You won't need luck with these tips on traveling to Ireland!
You've put off visiting the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney National Park, and Blarney Castle long enough. It's finally time to take that trip to Ireland! I love it! Here are a few tips to make for a more enjoyable trip.
Consider Car Travel
The most popular sites in the Emerald Isle can be seen via public transportation or tour buses, but renting a car is not a bad idea to get to the more obscure sites. Be sure the vehicle you rent is a small one, as rural roads in Ireland are narrow. Oh, and the Irish drive on the left side of the road and pass on the right.
Another option: hire a car and driver. I recommend this option all the time to clients who want to visit a lot of places in a small amount of time. Drivers are amazing at recounting the history or local flavor of a place, and better yet, they know where they’re going!
All those goodies you'll find to buy on Grafton Street are tax-free! That's right: travelers who live outside the European Union can shop tax-free in Ireland. Make sure to apply for a Fexco Horizon Card prior to your trip so you can register and swipe it in affiliated stores in the country and claim sales tax back on the purchases.
And while we're on the topic of shopping, it's important to note that, as part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland uses pound sterling rather than the euro.
Irish weather is not extreme, but the country does get a lot of rain, particularly along its west coast. And if you're traveling to Ireland during winter, know that the days are short. The sun rises at about 8 a.m. and sets at about 4 p.m., which means you have to cram a lot of sightseeing into a few hours. But during summer, the sunsets as late as 10 p.m. Be mindful of these seasonal changes, pack light layers of clothing and a pair of rain boots or waterproof shoes, and you should be just fine.
Public Transportation Pointers
The trains in Ireland carry you in comfort, but they are pricey. So if you intend to travel on one during your trip, make sure to book it in advance to take advantage of online discounts that the Irish Rail offers. If you choose to travel by bus, be aware that you must flag the bus to get it to stop.
Heritage Cards Are Helpful
If you plan to visit the country's many cultural attractions, picking up a Heritage Card from the Office of Public Works is a great idea. This card entitles you to free admission to all heritage sites managed by the state for an entire year. These sites include castles and national parks.
Ireland is big on wellness! If you’re interested in a day spa, a few suggestions are Escape Spa (Cork), Angsana Spa the Brehan (Killarney), or The Bodywise Clinic (Dublin). If it’s adventure you seek, cross the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, which spans 66 feet, 100 feet above rocks and water, crossing from the mainland to the island of Carrick-a-Rede. You can hike, bike, kayak, climb cliffs, and stand-up-paddleboard. You can do some yoga or stay at a wellness retreat. There are SO many options to stay healthy while you travel!
Ireland is a perfect destination to discover in just a few, or many, days. If you’ve been and have some favorite experiences, I’d love to hear about some great places or fun you’ve had. Send me an e-mail. I’d love to include some of your thoughts in a future post!