What You (Actually) Need to Pack for Ireland – Advice From a Guide

Through giving tours in Ireland, I have met plenty of travelers who struggle with the clothes and gear they packed. At the same time, I have met plenty of people who brought gear that works so well, I’ve started using it myself! Here, I want to go over what I think you should pack for your trip to Ireland.

Here is a basic packing checklist for your trip to Ireland…

The common adage is: “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad preparation”. I think this definitely applies when packing for a trip to Ireland. A lot of people tend to underestimate things like how changeable the Irish weather can be. So make sure to read on to find some of the best gear for Ireland.

The Irish Weather

The Irish weather is notorious around the world and, depending on the time of year, we will get all four seasons multiple times a day! This means that you will likely need to prepare for different eventualities before you leave your accommodation. So make sure you pack right before your trip.

While the temperature in winter will usually never get below freezing (it rarely snows in Ireland), the summer highs are rarely above 25°C (High 70s Fahrenheit). This might seem as though the weather is consistent, but nothing could be further from the truth!

I have gone into more detail here, in my ultimate guide to the Irish weatherOpens in a new tab., if you want to learn more about what to actually expect.

I meet plenty of people that are shocked by what the locals will wear depending on the time of year. As soon as the sun starts to shine, people will be seen in shorts and t-shirts all around Ireland. Even if its still February and visitors are wearing multiple layers. You don’t need to dress like all of the locals do!

Clothes to Pack for Ireland

In this guide, I will go over what to pack for your Irish trip. Focusing on the key items. But, I will also talk about a few of the other essentials that I think you should make sure to bring before you arrive a little later on.

When you are travelling to Ireland, you will likely be out and about a lot. Also, the changeable weather can be quite tiring after a while, so make sure that the clothes you bring are as comfortable as possible.

One of the most important pieces of advice I can give to travelers coming to Ireland is to layer up! When you are going from indoors to outdoors all the time, you will be taking layers on and off all day.

I know you might not want to bring that raincoat with you if you leave your hotel in the morning and its sunny. But you never know what the weather will be like later on! Especially in the west of Ireland, the sun might not stay around very long. So its always a good idea to bring a jacket/ coat, even if it stays in your bag all day.

Shoes/ Footwear

Shoes for Ireland
Shoes for Ireland

This is, in my opinion, one of the most important things to consider when your packing for your trip to Ireland. Comfortable shoes are a must when travelling here and if you are planning on being in Ireland for a while, you will need at least 2 pairs of shoes, in case you get caught out in the rain.

The first thing to consider when deciding on what shoes to bring is comfort. Most people will always do a lot more walking than normal when they are travelling, especially to a place like Ireland. Comfy shoes are a must.

If you are planning on doing more than just exploring the Irish countryside, then you might need to consider bringing more than just walking shoes. When it comes to style, Ireland has more or less the same style as any other developed country. So whatever works at home will probably be fine for here.

I have already gone into more detail on this topic, here.Opens in a new tab.

Outerwear

Raincoat for Ireland
Raincoat for Ireland

This is another vital piece of gear to pack for your trip to Ireland. Even during the warmer summer months, you will still want to pack some sort of light, waterproof, outer layer. Ireland’s weather can be unreliable, so even if there is no rain in the forecast, its always good to be prepared.

If you are traveling to Ireland during the winter months, making sure your clothes are warmer and resistant to the wind will likely be more important. But some sort of protection from the rain will be necessary.

Coats or jackets with removable inner linings work really well in the Irish climate. I often use them myself when giving tours around the country. For people planning to visit Ireland during the wetter times of the year (mainly spring), I would advise bringing longer coats that go past your waist.

If you want more information on the outer layers that I recommend, I go into more detail in this article.Opens in a new tab.

Layer Up!

A really important thing to focus on when packing for Ireland is layers. If you layer well, you will be best prepared for the ever-changing Irish weather. While it might be a little annoying to bring so many clothes to Ireland, especially if you are lucky with the weather, its better to be safe than sorry.

I have met too many visitors to Ireland that underestimated the Irish climate and had to go out and buy clothes when here. This is usually a bad way to travel and you might not be able to guarantee that you are getting the best possible gear for you.

You should use common sense here however. Unless you plan on multi-day hikes in the wilderness, you won’t need any thermal under-layers for the Irish summer. You also probably won’t need that pair of shorts if you plan on visiting for New Year’s. Even if you see the Irish people dressing that way!

Make sure to bring a hoodie or some sort of jumper and a few other layers that you can mix and match whenever needed.

Hat, Scarf and Gloves

This may go without saying, but if you are traveling to Ireland in the winter months you will need to bring these items. This really goes well with the previous section on layering.

With the Irish climate being reliably unreliable, you will likely need to make sure that you can change your clothes to meet the ever changing situation. Bringing hats and scarves will make you much better able to endure a surprise rainstorm.

Also, in the summer months, the heat might be a little more than you might anticipate. The temperatures might not be that high on the thermometer, but the humid climate will feel much hotter. Hats for the summer heat are a must for visiting Ireland.

Accessories

Now that we have gone through some of the most important clothes I think you need to pack for Ireland, let’s talk about some of the other things to consider. There are plenty of things you will need to think about packing, once you have all of your outfits together of course.

Umbrella

assorted colors umbrella
Umbrellas

I am usually hesitant to recommend people bring an umbrella to Ireland. Having said that they can come in useful and I occasionally use them myself. If you intend on using one, bring it with you from home. Don’t rely on buying a cheap one when you’re here.

With the wind that we often get in Ireland, the cheaper umbrellas you find in most corner stores don’t tend to do well or last long.

If you want to bring an umbrella to compliment you’re other rain gear however, absolutely go for it. There are plenty of great options out there for durable umbrellas that will work well in Ireland. I go into much more detail on this topic in this article, linked hereOpens in a new tab..

Backpack

When you are packing so many things for this trip, you will need something to carry it all in. As a general rule, try to get something that is waterproof, or at least water-resistant, for your trip to Ireland. If this isn’t possible – don’t worry, you will just need to be careful when out and about.

One of the biggest considerations when choosing what backpack to bring is the duration of your flight. If you are just visiting Ireland for the weekend or a short time, you might only need to think about your carry on. If you are here for a little while however, you might need to consider having a separate bag.

Having a backpack when traveling through Ireland can really help with your everyday carry. I am out and about a lot guiding, so I use one every day. After much trial and error, I have found that the bag linked here, works really wellOpens in a new tab..

Sunglasses

assorted sunglasses
You might need a pair of these more than you’d think in Ireland!

I know this might seem unnecessary, but believe me, you will actually find a pair of sunglasses far more useful in Ireland than you might think. Especially during the winter months, the sun can be a lot brighter than later in the year. You will find a good pair of sunglasses really helpful.

Adapter/ Converter

Ireland has similar electrical infrastructure to the UK. This means that if you are travelling to Ireland from pretty much anywhere else, you will need an adaptor to use the plug sockets here.

There should be plenty of options to buy adaptors once you arrive to Ireland. But, if you want to save money and get one that will last you more than just one trip, I would advise getting a universal adaptor. You can find them pretty easily from many online retailers.

Camera and Accessories

If you don’t take any pictures of your trip, how can people back home be jealous of you!

Taking a camera is an obvious must for pretty much every visitor to Ireland. Even if you are just staying in Dublin for a night, you will still want to update social media to show everyone your pint of Guinness.

If you are here for a little longer however, you definitely should explore the countryside. Getting to explore the countryside is a pleasure in and of itself. But it you can record your adventure, you’ll get the chance to relive your experience for years.

Some of the most important camera accessories for Ireland include a gimble and and rain protection available.

Water Bottle

Water bottles are now a must for me, even when I’m just going about my business guiding groups around Dublin. If ever I’m going on any sort of adventure around the country, I always make sure to pack a water bottle.

The water in Ireland is safe to drink. Usually in private homes however, only the tap in the kitchen will have drinkable water. It is not advised to drink water from taps in bathrooms or toilets in Ireland.

Fortunately however, you will be able to refill your water bottle from almost anywhere in the country. By EU law, anywhere that sells food or drink is legally obliged to give water free of charge. Also, in all accommodations, the water will be safe to drink. But double-checking with staff is always a good idea.

Personally, I either use or have used Hydro Flask Opens in a new tab.and Chilly’s water bottles daily. Both are reliable and durable when moving out and about.

Cash/ Cards

When travelling, you will obviously need to know as much as possible about the money in the country you’re going to. While Ireland is not the most expensive destination in Europe, it is getting there quickly. Once you have sorted out your budget, you will need to know more about money in your destination.

The Republic of Ireland (officially just called “Ireland”), is in the EU and the Eurozone and therefore uses the Euro(€). Northern Ireland is in the United Kingdom and uses the Pound Sterling (£). While there are Northern Irish pound banknotes, any sterling note should work across the UK.

Especially since covid, almost everywhere uses cash across the island of Ireland. While you might need some just in case, you should be fine with a card in almost every circumstance.

If you are using a card and the have the option to use the local currency, do it. This means that your bank back home will exchange the money, not the individual business where you are. You will likely get a better rate of return doing this.

As for how much cash to bring, I go into it in more detail in this article hereOpens in a new tab..

Toiletries/ Medications

I obviously can’t talk about every individual toiletry you should bring. Please use your own common sense on this one. But I will quickly mention a couple of things that you might not think to bring otherwise.

Sunblock is actually more necessary than you might think in Ireland. Even though it might be cold and windy, you might actually see the sunshine! When this happens, you have just as much a chance of getting burned here as anywhere else. Make sure to protect your skin.

Insect repellant will be particularly useful if you plan on visiting the countryside during the summer months. Anyone who has ever visited a bog at this time of year has been almost eaten alive by all of the midges that swarm these parts of the country.

Travel Documents

travel documents and necessities
Travel Documents…

When traveling to Ireland, it’s important to have all the necessary documents to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey. Here are the essential travel documents you may need for your trip:

  1. Passport: A valid passport is required for entry into Ireland, if you are coming from outside the UK. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date from Ireland. It’s also a good idea to make copies of your passport and keep them in a separate location in case your passport is lost or stolen.
  2. Visa: If you’re a citizen of certain countries, you may need a visa to enter Ireland. Here is an article on an Irish government website about who needs a visa to enter IrelandOpens in a new tab..
  3. Travel itinerary: It’s a good idea to have a copy of your travel itinerary, including flight and accommodation details, just in case you need to show proof of your travel plans.
  4. Travel insurance: While travel insurance is not a requirement for entry into Ireland, it’s highly recommended in case of unforeseen events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost or stolen luggage.
  5. Driver’s license: If you plan on renting a car in Ireland, you’ll need a valid driver’s license from your home country. I have a guide on the basics of driving in Ireland, linked hereOpens in a new tab..

Casual Vs Evening Wear in Ireland

If you are lucky enough to be in Ireland for more than a few days, you might find yourself curious about the country’s nightlife. While most places will be more casual and accepting of a wider variety of styles, there may still be some occasions when you will want to dress up when in Ireland.

Casual Wear

Ireland is a relatively casual country when it comes to dress. For day-to-day activities, such as sightseeing, hiking, or visiting local pubs, casual wear is perfectly acceptable. This can include comfortable clothing such as jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, and sneakers. Layers are also recommended, as the weather can be unpredictable.

Evening Wear

While Ireland is generally casual, there may be some occasions where more formal attire is required. If you plan on dining at high-end restaurants, attending concerts or shows, or going to upscale bars or clubs, you may want to pack some evening wear.

For men, this can include dress pants and a collared shirt, while women can wear dresses, skirts, or dressy pants with a blouse or top. It’s always a good idea to check the dress code ahead of time to avoid any surprises.

Overall, the key to packing for your trip to Ireland is to strike a balance between comfort and style. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes for walking and exploring, and dress in layers to accommodate for changes in weather. And if you plan on attending any formal events, don’t forget to pack some dressier clothing to look your best.

FAQs About What to Pack For Ireland

There are a lot of things to consider when packing for your trip to Ireland. I have tried to go over a few of the main things to focus on above, but there is far more to cover.

Here are some of the main other questions I have heard from visitors about what they should pack for their trip to Ireland.

Can I bring my own toiletries or should I buy them in Ireland?

You can certainly bring your own toiletries, as they may be cheaper and more convenient than purchasing them in Ireland. However, if you’re traveling with carry-on luggage only, be mindful of liquid restrictions and pack small travel-sized bottles.

Can I pack a picnic for outdoor activities?

Yes, packing a picnic for outdoor activities is a great idea. Bring along a blanket, some snacks, and a thermos of hot tea or coffee to enjoy the scenery.

Is it safe to bring valuable items like jewelry or electronics to Ireland?

While Ireland is generally a safe country to travel in, it’s always a good idea to be cautious with your valuables. Keep them in a secure location, such as a hotel safe, when not in use, and be aware of your surroundings when using them in public.

Jack

Jack Redmond has been a tour guide in Ireland for the past decade. Having received a national guiding qualification, he has brought thousands of travelers all over the island of Ireland.

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