10 essential items to pack for an unforgettable trip to the Emerald Isle

Ireland, situated in Northern Europe just West of the United Kingdom, is a sought out tourist destination for many reasons – the curving coastline sculpted by the full force of the Atlantic Ocean often leave a lasting impression, the landscapes of barren limestone and sacred sights are steeped in myths and legends, and traditional fishing villages are quaint and full of charm.

Travelling to Ireland means something different for each traveller, and that’s why what to pack varies based on the reason, planned activities, travel style and season. Some people visit Ireland for a short city break while others; to drive the whole length of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Either way, don’t let those pretty postcard panoramas fool you, even during the summer months, they can turn into a messy scene within a moment. Being warm and comfortable while travelling and exploring is of paramount importance.

That’s why, before you jump on a plane and let yourself loose in the Irish countryside, whether it is to explore secluded islands, observe wildlife in National Parks or venture on a hiking adventure,  you need to be prepared.

Over the last 15 years, we’ve spent a great deal of time travelling through different parts of Ireland and based on our experiences, we wanted to put together a useful packing guide.

Don’t forget that two of the most important things to bring along is your love for adventure and a sense of humour because stepping out of your comfort zone and trying experiences that you can’t fit around your regular life will help you to see Ireland from a different perspective.

IMG_2107
Typical Irish countryside.

 

General packing tips for Ireland

Whether you are packing for a long weekend or a two week holiday around Ireland, there are a few basic tips you can use for stress-free packing:

  • Use packing cubes to stay more organized
  • Make an actual packing list of what you’ll need
  • Fill dead space with small items like socks around the edges
  • Pack your gadgets into ziplock bags
  • Weigh your luggage to avoid dreaded extra fees
  • Label your suitcase, so it stands out on a baggage carousel
  • Start packing early
  • LESS IS MORE
2010 janvara ziema 044
Early winter morning at Phoenix Park, Dublin.

 

Basic essential

The best way to start packing, be it to Ireland or somewhere else in the world, is with basic essentials. This means-get all your travel documents in order and dust off your suitcase or a backpack if you are planning on backpacking through Ireland.

Before packing, make sure your passport in date and your suitcase is in great condition, check for dirt or spills from your previous trip and remove old baggage labels and stickers attached to it.

• Travel documents | Valid passport and drivers licence if you plan on renting a car as well as travel insurance. Depending on where you are coming from, you might need a visa too.  Also, always bring copies of all the necessary travel documents, both electronic and physical.

• Basic clothing | Start with essentials, such as underwear and socks, then follow by add-ons and basic layerings such as tank tops and cotton shirts. Make sure everything you pack can be easily dressed up and down, wash well and make you feel good.

• Pain Medication | In Ireland, over-the-counter pain reliefs such as Panadol and Disprin are available at pharmacies, gas stations and from most grocery stores, but if you suffer from travel sickness, it’s always a good idea to sort out your medication before your trip.

• Prescription drugs | Bring sufficient quantities and make sure they are in original packaging with the original prescription or even doctors letter.  Always carry them in hand luggage, in case your main luggage goes missing.

• Necessary tech | Converters and chargers. In Ireland, the most common type of outlet is Type G (three-pronged plug), the same as in the UK. If you are a frequent traveller, it’s a good idea to invest in a good quality adaptor.

• Money | The official currency in The Republic of Ireland is the euro and 1euro is 100 cents. Major credit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere but make sure you have cash on hand too. The most common banknotes are €5, €10, €20 and €50.

• Toiletries | Minimize the number of toiletries you bring because liquid quickly adds up and you can get pretty much anything you need in Ireland unless of course there is that one specific brand item you cannot live without. For travel in the summer month, bring sunscreen and for winter- a good quality chapstick.

IMG_1978
Shoes or boots with a good grip and a rain jacket are two of the essentials for a trip to Ireland.

 

Essential clothing to pack for Ireland

Packing for Ireland’s different climates can be tricky, and when it comes to clothing, layers are your best friends, and seasonally appropriate clothing is the key. When travelling to Ireland, be prepared for sunny weather, heavy rains, damp weather, strong winds and light sprinkles throughout all seasons.

To give you a better idea of what to pack, look at Irelands top day trip from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher. It takes you from windy coastlines and cosy pubs to Galway city and exposed landscapes within hours, so you have to be prepared to easily transition from one outfit to another one.

Depending on how well you can handle cooler temperatures, you might want to pack comfortable long sleeve tops and sweaters you can use to pair up.

Don’t pack too many shoes and clothes and leave anything for those what-if scenarios behind. Make sure, everything you pack can be paired together with other clothing.

• Waterproof boots| Even if you don’t plan on hiking in the soggy ground, sturdy walking shoes are a must as you’ll be doing a fair bit of walking. Ireland is pretty casual, and you’ll see people wearing everything from hiking boots to wellies even during the summer months.

• Waterproof jacket | Without a doubt, the most essential clothing item you should bring to Ireland. Unless you fancy running around with a bright yellow Pancho purchased at a pound shop that is going to, invest in a good quality rain jacket that is windproof, waterproof and breathable.

• Hiking boots | If you plan on exploring Irelands West coast and venture off the grid, then hiking boots with a good grip is a MUST! Not only they will keep your feet dry and warm much better than flats or sneakers: you’ll also be more comfortable and safe when walking along the coast or hiking through the bog.

• Fleece or Sweater | There is nothing better than a perfect travel sweater, that is ideal for keeping you warm during the flights and cosy on chilly evenings.

• Warm socks | Keeping your feet warm and dry with breathable socks during those wet days in Ireland is very important because shoes and boots alone won’t keep you warm. You can find plenty of excellent quality, lightweight and fashionable socks in outdoor stores.

IMG_2338
Going for a hike is a fun activity for all the family.

 

 

Camera essentials

The scenery is one of the main reasons why people long to see Ireland. From remote islands and mysterious caves to rugged peninsulas and towering cliffs, you’ll find Emerald island incredibly photogenic country.

The prospect of going on a photography adventure, no matter how big or small is always exciting. But to make any trip more memorable and enjoyable, you have to pack first.

Most likely you’ll be standing outside in one spot for a few hours taking pictures and marvelling at the stunning scenery. What you are going to wear will depend on the time of the year.

• Camera | If you are into photography than packing DSLR  camera is pretty obvious, but any camera will work for your trip. Canon cameras are still the best and take fantastic images.

• Camera bag | With a DSLR camera also comes its own dedicated bag to keep all your photography safe and clean.

• Light tripod | Essential for photographing beautiful Irish cities at night and for capturing long exposure shots. There’s a chance you can encounter Aurora Borealis, especially in Northern parts of the country, that’s why a stable tripod is a must.

• Accessories | We always take more photos than we think, that’s why extra memory cards, spare batteries and external hard drive are essential. There’s nothing worse than having your camera battery to die on you or running out of storage space while travelling through beautiful Irish landscape.

IMG_2274
Very cold but beautiful early morning scene in Sligo.

 

 

Other gear to bring to Ireland

• Water bottle | Commercial airlines have very low humidity, staying hydrated is very important while travelling. An excellent stainless steel bottle is our favourite.

• Notebook | Can come handy for technology malfunctioned and are great if you have to write down a phone number or an address and after years on the road will end up as a cute little souvenir. A notebook is also great for email addresses and phone number of your next of kin, a health care provider at home, your embassy etc.

• Travel umbrella | It rains a lot in Ireland, be ready for a sudden downpour, even in summer with compact travel umbrella that doesn’t take up to much space.

• External power pack | It’s a good idea to invest in a good quality external power pack that you can use to recharge your smartphone on the go.

IMG_3126.JPG
If you are visiting Galway in December, don’t forget your hat and gloves.

 

What not to bring to Ireland

Travelling as light as you can is so much more enjoyable. Just think about everything you are going to encounter- crowded streets, numerous stairs, narrow bridges, tiny train isles and more.

• Fancy clothes | Leave your dresses and high maintenance clothing at home, especially if your primary focus is to explore the countryside (unless of course, you travel for a wedding or other special occasion).

• Expensive stuff | Don’t risk losing valuable jewellery, items of sentimental value or costly technology. With super powerful mobile phones that can accomplish most tasks, do you really need to bring your laptop, Kindle and tablet?

• Heavy items | Don’t waste valuable space by bringing heavy stuff like books.

 

 

Weather in Ireland

No matter the season, the weather in Ireland is very changeable yet rarely extreme, it’s pretty mild year-round. And if you stay long enough, you’ll get to experience four seasons in one day. Always keep an eye on Met Eireann weather warnings for latest updates.

 

Spring – March, April, May

Spring is such a beautiful season in Ireland; it’s a perfect time to avoid summer crowds, and you’ll be greeted with blankets of colourful spring flowers and freshly sprouted leaves.

Spring is the lambing season, and it’s when the world-famous ST. Patricks Day Festival takes place.

During the spring you can encounter blinding sunshine, rain and wind all matter of days.

  • What to bring: waterproof clothing and footwear, breathable layers as well as warm socks, umbrella and a warm jacket.
  • Average spring temperature: 7’C-13’C (45’F-55’F)
_MG_9725 (1)
Springtime arrives with an abundance of flowers.

Summer – June, July, August

Summertime in Ireland is the warmest time of the year, but given its location on the globe, it can still feel chilly if you arrive from a place where the weather is hot and dry. Summer is the high season and running into a rain shower, or two is very common.

Travelling to Ireland during the summer month means packing less bulky clothing and more lightweight and fashionable items such as summer dresses, floral tops, light cardigans and denim jackets.

  • What to bring: a light jacket, easily layered clothing, umbrella, bathing suit, sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Average summer temperatures: 15’C-21’C (60’F-70’C)

 

Autumn – September, October, November

Generally, in autumn, rain comes back to Ireland with full force, and it brings lots of dark and grey days, except for those few sunny ones when we get to gaze into the infinite blueness of the sky and admire autumn colours.

Autumn also comes with off-season rates, epic waves, roads free of traffic and it’s the peak time of whale watching.

September is our favourite month to explore Ireland, days are slightly cooler, kids are back to school, most of the visitor has left yet it is still sunny and slightly warmish.

  • What to bring: light hats and gloves, long pants, warm socks, rain jacket and warm pullover.
  • Average autumn temperature: 13’C-18’C (55’F-65’F)
_MG_5905
Sunny autumn days are great for exploring the Irish countryside.

 

Winter – December, January, February

Only the brave attempt to visit Ireland in the dead of winter because the weather can be brutal. In general, winter is cold and wet with strong winds and frequent rain showers. Snow is unusual, yet we have seen blankets of it in the past few years.

  • What to bring: warm hats, scarfs and glows, a heavy coat and warm boots and lots of warm socks and a chapstick. Wear two or three thin layers instead of one bulky winter jumper.
  • Average winter temperatures: 0’C – 10’C ( 32’F – 50’F)

 

…    …    …    …    …    …    …    …     …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …

 

Now, over to you!

Have you ever been to Ireland? What did you pack in your suitcase?

Share in the comments below!

 

Posted by

Our Crossings follows the daily adventures of Latvian expats living in Sligo as they surf and explore the world

49 thoughts on “10 essential items to pack for an unforgettable trip to the Emerald Isle

    1. They don’t call it the Emerald Isle for anything. Ireland is a beautiful blend of urban adventures, small-town charm, and countryside that begs to be wandered. Giving the amount of rain we receive daily, it’s so important to pack appropriate clothing and footwear. Thanks for stopping by and safe travels. Aiva

      Like

    1. Travelling through Ireland is like adventuring through a postcard. The scenery is spectacular at every turn. I hope you get to visit one day. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Like

    1. Thank you! Ireland is such a fun place to explore yet at the same time, Ireland can be a packing challenge. On any day of summer, spring and winter you should wear layers, sunscreen, closed in shoes and rain gear.

      Like

  1. Great advice here. As someone who once lived in Ireland I endorse all you say, but I would add ‘take extra socks as you will get them wet more than you imagine’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree with you; there can never be too many socks! No matter when you’re travelling to Ireland, there are a few things that should always be in your bag, warm jumpers and rain gear including. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Like

    1. Thanks so much! The Emerald Isle holds a sort of mystical lure amidst the backdrop of its luscious green landscape and raincoat certainly needs to be at the top of anyone’s list, because it does rain every single day. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, no matter where you travel. We start making lists a couple of weeks out, to be sure we do not forget anything and we do several double checks as we pack and as we leave the house. Also a great policy to check all your carrier luggage policies. In 2012, we went from cabin baggage of 10 kilos to 7 kilos when we switched from a North American to a New Zealand carrier. We were prepared in advance and did not have the awkward juggling routine in Sydney airport. As to cameras, I tend to back my pix up nightly on a laptop/notebook. Just in case something happens to the camera/memory stick/ etc. At least you will not lose everything. Hope that storm Dennis is not too bad in your area. Have a great week. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Allan, how are you doing today? Thanks for asking, we didn’t feel much of Storm Denis in Sligo. Yes, it was blustery with heavy rains, but everyone is safe and sound! Don’t want any more storms!

      We always make a list of things to pack and bring along well in advance. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination to find the weather much warmer/colder than initially expected and looking for a clothing store. A perfect point on checking currier luggage policies., especially if travelling in Europe with budget airlines. They are very strict on size and weight, and you can quickly end up paying unwanted luggage fees.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  3. These are great tips! I have been to Ireland but I don’t remember the packing process as I was very little then, haha. But it’s super helpful to know what clothes to pack and that Ireland is pretty casual. Now I know what to bring this fall when I (hopefully) visit! I’ll definitely need to buy some good rain boots first.

    Miles of smiles,
    Grace

    gracefulrags.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Grace. Yes, Ireland is very casual. During the day, you can wear your jeans and sneakers pretty much all the time. The most important thing when deciding what to wear in Ireland is always to look presentable and avoid anything too revealing, like see trough crop tops or short shorts. Youll look inappropriate and be cold all the time! Have a good day, my friend, and thanks for reading Aiva

      Like

    1. Thanks so much! It doesn’t matter where you travel to; you always have to pack for the environment. Are you spending your time café crawling in the cities or getting lost in the wilderness? I hope you get to visit Ireland one day; it’s such a picturesque country! Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never been to Ireland before, but it’s high up there on my travel bucket list. Thanks for sharing the great packing tips. I typically never bring fancy clothes with me anywhere when I travel, so glad to know I’ll fit right in with just wearing hiking clothes everywhere. It’s all about being comfortable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s one of the reasons why we love living in Ireland, and I couldn’t agree with you more – it’s all about being warm and comfortable. After all, Ireland is known to have four seasons in one day, even during the summer month. The most important factors in planning and packing for Ireland are the activities you’ll be doing on your trip and the weather. You can easily get by wearing casual hiking clothing wherever you re in Ireland. Dublin, of course, is a bit trendy and stylish, but it’s what you would expect from any capital city. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! One of the things I should have mentioned is to wear bright clothing! Ireland is very green in spring and summer, and that’s why it’s a good idea to bring vibrant blues, yellows, oranges and reds. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Juliette! Ireland’s climate can be unpredictable. We often see four seasons in one hour, let alone one day! This is equally true in summer as much as spring or autumn, so that’s why it’s important to bring the right clothing and gear. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Remember what our former landlord told us when we informed him that we were moving from the UK to Ireland. “Please remember to pack a big brolly!” We thought we will buy a good one when we reach Dublin and left our old one behind. Second day in Dublin, a small walk to the grocer and I come back looking like a wet dog 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. O no! I haven’t used an umbrella in years. Due to strong wind and heavy rains, they usually ended up in a bin. So I gave up on them and invested in a good quality rain jacket. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. I hope all is well. Aiva

      Like

    1. The weather in Ireland is unpredictable at best and downright depressing at its worst, so I am not one tiny bit surprised you nearly froze to death in Dublin on Easter. It can be challenging to know what to bring to Ireland, but you can’t go wrong with waterproof clothing! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We stayed at a friend’s house. Irish. Her way of heating the house was to put one piece of peat in the chimney before retiring to bed. Obviously by 3AM, the peat was gone… We slept fully clothed for the duration of our stay. 😉
        Be good.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! When I visited county Donegal years ago, the weather changed constantly: one minute it would be lovely and sunny, then all of a sudden the clouds would descend and the Irish rain would start. Again. Waterproofs are essential!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Indeed nailing the perfect Ireland packing list is less easy than it seems: with the weather as unpredictable as the Irish one, what should you bring? Yes, I agree – waterproofs are essential and so is warm clothing and warm socks! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful post Aiva, great information and the way you have prepared the tips you offer for packing, for travelling and for enjoying a destination is perfect. Believe me I travel frequently and I always learn something from what you write reference travelling, not only of destinations which I have never gone to, but essential things that you need for every travel and packing in an organised and precise manner. Beautiful photography and information on one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, where I will be going to, soon, but I do not know when…thank you!
    Hoping this storm Dennis did not do too much harm as it did in the UK…lamentably we have been having many of these lately…take good care, Aiva, have a great night and all the best,
    Francisco

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Francisco. We usually travel around Ireland with a campervan, and this allows us to pack everything we desire and not worry about exceeding airlines weight allowance. But not everyone has that option, that’s why it’s important to know what to bring with you on a trip.

      Storm Dennis is gone now, and thankfully we didn’t get as much damage as the Uk. I was reading about the woman who was clinging to a branch in a fast-flowing river. I’m so glad firefighters saved her.

      And the good news is – yesterday, in Northern Hemisphere begun astronomical spring! We are so looking forward to warmer days! We haven’t seen the sun in weeks! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Trvelling in a campervan is tops! But the sights in Ireland are smashing and I do so look forward to visiting…soon…and great news indeed! I love Spring, although it’s not as cold here, I am a little tired of wearing so many jackets and coats! I do hope you get warmer days and that you get plenty of sunshine, that is one thing I am thankful for in Valencia, it is the city with the most sunshine in the Iberian peninsula, I think! Have a wonderful Friday morning!
        Francisco

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Robert. I had to dig deep into my archives and find pictures from different seasons, to show that Ireland can be equally beautiful at any time of the year! Timing plays a significant role in photography, and living in Ireland; we have learned to appreciate the process and those rare occasions when conditions are in our favour. Thanks for reading and have a lovely day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The one and only time I have been to Ireland was nearly 25 years ago – we hiked the Ring of Kerry and I swear it rained every day. We spent our time dodging Cow poop instead of enjoying the scenery. We had a blast anyway. Thanks for posting this – I would like to make my way back. I’ll use this as a reference!! Cheers!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ireland was such a different place 25 years ago than it is today, but one thing that doesn’t ever change here is the rain. There’s nothing worse than going on a holiday and see dark rain clouds day after day and, you can’t even prepare for that. But with the right attitude and travel partner, you can still have heaps of fun – and there are plenty of traditional pubs to escape to. Thanks for reading and have a good day, Pam!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have never been to Ireland but it looks beautiful. I had an aunt and uncle who lived there for awhile and they would bring back the coolest souvenirs. Wool sweaters, a little Irish man doll with a wool sweater, sheepskin rugs and beautiful sterling rings with a heart and a crown (I don’t know the correct name). I always enjoyed hearing their adventure stories about living there. I was a kid then but I think it was Limerick Ireland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love Irish souvenirs too and always try to bring back home to Latvia lots of useful gifts such as Irish Aran wool knits, chocolate and scarfs! The ring you are talking about is known as Claddagh ring. It s a traditional Irish ring which represents love, loyalty, and friendship. The ring is lovely, but one word of caution: it is said to be very bad luck for a person to purchase a Claddagh ring for themselves. It must be given or received as a gift. Thanks for stopping by and reading. I hope all is well in your part of the world! Aiva xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you, I didn’t know that about the ring, so interesting. My aunt only bought them for others but never herself. She also brought back a tape of Irish folk songs, that was fun to listen to. She had lost of stories to share with us all. Her photos showed so much green and I always loved the stone walls everywhere. Here in the desert we never see anything like that except for what is man made. We have a lot of golf courses here in the desert, with big lakes and ponds. Most of our lakes near the desert are man made too, I think they all are. It is only lakes up north up in the high country of our state that aren’t man made.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mum has a vast collection of Irish folk songs too. I always bring them back home whenever I visit. They are lively, and they are fun to belt out. And listening to the songs, while drinking Guinness and eating Irish chocolate, is a fun way for my family to learn more about Irish culture and traditions. Now that I think about it, I haven’t even bought anyone a Claddagh ring. That’s something to keep in my when the nest Birthday is coming around. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.