When you think of Ireland, what are the first things that spring to mind?
For me, it’s the amazing countryside, the stunning coastlines, and the hospitality you’ll receive from the locals.
The Irish are, without a doubt, some of the friendliest, welcoming, and hospitable individuals in the entire world, and they certainly love the craic as well.
If you’re visiting Ireland for the first time, then I certainly am envious of you, because, boy, are you in for a treat. Ireland really does have it all, from rolling hills and farmland, to imposing coastline and amazing cities and architecture. Oh, and you also can’t forget a pint of the black stuff either.
Before you visit Ireland, though, there are some things you can do to make your visit even more enjoyable, and because I’m such a helpful chap, that’s what I’ll be talking to you about today.
Here are se7en great tips for making the best of Ireland.
Remember that Northern Ireland uses a different currency
First of all, as you probably know, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are technically two different countries.
If you plan on visiting Northern Ireland and the ROI, you need to know that the two countries use different currencies to one another.
Northern Ireland, which is a part of the UK, utilises pound sterling, as opposed to the Euro, which is used by the ROI.
This generally won’t affect you if you use a bank card or ATM, but if you do plan on just using cash on your visit, you’ll need both GBP and Euros if you plan on visiting both countries.
Bring enough money
On the subject of money, to really get the most out of your Irish experience, you should make sure to bring plenty of money with you, or, have enough money to spend.
That’s easier said than done, especially if funds are tight, but trust me, it is worth saving up well in advance so that you have plenty of money to spend in Ireland, as there is so much to do and experience.
Of course, visits to the coast, and walks through the gorgeous countryside are virtually free, but if you plan on visiting some or Ireland’s amazing cities such as Dublin, Galway, or Limerick, you will likely spend a fair amount of money.
Dublin, which is the capital city of Ireland, is, without a doubt, one of the most popular cities, not only in Ireland but in the entire world as well.
Dublin is home to some amazing architecture, incredibly friendly locals, stunning bars, cafes, pubs, and restaurants, and plenty of shops selling all manner of different wares.
If you’re into your nights out, a night out in the Temple Bar area will certainly be an eye-opening experience, as nobody on the planet knows how to party quite like the Irish.
If you’re looking for a quieter and more reserved way to spend the day, why not go shopping down Grafton Street or Henry Street before taking a leisurely stroll through St Stephen’s Green.
As well as the cities, Ireland also has some stunning towns, including Ballycastle and Kilkenny, so they’re also definitely worth a day out.
Rent a small car
Remember, Ireland is, well, an Island, so you can’t just leave your home in your car and drive there like you would on a staycation in the UK, not unless you take your car on the ferry, that is.
Whilst the majority of Ireland’s major tourist attractions and monuments can be reached via public transport, to really see the true Ireland, I strongly recommend that you rent a small car to give you the freedom to explore Ireland at your leisure.
The countryside and coastline in Ireland, for example, is amongst the most beautiful in the world, and the drive is therefore very scenic and very relaxing.
The reason why I recommend a small car is because, like in Cornwall, UK, there are a lot of very narrow country lanes and roads in Ireland, and sometimes it can get a bit narrow.
Enjoy a bowl of Colcannon on a blustery autumn’s day
Ireland is home to some of the most amazing comfort food I’ve ever experienced.
From the gorgeous shellfish from the coast, which comes into season in late September, to a hearty Irish stew, Ireland certainly knows how to serve up warm and comforting hugs in a bowl.
Since they were introduced to Ireland in the late 16th century, potatoes have been a staple ingredient in Irish cuisine.
One of Ireland’s traditional dishes is Colcannon, which is a mashed potato dish made from buttery and creamy mashed potatoes, softened buttered green cabbage, and finely chopped spring onions, all seasoned perfectly.
For the ultimate comfort food, why not take a stroll around the coast or countryside in autumn, before setting down with a bowl of Colcannon, enriched with ham hock and topped with a perfectly fried egg?
Pack for all kinds of weather
Visiting Ireland in Summer for a coastal holiday? If so, then surely you’ll need to pack your shorts, vests, sun cream, sunglasses, and your bucket and spade, right?
Well, not exactly.
Ireland has a temperate oceanic climate, especially by the coast, whereby the weather can change in the blink of an eye.
One minute it can be hot sunshine and blue skies, and next it’s grey and throwing it down with rain.
Ireland tends to get a lot of rain, especially on the Western Coast, so as well as your summer clothes, you may want to pack something a little warmer and drier, too.
If you are visiting out of season, you’ll also want to wear layers as it can get chilly, and snow in winter is certainly not uncommon.
Engage with the locals
Finally, the last tip I have for you today is to talk and engage with the locals.
The Irish are amongst the friendliest people in the world, so if you get the chance to engage with them and chat to them, you certainly should.
Not only are they all about the craic, they also tell stories like no other, especially after a pint or two of Guinness, or a few Irish Whiskeys.
I for one thoroughly enjoyed the time spent in Ireland. The scenery, the people, everything was unforgettable. Given the current situation, I can’t recommend enough paying Ireland a visit. You certainly won’t regret it.
Until then stay safe, stay curious and don’t stop wandering!