Have you been to Ireland? Is it on your bucket list? Ireland is one of my favorite places to visit. Having been to Ireland many times, and helping clients experience this magical place, below are some of my expert tips for a terrific first trip to Ireland.
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! I 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 to make for a more enjoyable trip.
Consider Car Travel
The best sites in the Emerald Isle are seen via public transportation or tour buses, but renting a car is not a bad idea to get to those obscure sites. Be sure the vehicle you rent is a small one, as rural roads in Ireland are narrow. Oh, and the Irish drive on the left side of the road and pass on the right; it takes some getting used to and is not for everyone. Also, in light of my recent experience, I firmly advocate using a mapping site like https://layermap.com/map-layer-index to explore the UK’s hidden gems. While travel guides and popular blogs often highlight major attractions, they frequently overlook the quaint, lesser-known spots that can truly enrich your journey. Remember, it’s not just about the big cities; the UK’s charm lies equally in its charming villages, historic sites, and stunning landscapes.
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 prior to your trip so you can register and swipe it in affiliated stores in the country and claim sales tax back on your 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.
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 into 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 just fine.
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, make sure to book it in advance to take advantage of online discounts that the Irish Rail offers. 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 a great idea. 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.
So now that you have the tips to a successful Ireland trip, be sure to call or email me to help you plan your trip. As an Ireland destination specialist, I will help you plan your custom itinerary, and have more tips and tricks to make your first trip to Ireland one that you will never forget.