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Ireland at a Glance

Start your travel research with these quick tips from our destination experts about the most popular things to see and do, and the best times to visit Ireland.

WHY VISIT IRELAND

Ireland has a worldwide reputation for its rich cultural heritage and stunning green landscapes. The real beauty of this island is that it has stood the test of time and enchants visitors. 

Imagine driving around rolling hills, stopping at eerie castle ruins, walking along high sea cliffs, and learning about Irish history at monuments older than the Pyramids of Giza. Taste the country’s favourite drinks, whiskey and beer, visit villages with timeless charms and chat with the friendly locals.

This is what awaits you in Ireland! We want to help you make your dream trip a reality.

Nature lovers, hikers or photographers won’t want to miss the coastal sceneries and mountains of Ireland. 

Popular sights include the lunar-like landscapes of the Burren, the stunning Cliffs of Moher and the famous Ring of Kerry drive. You’ll love to find the Stone Age tombs and crosses dotted around the country and visit the secluded Aran Islands and Skellig Islands, among many others.

As for city life, the Irish capital, Dublin, and Northern Irish capital, Belfast, boast a variety of worthwhile attractions. From award-winning museums, such as the Titanic Belfast to historic sites, such as Trinity College. Don’t miss truly Irish experiences such as the Guinness Storehouse.

On the west and south coast respectively, Galway and Cork will allow you to immerse yourself in Irish culture. Roam the high streets, listen to live traditional music and taste the local ale.

Ireland is well-known for being a welcoming and friendly nation, with high European safety standards, so it is particularly ideal for solo travellers . 

Thanks to its mild climate and fantastic landscapes, Ireland is an ideal destination for a road trip all year round!

Read below for more travel information about Ireland, such as weather , sample itineraries and more, at our practical information  section.

HOW TO GET TO IRELAND

All Nordic Visitor tours in Ireland start and end in Dublin, Ireland’s capital city. You can of course customise to start from elsewhere if you wish. 

Ireland has 10 airports, with the three main international ports being: Dublin, Cork and Shannon.   

TRANSFERS TO DUBLIN FROM DUBLIN AIRPORT

The city of Dublin has a great public transit system (more about this in our Useful Information section ) linking Dublin Airport and its city centre:

The Airlink Express (Services 747 and 757) bus service runs 7 days a week, operating between 4.45am and 12.30am. The 747 serves Dublin airport to Heuston Rail station, while the 757 heads toward Camden Street. 

They depart from the airport up to every 10 minutes, arriving in Dublin city centre in about 30 minutes. A single fare costs €7 (€12 for a return trip) and can be purchased online, from kiosks or the driver.  

The Aircoach (Service 700) bus service operates between the airport and Trinity College / Grafton Street, with departures every 15 or 30 minutes and an average journey time of 30 minutes. 

A single fare costs €7 (€12 for a return trip) and can be purchased online, from kiosks or the driver.  

We also offer the option to book a private transfer from Dublin airport to your hotel in the city centre.

GETTING AROUND

Ireland really lends itself to a road trip and most visitors choose to explore the countryside by rental car.

The varied landscapes offer wonderful scenery for any journey. Just keep in mind that driving is done on the left side of the road.

When driving in the countryside, you should expect the unexpected and drive at a speed that won’t affect your decision-making ability.

Within Dublin, Ireland’s capital city, it’s easy to navigate by foot. If you prefer a bus, tram or taxi, here’s what you need to know:

Public transport is provided by Dublin Bus, Luas (tram) and DART (train). A single fare for buses or trams is €2.10-2.15. You can purchase on the bus, but drivers don’t issue change, so be prepared with the exact amount. For the tram or train, you can purchase from ticket vending machines. 

The main taxi company in Dublin is City Cabs: +353 (01) 8 72 72 72.

You can call a taxi to your location or go to a taxi queue at Upper O’Connell Street just south of Parnell Square or at College Green opposite the Trinity College entrance.

We recommend having cash available as not all taxis accept credit cards.

WHEN TO VISIT & WEATHER

There really isn’t a bad time to visit Ireland, and while the climate is variable, the weather isn’t what we would call extreme. 

Keep in mind that weather conditions are known to change quickly and often in all regions of Ireland. The locals are fond of saying that you can experience all four seasons in a day, and quite often that’s the case. Another saying common in the Nordic countries, “If you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes,” also applies here!

The wettest months, all over the country, are December and January. April is the driest month generally but in many southern parts, June is the driest. 

PRECIPITATION

Ireland has a reputation as a rainy place, but the amount of rainfall really depends on where you go and when you visit. 

For example, the east coast of Ireland tends to be much drier (750 – 1000 millimetres per year) than the west coast (1000-1250 millimetres). In many of the mountainous areas, rainfall tops 2000 millimetres. 

Summer is the driest time of the year, with generally less rainfall than the rest of the year.

The sunniest place in Ireland is Rosslare, south of Dublin. 

TEMPERATURE & WIND

The west and north coast of Ireland tend to be wetter and windier than the east coast. Overall, in the height of summer (July and August), temperatures average around 18 ° C, with the southeast getting the best weather. The rest of the year is mild, with temperatures averaging 10 °C,  and rarely falling below zero.

PACKING SMART FOR YOUR TRIP

In Ireland, it’s not unusual to experience all four seasons in one day. (More about that in our Weather  section.) So no matter the season, you need a warm sweater or fleece jacket, a waterproof jacket and good walking shoes/boots for all sorts of terrain.

An umbrella is always handy, and bird watchers may wish to bring binoculars.  You may also need an Ireland/UK travel adapter, which you can buy at the airport or in Dublin shops after you arrive. (See Electricity  section for details.)

SUMMER TIPS

You can lighten up, but the summer nights can be a bit chilly so it doesn’t hurt to bring a pair of light gloves, hat and scarf. But make sure to bring some summer clothes to take advantage of the days when the temperature rises.

You might encounter midges, pesky little flies that swarm near lakes and streams, especially in wooded areas and near bodies of water. They’re at their worst during twilight hours from mid-June to mid-August. 

You can help avoid bites by wearing long sleeves/trousers in light colours and by bringing some Avon Skin-So-Soft body oil spray, the repellent of choice for Britain’s Royal Marines. If you do get some bites, pick up some Anthisan (or similar antihistamine cream) to ease the itch. 

There are also ticks in Ireland and Britain, so you may want to wear high socks for any walks through long grass or foliage.

WINTER TIPS

Temperatures do not often drop below freezing, but an insulated jacket is recommended due to the cool winds straight from the Atlantic. Also bring some warmer layers along with an insulated coat, scarf, gloves, hat and warm shoes or insulated boots with at least one pair of thick woollen socks.

FOR LIGHTER LOADS

We recommended bringing a small backpack for your daily essentials as you travel between accommodations. Plus, it might come in handy for an impromptu hike or picnic.

TOP PLACES TO SEE

There are countless things to see all around Ireland and Northern Ireland! Below are some of our favourite highlights:

  • Stroll around the grand streets of Dublin, the Irish capital
  • Visit the oldest Irish university, Trinity College Dublin and see the Book of Kells
  • Roam through the ancient tombs of the World Heritage Site Newgrange
  • Explore the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast
  • See the geological wonders of the World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway
  • Walk along the tall sea cliffs to take in the beauty of the Cliffs of Moher
  • Drive around the Ring of Kerry to see its gems
  • Take in the magic of the lunar-like area The Burren
  • Visit the vibrant Cork and kiss the nearby Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle
     

TOP THINGS TO DO

Ireland offers a wide range of cultural and nature-based activities to suit all tastes. Why not try one of these popular activities below?

  • Taste Irish whiskey at one of the many distilleries
  • Stroll along the dramatic beaches of Ireland's east coast
  • Sample traditional Irish cuisine, such as seafood, stew and potato cakes
  • Learn about Gaelic culture in open air museums and small Irish villages
  • Sail to the Aran Islands or Skellig Islands
  • Visit ancient castles to discover the former life of the Irish clans
  • Lace up your boots and hike the beautiful mountains in Wicklow
  • Trace the journey of the Titanic from Belfast to Cobh 

POPULAR ITINERARIES

Our itineraries are designed to be flexible, allowing you to add optional activities and day tours, either at the time of your booking or on location during your stay. Your dedicated travel consultant will be able to advise you about available activities in Ireland.

If you would like to include more activities into your holiday, we recommend booking a package that includes more time at each overnight location (e.g. two or more nights at the same accommodation). You can also send a us a request to customise a tour.

To help you make the most of your time in Ireland, see our helpful itinerary suggestions below. 

SELF-DRIVE TOURS

9-13 days: Start in Dublin before heading west to Galway. Visit the beautiful region of Connemara and drive south, stopping at the magnificent Burren and Cliffs of Moher along the way. You’ll get to drive the famous Ring of Kerry and have the option to take trips to the Aran Islands or maybe even the Skellig Islands. Reach the south of the island and take time to visit the main town Cork. Discover gems of Irish culture, such as the Blarney Stone, and visit national parks and stunning estates. 

14 + days: Start in Dublin and expand on the route above to discover Northern Ireland. Visit Belfast, the capital, and don’t miss your chance to admire the Giant’s Causeway. You’ll also be able to discover County Sligo and visit attractions such as Downpatrick Head, with its dramatic sea stacks. You’ll pass by the impressive Ben Bulben mountain peak and explore the Dingle Peninsula.

 

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