The ultimate travel guide to Ireland: everything you need to know before you go! The Emerald Isle is split into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland that is part of the UK. This guide will encompass both countries, because both are amazing! Below you will find:
Peak season is directly related to the drier season in Ireland which is considered June, July and August. This is when the weather is really ideal. However, if your goal is to avoid the crowds of peak season, the best time to visit is between March and May or between September and November. We visited in March to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Highly recommend that, too, if you are up for it!
Windy. The first thing that comes to mind is the wind! Second to that is the frequent rain showers. Even if you travel during the “dry” season, I would expect a few rain drops to occur sometime on your trip. In general, the temperatures are mild and are rarely extreme, except maybe inland during the winter.
The hottest months are July and August with the average daily highs between 60 and 70 degrees F.
The coldest months are January and February where the mean daily temps in the upper 30’s or lower 40’s.
With Ireland being an island, the weather can be unpredictable. Check the weather before you go and pack layers!
Be aware! The Emerald Isle has two different currencies. Ireland uses the Euro while Northern Ireland adopted the pound when joining the UK. If you are a cash person, it is in your best interest to have some of both. Many places accept credit card now, but know that if you are just buying drinks or leaving a tip, have some cash.
On the topic of tipping, tipping is expected in restaurants and following a tour guide. 10-15% is generally an acceptable amount. Look to see if it has already been added to your restaurant bill first, though.
For the BEST trip and ability to see everything Ireland and Northern Ireland have to offer, rent a car! There is a lot of vast landscape and places to see that are most easily accessed by driving yourself.
There is a railway system that connects the main cities. However, a lot of sites are outside of the main cities and will require car or bus to navigate. For example, you can train to Killarney, but no train travels the Wild Atlantic Way. Therefore, you will need to take a bus tour or drive yourself around the coastline.
If you do rent a car, remember you will be driving from the right side of the car on the left side of the road!
For more information on transportation in Ireland visit Transport for Ireland!
Looking at a map, you’ll find most of the biggest towns are along the coast of Ireland. To see the most of Ireland, I recommend an itinerary that circumnavigates the island! Click here to see our 8-day itinerary that does just that!
Ireland and Northern Ireland offer so much to see, so it is easy to want to over-book yourself; we nearly did it. So, take into consideration drive-time between destinations so you don’t spend too much of your trip driving. I also highly suggest making sure you plan to visit Northern Ireland as well. I know its easy to want to Dublin and Galway, but Northern Ireland has some very unique landscapes, and, for the love, get out of the big cities as well.
Enjoy your trip to Ireland! It truly has one of the funnest cultures!