What to Pack for Ireland: the Ultimate Northern Ireland & Ireland Packing List

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Last Updated on: 19th June 2023, 06:41 pm

I’ve spent about a month traveling through Ireland and Northern Ireland over several trips, visiting almost every county.

I’ve spent nearly twenty days on road trips across the country, so I know what it’s like to pack for multiple kinds of activities while living out of a backpack.

I’ve also gone on luxury trips in Dublin, staying in nice hotels, and being based in the city, so I’ve included tips for what to wear in Ireland that work both for the Wild Atlantic Way but also help you fit in while in Dublin and Belfast.

Here’s my packing list for Ireland and Northern Ireland, including what to pack for Ireland for women and men in all seasons.

My Favorite Travel Booking Sites for 2023

These are my favorite companies that I use on my own travels.

Protect Your Trip via Safety Wing

Find the best city tours, day tours, bus tours, & skip-the-line tickets on GetYourGuide and Viator.

Find the best deals on hotels & vacation rentals on Booking.com.

For English-speaking private airport transfers, book through Welcome Pickups.

For road trips and independent travel, rent a car through Discover Cars.

Find information and cruise reviews on Cruise Critic.

For packing and travel essentials order via Amazon.

Book an affordable family or romantic photography session on your trip through Flytographer (Use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photoshoot).

For travel guidebooks to have with you during your trip, I always pick one or two from Rick Steves and Lonely Planet.

What Kind of Suitcase to Bring?

A lamb on the side of the highway in Connemara, Ireland
Ready for your own Irish adventure? Here’s what to bring with you to Ireland so you have an amazing trip!

Planning your first trip to the Emerald Isle and wondering what you absolutely need to pack for Ireland? A trip here can encompass so many kinds of activities, so it’s helpful if you have a bit of an idea of your basic itinerary before you arrive so you have the right clothes. However, I’ve taken long road trips through the country with dramatically different activities planned from day-to-day, so this packing list should work for every kind of trip you will take here. The first thing you have to decide though is what kind of suitcase to take.

See also
Dublin or Belfast: Which Emerald Isle City is Right for You?

The longer I travel, the smaller my suitcases get because I am confident in my packing decisions. On my first trips to Ireland, I checked a big bag. These days, I can happily live for a month out of my 48L backpack (provided I do laundry in the sink or have access to laundry facilities).

For your main suitcase, you’ll want to decide whether to bring a roller suitcase or a backpack. This depends on a lot of factors. If you’re going to be primarily based in one place for a long period of time, then this decision matters less. However, for anyone who will be going from place to place with frequent travel days, I highly recommend a backpack over a roller suitcase.

You also need to decide if you’re traveling carry-on only or checking a suitcase. You can get both kinds of suitcases in versions small enough to travel as carry-on, but I also know backpackers whose backpacks are large enough that they must be checked. Remember that not every backpack is carry-on sized.

My personal preference is to use a carry-on sized backpack because I tend to take very long trips to Ireland (over two weeks), and I like the freedom that comes with not having too much stuff with me. When moving between cities every few days, it’s nice to not have too much stuff to worry about when you’re going to be visiting multiple cities in a row. On my last trip, I flew into Belfast and out of Dublin, while visiting the Antrim Coast, New Grange, Dingle, and Kerry in between. Even spread out over two and a half weeks, this is a lot of hotel changes!


Questions to Ask Yourself When Deciding on a Suitcase

Germany - Berlin - Suitcase and Day Bag packing to leave
My preferred bags for traveling these days. It took me many years of travel to learn to pack light.
  • Do you have private or shared accommodations?
  • Are you staying in a hostel where your suitcase needs to fit into a small locker?
  • What floor are you staying on? Is there an elevator? Are you sure?
  • How many accommodation changes and transit days will be included in this trip?
  • When you travel, do you tend to overpack and not use all your items?
See also
101 Things to Do in Ireland: Bucket List for Your Irish Vacation!


Backpack Recommendations

My primary backpack is my Bergans Skarstind 48 which is similar to this Bergans backpack. This backpack is easy to wear, and the fact that it is taller than it is wide makes the distribution of weight along my torso easy to handle. It’s also small enough that I can easily wear it on the public transit in Dublin without too much hassle. This backpack is small enough to be a carry-on as long as I leave the top compartment empty. When I am not flying, I use this compartment and it adds about six inches of height to the bag.

For those unfamiliar with Bergans or who are Osprey diehards (which I used to be) then I would choose something similar to this Osprey Women’s pack. For men, I would choose something in the same size range (40-48 L).

If you’ve never backpacked with a real travel backpack, you may wonder what is different about it from a standard backpack or weekender bag. The main difference is that the weight is distributed so that it’s not a burden. Basically, you can put the same weight in all three types of bags, but the ergonomic design makes the backpacking bag easier and more pleasant to carry. Since Europe is a place where you’ll end up carrying your luggage for a long period of time on transit days, this can really save your shoulders, back, and neck from a ton of unnecessary pain. You can check prices and reviews here.


Roller Suitcase Recommendations

When I travel and check a bag, which I do from time to time, I opt for a larger roller suitcase. If you are going to bring a roller bag, I suggest getting a soft shell one that can squish. My personal roller suitcase is the awesome Osprey Sojourn, and it’s been with me to Ireland twice.

I lived out of just this bag and a backpack for eight months, and I even took it on a multi-country bus trip last summer for six weeks through the Balkans and didn’t have any trouble.

See also
23 Spectacular Things to Do in Dingle & Bonus Travel Guide

If you’re going to be on a lot of public transportation and need a roller bag, you will want a suitcase that can handle some abuse without getting damaged. This bag has been crammed, pushed, squished, scratched, and jammed into the smallest and weirdest of cargo spaces and still looks and works great. You can check prices and reviews here.



What to Use During the Day?

Serbia - Belgrade - Day Bag Pacsafe
My favorite day bag of all time!

Once you’ve arrived in Ireland, you’re going to want a reliable and safe day bag to carry around things like your camera and wallet. This bag is also important for transit days since it will carry the things you need access to while on the move. I have three primary day bags that I use depending on the trip.

Features to Look for in a Reliable Travel Day Bag

  • Fashionable enough that the bag doesn’t scream “tourist”
  • Safety features that protect you from the kinds of low-level crime targeted at tourist
  • Room for the specific tech you’re bringing like a laptop, tablet, camera, etc.
  • Comfortable to wear on long days sightseeing
  • Small enough to fit under an airplane seat if your main bag is a carry-on
  • Sized right for the kind of trip your taking
  • Collapsible if necessary


Day Bag Recommendations

After two and a half years of full-time travel, I’ve gone through a few different styles of day bags. I use mine daily, so I’m always on the hunt for the best one to fit my needs. Here are my three favorite kinds of personal travel bags:


Option 1: Safety First & Technology Friendly

Serbia - Novi Sad - Stephanie
Wearing my favorite day bag with a huge smile on my face.

For the past six months, I’ve been using my new Pacsafe Citysafe laptop backpack as my primary travel day bag, and it has proven to be the best day bag I’ve ever had. It’s small enough to fit under the seat in front of me when flying or taking the bus.

See also
The Best Quotes about Ireland

Things I love about the Pacsafe Citysafe that make it a great bag to pack for Ireland:

  • I can fit my camera for touring days and my laptop for work days.
  • It has interlocking zippers which are great to avoid pickpockets in busy tourist areas in Dublin where the petty thieves tend to target obvious foreigners.
  • It has a pocket for your wallet and passport that has RFID protection so my credit cards can’t get scanned from afar.
  • It has side pockets for carrying my own reusable water bottle or when I buy a soda. Drink prices in Ireland really add up!
  • It’s big enough to use for groceries when I want to save money by shopping at the store. Irish soda bread, anyone?
  • It’s a sleek black bag, which is perfect for a fashionable city like Dublin.

You can check prices and reviews for the Pacsafe Citysafe here. Pacsafe also makes smaller bags that still have a ton of safety features to keep your belongings safe on the road. I especially like the Slim Crossbody if you want to find a small purse for your trip.


Option 2:  Sleek and Collapsible

Azerbaijan - Ganja - The Bottle House
Taking my Longchamp bag out around Ganja, Azerbaijan this past summer.

In a fit of a rage one day, I threw out a terrible day bag and bought my dream bag for full price in the Vienna airport. People might have thought I’d gone mad, but I was just sick of traveling with a day bag that didn’t work for me. That was the day I got my hands on my large Longchamp bag, and I absolutely love it! This bag rolls up completely, so I can store it away when necessary. However, it’s large enough to fit what I need to take out with me to explore a city for the day: wallet, camera, snacks, etc. It’s also durable! It might have been a bit pricey and a total whim, but I have never once regretted it. This is the bag I packed for Ireland on my last trip, and it worked great as a day bag all over the country.

See also
50 Pictures of Dingle, Ireland to Inspire Your Irish Wanderlust

I have used my Longchamp bag almost every day for two and a half years and it’s still going strong. This is also a great bag to roll up and bring just in case, whenever you want to have a more traditional-looking purse as opposed to a backpack. Because it’s collapsible, you can bring it on every trip and use it as needed. You can check prices and reviews here.


Option 3: Large and Functional

Wizz Air Carry On Only Airport Mirror Selfie
Taking my SwissGear selfie at the Budapest airport last year.

Another option I’ve used in the past is a traditional backpack with a laptop slot. For this, I have this SwissGear Travel Laptop Backpack. It’s a great travel daypack because the laptop slot and the middle pocket is large enough to fit my camera and work as a camera bag. This bag is great for someone looking for a reliable bag that can fit everything they need on a smaller budget. You can check prices and reviews here.



How to Keep Your Bags Organized

Ireland - Shannon - Plane Tarmac Shannon Airport
Make sure you have a clear ziplock bag for your travel size liquids!

When traveling around Ireland and Northern Ireland, you really need to keep your stuff organized. Whenever you have to open your bag in public, you need everything to be in its right place so you can get in and out quickly. In the cities, leaving your bag opens risks theft or accidentally losing something. Both situations have happened to me while traveling when I wasn’t keeping my stuff organized well. Trust me, it sucks!

Regardless of what kind of suitcase and day bag you go with, you’ll need smaller organizational bags to keep them in line. Here’s what I use on my trips:

  • Packing Cubes: I take 1-2 large packing cubes for clothes and 1 medium packing cube for underwear, bras, swimsuits, and pajamas.
  • Small Cosmetic Bags: I have five small makeup bags that I use to keep different items together. Mine are organized into make-up and jewelry, wet toiletries, dry toiletries, medicine kit, and tech odds and ends.
  • Laundry Bag: I use the one that came with my packing cubes.
  • Coin Purse:  Coins add up, especially in Ireland and Northern Ireland where the currency is worth more than in America! There’s nothing worse than finding the equivalent of $10 USD in coins as you pack up to leave, knowing that you’re basically throwing money away.
  • Canvas Tote Bag: Great for grocery shopping, quick errands, or lazy days.
  • Ziplock Bags: These babies are clutch! I take 1-2 empty gallon ziplock bags and 3-5 empty small ziplock bags for random organizational emergencies. These seem to happen on every trip, and I’m always grateful to have them with me.
See also
The Storied History of the Guinness Storehouse

What to Wear in Ireland for Women

Ireland - Stephanie and Ashley - Dingle - Selfie
A selfie in Dingle on a particularly bright day in May.

Here’s what women should pack for Northern Ireland and Ireland. When picking out your clothing, think about what activities you’re going to be doing. Are you going to the theater in Dublin? Will you be hiking in the Ring of Kerry or staying in a country home near the Antrim Coast? Are you walking the coastal walks on the Antrim Coast or going to a tea in a fancy hotel? In Dublin, the women dress chic but casual. You should wear what you feel comfortable in, with breathable fabrics that hang-dry well. This list assumes you will be on the road for more than a week, and that you will hand-wash your clothes and line dry when you’re out of clothes. If you’re traveling for less than a week, simply bring fewer clothes.

Clothes to Wear in Ireland in Summer, Spring, and Autumn

Looking out on the Sheen Valley
In Ireland, I tend to spend a lot of time outside, so I bring layers to dress up and down with the weather.
  • 3-4 shirts or blouses
  • 1 tank top
  • 1 tee shirt
  • 2-3 dresses (If you don’t wear dresses or skirts, then pack additional shirts and jeans to wear instead).
  • 2-3 pairs of leggings (optional). I love wearing leggings while traveling because I can wear a cute dress but still be very comfortable, and they’re great for layering because Ireland can be chilly in the early spring and late autumn. I found the weather very mild in late September, but by the middle of October, it was chilly.
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 skirt (optional)
  • 1 sweater, cardigan, or kimono for light layering (I found that even in May, I wanted to have layers available).
  • 1 jacket (I brought my jean jacket, but something that can handle light rain would also be a good idea since it rained frequently during our two weeks).
  • 1 pajama top
  • 1 pajama bottoms (or use one of the leggings)
  • 1 swimsuit (Optional depending on weather and plans).

Shoes and Sandals

I travel with three pairs of shoes. When traveling in Ireland, I like to have two sturdy shoes good for exploring the cities on long days, and one pair of comfortable slip-on jellies or sandals for when I’m back in my room or apartment.

  • Comfortable Closed-Toed Walking Shoes (I use boots like these or like these. Pack hiking shoes if you’re planning on hiking. Otherwise, any closed-toed shoes will work). Expect long days walking on pavement or cobblestones. At the end of everyday sightseeing, my feet were completely beaten up.
  • Comfortable day shoes (I have had a pair of these Tevas for the last two years, and I’ve worn them so much they have a hole in the right sole. For cold weather months, I opt for the second pair of boots. Both the sandals and the boots are perfect for travel because the rubber souls make them extra durable and comfortable at the same time).
  • Extra Easy Slip-on Sandal or Flip-Flops (I use these Croc Jellies because they work for hostel showers but are also wearable outside. I’m currently on pairs #2 and 3. I own them in blue and pink).
See also
Ring of Kerry or Dingle Peninsula: Which Irish Drive is Right for You?

Underwear and Socks

  • 7-8 pairs of underwear: I like to have enough for one week before having to do laundry, but you can bring more or less depending on your needs.
  • 1-2 bras: If you’ll be doing a lot of hiking, you might want one of these to be a sports bra.
  • 1-2 bralettes: this is something I added in this year, and I’m obsessed with them. They’re basically super comfortable like a lightweight sports bra. If you have larger breasts, and you want to be able to relax at your hotel or hostel without feeling like you’re dressed inappropriately, add a couple of bralettes to your suitcase.
  • 7-8 pairs of socks: Even in the summer where I’d normally want to wear sandals more often, I find myself needing to wear socks and boots in the cities. Combining walking tours, long days sightseeing, with using public transportation, and I find that I need the extra support, and therefore the extra socks.

Jewelry and Accessories

  • 1-2 items of each kind of jewelry you prefer. For me, that’s a few pairs of earrings, one bracelet, my two rings, and a necklace.
  • Sunglasses (regular or prescription if required). You’ll be outside in Ireland more than you expect.
  • Hairpins, Bobby Pins, or Barretts (1-3 styles depending on your hair needs)
  • Headbands or Hair Wraps (1-4 depending on your needs)
  • Watch (optional)

What to Wear in Ireland in Winter for Women

Ireland winters are famously moderate, but travelers tend to be outdoors for much of the day. Pack for it to feel a lot colder than it might feel otherwise since you’ll be outside for hours on end.

Ireland is famous for mild winters, with the temperature reaching an average temp in the mid-forties in winter. However, I find when I travel that I am always colder than back home at the same temperature. This is due to the fact that when I travel, I am outdoors for much longer periods of time than during a normal day. So much of travel includes admiring and touring outdoor places.

For example, last year I went on a four-day city break in Dublin. While walking around, I found that I was freezing even though it was only mid-October. So these recommendations are for someone who knows they’ll be outside a lot on their trip. If you’re purely doing a quick city break to Dublin or Belfast and you won’t be outside at all, then feel free to ignore some of these recommendations.

  • A Winter Coat: You need that can handle the cold like this North Face parka. It’s a bit of an investment, but you’ll be so happy to have it.
  • Thermal Layers: This ultra lightweight down layer is my new #packinggoals. I don’t own one, but my friend Allison does and she wore hers while we were stuck at a Serbian bus stop in the cold early morning. I was so jealous, and this is on my future packing lists for anywhere I go that’s cold. It’s great because you can wear it on its own when you need a quick layer of warmth, but you can also wear it under your coat when it’s really cold outside.
  • Shoes: Upgrade your regular city boots to a waterproof version.
  • Socks: Upgrade your socks to thick, warm wool socks.
  • Gloves: In Dublin and Belfast, you’ll be doing a lot of navigating on your smartphone, especially when you need to use public transit. I found it incredibly annoying to have to take my gloves off every few minutes, so I upgraded to tech-friendly gloves like these. They’re also clutch for using your phone to take pictures.
  • Winter Scarf: You want a thick knit scarf that you can pull up and cover your face when necessary
  • Leggings: You’ll want to be covered from head to toe when you’re outside. Regular leggings are great for late autumn, but for winter swap them for leggings that are lined with fleece for extra warmth. You can wear them under dresses or even slip them under your jeans.
  • Hat: A fleece-lined knit cap will keep you warm, and you’ll fit right in with the locals.
See also
The Literary Pubs of Dublin

What to Wear in Ireland for Men

Ireland - Pixabay
Here’s what men should have on their Ireland and Northern Ireland packing list.

Just like the women’s packing list, men will want to wear simple, sophisticated clothes to fit in.

Clothes to Wear in Ireland in Summer, Spring, and Autumn

Ireland - Dublin - Pixabay
Prepare to spend a lot of time walking in Ireland!

The type of clothes you bring will depend on the type of activities you plan to do. A basic list will include:

  • 4-5 everyday shirts
  • 1 collared shirt
  • 3 undershirts
  • 1-2 pairs of shorts (summer only and avoid overly touristy looking khaki shorts or cargo shorts).
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of wrinkle-free dress pants (if you want to do anything nice out in the cities)
  • 1 light jacket that can handle rain
  • 1 tee shirt and shorts for sleeping
  • 1 pair of swim trunks (optional depending on weather and plans)

Shoes and Sandals

  • Comfortable Closed-Toed Walking Shoes (Sneakers, hiking shoes, or boots, depending on your preference).
  • Comfortable day sandals. If you are the kind of guy who doesn’t wear sandals, bring a second pair of walking shoes.
  • Extra Easy Slip-on Sandal or Flip-Flops (especially important for anyone staying in hostels).


Underwear & Socks

  • 7-8 pairs of underwear
  • 7-8 pairs of socks

Jewelry & Accessories

  • Sunglasses (regular or prescription if required)
  • Watch (optional)
  • Any personal jewelry

What to Wear in Ireland in Winter for Men

Ireland - Cliffs of Moher - Pixabay
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in winter? Ignore the weather reports and dress for it to feel much colder because of the coastal winds.

As I stated in the section for what women should wear in Ireland in winter, you’ll want to make sure to dress for it to feel colder than the weather report. Even though Ireland typically has mild winters in the mid-forties, most tourist destinations will feel much colder once you’ve been outside exploring for hours on end. Add in strong coastal winds, and it’s a recipe for feeling chilled to the bone.

  • A Winter Coat: You need one that can handle the cold like this North Face parka. Prepare to spend a lot of time outdoors, even in winter, because of the necessity of using public transportation in the cities and exploring Ireland’s natural beauty in the countryside.
  • Wool Baselayer: You’ll want an extra boost of warmth under your shirt as a wool baselayer.
  • Shoes: Upgrade your regular city boots to a waterproof version.
  • Socks: Upgrade your socks to thick, warm wool socks.
  • Gloves: In Ireland, you’ll be doing a lot of navigating on your smartphone, especially when you need to use public transit. I found it incredibly annoying to have to take my gloves off every few minutes, so I upgraded to tech-friendly gloves like these. They’re also clutch for using your phone to take pictures.
  • Winter Scarf: You want a thick knit scarf that you can pull up and cover your face when necessary
  • Hat: A fleece-lined knit cap will keep you warm, and you’ll fit right in with the locals.
See also
Ring of Kerry or Dingle Peninsula: Which Irish Drive is Right for You?

Toiletries and Skincare

Ireland - Connemara - Sheep
Here is everything you need to look as fresh as this baby sheep.

Not every one of these applies to every person, but here’s a general list of what I always take with me. Remember that if you’re flying carry-on only, you’ll need to bring any liquids in travel sized bottles that fit into a clear, ziplock bag. The limit for carry-on liquids is 3.4oz (100ml).

Haircare & Bathing

  • Travel-sized shampoo and conditioner. Some people swear by solid shampoo, but I just refill the same travel size bottles.
  • Dry Shampoo for the days when you really, really don’t want to shower.
  • Small hairbrush
  • Travel-sized hair dryer with an Ireland and Northern Ireland compatible plug or a voltage converter if you’re bringing a hair dryer from North America.
  • Hair products specific to your hair type
  • Soap
  • Razor
  • Shaving Cream (optional)
  • Nair or Veet (for when I get lazy)


  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturizer (travel is brutal on your skin). A moisturizer with SPF is awesome but is not a substitute for sunscreen since you’ll be outside so much).
  • Night Cream to help your skin recover.
  • Body lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Vaseline. Here’s why you should always pack vaseline!


  • Makeup
  • Makeup removing towelettes

Dental Care

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss


  • Contacts, contacts case, and solution (if needed)
  • Glasses and prescription sunglasses (if needed)



  • Full Sized Travel Towel. Most bloggers I know hate their microfibre travel towels, but I opted for a big, beautiful microfibre towel that’s perfect for the beach or a hostel. Seriously, no one loves their travel towel as much as I do.
  • Tissues, Toilet Paper, or Kleenex
  • Travel Sized Hand Sanitizer for all those days on public transit.
  • Nail File
  • Nail Clippers
  • Tweezers (2 pairs. One for my makeup kit and one for my toiletries kit).
  • Laundry Detergent Powder (I like to have enough for 3-4 loads of laundry. If I’m traveling longer than this, I can always get more on the road).
  • Something to deal with that special time of the month. If you have to deal with a period on the road, pack whatever you need depending on your preferences.
See also
The Storied History of the Guinness Storehouse


Medicine Kit

Ireland - Lamb
Unrelated pic of an adorable Irish baby lamb from my first trip to Ireland. Because, duh.

Over the counter medication from pharmacies is pretty easy to find in Ireland, so you don’t need a huge, all-disasters-covered style medicine kit. However, there are a few things you’ll want to have with you. A basic kit will include:

  • Your prescriptions
  • Anything you take weekly (for me this would be things like antacids).
  • Any vitamins you take regularly.
  • Your OTC pain medicine of choice.
  • Bandaids (After accidentally stabbing my thumb with my own razor in the Lisbon airport and having to pretend like I wasn’t bleeding to death while eating a steak, I vow to never leave home without band-aids).
  • Travel-sized Vaseline (Vaseline should be in every single person’s luggage for every single trip. Period). Yes, I listed this twice on this packing list. Vaseline is THAT important.
  • If you’re flying transatlantic or anticipate jetlag or sleep issues, I love having melatonin with me on every trip.


Technology and Accessories

The Literary Pubs of Dublin
Bring your camera and phone to get your own iconic Irish pics!

As a full-time travel blogger who also has two podcasts, my tech needs are out of control. Here’s the technology that I travel with:.

  • Laptop (I use a MacBook Air)
  • Laptop Charger
  • Laptop Cover (I have a navy blue one similar to this)
  • Smart Phone (I use a Samsung8, which I love. If you want to pick up a sim card while in Ireland, make sure you have an unlocked phone. Your cell company can unlock it ahead of your trip if it’s not already).
  • Phone Cover (An OtterBox is basically like carrying your phone around in a pillow).
  • Headphones. This is especially important since you’ll be on so much public transit.
  • Phone Charger (I used this phone charging cable)
  • Backup Charging Bank
  • DSLR or Camera (I use my Nikon D810)
  • Spare Camera Battery (I use this spare Nikon Battery that goes with my camera)
  • Camera Battery Charger (This is the one that goes with my Nikon)
  • SD Cards (I recommend having a primary and a backup at a minimum).
  • Dropbox Account for Backing Up Photos
  • Two Universal Outlet Adapters with USB Ports. Ireland and Northern Ireland usee their own plugs that are different from continental Europe or North America. Remember that North American appliances will fry unless they can handle 220V. Check on each one before using! I’ve fried so many hair dryers (including one in Galway)!
  • Kindle Paperwhite for reading without having to haul around books
  • Kindle Cover (Mine is like this one, but there are lots of options).
  • DJI Osmo Cell Phone Gimbal for shooting video. (Not for everyone, obviously, but if you want to make videos on your trip, this gimbal changed my life).
See also
Ireland or Iceland: 13 Points to Deciding Which Trip is for You

Important Documentation

The size of the car lets your brain determine the vastness of the fields and hills. Taken on my road trip through western Ireland in May (Nikon D810)
Make sure to bring your driver’s license if you plan on hitting the road in a rental car!
Planning on renting a car in Ireland? You’ll need your driver’s license and a passport!
  • Your Passport & either quick access to a soft copy or a couple of hard copies. Make sure to take it with you to buy a sim card.
  • Passport Holder
  • Your Driver’s License if you plan on renting a car in Ireland and as a backup form of ID.
  • Your Travel Insurance Policy Information:  I never leave home without travel insurance. You just never know what kind of trouble you’ll run into on the road. I’ve had several broken phones, a nearly stolen wallet, car rental accidents, etc. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. I always get the higher level so that I have coverage for more of my technology in case anything gets lost or stolen. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’re going to be doing any urban exploration in Dublin or climbing or hiking in the parks.  Absolutely necessary for any trip, but especially when in touristy cities like Dublin. Have your travel insurance available in a soft copy, and forward your policy info to your primary emergency contact.
  • Credit & ATM Cards (make sure to call your banks to let them know you’re traveling if they require it).  Have either quick access to a soft copy or a couple of hard copies. Never travel with only one card or access to one account. I have two checking accounts and four credit card accounts. This way when things happen on the road (and they do), I don’t get stuck. You never know when your credit card company is going to flag your ATM withdrawal in a foreign country as suspicious and block your cards.

I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for two years, and I happily recommend them.  It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’re going to be traveling to Ireland and Northern Ireland so you can replace anything that might get stolen. 

Books to Bring to Ireland

The opening act of the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl
Come to Ireland with a bit of Irish literature in hand. The country’s literature is its heart and soul!
  • The Lonely Planet Ireland guidebook or the Rick Steves Ireland guidebook for your trip. It can be kind of a pain to find the major guidebooks once you land, or you’ll find them overpriced. I always like to pick mine up ahead of time.
  • Ulysses is the quintessential (and nearly unreadable) classic novel by James Joyce set in Dublin. It’s hard to understand Dublin without a little bit of James Joyce knowledge.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Lewis was inspired by the Antrim coast when he created the fantastical land of Narnia. Great for anyone who’s trip includes a bit of Northern Ireland! 

Apps for Visiting Ireland and Northern Ireland

Have these loaded up on your smartphone before you get here to make your trip easier!

  • Uber for ordering taxis in Dublin and Belfast.
  • Google Maps for navigating. Important for anyone using public transit or driving a rental car.  Download maps for the areas you are visiting ahead of time so you can use the app even when you don’t have data.
  • Skype (Great for calling to get your bank cards unblocked. Not that I have any experience with that…).
  • Facebook Messenger (This is my main form of communication these days).
  • Instagram (Ireland is pure Instagram bait).
  • Adobe Lightroom for Desktop & Lightroom Mobile for your Smart Phone for photo editing. Lightroom Mobile is free, but Lightroom for desktop is paid.
  • Snapseed for the photo editing features that Lightroom doesn’t have when on mobile, especially if you don’t get Lightroom desktop.
  • iTunes, Podcast Addict, or other Podcatcher (Check out these travel podcasts I use for inspiration and learning about upcoming travel destinations)
  • Dropbox Mobile for backing up cell phone photos before you leave. This is important in case your cell phone gets lost, broken, or stolen.
  • The mobile apps for any airlines you’re using.
  • TripIt for organizing flights, hotel accommodations, and tickets.
See also
The Literary Pubs of Dublin

What to Pack for Staying in Hostels

Ireland - Connemara - Sheep in the Road
Hostels can be as loud as a herd of running sheep! Bring your own earplugs so you can drown out the noise!

Planning on staying in a hostel? I’ve stayed in a few hostels in Ireland, and these are the items you need to make your hostel stay pleasant, clean, and relatively quiet:

  • Flip-flops or shower shoes: I mentioned this above, but it’s extra important if you’re in hostels where you’ll want to have your feet covered in the shower.
  • Full Sized Travel Towel: This is the best travel towel in the world, and you’ll need it if you are staying in hostels where you have to bring your own towel.
  • A lock: You’ll need this for your locker at most hostels.
  • BYO Privacy:  Bring a Sleep Mask and Earplugs if you’re a light sleeper to block out the other hostel guests.

What to Pack for Studying Abroad, Working Abroad, and Homestays

If you are going to be staying with someone or interacting with anyone in Ireland who could be considered as “hosting you,” it’s polite to bring a small present from home to give to as a gift to your hosts. Popular items for this type of gift would be something you can only get in your home country, for example, something with your home country’s flag on it or something made there. This doesn’t need to be extravagant, just a small token will suffice.

More about Traveling to Ireland & Northern Ireland

Have you traveled to Ireland and Northern Ireland or are you researching an upcoming trip and wondering what to pack? Leave your best Northern Ireland and Ireland packing tips and any questions below!


Pin This for Your Trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland

What to Pack for Ireland: the Ultimate Northern Ireland and Ireland Packing List for Women & Men

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The Best Quotes about Galway, Ireland for Galway Instagram Captions

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