When I started planning a trip to Ireland for the very first time, I didn’t know what I would need to plan a trip. Now, I have dozens of sites bookmarked and items I’ve purchased over and over again. I decided to put it all together on this Ireland Resources page along with my favorite Infinite Ireland posts. I really hope that what we use and why we use it is useful to you as you plan your first trip to Ireland.
Before you begin perusing the awesomeness that is below, I want you to know that the trust my readers have in this site and the relationships I build with you are invaluable to me. I am so proud to only endorse products and services that I believe are worthy, not because somebody paid me to like it. I don’t accept sponsored posts or payments.
I want you to be empowered to choose whether or not you support Infinite Ireland. This is why you will see two links in some of the listings below. One link is an affiliate link disclosed by “affiliate.” The other is a traditional link. Both will take you to the exact same page for the product with the exact same price. If you click on an affiliate link or an image next to one and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.
No matter which way you click, the price is exactly same. There are no extra charges and no obligations to buy anything if you click the affiliate link. If you do choose to check out the affiliate links, thank you, thank you, thank you!! Every little bit helps to support the work I do with Infinite Ireland.
Accommodation in Ireland Resources
With so many options, deciding where to stay can be a little overwhelming. This Infinite Ireland page gets you started with info about B&B’s, Castles and Manor Houses, Self-catering, and alternative accommodations.
Trip Advisor (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) I am a huge fan of Trip Advisor primarily because of the knowledgeable and super helpful Destination Experts in its Ireland forums. I also like to check reviews of B&B’s before I book (keeping in mind that not all reviews are created equal). If a place is really great (or really bad) it will often show through in multiple posts.
Simply said, a Google search for “B&B + town name” will give you plenty of results to start your accommodation search. When you click on each, look for plenty of pictures, descriptions for what is included in your room (hair dryer, wash cloths, etc.), and information about the owners. A good B&B should have all of that and more on their page.
B&B Ireland is another really great site for booking B&B’s. There are many family run B&B’s that use B&B Ireland to help them book reservations securely and keep track of their reservations. Sometimes you can also email a B&B owner to book directly, but to avoid sending credit card numbers through email or making an international call, booking through B&B Ireland is a nice option.
Air BnB (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) may be one of my favorite ways to find cheap accommodation. Basically, it allows people to open their homes to visitors. In Ireland, those listing their rooms could be actual B&B owners certified by Failte Ireland or it could be someone who simply has an extra room open and enjoys the company of visitors. We have used AirBnB in Ireland, NYC, Boston, Oregon, and even in our hometown in Pennsylvania while apartment searching. The cost is often cheaper than a traditional B&B but you still get the warm hospitality of someone opening their home to you (with or with out the delicious breakfast!). Because someone is giving you the keys to their house, be sure to fill out the profile section so they can get to know a little about you before you arrive. You can also read about them on each listing. Side note: if you use the affiliate link you should get at $20 discount for your first booking (you’re welcome :-).
Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland and offers many flights from the US to Ireland. I like booking directly with an airline versus an aggregate site because I might have a little more wiggle room if our plans happen to change (not much, but more than I would if I booked from a site like Travelocity, Orbitz, etc.).
Google Flights: is my go to airfare finder. It scans all the different airlines and spits out the cheapest flight available. Ok, so many aggregates do that too, but Google flight let’s you put in multiple departing airports and arrival airports. So I live smack dab between Pittsburgh and Philly, but I am also willing to fly to out of Newark. And often I am flexible about flying into Shannon or Dublin and can depart on any date. Google compiles it all for me and gives the best options. Plus I can get alerts that tell me when prices drop. Seriously, it’s kind of annoying, is there anything Google cannot do? :-)
Driving in Ireland Resources
The best way to see Ireland is by car. But, one of the most confusing things about traveling to Ireland is the car rental process. We’ve dissected it for you and explained every piece. This super long post is thorough and will hopefully clear up any confusion.
Creating an itinerary is tough, especially if you have a lot of things you want to do in a just few days. It is also difficult if you don’t know where you want to go, but know you HAVE to get to Ireland! This is the process we use to plan our Ireland itinerary and is easy to follow when you are just starting out.
Ordnance Survey We love Ordnance Survey maps. There really isn’t a better map of Ireland for driving, hiking or simply planning. You can choose a map for the entire country of Ireland or small regions with very rural roads displayed. Joe and I even have a few maps for mountains we walked like Mount Brandon in Dingle and Slieve League in Donegal. If you buy online, notice the price is in Euros and the shipping may take a bit longer since it coming from Ireland. Ordnance Survey maps can also be found in gas stations, book shops, souvenir shops and tourism offices in Ireland.
Travel in Ireland Resources
Want to know how much a trip to Ireland cost? I’ve talked about it a lot and made many posts about it over the years. Here they all are in one handy place.
When is the best time to go to Ireland? Sometimes when you go can have a lot to do with how much money you will spend (read: it is cheaper outside the months of June, July and August). In this post we talk about when is the best time of year to go and what the weather is like.
Tips for saving money. Tips for packing. Tips for travel to Ireland. You get all of my best tips in these posts: 31 Practical Tips for Your Trip to Ireland and 31 Ireland Travel Tips You Won’t Find in an Guidebook.
41 websites to bookmark for your trip to Ireland including several that will help you save some money on attractions and car rental.
Best Debit Cards for Avoiding Foreign Transaction Fees Your debit card/ATM is the best (and cheapest) way to get money in Ireland. However, fees vary by bank and can really add up. Be so be sure to check with your bank or credit union to determine how much they charge. If it is a lot and you have time, you may want to check out your other debit card options. Joe and I have an account with a local credit union just for our travel fund that doesn’t charge anything to withdraw cash abroad.
This Currency Converter tool is handy to help you figure out the conversion from Euros to Dollars or any other currency.
Packing for Ireland Resources
We kind of have the packing for Ireland thing down pat now. When we packed our last trip, I pulled out my iPad, looked up this post and used it to help me pack in under an hour (no joke!). It helps to have laundry done beforehand though. ;-)
Packing Cubes (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) If you can’t tell already–I am a type A traveler and that also applies to my packing style. I love that I discovered packing cubes. They really help me stay organized while in Ireland. I can stuff my clothes, socks, electronics, and all sorts of other odds and ends in these babies. After we arrive at a new B&B and I open my suitcase, it doesn’t look like an apocalyptic mess anymore. By the way, save the clear zippered packaging from new sheets or curtains for a quick and cheap substitute.
Ear Plugs (Affiliate) (Non Affiliate) Definitely not the sexiest item on this list, but I don’t travel anywhere without these babies. I hate having things in my ear, but I hate not being able to sleep on a plane or in a noisy hotel room more. I’ve tried at least 10 different types of ear plugs and I think these are the best. They are basically what I remember as a kid my mom putting into my ears when we were swimming to block out the water. They do a pretty great job of blocking out the noise too. There are six pair in each pack but I use one plug for both ears because they are pretty big.
Small Backpack (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) I am not a purse girl, especially when I am traveling. The straps always slide off my shoulders and I tend to leave it around where I shouldn’t. I prefer a small backpack that keeps my hands free and my stuff secure, particularly my journal, snacks and water bottle. We purchased a similar small Eagle Creek backpack about 12 years ago and it is still rock solid.
Woman’s Columbia Waterproof Jacket (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) This is my exact jacket for Ireland and I love it. It’s lightweight and roomy enough to have layers underneath. My favorite part has to be the hood because hoods are always too big on me, but this one fits and has a slightly longer lip at the top, which keeps the drizzle away from my face.
Women’s Hiking Shoes (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) Shoes are little different from jackets or backpacks–you certainly wouldn’t want to order these without going to store to see if they fit. But if you are new to hill walking in Ireland and want a solid shoe, this is as good a place to start as any I suppose. Both Joe and I have Columbia hiking shoes and find them really comfortable. Merrell shoes are also quite nice. If you are a casual hill walker and aren’t doing much elevation climbing you should be able to get away with a running/walking shoe.
Men’s Hiking Shoes (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) A Columbia hiking shoe for men. This one is waterproof. Ours aren’t, but there have been many a hill walk that I wish ours did a better job of keeping the water out.
Women’s Walking Shoe (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) Again, I probably wouldn’t just buy any shoe online, but this is the pair I have brought to Ireland a couple of times now and I really like them. They are super lightweight and really comfortable for long days. The material is almost mesh-like, so if they get wet during the day, they usually dry overnight and I can wear them easily the next. I will admit they aren’t the most fashionable of shoe, but when I am walking on a cliff side or in a cathedral I am not usually thinking about what is on my feet. :-)
Walking Sticks (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) We bought our walking sticks in Ireland at a Dingle sports store. I wish we would have bought them prior to our trip because they were expensive. So expensive that we only bought one set and each took one pole. For each trip in Ireland, we pick a mountain to climb like Mount Brandon in Dingle, Errigal Mountain in Donegal, or Knockanaffrin in Waterford. I wouldn’t have done any of those without a walking stick–they really help save our knees especially on the way down. If you aren’t doing much ascending or descending on uneven terrain on your hill walks, you probably don’t need a walking stick.
Small Collapsible Duffel (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) This may be my favorite item. A collapsible duffel bag is the perfect place to store dirty laundry, souvenirs or the overflow that occurs when everything was perfectly in its place before you left but somehow doesn’t fit in your suitcase anymore. I shove mine in a top zipper of my luggage and pull it out a couple of days into the trip to help keep me organized.
Large Collapsible Duffel Bag (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) How many souvenirs you plan to buy may determine how big of a bag you need. :-) I like to have two different sizes especially so we have something that houses our dirty laundry for when we drop it off at a laundrette.
Luggage (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) I seem to collect pieces of luggage. I am pretty sure that the title of travel coach basically screams “give me luggage for Christmas and birthdays.” I am not complaining though. I actually love rummaging through the entire section of luggage in my basement to find the perfect piece for each trip. My favorite go to is the medium suitcase (not a carry-on, but not the big, big one either) with an expandable zipper. I like the soft shell exterior, but I haven’t tried a hard one (I think luggage is heavy enough without the hard case).
Travel Journal (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate): There is honestly no better souvenir than your very own thoughts from your time in Ireland. Someone gave us a journal for our honeymoon, our very first trip to Ireland. I was diligent about writing what we did, where we ate and how we felt. It is one of my most valued possessions. We’ve kept the tradition up for the most part but, I will be honest, there have been trips when I wasn’t as steadfast. I’ve always regretted it later. Get a journal. Write in it. You will treasure it forever. I promise. This is my new favorite one. It has different sections so you don’t have to come up with what to write (including what you ate, did, how much you spent…handy!).
Travel Pillow (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate): I am not a terrible sleeper on overnight flights. I can usually conk out for the time that the lights are out between meal services. However, I will say that a good pillow helps. I picked this one up on a whim at Newark Airport several years ago. It is expensive (well at least I think so), but I have taken it on every flight since (I am shocked I haven’t lost yet). It squeezes into a small case and I usually attach it to my backpack/carry-on so it’s not taking up any valuable space in my luggage.
Electronics in Ireland Resources:
Travel Adapter (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) A travel adapter is really important as the plugs in Ireland are different from the US or most of the rest of the world. We have a universal adapter that we use to charge our electronics. If you have multiple phones, cameras or laptops in the family, bring along a power strip (affiliate link) to charge more than one item at once. Or grab this adapter which has four usb plugs built-in.
Travel Converter (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) Most of the time an adapter will be all you need for your electronics in Ireland. But if you are charging anything with a motor (say an electric shaver) or something that produces heat (for instance a curling iron or hair dryer–see below), you will need a converter to protect the item that you are running and the electric system you are running on.
Hair dyer (Non-Affiliate) I am always asked about hair dryers in Ireland. Ninety-nine percent of B&B’s and hotels have a hair dryer in the room or at the front desk and so there is really no need to bring one to Ireland with you. For those that know they will be traveling to Ireland or the UK a lot, you can purchase one online before you go, but you can also pick one up at a department store when you arrive for less money. Do not bring a US (110 Volt) hairdryer to Ireland and expect to use it with an adapter. It will cause a fire (I am not even kidding, I’ve heard horror stories)
Unlocked Phone (Affiliate link) (Non-Affiliate) One of the most common questions about traveling in Ireland how do I use my phone? There are lots of different ways to communicate home and wrote a whole post about them, but the one I have used not only in Ireland, but also everywhere else I travel internationally, is buying a local sim card when I arrive and loading it into my unlocked cell phone. I get a local number with minutes and data that I can top up as I need. The best part about this is that once I have purchased the phone I can use it on multiple trips wherever I go. Plus since it is a smart phone I can use it on wifi at my B&B for free to call home. One last note, I like my iphone as it can double as a nice camera in a pinch.
Canon DSLR Rebel (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) I picked up a Canon DSLR camera a couple years ago. Man do I love it. I was a complete beginner, and yes, I shot in auto and the other presets quite a bit. I have slowly gotten better and it has become my everyday camera (even though DSLR’s are generally big). I just love how the photos come out so crisp. I bought mine used on Craig’s list so check there first. You never know gems you might find second hand. If you want something smaller, this is my go-to (Non-affiliate). The best little camera that will fit your pocket hands down.
Memory Card (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate): This one is simple. Unless you are solely using your cell phone for photos, you’ll need some place to store the pictures you take. I like a SD card with a lot of storage. I tend to go with the philosophy that the more pictures I take the better. I can delete the bad ones out after I get home.
Back Roads Ireland (Affiliate) (Non-affiliate) Joe surprised me by purchasing this Back Roads Ireland book for me one year. Usually I am not a big fan of pre-determined itinerary travel guides, but I have been really happy with how this book is laid out. It has become my new go to Ireland travel book. Like all the DK Eyewitness guides, there are lots of pictures and great descriptions. What’s different about Back Roads is its really great advice on how to string a series of places together in one itinerary. It even has driving directions between locations. We didn’t use that so much, but you easily could lean on this as your primary resource while traveling in Ireland.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Ireland (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) This is my favorite travel book about Ireland for first-timers. When you don’t really know where to go or how to even start planning. I always suggest taking a look at an Eyewitness Travel Guide and write down the places that get you super excited and make you say “I want to go there!” After you’ve done that, you can begin digging a little deeper and using other guidebooks to find out more and round out your itinerary. Our local library has a bunch of Eyewitness and other guide books. Always check out your options to get free information from there too.
Frommer’s Ireland (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) Frommers is another good guidebook, but it is largely text-based (vs. lots of pictures like Eyewitness). I find their guides useful when I already know the areas I want to look-up. If you don’t already know it can be difficult to retain or differentiate what you read from one paragraph to the next. Frommer’s recommendations are usually spot on and their star system is pretty accurate. Mostly good stuff gets in the guide, the best gets one, two or three stars. There are other designations to look out for like “Value”, “Kids” and “Finds.” There is also an “Overrated” designation, but you will rarely notice it listed. I suppose if they list only great places, the overrated shouldn’t be in there at all, right?
Fodor’s Ireland (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) Fodor’s is very similar to Frommer’s. One thing that separates this guide from the rest is they only have one rating, Fodor’s Choice, which is reserved for their very best recommendations. I like this a lot because it doesn’t leave any guess-work. Best of the best it is!
Irish Coastal Walks, 54 Walks Around Ireland’s Coasts (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) by Paddy Dillon. This out of date book is my favorite hill-walking guide for Ireland. It was published in 2001. So yeah. It really is out of date, but the descriptions of the types of walks, the scenery, views, etc. are spot on. I almost always use it for my initial research and then I find the walk on Mountain Views or in a Collins Press Guide (see below) to read other reviews and make sure landmarks haven’t changed.
Collins Press Walking Guides: If you are truly interested in spending a day or two in Ireland doing a little hill walking, pick up one of these guide books. They are invaluable during the research stage, but even more so when you are actually on a hike–describing landmarks, turns, streams, etc. There are several books and at least one for each region of Ireland. We are getting quite the collection now. They are so pretty all in a row, making our haphazard Ireland bookshelf look like there is some semblance of order.
Go Wild Magazine: I am one of those people that picks up every glossy brochure at rest stops, tourism offices, and accommodations. I love to pour over all the possibilities of things to do and see in the area. Not living in Ireland, I usually only get to do this when I am actually over there. Unfortunately, most of the time I find something crazy amazing but it is too late to add it to our current itinerary. Enter the Go Wild Magazine. It is one of those high-end tourism magazines printed and distributed all over Ireland, but you can access it online. Being a travel consultant, I love the interviews with industry insiders and articles like “48 hours in…” I always get great ideas to add to my list.
Ireland: A Novel (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) by Frank Delaney. I listened to Frank Delaney’s Ireland on audio several years ago, and it is still one of my most favorites. I mean, that Irish accent! Whether you are interested in Irish history or just like a really good read, this big book is worth the time. Delaney weaves dozens of story lines in and out of this historical fiction book. From the country’s turbulent history to the strong tradition of storytelling, I was completely hooked, entertained and even learned a bit in the process. If you’ve never used Audible, you can grab it for free with their trial (affiliate).
Travel Insurance is a very personal decision. I used to say get it if you think you might need to cancel.
I say GET IT.
Life is crazy. 2020 has taught us that in more ways than one.
When you are planning a trip of a lifetime. You invest a lot of money. What is an extra couple hundred bucks knowing your investment is secure?
Square Mouth (Affiliate) (Non-Affiliate) Square Mouth is an aggregate travel insurance site that allows you to get several detailed quotes without having to contact multiple providers. It will show you the lowest prices and every detail about each policy. I love it because it has videos that actually describe what is in the policy and you can filter by certain terms (like only Cancel for Any Reason policies–which I highly recommend). I love the companies they work with–super reputable and reliable (I’ve used several myself!).
Travel Coaching: I am an Ireland Travel Coach, a modern travel consultant dedicated to helping you create the Ireland trip of a lifetime.
One final note: I, unfortunately, do not own or have any influence over these companies. You will need to speak with the company directly to resolve any issues with a product or service. However, I genuinely love everything listed above and are more than happy to provide details about our experiences with them. I take my recommendations very seriously, so feel free to contact me with any questions.