Tips for Ireland Travel

This guide of tips for traveling to Ireland will help you prepare a trip to an island full of fantastic landscapes and castles that will meet the wishes and expectations of everyone who visits it.
Known as the “Emerald Isle” for its diversity and shades of green, Ireland is a perfect country to explore by rental car on a circular route in which, in addition to its green landscapes, there are the highest cliffs in Europe. , you can enjoy castles and abbeys in ruins, which have a special charm as well as having a good pint of black beer in a traditional pub.
It must be taken into account that any complete route around this fantastic island also includes the part of Northern Ireland, which belongs to the United Kingdom.

Based on the experience of our trip to Ireland on our own , we have made this selection of what we believe are the 10 essential tips for traveling to Ireland . Let’s get started!

1. What is the best time to travel to Ireland?

The best time to travel to Ireland is in May and September, when temperatures are more pleasant, there is less chance of rain and also more hours of daylight. Although these months, especially in July and August, have the drawback that there is much more tourism and prices for accommodation rise quite a bit.
Spring and autumn, especially May and October, are also good times to visit Ireland, as they have the lowest prices and less tourism.
Winter is the worst time as it has few hours of daylight and depends a lot on the weather, which is usually quite unstable.
In any case, it is advisable to take an umbrella or a raincoat at any time of the year, since rain throughout the island is very frequent, about 200 days a year, and can last from a few minutes to several days.

2. Entry requirements

To travel to Ireland or Northern Ireland , if you are Spanish or belong to a country in the European Union, you only need to carry a valid passport or DNI.
We must be attentive to Brexit, the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, since if this happens the entry requirements for Northern Ireland may change.
If you are not a citizen of the European Union, it is advisable to look for this information on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country or on that of the embassies of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Another requirement that is not mandatory, but is highly advisable, is to carry the European Health Card that covers care in all public hospitals in the country or if you do not have it, have the best travel insurance.
Likewise, it is important not to forget that although the European Health Card covers any medical problem, there are situations that are not included such as repatriation, so it is also highly recommended to have the best travel insurance to Europe.
We always travel insured with Heymondo, with whom we carry insurance completely adequate to the needs we will have on the trip. By contracting your insurance with Heymondo here, just for being a Viajeros Callejeros reader, you have a 5% discount.

Due to the current health situation, all Heymondo insurance policies include medical assistance in case of a coronavirus infection. In addition, the extra stay you need in case of contagion due to quarantine is also included, as is, of course, the test if necessary.

10 incredible places to see in Ireland

3. Security

The turbulent times in Northern Ireland, with the fights between supporters of independence and supporters of the United Kingdom, we can say are over.
Currently traveling to Ireland and Northern Ireland is completely safe, beyond petty robberies or thefts that may occur in the most touristy or busy areas of Dublin.
If you rent a car to explore the island at your leisure, it is not necessary to have an international driving license, and keep in mind that you must drive in the left lane. To practice a little, we recommend going around the car rental company’s parking lot several times so that you are calmer when you hit the road.
When driving, it is important to be very attentive when entering roundabouts and not to stay in the fast lane on highways if you are not traveling at the appropriate speed.
In cities you also have to be focused when crossing any street and look both ways, Remember that cars will come from the right!

4. Money exchange

In Northern Ireland, the official currency is the pound sterling and although some pubs and tourist attractions may accept euros, it is neither safe nor mandatory.
To get pounds sterling, one pound is equivalent to approximately 1.12 euros, it is preferable to withdraw money at ATMs, rather than changing euros at exchange offices or carry money changed from the bank in your country, since with these last two options, you will pay more for less.
To avoid paying commissions and always have the current exchange rate, we recommend using the Revolut card and the N26 card . They are the ones we use, they are free and will mean great savings for you.
You can find more information in this article about the best cards for travel without commissions.

5. How do I travel to Ireland?

The most common way to travel to Ireland is to look for a flight that lands at Dublin Airport. This airport is one of the ones with the most traffic in Europe thanks to the fact that its reference company, Ryanair offers low-cost and direct flights from many European cities, including those in Spain.
Once you land in Dublin you can rent a car at the airport to start a route around Ireland or stay in the city and take small day trips.

To get from Dublin airport to the center, you have these options:

  • Bus: the Aircoach, operating 24 hours a day, will take you to the center (O’Connell Street and Grafton Street stops) in half an hour for 7 euros or 12 euros if you buy a round trip.
  • Airlink bus line 747 also makes the same route, with stops at O’Connell Street and College Green, for the same price, from 5 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. You can reserve your ticket in advance here.
  • Direct transfer to the hotel: it is the most comfortable way to get to the hotel by having a driver who will take you from the terminal to the door of your hotel in about half an hour, without intermediate stops. You can reserve it here.
  • Taxi: they have a price of about 25 euros.

Another good option is to land at Belfast International Airport, one of the city’s two airports. From this airport, you can take the Express 300 bus service, that will leave you in Belfast in less than half an hour.

6. Route through Ireland

When traveling to Ireland, it is important to plan the route well by rental car so that you can see the majority of natural wonders, castles, and abbeys that this impressive country has.
We recommend a circular route through Ireland of between 10 days and two weeks, starting and ending in Dublin, which we will talk about later in a complete section.
The first stop on the trip to Ireland, leaving the capital of Ireland, is Bruna Boine, a prehistoric necropolis before Stonehenge and located less than an hour from Dublin. After the visit, you can continue north until you reach Belfast, a city that has several essential attractions, such as the Titanic Museum, the historic center, and the Murals route.
A few kilometers from Belfast is one of the most spectacular natural wonders in Europe, the Giant’s Causeway , as well as other places to see in Ireland located near these impressive basalt columns, such as the Carrick a Rede Suspension Bridge and Castle of Dunluce.
Still in Northern Ireland, you will arrive in the city of Derry to see its famous murals themed around the conflict between unionists and republicans.
The next part of the route combines the natural landscapes of the road that passes through Glen Gesh Pass and the cliffs of Slieve League with castles and abbeys such as Glenveagh and Sligo, until reaching another of the country’s wonders, Kylemore Abbey. .

After taking thousands of photos of this beautiful lakeside abbey, you can continue along the Sky Road stopping in the charming village of Clifden and ending in the lively city of Galway. If you have time, before arriving in Galway, we recommend heading to the beautiful ruins of the abbey and the monastic complex of Clonmacnoise.
After completing this list of things to see and do in Galway and spending the night in the city, you can continue the trip in the direction of the famous Cliffs of Moher, stopping first at Dunguaire Castle.
The Cliffs of Moher, which rise more than 100 meters above the Atlantic Ocean, are a true natural wonder, which we are sure will not disappoint you.
Between the cliffs and the city of Killarney, which you will visit later, there is an area of ​​Dolmens in which Poulnabrone and Bunratty Castle stand out.
Killarney is the gateway to the Ring of Kerry, one of the most impressive scenic roads in Europe.
The next two visits of the trip will be to two of the most beautiful castles in Ireland, Blarney Castle and the Rock of Cashel, In the latter, which is in ruins, you will see some fantastic Celtic crosses.
Before arriving in Dublin, we recommend stopping in County Wicklow, whose monastic complex, Glendalough, is its most notable place. This area impresses with its landscapes of green valleys, waterfalls, lakes and high mountains.

Dublin

Another comfortable way to travel to Ireland is to stay overnight in Dublin and take short excursions to the wonders that are closest, such as the Giant’s Causeway and the landscapes of Wicklow.
Two or three days will be enough to get to know the main points of interest in the capital of Ireland, such as its famous Temple Bar neighborhood, the well-kept parks, the historic center, Trinity College, and, above all, the lively pubs and taverns.
One of the best tips for traveling to Dublin and not missing anything important is to complete this list of places to visit in Dublin and this list of the best things to do in Dublin.

After finishing all the visits to the city and if you still have extra time, we recommend taking one of the best excursions from Dublin.

8. Belfast

Belfast is another perfect city to use as a base if you plan to travel to Ireland and get to know the surrounding area on small day trips.
Although it does not have as many tourist attractions as Dublin, the capital of Northern Ireland has been reborn from past conflicts to become a modern city that welcomes travelers with open arms.
Among its most notable places are the impressive Titanic MuseuRyanair,ted in the port area, the historic center with a large Town Hall, the Murals route that will help you understand the armed conflict and traditional pubs to have a good pint. of stout and get the good vibes like The Crown Liquor Saloon or White’s Tavern.

9. Typical dishes

Another of the best reasons to travel to Ireland is to try its local food, always accompanied by a good black beer.
Some of the most typical dishes are:

  • Fish and Chips: battered fish with chips.
  • Irish Stew: meat stew with potatoes, carrots, and onion, among other ingredients.
  • Irish Breakfast: energetic breakfast with bacon, sausages, eggs, black and white pudding, tomato, beans…
  • Bacon and Cabbage: two pieces of bacon accompanied by cabbage and potatoes.
  • Boxty: potato cake.
  • Colcannon: mashed potatoes with cabbage and onion.
  • Chowder seafood: seafood soup with salmon and potato.
  • Beef and Guinness Stew: a beef stew with Guinness black beer.
  • Cottage Pie: minced beef pie covered with mashed potatoes.

More tips for traveling to Ireland

Other best tips for traveling to Ireland are:

Bring an adapter for Ireland’s three flat pin plugs.
Lunch time is usually between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. and dinner between 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. Try to adapt your schedules to be able to enjoy the recommended restaurants.
Pubs are the center of social life and tourists are welcomed.
Dress in layers, in Ireland, the weather changes very quickly.

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