Packing for Ireland
What to bring and how much of it? Most people wear only a fraction of the clothes they take on vacation, so a few tips on what to pack for your your Irish trip – and what to leave at home – will surely come in useful.
Photo by brassynn
Traveling with Ryanair?
I recently stood in a check-in line at a Ryanair desk in Italy where some Americans were checking in luggage for travel to Ireland – blissfully unaware of the extremely restrictive luggage policies of that airline. It was clear that the experience was going to cost them a lot.
Ryanair charge extra for even one checked in bag – and that bag has a maximum weight of 15kg, which is not really a lot. Any additional bags attract even higher charges.
They also limit passengers to a single carry on bag, which cannot exceed 10kg in weight. So if you are traveling with Ryanair, be sure to carefully check their site for the latest information on luggage and pack accordingly.
Choosing Luggage & Traveling Light
In Guesthouses and Bed and Breakfasts and many 3 star and budget hotels in Ireland, there will be nobody to carry your luggage for you. In the former two there is unlikely to be a lift [elevator]. Bear this in mind when you are tempted to pack ever more items that you may never wear!
It is important too when choosing luggage – lightweight bags or suitcases on wheels will be best. Remember too to leave space for additional luggage going home. It can be a good idea to bring an extra, empty, bag, preferably one which is roomy but will fold up easily inside your main suitcase.
Do check your airline’s luggage policy though – if your luggage is overweight you may pay dearly for it. It can be cheaper to have bulky items you buy in Ireland shipped home rather than carrying them in your luggage – many stores will be happy to arrange this for you.
The dress code: Smart or Casual?
During the day: Casual is the rule everywhere and jeans and sneakers are fine, so wear whatever casual clothes you feel comfortable in.
Pubs & Restaurants: In all pubs and lower priced restaurants casual wear is the norm, again jeans and sneakers are acceptable and the Irish will be wearing them too.
If you are planning to eat in fancier restaurants smart casual is fine during the week, though perhaps not jeans, while at weekends you will feel more comfortable if you dress up a little. It is quite common in Irish restaurants to have casually dressed and very smartly dressed diners in the same room.
For restaurants in 4 and 5 star hotels and others at the top end of the scale a more formal dress code is usual, for men a shirt and jacket, tie usually optional, for women pants suits or dresses.
Nightclubs: In Dublin some nightclubs have door policies on the sort of dress that will get you in, with the fashionably dressed favoured. Most however are happy as long as you are reasonably well presented and this is the rule outside Dublin.
Some clubs do not allow men wearing jeans in, though they will allow women with jeans. Go figure. If you are planning to visit a particular club and are unsure, call and check ahead of time.
Pack for the weather!
There is a summer in Ireland – but there will be rain even then!
The best way to pack efficiently for Irish weather is to take clothes that can be easily layered, so that as temperatures fluctuate you can take off a layer or add another one.
In winter, pack a couple of warm sweaters and a good quality waterproof (not just shower proof) jacket. If you are planning to walk in the Irish hills or by rivers a pair of waterproof trousers and proper waterproof walking boots would also be advisable.
A warm hat and a scarf are indispensable items in the colder months and useful even in summer, especially by the south and west coasts where the winds coming in from the Atlantic can really drop the temperatures.
In summer a couple of light and roomy sweaters that you can pull on over a t shirt will suffice, along with a light shower proof jacket. The type of jacket that folds up into a small package is most useful as you are more likely to actually have one with you when the rain starts.
The temptation to leave this vital item in your hotel because the morning is sunny and bright should be avoided – showers can be sudden and heavy even on the best summer days.
And do please pack lots of light clothing – shorts, t-shirts etc – in Summer, it is warm enough to wear these most of the time!
Take Care of Your Feet
You will almost certainly do a lot of walking in Ireland and comfortable shoes are essential. Two pairs of walking shoes is a good idea, as changing them does make life more comfortable. A pair of comfortable slippers is worth including if you are walking a lot – they will be heaven at the end of the day!
- Sunglasses, even in Winter. The glare from sun reflecting on wet surfaces can be blinding.
- Sunscreen – the wind can make it seem deceptively cool but the sun will still burn
- Adapters and/or Converters for any electrical equipment. Electricity in Ireland is supplied at 220 volts AC which may damage some American equipment.áVisitors from Australia and New Zealand only need an adapter. See our article about electricity in Ireland for details.
- Plenty of memory cards and batteries for your camera – both are very expensive here. The same applies to film if you are using a non-digital camera.
… take care of your documents! It is a good idea to have a folder or pouch to hold and keep safe your passport, tickets, booking confirmations, emergency contact details, insurance details, drivers license and so on. The same pouch can be used to keep receipts on which you will be claiming back tax when you leave.