The weather in Ireland is unpredictable at best and downright depressing at its worst. We experience four seasons in one day, or even just in one afternoon, and people say if you don’t like the weather in Ireland, just wait two hours! This can make it extremely difficult to know what to wear in Ireland and most importantly what to pack for Ireland when planning a big trip here.
As I’m born and bred in Ireland and possible complain about the weather there more than anyone else, I though it was about time I write my ultimate list on what to pack for Ireland so you don’t freeze to death, catch pneumonia or catch the first flight out having landed feeling fully unprepared. You’ve booked your dream trip, and you’ve made out your ultimate bucket list of fun things to do in Ireland, now all you have to do is come prepared with all the right clothes and accessories.
I’ve tried as best I can to make this a uni sex packing list for Ireland, but there are a few extra girlie accessories throw in – things that I for one can’t live with out whenever I’m back on the emerald isle. Trust me, you’ll thank me later!
Let’s start with the essentials. Things you REALLY really should not come to Ireland without.
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What To Pack For Ireland – The Essentials
A waterproof jacket
Even if you’ve booking your dream trip to Ireland right in the middle of the summer, I’m afraid a waterproof jacket is still an essential. It’s not called the “Emerald Isle” for no reason – and all that rain in the summer makes everything look all that greener. Depending on how much you feel the cold will help you decide what type of jacket to bring. It can reach highs of 25 degrees in the summer, so I always find layering is best under a light waterproof jacket.
Patagonia is a really great brand, and while more expensive than others, the quality really shows and their jackets are more of an investment. Great if you have a few trips to colder climates planned. I personally love this Torrentshell Rain Jacket for Women or this red Torrentshell Jacket for Men. You don’t want anything too bulky as, like I said, it can get quite warm and you’ll want to pack the jacket away in your handbag or backpack when it does. If you don’t mind looking like a ninny, you could just go cheap and buy a poncho!
Granted, it’s pretty easy to pick one of these up at pretty much any shop in Ireland, but you’ll thank me when you arrive in Dublin Airport in the pouring rain and have to queue for a taxi without one! Again, you won’t need it always, so try get one of those travel-sized ones where you press the button and POP the umbrella pops up like this one!
Decent walking shoes
Let’s get real. Not every tourist to Ireland is planning to hike Ireland’s biggest peaks or spend weeks walking the Wild Atlantic Way. most should, however, spend at least a day exploring Glendalough National Park and perhaps an afternoon at the Cliffs of Moher or the Giants Causeway. While your own sneakers are perfectly fine if you’re okay with them getting covered with mud, I do recommend some sort of sturdy shoes or boots for a trip to Ireland.
No need to break the bank when working through your Ireland packing list, just pick up a basic pair of walking boots like the Columbia Waterproof boots that start from just $50. For girls who want to look stylish and comfortable at the same time, just pack a pair of knee-high boots (flat with no heel unless you want to slip in front of hundreds of tourists!) – they’ll keep you warm and hopefully provide some sort of grip. Leave the ballet flats and wedges at home – seriously!
Thermal tops if visiting in Winter
Okay personally I would not be caught dead wearing one of these, but my darling Dad has a whole drawer full! If you are planning to visit Ireland in the height of winter, expect sub-zero temperatures, rain every hour and a horrible wind chill. Believe me, you will want those thermal tops, and you can always hide them under a funky Christmas jumper or your nice winter coat! They start from just $10 so you can’t go wrong…
Gloves, Hat and Scarf
If by any chance you arrive in Ireland without any of these, especially in winter, I suggest you make a bee line to the nearest Penney’s (clothing store found in all big cities and super cheap!) and stock up on two of each. They have lots of fun stuff in there, so you’ll probably pop in for a scarf and exit with a whole new wardrobe and some reindeer slippers. That’s just how it goes…
Leave the sexy lingerie style PJs at hoe girls, you’ll freeze your as off if you wear them in your hotel or Bed and Breakfast in Ireland! I seriously recommend packing a decent pair of PJs to stay warm at night. Most hotels provide dressing gowns to keep you extra cosy!
A swimsuit, in Ireland? Are you crazy?! Trust me, if visiting during the summer and you see how beautiful our beaches and lakes are, you will definitely want to go swimming. Is it cold? Of course it is, but it’s not quite as bad as you might think. Many hotels in Ireland have excellent spa facilities, gyms and swimming pools so even if you don’t plan to brave the Atlantic Ocean, I still suggest packing a swimsuit. Nothing too fancy needed for Ireland ladies! ;-)
A wash / face cloth
My American friends tipped me off on this. Hotels and guesthouses in Ireland often don’t include a wash cloth or face cloth (sounds weird, but it’s not really that common here!) so if you’re used to showering with one bring your own, or buy a small travel wash set like this one. If you’re travelling on a budget and staying in hostels, you’ll need your own towel so pick up a compact travel towel.
What To Pack For Ireland – Accessories
Most hotels and guesthouses provide hair dryers but if you plan to stay in an Airbnb (here’s some free credit for you if you do!) or a hostel (check out my favourite Irish hostels) then you will need to bring your own. Also if you are serious about blow drying and styling, the hotel hair dryers might not be up to you standards!
The weather is brutal, it can be quite humid and the wind will definitely give you that windswept look. Regardless, no Irish girl would dare travel anywhere without her trusty GHD Hair Straightener so don’t feel guilt if you feel like packing your too! I also recommend some sort of calming gel or Frizz Ease treatment as the Irish weather does crazy things to your hair!
Chapstick or Vaseline
While obviously it’s worse in winter, Irish people seem to be very prone to chapped lips due to the very dry air we experience year round. Maybe pick up some Burts Beez chapstick or a trusty tin of Vaseline!
Day bag / backpack
It’s handy to have a small backpack for day trips and mini adventures while travelling around Ireland. Perfect for storing your camera gear, water bottle and some small snacks to keep you going until your next pub visit! If, like me, your travel with an insane collection of camera equipment and drones, then this is the bag for you.
What To Pack For Ireland – Camera Gear
If you already have one or are an aspiring photographer, this is pretty obvious. If you’re neither of those, I really do recommend investing in some sort of camera before a trip to Ireland as there is so much beauty to be captured. One of the most popular cameras on the market right now is the mirrorless Sony Alpha range. As new models keep getting released, the slightly older (but still amazing) Sony Alpha A6000 can be bought for less than $500.
If you’re planning on going surfing, mountain biking or any other adrenaline filled sports, investing in a GoPro adventure camera is a good decision. The slightly older GoPro Hero 4 is what I use and see no need to upgrade to the later models for now, especially as it’s almost HALF the price of the newer ones!
If you are serious about your photos, then investing in a decent tripod is a must, especially for long exposure shots and capturing the beauty of Ireland’s cities at night. The Joby Gorillapod is what I use. It’s super sturdy but very affordable. It’s probably not for super professional photographers but does the job for me!
While normally more associated with going on safari in Africa, a small pair of binoculars is a great addition to your packing essentials for Ireland. You NEVER know what you might see in the Atlantic Ocean – from dolphins to whale watching, or just keeping an eye on a rare eagle in West Cork or a surfer in Donegal – binoculars are a must in Ireland!
Depending on what country you are coming from, a power adaptor is a must. Ireland has this weird square 3 pin plus that not many other countries in Europe (or anywhere!) use so you’ll need a big adaptor like this one.
Planning to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights off the west coast of Ireland or up for some midnight exploring in search of one of the clearest night skies in the world? Be sure to pack a decent torch!
Battery pack / power bank
If you use your phone a lot and plan to be out all day, I suggest bringing along an extra battery pack to charge up your phone / camera with. You can them super cheap and they could save the day!
Skyroam Global Wifi
Skyroam is a mobile wifi hotspot device that lets you connect to the internet from almost anywhere in the world. Goodbye roaming charges! You simply purchase a device on their website and then pick a package or but daily passes to access the net. This hotpot has been a lifesaver for me in so many countries!
Ireland packing list: Bits and bobs
Now that we have covered all of the essentials, here are a few fun extra things that might help in the planning process or make your trip that bit more enjoyable.
Lonely Planet Ireland Guidebook – a great resource for planning your trip, deciding where to go and some top recommendations on places to eat, drink and stay.
Be SURE to purchase travel insurance before your trip. I am always lecturing all my readers on the importance of travel insurance and how not purchasing any could seriously ruin your life. Dramatic, i know, but also very true.