There are two things you need to know about Ireland as a travel destination. The first is that people only need to visit it once before they fall in love with it. The second is that Ireland is one of those destinations that require careful packing.
Ireland is a country known for its fickle weather, and it has some other quirks and surprises that require preparation. Spending too much money abroad on things you forgot to pack doesn’t make for an enjoyable holiday, especially in a country that’s as expensive as Ireland.
Here are eighteen things you should pack when leaving for Ireland.
Liquids Travel Set
Airline travel has seen much, much better days. Once, the defining traits of airline travel were luxury and convenience. Today, it’s the ever increasing and encroaching security measures.
Whenever traveling by airplane, it’s a good idea to have a Ziploc bag or two with you. But a Ziploc bag will not shrink a bottle of shampoo that’s simply too big to be allowed on the plane. And you know that travel packs are rip-offs.
The solution is to have your very own liquids travel set made from clear plastic in appropriate sizes and capable of holding all those dangerous toiletries you can’t carry in large quantities. You’ll make things easier for yourself as well as the security agents at the airport.
When traveling abroad, one of the top concerns should always be about keeping documents and money safe. Travelers will probably be able to get assistance from their country’s consulate in case someone steals their passport. If someone steals their money, however, they won’t get as much help.
The usual prescription for travelers is to carry their most precious valuables in a pouch around their neck, under their clothes. And in Ireland, that’s easy to do because you’ll have plenty of layers under which to hide the pouch.
However, this level of protection might not suffice — you should also make sure that the pouch containing the valuable documents and money is waterproof. Getting one for the smartphone is a fine idea, too. Theft is not the only thing that can happen to people’s valuables — water damage can render a passport useless. It can turn cash into mush and a smartphone into a paperweight.
The real problem here is, of course, the Irish weather. You might get soaked with little to no heads-up because that’s something that can happen in Ireland. But don’t let your passport and valuables get soaked as well.
ust because you are more water-resistant than a passport doesn’t mean it’s okay to get wet every time it rains, right? It would be a shame to spend a whole holiday in Ireland with a runny nose or, even worse, a fever, just because you had nothing to protect you from the rain.
No matter what time of the year people go to Ireland, they should always make sure to have a foldable umbrella. Ireland doesn’t have monsoon weather, but it has the sudden relentless rain that can easily become an issue. And from what climate scientists are saying, it looks like it will only get rainier in Ireland.
An umbrella is the first line of defense against the rain. Always have one with you, even when visiting Ireland during the summer. It gets rainy in Ireland all year round. And if it also gets windy it’s nice to know the umbrella is windproof, so think about that as well.
Is rain such a problem that it really needs a third method to keep it from ruining a trip to Ireland? It might be, depending on the time and the place of the visit. However, having outerwear that’s also water-resistant can be practical even during the summer in drier parts of the country.
Exactly which items to bring depends on the time of the year and the general climate of the area where you’re going. And because outdoors activities are always an option in Ireland, it would be best to take any hiking you’ll be doing into consideration when choosing which type of outerwear to pack.
A light waterproof windbreaker can be a great choice for the summer, especially if you’re planning to stay outside for long stretches of time. A thicker raincoat can be a good option for the colder months. And remember — the more you worry about rainproof outerwear, the less time you’ll spend drying shirts or underwear.
Comfortable City Footwear
It wouldn’t be fair to divide Ireland into the rural and the urban because you really need both to experience the real Ireland. However, when it comes to planning a trip, it makes sense to think about the rural and the urban adventures separately.
For example, driving is one of the don’ts for a trip to urban Ireland. The traffic can get hectic. It can become confusing to drive on the left side of the road. Parking is a nightmare and an expensive one at that. But most importantly, there’s not that much need to drive in Dublin, or Cork, or Galway.
As long as you’re in one of Ireland’s cities, public transportation is a great option for getting around. And because the city cores, or sometimes the whole cities, aren’t that big, it’s possible to go from one attraction to another on foot. So you might not even need public transportation.
But any visitor to Ireland’s cities will need comfortable shoes. There’s plenty of reasons to stay outside in Ireland, and there’s always something new to discover and see. The feet are the best means of transportation, especially when coupled with a nice pair of shoes to help carry the load more comfortably.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Ireland is a small island country, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up in terrain diversity. There are hills and mountains, but there are also beaches and valleys. There are smaller islands and bogs. And through most of those terrains, there’s at least one hiking route for everyone’s level of fitness.
Some of the hikes are very popular because they take people to Ireland’s famous sights or landmarks. The Causeway Coast Way in North Ireland is one such hiking trail. It allows people to see the Giant’s Causeway and the Dunluce Castle, among other important historical and natural monuments.
To be able to experience this side of Ireland, you have to pack good hiking shoes. Light but sturdy is the best option, and there’s nothing better than having waterproof shoes while in Ireland. Some of the more demanding hikes might warrant hiking boots. It’s best to decide on the hikes beforehand, and then pack accordingly.
Ireland is not a country where having an engineered water bottle will normally mean the difference between life and death. But Ireland does offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, and you should always ensure proper hydration when hiking or running outside.
Your trusty water bottle should be by your side on this trip. It’s not the end of the world if you forget it because you will be able to buy another in Ireland. But then again, it’s an unnecessary expenditure, and you should avoid those when going to Ireland. So, don’t forget to bring your own.
As much as it doesn’t make sense to drive in Dublin, people who visit Ireland often find that the opposite is true for the rest of the country. The further you go into the wild, or at least Ireland’s equivalent to the wild, the more the benefits of renting a car become obvious.
In fact, it can be difficult to reach some areas of the country using public transportation. Or it might be hard to fit irregular transportation schedules in a travel itinerary. So the only way to experience Ireland outside of the city walls on your own terms is to drive.
The driver’s license you use back home might be good enough for the Irish authorities. However, it would be best to visit the National Driver License Service’s website and figure out whether you need to jump through some additional hoops. And even if there are some additional requirements, remember that they are very much worth it if they let you drive a car in Ireland.
Whether or not you need walking sticks will depend on several factors, including the difficulty of the terrain and your experience and level of fitness. However, hikers in Ireland should always prepare as if they’re heading for a hike that’s more difficult than they thought it would be.
There are some tricky terrains in Ireland, that’s true. But the main reason why walking sticks should find their way in many bags is that Ireland will do its best to make its visitors go for a hike that’s slightly above their level.
There’s simply so much of the country to see on foot that everyone might at least try to visit some of it. The novices will need sticks because they’re not used to hiking, and the experienced hikers will need them because they will go for the most difficult and most rewarding trails.
Being prepared for the rain is important — anyone who lives in Ireland will confirm. However, the Irish weather isn’t only prone to sudden rainfall. It’s prone to going all over the place in terms of cloudiness and temperature.
The umbrella might help with the rain. The raincoat might help with the rain and the cold at the same time. But there’s nothing like an outer layer designed specifically to keep people warm when it comes with dealing with sudden temperature drops.
Traditionally, people would say that you shouldn’t come to Ireland without bringing a sweater. Today, however, the fleece jacket has largely supplanted the sweater as the go-to layer of clothes to fight against the caprices of the Irish weather. The choice is up to you, just make sure to bring something to keep you warm.
Travel Electricity Adapter
There probably is a reasonable explanation for why different countries use different kinds of power plugs and sockets. It’s electricity, after all. Throughout history, electricity has been the realm of serious people who seriously thought out the best way to deliver something as serious and powerful and useful as electricity. There has to be a good reason why we can’t travel without adapters. There has to.
There’s not. It’s all very silly, actually.
Ireland, along with the UK, uses the G type plugs and sockets. If you’re coming from the United States, the rest of Europe and most other places in the world, the sockets in Ireland will be of little use without an adapter.
Also, remember that the frequency of electricity is 50Hz, and the standard voltage is 230V. Travelers from the Americas usually need a voltage converter as well as a socket adapter. Make sure to sort everything out regarding electricity. We depend a lot on gadgets that don’t work without power.
Portable Power Bank
No one likes to be at the mercy of coffee shops, restaurants, or whatever place that has a power socket. But we need our things for various practical reasons, and we need the electricity to power those things. It’s not fun to find yourself in a foreign country without a working smartphone, for example.
When a country has the outdoors that is so inviting, it becomes even more important to have a means of communication and navigation always ready and working. The outdoors is a big draw for people who come to Ireland, and everyone needs a plan for the time spent on trails or hikes where power sockets are few and far between.
The solution is to have a portable power bank with you. These devices don’t have to be cumbersome or otherwise impractical to carry — they come in various shapes and sizes, they don’t have to cost a lot, and it’s easy to find a good one. There really is no reason to get into a situation where your trusted electronic devices are out of juice, and the next socket is a couple of miles away.
Power Strip (And the Chargers and Cables You Need)
It really is alarming how much time, space, and attention you need to devote to providing energy for various things that will find their way into your bag. That bundle of chargers and USB cables that needs to go with you on every travel is a sign of the times.
So while making sure that every device and gadget has its associated charger or USB cable, how about packing something that will make simultaneous charging of all these devices easier? You won’t always have access to more than one electricity plugs, and there is such a thing as having too many cables sticking out of a laptop.
Having a power strip, or a power cube, is very handy. As long as they work with the travel electricity adapter — and you should make sure they do — they will make it incredibly easy to have all the devices fully charged. That way you’ll have fewer things to worry about when you’re outside, in the city or the countryside, with no power plugs in sight.
There’s nothing that’s easier to forget to pack than the most obvious things. You can spend hours on making lists of the things you cannot be without on a trip to Ireland, only to forget something that’s been staring you in the face all along.
Think about it. You won’t spend all your time in Ireland inside, right? And there’s no reason to lug all that luggage around with you to carry all the stuff one needs when they’re exploring Ireland. What you need is a backpack, so you better make sure you pack one if you’re not bringing it as carry-on on the plane.
Ideally, you want a sling bag because it’s just as easy to wear the bag part of them on your chest as it is on your back. That’s an extra layer of security for your valuables. Plus, wearing the bag on your chest will make it more convenient to get things out of it, and that’s always a good thing.
Oh, the fickle Irish weather. If you think about it, packing for Ireland is one half making sure you’re prepared for every type of weather the island will throw at you, and one half making sure you can charge all the tech you’re carrying with you.
Sunglasses obviously fall in the category of things that help travelers deal with the capriciousness of the Irish weather. You think the day will be gloomy and rainy and unpleasant, so you prepare accordingly. Half an hour later, the clouds have moved on, and the weather is beautiful and sunny.
There’s nothing wrong with sunny weather, but you should protect your eyes from the damaging ultraviolet light. It doesn’t matter what type of sunglasses you have — sporty, classic, or fun ones — make sure they are always in the bag or the pocket. You never know when you’ll need them in Ireland.
Is Ireland, as a travel destination, synonymous with sandy beaches? Probably not, even though the country is surrounded by water. But people tend to think about green rolling hills with people wishing you top of the morning while they’re off to look for leprechauns when they think about Ireland.
In reality, however, visitors to Ireland are much more likely to come across a surfer dude than anyone saying ‘top of the morning’ or mentioning leprechauns. Ireland might not be the land where leprechauns live, but it is a land with pretty beaches and awesome waves.
If the reason for your visit to Ireland is mostly a desire to catch waves, it’s best to go in the months of September, October, and November. Bundoran in County Donegal is the country’s premier surfing spot, and one of the best ones in the world, but there are many more beaches worthy of exploration in Ireland.
Camera (The One in Your Phone Doesn’t Count)
Every smartphone comes with a camera or two today, and some of them are pretty decent. They give you options to zoom in, apply filters, shoot photos and video, and even shoot in slow motion. With that many functionalities, it would be hard to imagine why would anyone need to carry a discrete camera.
But cameras that are only cameras and nothing else should have a place in your bag when traveling to Ireland. It doesn’t have to be an expensive camera, but it should have all the standard functions. And it should come with plenty of memory cards.
No matter how practical it is to use a phone to capture photos of footage, it’s not a good idea to constantly expose such an important piece of tech to potential harm. Think about it this way: which would you rather see fall of an Irish cliff or get soaked by Irish rain, your smartphone or a cheap camera? Exactly.
Some countries are known for the way their cuisines mix ingredients with spices to create delicious and exciting dishes that might, unfortunately, have a side effect of making you go to the bathroom a lot. Let’s be honest and admit that diarrhea has ruined more than one trip.
Ireland is not a country with hot and spicy cuisine. The meals are delicious, but they are pretty tame by globetrotting gastronomes’ standards. Still, if your stomach has troubles with handling dairy products, for example, you might find yourself with a case of the runs.
The best way to handle these things is swiftly and as effectively as possible. Having an over-the-counter medicine that settles stomachache or diarrhea is a necessity for any trip. While you’re at it, put something for a cold in there and some aspirin on top of any prescription meds you need. Pack a nice travel pharmacy and hope you won’t need it.