Travel Guide: Planning a Trip to Ireland
Start Planning Your Trip to Ireland With This Travel Guide
The “Emerald Isle” is an incredibly popular travel destination for good reason. From the gorgeous greenery and steep oceanside cliffs to the sheep-filled pastures. The quaint towns, imposing castles, and friendly people in the pubs.
There really is something magical about visiting Ireland.
So take your time and explore this travel guide. From our own personal experience, we’ve gathered plenty of tips, tools, itineraries and advice to help you plan your dream Ireland trip!
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Travel Basics – Ireland
Ireland is quite an easy to country to visit for most travelers. English is the primary language spoken, although some locals may have quite a thick accent. However, you may see some signs in the traditional Irish / Gaelic language.
Entry / Exit Requirements for Ireland
It’s important to remember that Ireland is actually two separate countries: Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom, while the Republic of Ireland is a part of the European Union.
If you are planning to travel to Ireland, you first need to make sure you have a valid passport. If you are from the USA and don’t have a passport yet, check out this post about how to get a US passport. You need to be sure that your passport will be valid for your entire visit to Ireland (check that expiration date) & be sure you have at least 1 blank page in your passport.
Entry requirements may vary depending on which country you are coming from. If you are coming from the USA, currently you do not need a visa to enter Ireland for tourism purposes up to 90 days. However, if you intend to work, study, or stay longer than that then you will need to contact the consulate for the proper entry paperwork. However, you should always double check with the department of State for more information regarding current travel entry requirements for Ireland.
You do not need any special vaccines to enter Ireland, other than routine vaccines. Also, keep in mind that you cannot carry more than the equivalent of 10,000 Euros in cash in or out of Ireland.
Currency in Ireland
Since the Republic of Ireland is in the EU, their currency is the Euro. Please note that this is different than Northern Ireland, which is a part of the UK and uses the Pound Sterling.
We always advise bringing some local currency with you on arrival, so you have some cash right away. The best way to get local currency in advance of your trip is to buy at your bank if they sell foreign currency (most big banks do this) or you can also convert currency at the airport, except the fees will be higher for the convenience.
Best Way to Get Cash Overseas = ATM Withdrawl
Once you are in Ireland, the best way to get cash is actually just to pull out out of the ATM. It’s the most convenient and gives you the best conversion rates. Double check with your bank back home first to be sure that you can use your ATM card overseas (most major banks allow this, but smaller local credit unions may not). Also be sure you contact them ahead of your trip to put a “travel notification” on your card and check if there are ATM fees for using non-network or foreign ATMs. Usually they are nominal, the same as which you may have back home. But good to know so you can plan out how much money to take out at a time.
Read More About Our Money Travel Tips HERE
Lastly, most major credit cards are acceptable in Ireland as well. Just be sure to check if your card will charge you foreign transactions fees…because they will really add up! We use the Chase Sapphire card when we travel, which gives us no transaction fees abroad.
Climate and Weather in Ireland
Overall, Irish weather doesn’t tend to have extremes throughout the year. However, the weather in Ireland changes a lot and can be quite unpredictable from day to day…or even hour to hour!
Spring temperatures in Ireland range from the mid 40’s to mid 50’s°F while summer months get into the mid to upper 60’s°F. Also keep in mind that during July and August Ireland can get upwards of 18 hours of daylight — so you may have light up until 11 pm at night! During the Fall temperatures will drop into the lower 60’s and mid 50’s °F, while in winter the temperatures usually hovers around the mid 40’s °F — with occasional cold snaps that dip below freezing. Overall, snow is quite rare in Ireland.
Yes, it rains in Ireland quite a bit. However, you often won’t have long or heavy rain storms. But you will have wind, most especially along the coastal areas as it comes off the sea.
Overall, the best time to visit Ireland is during the summer months when the weather is good and the days are long. There are also a number of festivals happening around the island. However, summer also means high prices and crowds. So shoulder seasons like the Spring or Fall are best for travelers on budgets and those who are willing to deal with the more unpredictable weather and have less crowds.
Getting In / Out and Around Ireland
Ireland is served by a few different international airports, including: Dublin, Shannon, Cork, Knock, and Belfast (Northern Ireland). Depending on where you are flying from, check various airlines and cities to see if you can find deals. For us, we’ve found that Dublin and Shannon often have good deals to and from the USA.
Traveling within Ireland is made pretty easy with a network of roads, buses, and railways. Train service is offered through most of Ireland. It is a relaxing and convenient way to travel; however, you are restricted to staying in some of the more popular areas and you will have less freedom to drive the countryside and explore. Personally, we recommend renting a car for a road trip around Ireland if you want to really experience the countryside and travel at your own leisurely speed.
Top Ireland Experiences
Ireland is famous among travelers for quite a number of reasons.
First of all, there is that warm Irish hospitality. Pop into a local pub, grab a pint of the “black stuff”, and before you know it you will be chatting away with a local or hearing a grand story from the bartender! If you are lucky, perhaps there will be a band playing traditional music and by the end of the night everyone will be singing along together.
History buffs won’t be disappointed either. Wonderful museums are located around the country, and there are a number of historical sites to visit and castles where you can even stay overnight!
Dublin is a must-visit for travelers to Ireland with so much to see and do. But renting a car to get out of the city and explore the quintessential countryside is a necessity for you to get the real Ireland experience. Take a drive around the famous peninsulas, and if you are brave enough…peek your head over the edge of a dramatic cliff!
Interactive Ireland Map
Navigate the custom travel map below to learn more about Ireland. Zoom in and click on the links to see popular places to visit, things to do, where to stay, and other personal recommendations for your trip.
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