Ireland Guide: What You Have to Know About

Ireland Guide: What You Have to Know About

Home of Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland has left a noticeable imprint on Western culture. You can take in unbelievable views of mountains, cliffs and forests, enjoy a misty walk along the coast and have a fun night out at a local pub. Ireland is a multifaceted country that has something for everyone, except for a reliable weather forecast. The place is known for unpredictable weather conditions that can change in literally one hour and a diverse list of food to try in Dublin and beyond. Want to learn what to pack for a trip to Ireland? Get your jacket and umbrella, learn a few facts about Ireland and embark upon an amazing Irish adventure. 


What to pack for a trip to Ireland?

Ireland is an all-year-round destination as it doesn’t get extremely cold or hot. In the summer you can enjoy a 20°C (68°F) average with occasional rainy days. In the winter, the temperature is not likely to go below 8-10°C (42-50°F) but it can get quite windy which is why a windbreaker can come in handy. So what to pack for Ireland travels? Either way, pack an umbrella and a sweater, even if you’re traveling in the summer since the weather in Ireland is notoriously moody and unpredictable. For your fall trip, bring a raincoat to avoid carrying an umbrella all day every day. 


Ireland: tips for travelers

When is the best time to travel to Ireland? Summertime will offer the most comfortable climate to most visitors. However, there are other considerations that go into planning a trip. In this part, we will swiftly mention important tips that travelers should take into account. So what to know when visiting Ireland


Visa to visit Ireland

Under the Ireland travel guidelines, citizens from the USA and UK do not require a short-stay visa and can simply go to Ireland with a valid passport. There are a few countries that can enter Ireland on the Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme that includes India, China, Turkey, Philippines and others. This program allows citizens to enter Ireland on their valid UK short-stay visa and spend the remaining time in the country. Otherwise, you have to apply for a tourist visa in the country of your residence. 

Outside of the USA and UK, the heaviest searches pertaining to Irish visas come from India, Brazil, Mexico and Singapore. Brazilians, Singaporeans and Mexicans also fall under non-visa-required tourists. For Indians, there is a lengthy list of documents you need to provide when applying for a visa to Ireland, including an application form that you can access from the Immigration Service website, photos, passport, proof of stay, plane tickets, an itinerary of your future stay, travel insurance, income tax return copy and a salary slip for the last 3 months. 

The primary currency in Ireland is the euro, however, if you are planning to veer off your journey to visit Northern Ireland or any other part of the United Kingdom, also procure some pounds. You can pay with your debit or credit card almost everywhere in Ireland but it is recommended to have some cash on you in case of emergency. You can either exchange your currency at one of the banks or withdraw money from your card when in the country. 


Ireland airports

The most popular airport in Ireland is based in Dublin but you might also travel to Cork or County Clare. From the airport Dublin, you can hop into a bus that will take you to the city center in under 30 minutes. The buses operate 24/7 and cost from €8 to €10 depending on the route. Alternatively, you can grab a taxi or rent a car right at the airport but unless you have a large carry-on, a bus is a much more affordable option. 

Much like in Dublin, the Cork airport also offers regular buses that take you to the city center in just 20 minutes and cost only €3 per passenger. Shannon airport, based in County Clare is the third most popular airport in the country, after Dublin and Cork. From the Shannon Airport, you can reach either Limerick and Ennis by bus for a fare of €8.50. 


Ireland public transport

If you are planning to use public transport, one of the best Ireland travel tips is to purchase the LEAP card. In Dublin, a visitor LEAP card is €10 per person per day (€19.50 for two days and €40 for seven days) and allows unlimited access to public transportation. The card can be purchased right at the airport and saves you up to 31% on transport fares across the country. In other cities, the prices are a little lower but the card will still help you reduce your overall public transport bill. 


Ireland sim card for tourists

For longer visits, buying a local sim card can save you quite a few euros on roaming mobile data. The most common sim card that tourists buy is a prepaid card for a specific duration of their stay. Every popular mobile carrier offers prepaid cards, including Vodafone, Tesco Mobile, Three and others. Buying a prepaid card will require your passport data and if you would like to avoid this step, consider an e-sim card. They range from 7 to 30 days in validity and can be swiftly purchased online and used without a physical card. 


Ireland places to visit

Ireland is a big country with numerous locations that are worth seeing and exploring. In this part, we will take a look at the most popular destinations for Ireland tourism.



The largest city and the capital of Ireland, Dublin is the cultural center of the entire country. The settlement was first established in the 7th century by Gaels and now is a modern city that attracts millions of tourists every year. Visit one of the must-see places in Dublin, the 11-century Christ Church Cathedral to ring the church bells and take in the majesty of this ancient building. Another gem is the 1204-built Dublin Castle and National Museum of Ireland where you can learn more about the history of the land. 

Dublin Castle in Ireland

You cannot miss out on a tour at the Guinness Storehouse where you will explore the art of brewery via audiovisual and interactive installations. At the end of the tour, you will enjoy a gorgeous panorama view of the city paired up with a pint of Guinness beer. Stop by the Chester Beatty Library to discover manuscripts and drawings that age back to 2,700 BC and explore local artworks at the National Gallery of Ireland absolutely free of charge. Explore other free tours in Dublin and discover other hidden gems. 

Dublin Guinness Storehouse in Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher

Just 3.5 hours away from Dublin, you can explore the place of a few local legends, the Cliffs of Moher, a must-see part of Ireland tours. The most popular legend tells a story of a witch named Hag who jumped off the cliffs in pursuit of finding the man she loved, Cú Chulainn. Take a walk along the cliffs to witness outstanding views of the endless Atlantic ocean. To have an even better overview, climb O’Brien’s Tower to enjoy a panorama view of the ocean and cliffs. 

Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

Make sure to take safety precautions and not get too close to the cliffs. Stories about people falling down are unfortunately not only seen in legends. 



North from the Cliffs of Moher, you can explore one of the most popular Ireland places to visit, a small town called Galway. The city has a years-long history of mining which you can investigate by visiting the Glengowla Mines, mines dedicated to the city’s lead and silver mining past. Stop by the 1320 St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, a medieval-style church that is famous for facilitating the first same-sex marriage ceremony in the history of Ireland. Another impressive part of Galway tours is its large aquarium that is home to over 170 species as well as a 5,500 years old Neolithic dugout canoe. 

St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church in Ireland


The art capital of Ireland, Kilkenny is a medieval city that was founded in the 6th century and still conveys the style. Kilkenny Castle and St Canice’s Cathedral are the two most significant remnants of the medieval past. Another common travel tip is to visit Kilkenny’s Medieval Museum and learn more about the history of the town. Take a walk down the so-called medieval mile to explore other ancient buildings from that time, including Grace's courthouse and Rothe House. The mish-mash of modern structures, colorful European-style houses and medieval mansions will leave you absolutely flabbergasted. Learn about Kilkenny tours not to miss out on any of the local gems. 

St Canice’s Cathedral in Ireland

The Rock of Cashel

Based in Cashel, you can find a medieval site with a combination of remaining churches and towers from the 12th and 13th centuries. The local legend says that the Rock of Cashel was created in the Devil’s Bit, a large hill nearby, when St. Patrick fought Satan to save Ireland from descending into the Dark Ages. Satan managed to escape by biting a chunk of the hill and hiding inside. Then he spat the chunk out and it landed a few miles away creating the Rock of Cashel. The site will mesmerize you with majestic buildings from hundreds of years ago and help you immerse yourself in the medieval atmosphere of the past. 

Rock of Cashel in Ireland


The second largest city in Ireland, Cork is located in the southwest part of the island and offers amazing beaches as well as an adorable European atmosphere. One of the most notable facts about Cork is in its harbor, where the infamous Titanic docked right before its final journey to the US in 1912. One of the tourist tips for foodies suggests visiting the English Market which offers the largest variety of foods in the UK and Ireland put together, especially fresh seafood. Cork is also famous for its music scene and attracts musicians from all over the world to play traditional music, jazz, rock and much more. Every year, tourists and locals can enjoy a jazz festival that hosts the best musicians in the world: Ella Fitzgerald was a guest once too! 

Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland

Dingle Peninsula

The westernmost part of the entire island, Dingle is known for its one-of-a-kind 30 miles loop around the peninsula. You can take these free tours by car or bicycle and enjoy incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean, an adorable early-Christianity chapel the origins of which are debated to this day, prehistoric beehive huts and Norman ruins. You can learn more about the convoluted and millennia-long history of the peninsula at the Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne. The town of Dingle is also worth exploring to listen to traditional music and visit the local aquarium. 

Dingle Peninsula in Ireland

Irish foods to try

Irish cuisine is not only about beer: you can also try unique and exquisite foods, especially delicious fresh seafood which is the must try food in Ireland. Local restaurants will also offer you the filling Irish stew prepared with mutton, onions and potatoes. In general, Irish cuisine is famous for including potatoes in most meals as a cheap and filling ingredient. Among famous foods to try in Ireland, taste the Colcannon, a potato mash with cabbage, butter and spring onions, Champ, which is similar but does not include cabbage and of course potato dumplings. To take a break from potatoes, enjoy other Irish foods to try such as smoked salmon and black pudding, a sausage made of pork meat with blood, suet and oatmeal. 

Black pudding in Ireland

What should I avoid in Ireland?

Here is a short list of things to avoid while traveling in Ireland: 


  • Never rely on the weather forecasts and have an umbrella handy, you will need it. 

  • Make sure to never mix up Ireland with Northern Ireland which is a part of the United Kingdom. 

  • It is also a good idea to travel outside of Dublin and explore the breathtaking nature of the country as well as its millennia-old history.  

  • Don’t neglect to leave a 10-15% tip at Irish pubs and restaurants.

  • Don’t forget to drive on the left side of the road!

  • Don’t neglect to buy a round of drinks for your Irish friends at a pub, it’s a tradition.

  • Don’t complain about the weather to the locals, they know.

  • Don’t ask about leprechauns unless it’s about the directions to the museum of leprechauns. 

  • Be respectful of the Irish accent and Gaelic language, don’t try to mock it.

Ireland is an extraordinary place with friendly people, delicious beer and whiskey, comfort food, gorgeous ocean views and history dating back to the 5th-6th centuries. Enjoy your travels and try to explore as much as you can without stressing yourself out. Plan your route at a comfortable pace using the list of free things to do in Dublin and have a great vacation!
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