’s this thing called the internet that I used to find the user instructions for my particular make and model. Be warned–these units tend to take more than the 60-90 minutes that an American washer and dryer normally take so plan accordingly.

      If you will not have access to a washer/dryer during your trip, then Stephanie’s tips regarding laundrettes and washing in the sink in your room are great substitutes. I’ve generally paid no more than 15 euros for a dropoff laundry service. Most of the time, the laundrette will have your laundry done the same day if you drop off at the beginning of the day, but on occasion, they get so busy that you might have to pick up the following day. As a result, I pack one outfit that I know for sure I can wash in a sink just before going to bed that’ll dry by the following morning.

  76. Claire July 12, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

    Hi Stephanie!

    Great blog!

    Contemplating going to Kilkenny in January…timeshare. Knocktopher Abbey. Been blessed to have been able to travel to UK, Scotland many times over the past thirty years but haven’t returned to Ireland since 1983! I know much has changed and have very mundane questions. Are there many historic homes, castles etc. open at this time, I know most are not in UK. What itinerary do you recommend, independent travel for the area (not miss wise). And then there is the unanswerable question (these days) of how’s the weather that time of the year?
    Doing my own research as well, and looking into adding a few days around Galway/Clifden which was what made me fall in love with Ireland back then! And really want to experience Giants Causeway…if driving conditions allow…hence the weather question.
    Looking forward to your response, thank you and please keep up the great effort to educate and guide all in the discovery of this gorgeous isle!

    • Stephanie July 16, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

      Hi Claire!

      Thanks so much for the complements! It sounds like you are due a return to Ireland! In January I think you will find most large tourist attractions open (like Kilkenny castle), but with limited hours. So you will definitely want to check the hours ahead before you drive long distances to get to an attraction.

      You will have limited daylight (~8:30-4:30) and the weather will likely be mixed (as it is anytime of year). Expect cold, windy and wet and when you get periods of stillness and sun you will be so excited. Pack layers for highs of around mid 40’s. And get excited for time in the pub with a peat fire and good conversation.

      As far as an itinerary, if you are basing yourself in Kilkenny and plan to return there each night, I wouldn’t really suggest going to Connemara or Belfast. Those places should really be reserved for time when you can spend the night there. I would probably concentrate my time in the south east or south west. You are lucky to be near Kilkenny, which is a fabulous little city. You can also take day trips to the countryside. I highly recommend Jerpoint Abbey, Jerpoint Glass, Inistioge, and Kells Priory, which are all very close to Knocktopher. Glendalough, Waterford, Wexford, Cashel, Clonmel are all possibilities as well. Just be very careful with daylight and anticipated weather patterns.

      I hope this gets you started! Enjoy your time in Ireland!!

      • Claire July 16, 2015 at 7:54 pm #


        Thanks for the reply and the information! We will indeed check out quite a few of those areas, as we try to see as much of the area we travel to really experience the rich local culture. As for Belfast etc. I agree, was always planning on an add-on week self drive B&B, for it would be a waste of time for a central local not to make the most of it! Glad to hear some of the “tourist attractions” (I’m American, west coast, even with all that I have seen over the years, a castle still isn’t that to me!!!), will be open at all being very few and far between in UK at this time of the year. Most of our time we are definitely looking forward to exploring the countryside and meeting it’s people, and checking out the pub food, which IMHO is always the best!
        Oh and thank you for confirming my suspicions on weather. Having spent many Autumns and Springs in the Scottish Highlands, I figured it would be similar, layering and bundling it shall be.
        Well that is us then, looking forward to seeing how different it is, the beautiful Emerald Isle!
        Blessings, Claire

        • Stephanie July 21, 2015 at 10:34 am #

          Your welcome! It looks as though you have a pretty good handle on it! :-) Enjoy your trip to Ireland!!!

  77. Louise July 21, 2015 at 10:06 pm #

    I have a nice camera, but my Galaxy Note 4 and my tablet takes wonderful pictures. Leave the camera at home? Next, my adult son and I have a very ambitious itinerary. Arrive early in Shannon from Chicago, from Knoxville TN so we are looking at being awake 24 hours, staying in Doolin first 2 nights and heading north bypassing Galway due to bank holiday. Working our way to Donegal and then to Giants Causeway before heading back to Shannon. Are we crazy?

    Any advice for getting enough sleep on the plane without being unable to get up and stretch? Are converters necessary? Can we use our GPS from our phones? So many questions!

    • Stephanie July 28, 2015 at 10:27 am #

      Hi Louise!
      You’ve got lots of great questions and I think I can help. Photos are an incredibly personal souvenir, so if you are ok with the quality of photos from your phone, then that might be all you need. We’ve begun taking more and more pics with our iPhones. I can’t really quite comment on your itinerary without knowing how long you will be in each of those places. Shannon to Giant’s Causeway is certainly a long haul, but if you have more than a week it is doable (although will be a lot of driving).

      Jetlag is a biggie and I think the best advice for sleeping on the plane is to adjust your watch to Ireland time as soon as you board. Sleep and eat when they do, which may mean saying no to the in flight meal. This infographic might help:

      Hope you and your son have a great trip!

  78. Beth July 22, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    I hope this isn’t a silly question, but you included cotton balls (for windy conditions) – what, why, how? I just don’t understand.


    • Louise July 22, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

      At the cliffs of Moher, the wind was strong and I wish I had a scarf or hat or cotton balls!

    • Stephanie July 28, 2015 at 10:28 am #

      Louise is right. Cotton balls are great for the ears when that wind whips around your face. :-)

  79. Kathleen July 26, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    Going to Ireland first week in September…Flying into Dublin, staying 1 night in Saggart, 2 in Castlebar, 2 in Limerick, 2 in Blarney, 1 inDrogheda and back to Dublin…What are Must Do? We did rent a car..

    • Stephanie July 28, 2015 at 10:32 am #

      Hi Kathleen!
      Sounds like you are going to have a fabulous trip to Ireland. It is hard to list must do’s without knowing who is going with you and their interests. I will say that the Museum of Country Life in Mayo is great, Blarney Castle and the Woolen Mills shouldn’t be missed while you are there and we loved King John’s Castle museum in Limerick. Hope you have a fantastic time (September is a lovely time to go!).

  80. Theresa July 27, 2015 at 1:31 am #

    Hello Stephanie,
    Love your packing list! Traveling to Ireland Aug19- Sept 8. So excited. My question is regarding County Mayo. My mother was first generation born in U.S. I was blessed to locate where my grandfather lived before immigrating to the U.S. Will be staying in Westport.

    • Stephanie July 28, 2015 at 10:37 am #

      Hi Theresa,

      It’s hard to give advice about the entire county of Mayo, but I’ll give you some of my favorite spots–Achill Island (Keem Bay and the abandoned village), Matt Malloy’s Pub in Westport, and the Museum of Country Life.

      How fantastic that you found where your grandfather lived! I hope you have a wonderful welcome home!

  81. Maria August 16, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    Staying at Knocktopher Abbey in Kilkenny for 7 days either November or January. Will the weather be really that bad? I’m guessing November will be better weather-wise? Any recommendations for scenic day trips? Also want to go to Cliffs of Moher and Killarney. Will we have enough time considering the days are shorter?


    • Lee August 16, 2015 at 11:06 am #

      I was in Dublin last November for Thanksgiving week, and the weather was standard Ireland–variable. One day was well into the 50s with partly cloudy skies. There were several cloudy and rainy days where the temperatures didn’t get out of the mid-40s. As always, layer!

      The days are short. The morning after my arrival, I got a call on my cell phone from my sister, and I was wondering why she was calling me in the middle of the night since it was almost pitch black outside–but it was really 7:45 a.m. and she was calling from the hotel restaurant wondering if I was coming down to breakfast! Figure your useful sunlight during November and January will be around nine hours. Not bad, but you’ve got to be ready to roll in the mornings.

      And keep in mind that days get significantly shorter over the course of the month of November (with the reverse being true for January)–at the beginning of the month, there’s about 9.5 hours of sunshine, but by the end, there’s only about 8. If you’re there for a week, you’ll definitely notice the change in the length of the day.

    • Stephanie August 27, 2015 at 9:48 am #

      Hi Maria! Lee’s correct on all accounts–traveling from Knocktopher to anywhere long will require you be up and at ’em pretty early, but it is doable. You’ve got some great sites near Knocktopher as well. Kells priory and Kilree roundtower are two of my favorites! :-)

  82. Grace August 17, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    Thank you for the suggested packing list. My family (me, husband, three sons ages 9-13) will be staying a week in Killarney. We like to relax and take our time exploring and living like a local. That being said, should the boys bring Wellies? I was the only one who brought them to England last year and ended up wearing them everyday except one. Are most of the businesses open that time of year? My sons really want to go to Kisanes Sheep Farm and hug some sheep…haha. What day trips would you recommend?

    • Stephanie August 27, 2015 at 9:43 am #

      Hi Grace! I am not exactly sure what time of year you will be going, but most business are open most of the year. Some places close for the Chirstmas Holiday through March, but I think you’ll find a lot of places stay open all year. Wellies are really dependent on what you will be doing in Ireland. If you plan on being outdoors a lot or doing some hiking in boggy areas it isn’t a bad idea if they are regularly used to wearing them. If not, an extra pair of shoes for everyone is always a good plan.

      There is so much to do from Killarney, some of my favorites include Bantry and the Ring of Beara, Kenmare and the Ring of Kerry, and Ballyhoura. Hope you and your family have a great time!! -Stephanie

  83. Bev Canaday August 24, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    Hi Stephanie. Thank you so much for the packing list. My husband and I are going for 3 weeks (Aug 28 to Sept 18). We have a couple of tours booked and the rest of the time on our own. I was struggling with bringing the right clothes because we will have suppers with the tours so I was trying to mix dressier clothes with warmer clothes and foot-ware. Now I’m going to stick with less clothing and focus just on the layering and warmth. The launderette is a good suggestion. Approximately how much does it cost to drop off a couple’s clothing based on your list? Thanks in advance.

    • Stephanie August 27, 2015 at 9:27 am #

      Hi Bev! You’d be surprised that the launderette was relatively inexpensive. They weigh your clothes to determine the cost, so lighter items cost less to wash. We took a medium size duffle stuffed full of random clothes including a couple pairs of jeans and it cost us less than 15 euros to wash. I hope this helps! Have a great time–3 weeks (oh I am jealous!).

  84. Karen P August 24, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    This was a great help!!! Spent 16 days in Ireland and can not wait to go back. The weather was wonderful. Took a sweatshirt but did not need it. All hotels/cabins/guest houses were warm (no AC). A mall fan would be helpful. They do not provide ice in many places so had to just get use to no ice (from Texas…that was hard!). We just took off driving to towns and attractions that were recommended by the locals. Went to Knock Shrine which we didn’t know existed…very interesting. Saw lots…GPS on the rental car is a must!!!
    Thank you for taking the time to put this list together.

    • Stephanie August 27, 2015 at 9:24 am #

      Your welcome Karen! I am so glad you found it helpful!! :-)

  85. Amber August 31, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    Hi! Your list is great, I cannot wait for my trip! i’m spending the entire month of May in Ireland but that is the extent of my plans. i would like to stay in Galway at some point, but other than that, i’m not sure what else to do. Suggestions? Good hostels? Any help would be great help! :)

    • Karen P August 31, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

      The list given is the best!!! We were in Ireland in August for 2 weeks. The list works. If you stay in Southern Ireland…look into Guest Cottages. It’s like being at home and the owners are great at telling you what to see in the area. Killkenny is great, Cork is very pretty..Keel Beach is a must. We rented a car and drove LOTS of Kms. Driving daily is the way to see the most. Galway has beautiful coastlines…some Guest Cottages in that area too. We used TripAdvisor to find places to stay. Make sure you find out if they provide linen and towels (not all do). Visit the local villages and you will have a great time!!!

      • Stephanie September 6, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

        Hi Karen! It sounds like you had an absolutely wonderful time. How quickly those two weeks fly by, right? Thanks for the tip about Guest Cottages, I will certainly look them up and check them out. Now on to planning your next trip. :-)

        • Karen P September 6, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

          We had an AMAZING time in Ireland…visit with the “locals”, they are the the most wonderful people I have ever met. (That’s after 20 years in the US Army). Just stay open to where to go and what to see!!!

    • Stephanie September 6, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

      Hi Amber–how fantastic you are able to go to Ireland for a whole month! You must be so excited. You didn’t mention whether or not you had a vehicle, if you don’t you might want to stay primarily in the bigger cities or towns, where hostels are more readily available. Dublin, Killarney, Cork, Dingle. I’d suggest staying a few nights in each place, since you have the time, taking day trips from each location. I bet you are going to have a wonderful time!!

  86. Julie September 8, 2015 at 3:02 pm #


    I just spend about an hour reading through all your wonderful advice to all your readers! You are so thorough and helpful. I even copied a good bit of information down to use for my trip!

    I’ll be in Ireland Sep 28-Oct 3. We fly in to Dublin from Washington DC, plan on staying two days then driving to Galway. We’ll spend a few days in Galway, driving to nearby sites then driving to Belfast. We’re going to see the Giant’s Causeway and the Bushmill’s Distillery, then flying to Glasgow for the Scotland portion of our trip. You talk a lot about sites to see. Any recommendations as to inexpensive and charming accommodations for two friends? B&Bs seem like the way to go! Any direct recommendations in Dublin, Galway and Belfast? Even though I leave in about 19 days, we still have booked our hotels! Haha. Any experience with Airbnb?

    Also, what are some MUST SEE sites around Galway? I have a list of things I am thinking about doing and I’ve read through some of what you’ve posted in the past. I am just getting a second opinion? Thanks so much! And lovely job with all your advice and tips! The packing list is also extremely helpful! Cheers!

    • Karen P September 8, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

      Look on TripAdvisor. Look for “vacation rentals”. There are lots of cottage type housing. The ones we stayed in were not in the Galway area. The coastline in that area is beautiful. There are LOT of shops in Galway. Just know in Belfast, they are on the Pound and Southern Ireland is on the Euros. Northern Ireland…go to Malin Beach…they have “gem stones” on the beach. (west of Giant Causeway). Just get out and see all you can…it is such a great vacation!!!!

      • Stephanie September 16, 2015 at 10:45 am #

        Good points Karen! :-)

    • Stephanie September 16, 2015 at 10:44 am #

      Hi Julie!

      You must be getting so excited. Your trip is getting close!! :-) Sounds like you have a great trip ahead of you. In Dublin, we love staying at the Shelbourne hotel. It’s pretty expensive off the rack, but we’ve been able to snag it on Priceline with the help of Better Bidding: We love the Corrib House in Galway, great location, great accommodations, wonderful food! As for Belfast, we’ve haven’t stayed their ourselves yet, but have heard wonderful things about Maryville House. We’ve used airbnb all over the place and absolutely love it too. If you haven’t used it, this referral link will give you $20 off your first visit: When we are trying to save a little money, Airbnb is my first stop.

      As far as things to do in Galway, I absolutely love shop street and all the amazing craftsmen and women in Galway. They are fabulous to talk to and have amazing work on display and for sale. Not to be missed! :-) If you like books, Charlie Bryne’s is great for a rainy afternoon perusing! I hope this helps. Enjoy your trip!!

  87. Sally September 16, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    What a great wealth of information you give out! Thank you! I may question you to death in the next two months.. My daughter and I are going to Ireland Nov. 8-15 (she paid for it so it was the cheapest time to go). She got a car/flight/hotel/castle travel deal so we will be all over the republic.

    Flying into Dublin, then to Killenard (hour outside of Dublin), then to Adare (2 nights), then to Castlebar, then to Cavan (2 nights). So as you see there is a ton of mileage to cover. I have read 7 travel guides from start to finish learning all about Ireland and its history and the places to go touristy and not so touristy (which is what I like).

    First questions for now…since it is November and do you have any medium priced umbrella you like? I have scoured the internet. Shedrain and Gustbuster seem to be okay for the $25-35 range but Amazon has a lot of negative reviews for both.

    Also, since we will be doing a ton of driving and hopping in and out of the car and it’s not the busiest time of year, would it be totally unfeasible to do Dingle Peninsula AND Ring of Kerry in one day? If so, which one would you prefer?

    If you had a choice of the Bunratty Castle Medieval night or the Killaloe Lighting Festival (have you heard of it?). I just ran across it in my reading, it is one time of year on the night we will be in the area.

    Would it be crazy if we didn’t even end up going to Dublin? The way I have the schedule figured out, there is barely enough time to go there except maybe on the last day.

    We are the type that will fill the day entirely from start to finish. Do you know what time it actually gets dark in November? I know we are limited with daylight. I am assuming we will end up driving a lot at night to our destination after sightseeing all day. Is that pretty feasible?

    If we could only go to one castle, which one would you suggest?

    Is the Musical Pub Crawl in Dublin worth it or just better to find our own pubs?

    Is gas super expensive and is it easy to find gas stations?

    I know I have lots more questions, but I’ll stop for now…I am going to go back thru your blog and read everything completely.

    Thanks for your time and patience with me!

    • Lee September 16, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

      Let me get you started with answers to several of your questions, and then Stephanie can fill in the rest with her experience. Daylight hours for your trip will actually decrease a solid 25 minutes while you’re there–the days aren’t just short but they get shorter more quickly than in most of the US. Expect sunrise around 7:45 and sunset around 4:30 while you’re there.

      The drop in gas prices has affected Ireland, but don’t expect $2 per gallon gas–more like $5.50. Two things might deceive you: prices on the signs are per liter (not exactly but roughly 1/4 of a gallon) and, of course, are quoted in euros (roughly 1.13 dollars per euro according to my The Economist email newsletter today). So don’t jump for joy when you see signs advertising gas for 1.25–that’ll be in euros per liter.

      Gas stations are not just around the corner as in the US and like a lot of businesses in Ireland, will close by 5 or 6 p.m. Do not expect 24-hour per day service stations, except maybe around Dublin–and I wouldn’t count on many there. I try to refill when I’m in Ireland when the tank hits half.

      Regarding Dublin, I love Dublin, but I also love the countryside. Given how much territory you are trying to cover, I think I’d drop Dublin. I will say, though, that if you’re flying into and out of Dublin (instead of out of Shannon), your plans may be somewhat unrealistic to cover the territory you’ve described. You should be aware that once you’re more than an hour outside Dublin, you’re unlikely to make interstate speeds on Irish roads. First, the roads other than the motorways (the US interstate equivalent being called motorways over there) are generally winding, two-lane affairs that, ignoring your occasional impulse to stop the car and take a beautiful photograph (or two or three), will probably allow you to average no more than 35-40 mph. Add in a day of only nine hours of sunlight, and you should ask yourself just how much daylight do you want to spend in a car?

      Umbrellas? Forget ’em and instead invest in a good waterproof jacket. Umbrellas are somewhat impractical because of the occasionally high winds you’ll face and because a good jacket will be part of the layered clothing approach that will keep you warm and dry in November. Bonus tip–nice waterproof shoes. Rockport makes good, comfortable waterproof shoes under the HydroShield brand.

      I’ll let Stephanie address the tour and castle questions since I favor Dublin, pubs, golf, and coastal hikes when I’m in Ireland. I suspect she will agree, however, that you may have bitten off more on this trip than you can chew.

      Enjoy yourself anyway because you will!

      • Sally September 17, 2015 at 12:39 am #

        Wow great information Lee, thank you! First let me say, when my daughter gave me this as a gift for Mother’s Day, the whole package was already bought. She got it thru Great Value Vacations and so the places we are staying and going were part of the package and set in stone, so there really is no choice at all on the distance we will be covering and going (which includes flying in and out of Dublin). That said, I am trying to be realistic in what we can get done in a day.

        Thanks for the times and daylight hours. Great explanation on the gas prices and suggestion to get gas at a half a tank.

        As far as Dublin goes, if there was one thing or two to make sure to see, what would that be? Book of Kells? Temple Bar? or?

        The reason I definitely want a decent umbrella is because I am a photo freak….so I will need an umbrella to protect my camera. I do have a good waterproof shell from REI to wear for layers too. And thank you for the suggestion on the shoes, but I think those are out of my pricing. I have been searching for some waterproof shoes in a lower range. Do you wear rainboots or wellies at all?
        Lee, thanks again for taking the time and good info.

        • Lee September 17, 2015 at 11:02 am #

          If your itinerary is set, then you make the best of it. If you are first-time travelers to Ireland, I might suggest you do your driving during the day even if that cuts into your sightseeing. It’s no exaggeration to say that lots of roads in Ireland with an “N” designation, which is roughly equivalent on their grading scale to “US” designations in America, are little more than two-lane roads that have a posted speed limit of 100 kph (roughly 62 mph). You’ll probably find that speed limit theoretical only as, unlike American roads, it highly unlikely you could go any faster without having an accident. Many of the roads have stone walls with little or no shoulders separating the walls from the roads. Not roads that you’ll want to drive at night when you don’t know where the curves or the stone walls are!

          After a couple of days of driving outside Dublin, I think you’ll have a pretty good idea of the issues presented by the roads and may be able to estimate driving times a lot better. I think you’ll find that the estimate of 35-40 mph as an average is pretty close to accurate, except for the motorways that surround Dublin. Although I know your itinerary is set, you might want to evaluate the drive you’ll need to make the last day to get back to Dublin. You might instead decide to start your drive back, abandoning your reservations at one of your hotels in order to take overnight accommodations at a town halfway back to Dublin or even all the way back in Dublin. If so, it is possible to find acceptable low-cost accommodations at a B&B and even, possibly, at a hostel. My younger sister has stayed exclusively at hostels in Dublin and has had good experiences. I’m sure Stephanie could provide you with some recommendations of good places to stay that wouldn’t break the bank.

          I think you could squeeze in both the Book of Kells and Temple Bar in one day–keep in mind that you can include Temple Bar by either having lunch or dinner at one of the pubs or restaurants there and then just strolling around for an hour. I am a fan of the Guinness Storehouse tour–as a photographer, you should enjoy the circular rooftop bar at the end of the tour which is almost completely encased in floor-to-celing glass. In a city without many highrises, you’ll get a great view of surrounding Dublin and the Wicklow Mountains beyond. In addition, given the length of time Guinness has been in Dublin, a tour through there is also a bit of a history lesson.

          You’ll probably also want to spend some time in St. Stephen’s Green if you get a pretty day–it’s a walkable city park less than a half-mile square just off the Grafton Street shopping district. And, if you’re a theater lover at all, check for plays going on around town. Dublin has a pretty vibrant theater culture, and it’s not unusual for a relatively famous movie performer to star in a Dublin production to get a little experience before a live audience.

          For my nonwaterproof shoes, I recently picked up a pair of Swims galoshes. I don’t know if that recommendation is practical for you given that Swims can cost as much as Rockports, but I’ve found the occasional highly discounted pair offered around the internet through closeout sites. Swims are low profile galoshes, best used with loafers. I tested them out in a rainstorm at a conference in Orlando in August, and I was pleased at how well they protected my shoes. I usually pack only one pair of shoes (wearing another pair on the plane–generally my Rockports) and since the Swims fit right over that pair of shoes, I really don’t suffer a packing space penalty.

          I’ll be interested in Stephanie’s reply to your question–I always learn something new from her answers!

        • Lee September 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

          Just to followup on the waterproof shoes idea, if Rockports might be outside the budget, you might be able to get Rocky Gore-Tex waterproof socks for a good price (still around $30 though) on eBay. I first used these during a rainy day at the Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland, and my feet stayed absolutely dry while wearing golf shoes that were based on Crocs–light with lots of holes–so if my feet stayed dry under those conditions, you should be fine.

          Two things. One, Rocky socks are definitely for hiking or athletic type shoes. Two, there’s a little trick to putting them on properly. Because they’re made of a stiff material and they’re relatively long, it’s best to roll the top down to the heel, slip your foot in, and then roll them up your leg. If you decide to get them, try it out at home before your trip or you might find yourself a bit frustrated!

          I understand that SealSkinz, a competing brand, are very good as well. I haven’t worn them so I can’t vouch personally, but my Rocky Gore-Tex socks have a dedicated space in my golf bag for those really rainy days!

    • Stephanie September 21, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

      Hi Sally! Looks like Lee has you covered! :-) A couple of thoughts for you: I would certainly do the Killaloe Lighting Festival. While I am a big fan of Bunratty, Killaloe’s festival will be an amazing experience and an opportunity to experience a local celebration, which is really unique. If I had the opportunity to do that, I would. :-)

      You definitely have a lot packed in your week in Ireland and the hours of sunlight will probably dictate quite a bit. This site is really handy for tracking daylight hours in Ireland:

      I think Lee’s suggestion with leaving out Dublin or abandoning one of your nights toward the end of the trip is spot on. You just won’t have time to do it all, which may include Dublin and, unfortunately, the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula (especially in one day). I would even go so far as to say it will be difficult to fit one of them in a day if you are coming from and returning to Adare. If you really want to see one of the areas, you might be better off with selecting one town, Killarney or Dingle, to explore. With the limited daylight, I wouldn’t want you to feel too rushed. That being said, you’ll have a much better sense of what is possible after a day or two on the ground, so don’t feel like you have to have everything planned too much. Ireland is a fabulous host–you’ll have a wonderful time no matter where you go!

      I haven’t done the musical pub crawl in Dublin (it generally gets positive reviews though), but I have heard excellent things about this evening of Irish storytelling in Ireland’s oldest pub: It’s on my list for the next time I’m in Dublin.

      Regarding an umbrella, I think having one on hand is a good idea as a photographer, but I always find it difficult to shoot and hold an umbrella. Something like this might be helpful?: If you still want a umbrella, this one has pretty good reviews from Amazon in your price range:

      Because you asked about castles and will be staying in Adare, you really must check out Adare Manor–even schedule something a little nice for the two of you, like afternoon tea there. :-)

      Finally, I don’t have waterproof shoes, but I do usually carry an extra pair of dry socks in my rental car along with an extra pair of shoes, just in case. I have heard of some using heavy duty Scotchgaurd or waterproof spray on hiking shoes to add a little extra layer of protection.

      I hope this helps. Thanks to Lee for getting you on your way!! I hope you have a fantastic trip with your daughter! What a wonderful treat. :-)

  88. Jenna September 20, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    This is a great list thank you! I’m leaving in 3 days and i still don’t own a raincoat! Can you explain why I should have a bank statement & what an Ireland adapter is? This is really helpful, there are a few items and to-do items that I would’ve have remembered to do. Thanks for sharing!

    • Stephanie September 21, 2015 at 9:10 am #

      Hi Jenna! You must be getting so excited-just a couple days now! :-) The bank statement is precautionary and I have actually never been asked for it in Ireland, but basically any country can request it to be sure you have enough funds to cover the cost of your trip and won’t be utilizing governmental assistance. An adapter is required for all electronics if you are coming from the US. This is a good article on the types of plugs they have: I hope this helps. Enjoy your trip Jenna!!

  89. Kelly October 6, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    What are the cotton balls for? To put in your ears on windy days?

    • Stephanie October 7, 2015 at 8:43 am #

      Yup! Windy days–that’s all. :-)

  90. Sally October 7, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    More questions from Sally.
    Since I have limited time to spend in each place because of travel package by car!!! All these questions refer to the Republic of Ireland.

    Would you pick Ring of Kerry or Dingle Peninsula?

    Which 3 castles in the Republic are the best?

    Top 3 abbeys/cathedrals/monasteries other than the ones I am already planning on which is Cashel, Glendalough?

    Top 3 stone monuments?

    Which cave to visit: Mitchelstown, Aillwee, Dunmore or Doolin?

    Brazen Head Food, Folklore, and Fairies night or Bunratty Castle Medieval banquet on one of the nights or just go to local pubs (which we will do on other nights)?

    Suggestion for an Irish music collaborative CD to play in the car? If they have a CD in car!?

    Does the cars have cigarette lighters to plug in Iphone charger?

    Is GPS worth it, since we are driving all over? I also have the Ordinance Survey map.

    Is Achill Island worth a visit? We are staying in Castlebar and then have to make it over to Kingscourt (Cavan) area, so I thought we could go visit Achill in the morning.

    Everywhere says avoid M-50 at all costs! How else do you get from the airport down to Wicklow? Also, since we have a rental car, should we still not drive into Dublin to visit? We are staying about an hour away from Dublin.

    Okay that’s my questions for now….I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your input!

    • Cindy K October 15, 2015 at 3:10 am #

      Hi Sally, I am traveling with my Mom this month in Ireland. Right now are near Enniskillen. I don’t know where you are from. We are from California. I find the GPS very valuable! We have taken the northern tour and now have a car. I’m finding it a bit stressful as we drive on the other side of the road at home.
      The weather has been beautiful! Don’t know what November will hold. Some are saying it will be a tough one as the swans are coming in already. The people here are very helpful and talkative. I would stick to the better known places for tourist attractions. Smaller places close down after October. Have a wonderful trip. The beauty is breathtaking!

      • Sally October 15, 2015 at 12:14 pm #


        Thanks Cindy. I am going to go ahead and get a GPS since we have a limited amount of time. We are preparing for rain…

    • Stephanie October 18, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

      Hi Sally! You’ve got a lot of questions and of course I’ll answer them as best I can, but unfortunately with most of the questions you ask the answer is: it depends. Without knowing your route, your interests, where your staying, etc. it is really hard to recommend the best things because I might be sending you off on a wild goose chase–or giving you way more than you can tackle in the time you have. I want to help if I can so I am sending along some responses to your questions, but please don’t try to tackle all of these things I mention in one trip (or you might find it doesn’t feel like a vacation at all). :-)

      I prefer Dingle over Ring of Kerry, but that would only be if you are already headed to the Dingle area to begin with (and you should have at least one full day to explore).

      Castles are tough because there are so many and they are so different. Blarney, Kilkenny, Ross are great options that are relatively easy to get to. I quite like Kylemore, Clonmacnoise, and Jerpoint Abbeys.

      I can’t give you personal recommendations on caves as we haven’t visited any yet (another thing on my list!).

      The Brazen Head has less music and more storytelling–so depending on what you prefer to listen to should be the determining factor.

      You can’t really go wrong with the Dubliners or Christy Moore for Irish tunes in the car (which you may more may not be able to play depending on car) We’ve got this set which has quite a few great tunes:

      Cars will have the typical cigarette charger.

      Most first-time visitors like a mixture of GPS and good maps (take all the help you can get when driving on the left!).

      I wouldn’t recommend going to Achill in the morning if you are headed to Cavan in the afternoon in November. You won’t have anytime there and you’ll be using up your precious daylight driving.

      The best way to get to Wicklow is definitely the M-50. You won’t want to drive through the city to get there. It really isn’t too bad–I think the reason most people try to avoid it is because of the toll.

      I hope this information is helpful (and doesn’t make you feel even more overwhelmed). Just remember, the less you plan as “must do’s” the better. Armed with lots of information is great, but the ability to be flexible on the ground sets you up for a fantastic trip. Have a great time Sally!

      • Sally October 27, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

        Again thanks for all the info. I bought the CD and am enjoying it already!! Yes, I like to be armed with lots of information, then just go with the flow. I like the info, so I know ahead of time what is worth seeing or not.
        We are only 2 weeks away!!

        • Stephanie October 31, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

          Oh I am so glad you like it! It’s getting close now! You must be getting excited. :-)

          • Sally October 31, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

            Soooooo, the Killaloe Light Festival was cancelled…oh well, not like I don’t have a ton of other stuff on my jam packed list. Just going to go with the flow, but I am armed with information!

  91. Manisha October 14, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

    Hi Stephanie!

    Thanks for all of the helpful tips and tricks. My friend and I are traveling to Ireland 11/6 – 11/12.

    Do you have any insight as to the best way to travel around if we don’t have a rental car? We heard that driving can be a bit tough and so we were hoping to use the rail or something else. Are there any services you recommend?

    Thank you!

    • Stephanie October 18, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

      Hi Manisha! You must be getting so excited. Your trip is so close!

      There are few different ways to get around in Ireland. You can use the rail system is which most handy between the major cities rather than small towns. If you go this route, I’d suggest basing yourself in a couple cities and take day trips from there (either with an organized group, taxi or local bus service).

      You can also use Bus Eireann to get from place to place instead of rail. This might be a little tricky only in that you will have to look-up timetables and figure out how to get to your next destination (because you might not have a direct route). There are some express links between larger cities so you can still do the hub method above.

      Of course renting a car is optimal (and it isn’t that bad–honest!), but if you really don’t want to do that or go on a tour, these will definitely work.

      Here are some links that should help though:

      Have a great time!!

  92. Sally October 15, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    Do I need a travel voltage converter for my iphone 5s for Ireland or just an adaptor?

    • Cindy October 15, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

      Just an adaptor. When plugging it into yhe outlet you may have to play around with it a bit. I move it around a bit until it gets a good connection.

  93. B&J October 18, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

    Love the details on the packing list, but when you say “shirts” and “undershirts” are you referring to literally “undershirts” like a man might wear under a dress shirt, or casual t-shirts, or short-sleeved t-shirts or T-tops and the “shirts” something perhaps with long sleeves (a button-down, pullover), etc? We’re traveling in mid-late May and want to be sure we’re planning properly. Also have a reversible rainjacket – lightweight fleece on one side and water/wind repellent on the other, with pockets on both sides. Should I plan on bringing a sweater as well? Thanks!

    • Stephanie October 18, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

      Hi B&J! Yup–for undershirts, I literally mean undershirts for guys or cami’s or light shirts for women. Shirts are usually a button down, polo, etc. I would definitely still plan on a sweater in May (or July for that matter!). You might find you have great weather and don’t need it, but you also might want it everyday. It’s hard to know how the weather will be so it is much better to have it just in case.

      I hope this helps! -Stephanie

  94. Nicholas October 26, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

    My sister is going to Ireland for a few months to study abroad, so I am making her an Ireland Care Package. This is super helpful! Thank you

  95. Nicholas October 26, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

    Also, is there anyway to prepay for her train tickets, even if we don’t know what route she’ll be taking?

    • Stephanie October 31, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

      Hi Nicholas! I am so glad the site has been helpful. I think the answer depends on what type of rail she’ll be needing. If it is withing the Dublin city systems, I think she can get a Leap card and load money on it to use the DART, Commuter Rail, LUAS and Dublin Bus. If she is studying in and around Dublin this would be great.

      If she is planning rail across country then I think she’ll need to buy an actual seat on a train: Of course, you can contact the Irish rail and see if there is any other options for her too. I hope she has a great time (and I hope you get to visit!). :-)

  96. Sally October 27, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

    Reading about the VAT taxes. Is it worth it putting in all the paperwork and keeping track of purchases if we will only buy randon souvenirs and maybe a sweater or two? Nothing real expensive for sure.

    Also, will I need a converter for my straightener. The straightener is dual voltage so I think I only will need an adaptor. I just don’t want it to get fried…

    • Stephanie October 31, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

      Hi Sally–this is one the better posts about VAT if you haven’t read it yet:
      We actually don’t worry about VAT because we rarely buy much that is actually taxed. If the straightener is dual voltage you should be ok–I usually stay away from taking anything that produces heat so I don’t get fried (or start a fire–ha!). Just watch for signs of heat at the outlet and you’ll be good. :-)

  97. Amy November 6, 2015 at 8:57 am #


    Your site is wonderful! I’ve spent many hours reading your lists and posts as well as the comments and your replies.

    My husband and 18 month old son and I are headed to Ireland from November 20-December 2, so we’re only a few weeks out! It is the first trip for us all and we booked a package to celebrate our anniversary. We land in Dublin, stay 4 nights (though first day we don’t arrive till mid afternoon so likely a wash), pick up a car on Thursday to head to Killarney for 3 nights, then head to Dromoland castle for 4 nights and fly out of Shannon.

    Weather wise I’m anticipating cold and rain (I consider anything below 75F cold, ha!), so am planning to layer. I was planning to bring wellies, tennis shoes, and waterproof boots… too many shoes? The wellies are certainly not light but as we plan to be out and about walking/exploring I thought they might come in handy?

    Also, other than our hotels, we have no set plans. With the minimal daylight, is it feasible to visit the Cliffs of Moher from either Killarney on our way to Dromoland or as a day trip from the castle? The only other thought I had while we’re on the west side was that I’ve heard Galway has a Christmas market which is something I’d love to see. Do you know of any other markets/Christmas celebrations like that where we’ll be? Of course in Dublin we plan to visit the Guinness storehouse and Jameson distillery. My husband loves scotch, so any other recommendations would be lovely.

    Lastly, we’ll be bringing our own car seat as the rental car company informed me they didn’t have any available and I trust my own a bit more, having known its history! My son is still rear-facing ~ here we used the LATCH system to install but we plan to use the seatbelt in the rental car (compact, Opel Astra or similar) ~ any advice? I’ve read up a bit but am still a little confused. I’m also a little concerned as both my husband and I are over 6ft tall, and with a car seat and luggage I hope we’ll all fit!

    Thanks so much!

  98. melissa November 11, 2015 at 2:58 am #

    I’m from Ireland but live in Australia, were coming home for Christmas and i will be bringing our nearly 2 year old daughter any tips on what to bring for her as she has never experienced cold like this before, and i have no clue what to pack for her!


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