Ireland Packing List – What To Pack For Ireland In 2019
Ireland Packing List And Guide
Our first trip together to Ireland was in 1999. Since then, we’ve traveled to Ireland so many times I’ve lost track. We are not the typical Irish travelers. We visit the country to see family, which is why we call it “going home.” But over the years, we’ve come up with a decent Ireland packing list. In this post, I share our recommendations on what to pack for Ireland.
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER.
What To Pack For Ireland
Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle, and for good reason. They say that there are forty shades of green on the island. When landing at Dublin or Shannon airport, it just might seem to be the case. But, all this green comes from somewhere – rain. It rains in Ireland. A lot. It’s not all that common to experience hard-core rain showers all day long. Instead, it’s more intermittent. That means that dressing for Ireland means layers and accessories.
We experienced Ireland in summer during our first trip in 1999. We traveled at the end of July, around Eric’s birthday. We were there for two weeks and it never rained a drop the entire visit (it wasn’t necessarily sunny either). As the airplane taxied to the runway at Shannon Airport, grey clouds formed and it started to rain. We’ve never experienced two straight weeks without rain in any of our dozens of trips to Ireland since that July.
What You Will Learn From These Packing Tips for Ireland:
- Our Ireland Travel Checklist, which includes the things to bring to Ireland besides clothing. We include tips on what to bring and what you can leave at home.
- What clothes to wear in Ireland based on its unique geography and weather. After 20 years of travel to Ireland, we share tips on what to wear during every season.
- How to pack for Ireland depending on your itinerary and activities. Includes recommended jackets and shoes for a trip to Ireland.
Why Are We Experts On Packing For A Trip To Ireland
Our first trip to Ireland was in 1999, just after I graduated from college. Since then, we’ve traveled to Ireland more times than we can count. Most of this is because we have family in Limerick, in Western Ireland. I know that means we don’t travel like the typical tourist to Ireland. We always have access to a washing machine (and an aunt who loves to iron).
But, it also means that unlike a lot of travel bloggers, we’ve traveled to Ireland during every season, and in fact during every month of the year. Since we left the US in 2012, we’ve visited Ireland at least once or twice a year. In fact, Eric is an Irish citizen, so when it comes to what to bring to Ireland, we know our stuff.
Just to prove our expertise, I am sharing some photos of us traveling to Ireland in 1999 above. Back when I still had a waist and Eric wore baseball hats.
Packing For Ireland – Top Things To Consider
There is no way to write a short blog post on packing for Europe regardless of the country. We make different recommendations for travelers to Ireland based on some of the following circumstances. Keep these in the back of your mind as you plan how to pack for Ireland.
- When it comes to traveling to mainland Europe, weather is a big concern. When it comes to packing for Italy or Spain, time of year is super important. This is less of an issue in Ireland when the temperature and climate doesn’t range drastically throughout the year.
- Will you check your luggage or pack a carry-on?
- Are you visiting cities and villages, or planning on hiking or trekking?
- How much walking will you be doing on your trip to Ireland?
What To Take To Ireland Pro Tip:
If renting a car in Ireland pay attention to the amount of space in the car for luggage. Many of the smaller cars don’t have large trunks and can’t handle large suitcases. Pack light! It’s my favorite travel motto.
Be sure to confirm your insurance needs before your trip. If you get sick during your travels to Ireland, healthcare and pharmacy services are reasonably priced. It’s possible to pay out of pocket. We pay out of pack for all of our medication in Spain, but the rates are higher in Ireland. But if something goes seriously wrong, it’s important to have travel insurance. This is particularly important if you are driving in Ireland in case you get into a serious accident, or if you are hiking or trekking.
We recommend World Nomads for travel insurance for Ireland. They are one of the most reputable companies for managing all sorts of insurance for travelers. Get an instant quote here.Get an Instant Quote on Travel Insurance for Ireland here
Weather In Ireland
As my Irish mother-in-law always says “you can’t do anything about the weather but talk about it.” And, in Ireland, everyone talks about the weather, even though it is fairly consistent throughout the year.
Average temperatures for Ireland in the summer rarely go above 75F, although “heat waves” are possible. At the opposite end, temperatures for Ireland in the winter rarely fall below freezing. It is a more temperate climate than many people think considering its location.
The one constant when talking about how to dress for Ireland is the rain. Ireland winter travel definitely means rain. Summer can mean less rain, but rarely means full-on sunny days. The shoulder seasons can be a mix of weather. It could mean a cool, rainy morning with a warm and sunny afternoon. Travelers need to be prepared for anything.
What To Pack For A Trip To Ireland Pro Tip:
Always check the weather a few days before you depart for your trip to Ireland. Things change quickly and any packing list must adjust with it.
What To Pack For A Trip To Ireland
When we lived in Southeast Asia, I always kept a few items in Limerick for our trips. There’s no need for a heavy scarf or rain coat when living in Bangkok. In this section of the post we talk about how to manage your wardrobe due to the weather in Ireland. And, yes, this photo was taken in June.
See below for recommendations on:
- Shoes to wear in Ireland
- Jackets for Ireland for each season
- Other travel accessories to better manage the rain in Ireland
The Best Shoes For Ireland
When it comes to the best shoes for touring Ireland, it’s important to take a few things into consideration. First, our advice comes from the standpoint that we travel to Ireland. We don’t hike in Ireland. So, I can’t really give proper advice for the best boots for Ireland for hikers.
That said, the best walking shoes for Ireland are ones that are practical, and water resistant. During most of the year, I bring one pair of boots and one pair of sneakers. I try not to wear a new pair of sneakers because I imagine they will get pretty wet during our trip.
As for the type of shoes to bring to Ireland, if staying in cities and villages I try to choose something a little more stylish than a hiking shoe, so it is something I can wear out for dinner or to the pubs. If you plan on doing a good amount of walking to sites like the Cliffs of Moher or Killarney National Park, then a good walking shoe is in order. This could be a waterproof shoe to wear in Ireland, or a boot/sneaker hybrid.
Recommended Year-Round Shoes For Ireland
For women, I recommend an ankle boot like these by Lucky Brand (which come in in a variety of colors and designs), or for a hybrid shoe I’ve always been a fan of Merrell walking shoes. For men, I would recommend an ankle boot from Clark’s or again a waterproof Merrell walking shoe.
Shoes For Ireland In The Summer
When it comes to the type of shoes to bring to Ireland in the summer, things change a bit. It’s still rainy and rarely what most people would consider hot. In the summer, I do bring my trusty Birkenstocks, which are sturdy enough for walking every day. And, unless planning a really fancy meal, are fine for dining out in the evening. Any sort of sturdy sandal will do. The best shoes to wear in Ireland are really the ones that are comfortable and easy to walk in. It’s definitely more function over fashion.
Ireland Packing Pro Tip:
Even if you are not hiking, you will probably be walking a lot when taking a trip to Ireland. It’s not the time to break in a new pair of walking shoes. Try to purchase your shoes a month or more in advance and wear them at home to avoid any blisters or issues when traveling.
Packing Rain Boots or Rain Shoes
If you do plan on doing a lot of walking, particularly if traveling to Ireland in the winter, a lightweight rain boot or shoe may be helpful. This really depends on your itinerary and whether you have space in your luggage. If you have a good walking shoe and maybe a few pairs of travel socks that resist the water, this might not be needed.
Just in case, I recommend these London Fog rain boots for women, which come in so many fun colors and designs. Or, try the more classic looking Crocs rain boots for women. For men, check out these Tretorn rain boots. The men’s rain boots just don’t come in the same fun colors as the women’s. Sorry fellas.
We usually take a risk and leave an umbrella at home when traveling to most places in Europe. Ireland, though, is a different story. I would recommend a proper travel umbrella, one that is wind resistant as well. It should be small enough that you feel comfortable carrying it every day in your daypack or day bag, but large enough to withstand the elements.Get the Best Price on a Travel Umbrella on Amazon Here
Packing Cubes For Ireland
Packing cubes can help travelers organize their clothing, either by color or by function. They can also keep things organized when your itinerary is packed and you are moving every few days to a new hotel or B&B. In Ireland, they can also help segregate any wet clothing you might have until you get to your next destination.
The Best Jacket For Ireland
When determining what type of jacket to pack for Ireland, it again depends on the season. During most of the year a proper raincoat is sufficient. For, us the best raincoat for Ireland is one that is waterproof, wind resistant, hooded, and not too bulky. As for winter coats in Ireland, a warm, lined rain jacket is probably sufficient. It doesn’t get as cold in Ireland as it does in Northern Europe or in the Northeast US. In this case, layers are best.
In summer, pack a lightweight rain jacket for Ireland. Ideally, choose one that is packable so you bring it with you every day, similar to our recommendation for a travel umbrella. Even if it seems sunny in the morning, things change quickly. It’s also important to choose one that acts as a windbreaker as well.
I almost always travel to Ireland with a fleece, which is great for layering. In the spring or fall in Ireland, a hooded fleece gives one more layer of protection against wind and rain. Depending on the season, I also pack a vest, which helps with layering. This is particularly helpful when traveling to Ireland in spring or fall.
For the summer, check out this Columbia brand rain jacket for women, which comes in a variety of colors. For spring and fall, this Columbia insulated rain jacket offers a bit more warmth. In the winter, a packable puffy jacket will work, if rain resistant. Otherwise, I like this waterproof Omni-Heat Jacket from Columbia, which does the trick but is not overly bulky. We also really like products from SCOTTeVEST, which offers a wide range of travel clothing, including vests and jackets.
Jacket For Ireland In The Summer
Jacket for Ireland In the Winter
Jacket for Ireland In Spring & Fall
What Not To Wear In Ireland?
I did a lot of research when putting together this guide to things to pack for Ireland. Because we travel to Ireland differently than many other travelers, I wanted to ensure I wasn’t missing anything from what our normal packing list includes. For example, we don’t pack a travel umbrella because Aunt Theresa always has one ready for us to use! But, not everyone has a favorite Irish auntie to take care of them. What I found interesting in a lot of the packing guides I reviewed was some of the advice about what do people wear in Ireland.
Short Shorts And Skirts
I’ve read in several guides that you should dress conservatively, and avoid short shorts, short skirts, and crop tops. I certainly agree with this advice during most of the year simply because it is too cold. In the summer, though, I am often overdressed, not underdressed. As soon as the temps rise above 70F the Irish break out all sorts of summer clothing that I wouldn’t wear until the temps are in the 90s (or ever, young women are wearing ever shorter shorts and ever more cropped tops). Feel free to bring a perfect summer outfit if the weather seems like it warrants it. Just remember, you still might be cold. But, don’t avoid it solely based on modesty. That said, if visiting churches or cathedrals, modesty still rules.
It used to be that travelers to Europe said to avoid any sort of athletic clothes because wearing sneakers or shorts was a sure sign of being American. That is no longer the case. Particularly with young people in Ireland, everyone wears baseball hats, sweat pants, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. That said if heading to a nicer restaurant, gastropub, or cocktail lounge or bar in the evening there might be some dress requirements. Some places restrict clothing for entry. This can mean that there are no baseball hats, sweatpants, or athletic jerseys.
How To Dress In Ireland
When it comes to Irish fashion, casual rules. Everyone wears jeans. Many men tend to wear sweatpants and sneakers everywhere (a fashion trend I would not recommend). Women tend to be a little more bold with hair and makeup. Everyone loves the brand Hollister, a brand I didn’t know of before seeing it in Ireland. For travelers, though, there is a lot less to worry about in Ireland than when packing for Italy. In Ireland, it’s kind of like anything goes.
How To Choose Clothes For Ireland
As with our other packing guides, we always choose function over fashion when traveling in Europe. That said, we try to fit in as best as we can with the locals. And, we try to pack some more fashionable items and accessories to jazz up an otherwise neutral wardrobe. This is our list of what we would bring for a one-week trip to Ireland, or a longer trip where you have an accommodation with a washing machine at some point during your trip.
Here’s our recommendation for what to pack for a trip to Ireland, with function at its core:
What To Wear In Ireland
- 2 or 3 pairs of shoes, as discussed above
- 1 jacket or vest, as discussed above
- 7 pairs of socks, which includes two pairs of weather resistant socks
- 3 pairs of pants, including one pair of dark jeans and one pair of dark long pants. In the summer I would swap one of these for a pair of capri pants. I rarely bring shorts to Ireland. If planning on a lot of hiking, perhaps pack a pair of rain-resistant pants or shorts.
- 2-3 sweaters that are in neutral colors and can be worn with everything
- 1 fleece, preferably with a hood
- 2-3 long-sleeved shirts
- 3-4 short sleeved shirts for layering
- 2 scarves, and in winter add in one hat and a pair of gloves
Pretty much all of the advice above on Ireland attire applies to men as well as women. If you tend to be a more fashion-conscious women, add in one skirt or one packable travel dress. Just be careful of super flowy skirts and dresses because it is very windy in Ireland and you don’t need to recreate that famous Marilyn Monroe photo. Awkward. For men, include at least one collared shirt for any nicer meals in the evening.
Ireland Travel Pro Tip:
Try to take laundry into consideration when booking accommodations. During the middle of your stay, try booking an apartment through Airbnb or Booking.com. Or, look for an Irish B&B that has laundry facilities, or who can send your laundry out at an extra charge. It will be worth it in order to pack lighter for your trip to Ireland.
How To Dress In Ireland – Accessories
I would recommend traveling with two scarves in Ireland. Your scarves and other accessories will be what will allow you to take some great photos that pop in color. But, they also need to be functional. First, try to pack a moisture-wicking scarf that will dry quickly after it gets wet. Second, choose a multi-colored or brightly colored scarf that will look nice in pictures. This may seem silly, but it will give a pop to your photos, particularly on grey or dreary days.
During the winter, also think about bringing a hat or beanie. We spent Christmas and New Years in Ireland recently and were happy to have to have hooded jackets and something to keep our ears warm. The same goes for a pair of gloves in the winter. The gloves don’t need to be something super high-tech, just something to keep the chill off.
Eye Mask For Sleeping
If traveling to Ireland in summer, be aware that stays light pretty late. The sun sets about midnight and it starts to get light around 5 am. Some hotels have black out curtains, but others might not. If you have difficulty sleeping when it is light outside, I would recommend an eye mask for traveling.
Portable Coffee Maker
Ireland is a tea drinking culture. Sure there are plenty of Starbucks locations in the larger cities. If you are particular about your coffee drinking, then check out our post on the Best Portable Coffee Makers For Travel.
Travel Packing Checklist For Ireland
Above we focused mostly on clothing and accessories, which are super important for a trip to Ireland. Regardless of the season, though, there are some items that you should consider packing when traveling in Ireland. Some of these tips may seem obvious to frequent travelers but we know for many people a trip to Ireland is perhaps their first trip to Europe. So, these tips are important to share.
Passport Requirements For Ireland
If you are traveling from within the E.U., a National Identification card is sufficient to enter Ireland. For the rest of us, a passport is required. Most countries require at least six months of validity on your passport to enter a country. For example, if your trip begins on January 1, be sure that your passport doesn’t expire until after July 1.
I don’t recommend carrying your passport with you during the day. It’s safer in the hotel. Some people recommend that you carry a physical, printed photocopy of your passport in case your bag is stolen or lost. We used to carry several copies, one in each of our bags.
With today’s technology, though, we no longer carry printed copies of our passports with us in Europe. Instead, when we receive a new passport, we scan a copy or take a picture of our passport identification information and store it in the cloud. This includes having it saved locally on each of our cell phones and laptops, as well as having it stored in Dropbox or the Google Drive. Or, email a copy of it to yourself at an email address you can access when traveling, i.e. Gmail.
Schengen Rules For Ireland
Travelers to Europe should be aware of what is known as the Schengen Zone. There are restrictions on how long many travelers, including those from the US, Australia, etc. can stay within the Schengen Zone. The good news is that Ireland is not part of this zone. Travelers from most countries can stay in Ireland for up to 90 days.
If traveling in Europe for awhile, Ireland is a great place to spend time to extend your stay on the continent without overstaying your welcome in Schengen. It can get complicated. In the end this means that Americans (as well as travelers from other countries, including people from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) can travel within the Schengen Zone for no more than 90 days within 180 days. This is a complicated and comprehensive travel topic, but just be aware of the Schengen Visa rules for traveling in Europe and that Ireland is exempt.Check out our recommendations on What to Eat in Ireland
Carry-On Versus Checked Baggage
Oh boy, I could spend thousands of words talking about this very issue. The most important thing when traveling in Europe is to pack as light as you can. During our early trips to Europe we made so many packing mistakes.
On our first trip to Ireland, our two suitcases were so big they couldn’t fit in our uncle’s car. During my first trip to Italy, my suitcase was so big and heavy I couldn’t get it on and off trains. During my first trip to Portugal, it took me forever to drag my suitcase up a steep, and I mean steep, set of stairs.
Now, I only travel with a carry-on sized bag that I can carry, roll, and lift wherever I need to without any help. Eric carries the same bag as I do. Occasionally I check my travel bag, but mostly that is because I am carrying toiletries that are not travel sized.
All that said, I use this same bag whether I am traveling for a weekend or a month. I’ve used this bag for summer trips and winter trips and for business trips where I am packing a blazer. We’ve even used this bag to travel to Ireland in the winter, with all sorts of bulky clothes.Check out our Eagle Creek Load Warrior on Amazon
Technology To Pack For Ireland
UK Travel Adapter
Ireland, like the UK, has a different shaped electric outlet than the rest of Europe. Most universal travel adapters will work in Ireland, but I always carry at least one UK-specific adapter as a backup. In this case, it’s hard to search for “Ireland Adapter.” Instead, look for a UK adapter, or a “Type G” adapter, which will work in Ireland.
We always travel with four adapters, two for our laptops and two for our phones, camera, etc. This helps when we have limited time to charge devices at the hotel. It’s kind of a pain to share among all your devices. Many travel adapters now also include a USB port so it is possible to charge more than one device with one adapter. I find though that using the USB ports slows down charging.
We always pack one portable battery with us. This helps to charge up our mobile phones during the day when we are on the road. We recharge it each night at the hotel. We also often carry our phone chargers with us during the day (along with an adapter) as many pubs and restaurants have outlets where you can top-up. If renting a car in Ireland, many cars now have USB outlets in the car, which can also be used to keep the charge on your phone.
I recommend this portable charger from Anker. We’ve had a few of their battery packs over the years and they’ve always worked well.
Camera Or Smartphone
In the past we’ve carried some pretty hefty camera equipment with us when traveling in Ireland. During our first trip we had a camera with actual film. When we returned home, I took over 20 rolls of 35mm film to the CVS and ended up with a pile of photos – many of them bad. Thank goodness that’s not an issue any more.
Extra Memory Cards
We uploads photos and videos we take on our Smartphone to Dropbox daily and automatically. But, we also both have big memory cards in our Smartphones and on our camera. Either upgrade the size of your memory card, or pick up an extra before leaving home. You don’t want to miss out on amazing Ireland holiday photos because you’ve run out of space. This 125GB memory card will mean you will never run out of space for your photos.
Ireland Packing Pro Tip:
When traveling with a digital camera, delete all old photos off of your memory card before leaving home. Then click “reformat” in your function settings. This will clear the memory completely on your memory card leaving it empty for new photos. If you don’t occasionally reformat your memory cards, they continue to hold a lot of old data, which takes up space.
Portable WiFi Device
Things are changing rapidly in this area. We have Spanish mobile phone numbers, which allow us to use our phones anywhere in the European Union, without roaming charges. I know some Americans have international roaming plans or plans for $10 a day overseas. For our laptops, we rely on hotel WiFi. In some parts of Ireland this is not all that reliable. For people who need to feel connected, we recommend a Portable WiFi device, like the one from SkyRoam.
We don’t tend to take our SkyRoam with us when on a city break to Lisbon or Bologna, for example, but brought it with us for Ireland, just in case. If staying in a B&B or country hotel with poor WiFi, this is our backup. You can use it on multiple devices and it acts as a battery pack to charge your phone too.Use the code WHITRoam for a discount on SkyRoam Wifi
Money Issues When Traveling In Ireland
This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions about traveling in Ireland, or anywhere in the world, particularly from Americans. I will speak to this from an American perspective. I recommend bringing one ATM card and two credit cards. It’s best to have Visa or Mastercard, as they are most readily accepted by businesses in Ireland. American Express and Discover are not as commonly accepted.
Keep one credit card in your hotel safe, or hidden in a suitcase just in case your bag is stolen while out during the day. For an extra layer of protection, take photos of your cards (both sides) and keep them with your passport images. This can help if your cards are stolen because you will have access to the phone number to call to close the account.
Before leaving home, it’s important to call your bank and your credit card companies. This is important for two reasons. First, let them know that you are traveling to Ireland and the dates of your trip. This lets the bank know that it is you using your card overseas so they will not turn your credit card off for suspicious behavior. Many credit card companies, including Chase, will allow you to file a travel alert online now as well.
The second reason to call your bank and credit card companies is to confirm whether your bank charges Foreign Transaction Fees. These fees can be 2-3% of every purchase you make, and can really add up. Some credit cards have these fees and some do not. Obviously, try to use a credit card that doesn’t charge these fees. We’ve had the most luck with Chase, although we also have a Citibank card that doesn’t charge Foreign Transaction Fees. With Chase, when filing a travel alert online, the page will tell you whether you have foreign transaction fees on that account.
How To Access Money In Ireland
As for accessing money, the easiest and best way to access cash when traveling to Ireland is to use the local ATM machines to withdraw Euros. ATM machines are located all over the place in big cities and even small villages.
There is no need to convert Dollars to Euros at your bank before leaving home. There is no need to convert at the airport in the US or on arrival in Ireland. Generally, the exchange rates and fees are way worse than simply withdrawing money at an ATM. The same rule goes for ATMs and credit cards. See whether your ATM card will charge a Foreign Transaction Fee for accessing cash. We’ve used Charles Schwab and Capital One in the past to avoid these fees.
When in Ireland, avoid ATM machines that are inside or attached to a convenience store or souvenir shop. This is particularly common in Dublin. Instead, look for major Irish banks, like the Bank of Ireland or AIB.
Another tip to limit fees is to withdraw larger amounts at one time. If you withdraw €300 or €500 at a time it avoids transactional fees. When we do this, we split up the money. I carry some, Eric carries some, and we hide the rest in a bag or two inside the hotel room.
Money in Ireland Pro Tip:
We tend to use more cash in Ireland than elsewhere in Europe. This is because we tend to spend a good amount at the Irish pubs, no surprise there. Unlike in the US, it is not common to run a tab at a pub in Ireland. We pay cash as we go, and with pints costing about €4.50-5 each, it adds up. But, the same rules apply. No need to bring travelers, just hit up the ATM.
Money Belt or Passport Belt
A lot of people put a money belt or passport belt on their list of things to bring to Ireland. We have not traveled in Europe with a money belt or passport belt since some of our earliest trips to Europe. For the most part, there is no reason to carry your passport with you during the day. It’s safest at your hotel or apartment rental.
As for money, Eric doesn’t carry a wallet when traveling (or at home in Spain either). He keeps his money in his front pocket where it is most safe. If you follow my advice above about keeping money in various places and not carrying all your credit cards with you, you should be fine. Take the same precautions you would in any big city, like New York or Los Angeles. If you keep your eyes open and your wits about you, you should be fine.
All that said, if you would feel more secure using a money belt, we recommend this neck wallet. It includes an RFID blocker, which means that your credit cards are more secure. It also has room for a smartphone to keep it secure as well.
Things To Take To Ireland – Final Thoughts
Remember to pack light, both because it is easier on your back and because car trunks are smaller than in the US. To do this, prepare a laundry plan before leaving home. This can mean booking a holiday home with a washing machine or asking your B&B or hotel ahead of time whether there are laundry facilities nearby. And, pack for layers. This helps with packing light and for the variable daily weather in Ireland.
Last, particularly in the cities and larger towns, it’s super easy to pop into a local pharmacy, or into the British pharmacy chain, Boots, to pick up anything you need. If you have any questions I didn’t cover, please feel free to ask us in the comments below.
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Packing For Ireland – Top Tips
Packing is not an exact science. It takes a long time to learn the tricks of the trade. Even though we consider ourselves packing experts, we often make mistakes – forget things at home or fail to pack for the weather. Just remember not to stress TOO much about packing for your trip. The most important thing is to keep things in perspective. Ireland is not Mars and other than prescription medication, almost everything can be purchased locally. Remember that this is your holiday first and foremost and at some point, the planning needs to give way to enjoyment!
Feel free to Pin this post to your Pinterest travel board to save it for later. But don’t forget to have fun too!