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Traveling to Ireland for the first time is an adventure of a lifetime. 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! We applaud that decision, but before you book that brewery tour or get too excited about visiting Dublin’s Grafton Street, here are a few tips to make for a more enjoyable trip.

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Tips for Your First Trip to Ireland

Consider Car Travel

Ireland the perfect country for a road trip

By public transportation or tour bus, you can see the most beautiful sights in the Emerald Isle. But renting a car is not a bad idea to get to those 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. 

Watch out for potholes when renting a car. There are a lot of them!  

Tax-Free Shopping

shopping and reconnecting with friends in Ireland

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 before your trip so you can register and swipe it in affiliated stores in the country and claim sales tax back on the purchases.

Currencies

While we’re on the subject of shopping, let me point out that Northern Ireland uses the pound sterling, not the euro, as part of the United Kingdom.

Dress for Ireland Weather

Ireland is a great destination for adventure travel

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 season’s 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 in a few hours. But during summer, the sun sets as late as 10 p.m. Be mindful of these seasonal changes.  Regardless of when you first visit Ireland, pack light layers of clothing and a pair of rain boots or waterproof shoes, and you should be just fine.

Public Transportation Pointers

Spring in Ireland

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

old cottage house in Ireland

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.

When you experience Ireland, you will never want to leave. You will meet friendly people, see breathtaking scenery, and drink endless amounts of beer. So now that you have the tips for a successful Ireland trip, we are here when you are ready to travel again.