You've put off visiting the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney National Park, and Blarney Castle long enough. It's finally time to take that trip to Ireland! If you're planning your first trip to Ireland, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. We applaud that decision, but before you book that brewery tour or get too excited about visiting Dublin's Grafton Street, here are a few tips for a more enjoyable trip. Here are the top 10 tips for a first-time trip to Ireland.
Plan You Trip Six Months in Advance
Ireland has a lot to offer, from historic castles to stunning landscapes, and it's very popular these days, making it essential to plan your itinerary ahead of time to make the most of your trip. You can see the best sites in the Emerald Isle via public transportation or tour buses, but splurging for a car and driver is a good idea to get to those obscure sites. Roads are small and narrow. So if you rent a car alone, be prepared for close driving to others. Oh, and the Irish drive on the left side of the road and pass on the right.
Dublin is Ireland's capital city and is known for its vibrant culture, lively pubs, and historical landmarks. Stroll through the city center, visit the Guinness Storehouse, and explore the historic Trinity College.
All those goodies you'll find to buy on Grafton Street are tax-free! That's right, travelers who live outside the European Union can shop tax-free in Ireland. Make sure to apply for a Fexco Horizon Card before your trip so you can register and swipe it in affiliated stores in the country and claim sales tax back on the purchases. And while we're on the topic of shopping, it's important to note that, as part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland uses pound sterling rather than the euro.
Explore the Countryside
Ireland's countryside is breathtakingly beautiful, with rolling hills, a rugged coastline, and picturesque villages. Take a scenic drive or hike through the country to experience it yourself. The Blarney Castle is a huge tourist draw to kiss the Blarney stone, but we recommend many hidden off-the-beaten-path places too! The Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Wild Atlantic Way are must-see destinations.
Dress Appropriately & Be Prepared for the Weather
Irish weather is not extreme, but the country does get a lot of rain, particularly along its west coast. And if you're traveling to Ireland during winter, know that the season's days are short. The sun rises at about 8 a.m. and sets at about 4 p.m., which means you have to cram a lot of sightseeing for a few hours. But during summer, the sunsets as late as 10 p.m. Be mindful of these seasonal changes. Pack light layers of clothing and a pair of rain boots or waterproof shoes, and you should be fine.
Experience Traditional Irish Music & Dance
Irish music and dance are essential to the country's culture. Attend a traditional music session in a pub or visit a music festival to experience authentic Irish culture.
Public Transportation Pointers
The trains in Ireland carry you in comfort, but they are pricey. So if you intend to travel on one during your trip, book it in advance to take advantage of the Irish Rail offers online discounts. If you choose to travel by bus, be aware that you must flag the bus to get it to stop.
Heritage Cards Are Helpful
If you plan to visit the country's many cultural attractions, picking up a Heritage Card from the Office of Public Works is great. This card entitles you to free admission to all heritage sites managed by the state for an entire year. These sites include castles and national parks.
Try the Local Cuisine
Ireland is known for its delicious food, from traditional Irish stew, fish and chips, soda bread, and fresh seafood. Feel free to try new things and indulge in the local cuisine. While there, go ahead and sample the famous Irish whiskey and beer.
Visit Pubs and Engage with the Locals
Pubs are an essential part of Irish culture, and they're a great place to meet locals and immerse yourself in the local atmosphere. With their friendliness and hospitality, Talk with the locals the Irish freely share their culture and traditions with visitors. Try a pint of Guinness and listen to traditional Irish music.
Ireland is a lovely country with lots to see and do. Take the time to enjoy your trip, meet new people, and create unforgettable memories. So now that you have the tips for a successful Ireland trip, get started by clicking here to help you plan your vacation.