4 Insider Tips for Visiting Ireland

8:47 AM

    Whether you're from Europe or America, Ireland is probably at the top of your bucket list. From its stunning scenery, to the charming locals, this little island has everything a tourist could imagine. Having lived here for a couple of years with the added advantage of being married to a local, I have come up with four tips to help you enjoy your Irish adventure while avoiding some tourist hiccups along the way!

1. Best Months to Visit:

        Ireland, on the whole, is fairly chilly! However, because of its island climate, temperatures don't reach extremes. Winter, though still a lovely time for a visit, can be exceptionally rainy, which may curb any outdoor activities you might have planned. The winter months are also the time that the locals like to call "the dark nights." With a late sunrise and a very early sunset, (it starts getting dark around 3:00 pm in December!) the dark nights can shorten your trip significantly. But who can resist a gorgeous Irish Christmas?! 

   While most tourists opt for the summer months to head across the pond, there are two
months of the year that the locals know for their long sunny days, and beautiful scenery. Whether you are looking for those lovely Fall colors, or want to enjoy the full bloom of Spring, May and October are two of the best months of the year for a visit! You can also find significant discounts on hotels and flights these times of  the year. 

2. Use Dublin Airport 

   While Dublin isn't my favorite city to visit, (sorry Dubliners!) it is by far the best airport on the island if you are flying to or from the U.S. In the past few years, Dublin airport has opened a terminal in which you can go through U.S. customs on this side of the pond. Talk about a time saver! 

Besides this big plus, flights to Dublin are generally $50-$100 cheaper than to other airports and you won't have to go through London on your way to Ireland. Although it may not look it on a map, Dublin is incredibly central. Only two hours south of Northern Ireland, and a few hours away from nearly everywhere else on the island, it's a great place to start your trip. Most bus tours begin in Dublin and if you're looking for a quick overnight after arriving, there are hotels conveniently located near the airport. 

3. There are Two Currencies

    The island of Ireland is divided into two countries: The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (which is part of the U.K.) The Republic is part of the European Union and therefore, you will need Euros in order to make your way around. Northern Ireland uses the British Pound. Even to cross the border in your rental car, you will need Euros or Pounds depending on which way you're going. Although at this point in time there isn't a border (2019), there is a toll road if you're making your way to or from Dublin. 

Another money issue to be aware of is that many credit card machines will have trouble with American credit cards! Although traveling with cash isn't always ideal, Ireland has many small villages and restaurants that still do not take credit cards. This is quickly changing, but it's best to have a few notes on you just in case! 

4. Bring a Sturdy Umbrella!

    I don't think I can emphasize this enough. As a silly Southern Californian, I still forget to bring an umbrella with me most places which often leaves me hudled up like an aged babooshka under a scarf. It may look gorgeous when you set off in the morning, but everyone here knows there can be four seasons in a day no matter what the time of year! You might also encounter heavy winds which will quickly turn that travel umbrella into a piece of twisted nylon and metal. 

  As for footwear, the traditional Wellies can be a bit of a pain to traipse around in, so buying yourself a pair of rainproof ankle boots should do the trick! 

Whatever time of year you come, Ireland is one of the most fascinating and enjoyable places you could ever visit! For more tips, sign up to subscribe to my email updates!


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