10 Tips for Backpacking Ireland in 2023
Ireland is a great place for backpackers because it has a lot of natural beauty to explore and is known all over the world for being friendly. The Emerald Isle is friendly and easy to get around, but there are a few things that any backpacker should know before going.
Even though it might sound romantic to throw on a backpack, book a cheap Ryanair flight, and head to Ireland on a whim, you’ll be better off if you plan ahead. Trains in Ireland can be very expensive, just like in many other European countries, but Irish Rail has good deals on advance tickets that you can buy online (especially mid-week). Even though the word “itinerary” sounds like the death knell for spontaneity, a well-planned route will probably be much cheaper.
Think about using more than one airport.
Even though most of Ireland’s tourists go through Dublin, which has the fastest-growing airport in Europe, there are several other good airports in the country. Cork Airport is in the south, Shannon and Knock Airports are in the west, and Belfast International Airport is in the north. All of these airports are easy to get to, so if you are short on time, you might want to fly into one and out of another instead of going back to Dublin.
Find out how the weather is in Galway.
Most people who go to Ireland will probably want to spend at least one day in the west, whether it’s to see the Cliffs of Moher, explore the colorful and creative city of Galway, visit Yeats Country, or just try the seafood. People often say that Ireland’s west is its crown jewel. However, because its exposed shores get the most of the country’s notoriously high rainfall, it’s also the most likely to be rained out on the day you want to visit. So, even if you plan everything else to the letter, it would be best to leave this part of your trip somewhat open so you can choose the best day to go closer to the time.
Pack smart (and pessimistic)
Tourist shops in Ireland often have emergency rain ponchos on their impulse-buy shelves, and groups of overly optimistic tourists who didn’t believe the rumors about the Irish weather can be seen walking around Dublin in brightly colored plastic sheets. Rain is always possible, so a light raincoat with a hood and shoes that won’t get wet are must-pack items. I’d rather be safe than sorry (or wearing an emergency rain poncho). On the bright side, it seems like a sunny day here is better than a sunny day anywhere else. Also, if you plan to stay in a hostel, don’t bring a sleeping bag because they aren’t allowed.
Bring your ID card as a student
If you’re a student, make sure to bring your International Student Identity Card (ISIC). Students in Ireland are treated pretty well. With a valid student card, they can get discounts on clothes, food, and even tickets to tourist spots. Most importantly, they will get discounts on most public transportation.
Get on the bus.
In Ireland, taking the bus is often the cheapest way to get around. Bus Eireann, Ireland’s national bus service, has a large number of intercity and regional routes. They’ve even made a “hop-on, hop-off” Open-Road ticket for tourists that costs €60 (£54) and lets them travel as much as they want for three days. The Ancient East, which includes Newgrange passage tomb, Trim Castle, Kilkenny City, and a number of other historic sites, and the Wild Atlantic Way, which runs along the beautiful West Coast, are two of the routes covered. Private bus companies like JJ Kavanagh and GoBé also go to many places in Ireland at reasonable prices.
Love history? Pick up a Heritage Card.
Ireland has many old and historic sites, and the Office of Public Works is in charge of most of them (OPW). The OPW runs a program where people can buy a Heritage Card for €25 (£22.50). This card gives free access for a year to all fee-charging heritage sites in Ireland that are run by the state. This is a great thing to do if you are staying in Ireland for a long time and want to see places like Burren National Park, Glendalough, Skellig Michael, or one of the country’s many castles. See the OPW website for a full list of the sites that are covered.
Pubs aren’t just places to drink.
Ireland is famous for its drinking culture and nightlife, but the pubs there are good for more than just drinking Guinness. Most Irish pubs serve food, especially traditional Irish dishes that you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, their meals are usually less expensive than those in restaurants in the city center, so fill up on a good meal before the pints start coming.
Find out about your hostels
Hostels are a backpacker’s best friend because they are inexpensive. Most hostels are clean and comfortable, but they have a bad reputation for being loud, dirty, or otherwise unpleasant. However, there is now a hostel for every kind of traveler. If you do your research, you’ll find that Ireland has a lot of hostels with useful amenities in good places. Isaacs Hostel in Dublin has its own walking tours and free pizza nights, so it’s a good place to meet people and get to know the city. The Generator Hostel in Smithfield, on the other hand, is more stylish and modern, with nice rooms. The eco-friendly Gyreum Eco-lodge in Sligo fits in perfectly with the landscape and looks out over the Lough Arrow Lake.
Don’t overlook the North.
The Ring of Kerry, Galway, Cork, Kilkenny, and Dublin are usually near the top of an itinerary for Ireland, but Northern Ireland doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. The six counties of Northern Ireland shouldn’t be forgotten. There’s the amazing Giant’s Causeway rock formation, great cities like Belfast and Derry (which was the first UK City of Culture in 2010), and the beautiful Mourne Mountains.
Topic: 10 Useful Tips for Backpacking Ireland in 2023
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By: Travel Pixy