Ireland doesn’t tend to be a dressy, fussy place where you’ll need lots of clothes and accessories and extra shoes to have a great time. Jeans and casual shirt or khakis and a sweater will do you just fine in most instances. We like that about Ireland!
Bring as little luggage as you possibly can. We generally only travel with a carry-on convertible bag (as we showed you in our last blog post) and a smaller messenger bag or tote. If you’re planning to use public transportation at any time when you’ll have all of your luggage with you – even if it’s only for the train ride from the airport to your hotel in Dublin – you will want to have a little baggage as possible. Plus, if you follow our tip to get the smallest vehicle you can fit in, you won’t have a whole lot of room for luggage in the boot, and you’ll want to put your bags in the boot. If you’re traveling from town to town with all of your belongings each day (or every few days), you may be stopping to have lunch or visit a site on the way, and you don’t want your luggage in the back seat announcing the fact that you are a tourist with all of your stuff. There may not be as much crime in Ireland as there is where you’re from, but it does happen. Don’t help thieves target you; it’ll ruin your holiday.
But let’s just take a moment right now to talk about the elephant in the room: it rains in Ireland, sometimes a lot. You need to be prepared for everything from light drizzle to torrential downpours with mighty winds. Though thunderstorms are rare in Ireland, they are not completely unheard of. To prepare for the rain, we have purchased good quality rain coats that work as windbreakers as well. We also have rain hats that have fairly wide brims to keep the dripping water off our faces and necks.
For several reasons, we generally do not travel with an umbrella. We like to have our hands free to use our cameras and video equipment (or to hang on to a railing). There’s no point in taking a cheap umbrella to Ireland, and a good quality umbrella takes up more room in our luggage than we are willing to sacrifice. The wind can render your umbrella useless anyway. To sum up, if it’s only a soft day (not raining hard), we wouldn’t really need an umbrella, and if it’s raining and blowing too hard, the umbrella is useless at best and broken at worst.
There were several times on our first couple of trips to Ireland that I was wishing I had a pair of gloves to keep my hands warmer. I now take along a pair of those little stretchy gloves that don’t cost much and don’t take up much room in the suitcase. Even if they get wet, my hands are warmer!
So, what should you wear? Even during the summer months, the weather can fluctuate a great deal, including the temperature. Days will generally start out cool and can get quite warm by the afternoon. Dress in layers that you can peel off and put on as the weather dictates. Due to the fact that the ground is quite uneven in many places, you should not plan to wear to high heels or shoes with narrow heels. Wear good walking shoes, hiking boots, or supportive sandals as appropriate. And, when wearing walking shoes or hiking boots, be sure to have good socks made for walking. It does make a difference to your poor, tired feet at the end of the day! Also, if you can waterproof your shoes or boots, do so before you travel. In the United States, you can purchase spray-on products that do a good job of helping keep water out of your shoes (unless you’re walking through deep puddles or it’s raining buckets).
Next time, we’ll give you some more tips for packing for your trip. Until then, slán go fóill!