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The Emerald Isle is much more than the land of song, beer, and leprechauns. Everything is so green because – you guessed it – it’s almost always raining. While it does make for breathtaking landscapes and mossy banks, it also means you’ll need to be extra careful about packing the right gear when travelling to Ireland.
A good rule of thumb to remember is to pack for wet, cold, and windy weather, especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of hiking. Whether you’re trudging through the rocky plains of the Burren or scaling the ancient ruins of Skellig Michael, you’ll need to keep these things in mind:
Wear Wool or Acrylic, Not Cotton or Linen
Remember that cotton hooded sweatshirt? Don’t pack it. The air in Ireland is damp and cotton fabrics take longer to dry. Opt for quick-drying fabrics to keep you warm. For example, you might want to invest in a Merino wool jumper or a fleece pull-over. Bring an acrylic-blend blanket scarf to keep yourself stylish and cozy. If you plan do outdoor activities like hiking or biking, you need wool socks. Cotton retains too much moisture and chafes your skin, which increases the likelihood of blisters. Yikes!
Pack Hiking Boots or Knee-Highs, Not Wellies or Trainers
Although you want your feet dry, wellies aren’t a good footwear option if you’re going to be a tourist. You’ll want a pair of good-fitting hiking boots or broken-in waterproof leather boots for daily expeditions. Due to the mud, you also won’t want running shoes or trainers, because they’ll get wrecked. Depending on how long you plan to stay in Ireland, you’ll also want to pack a pair of nice shoes for going out to the pub.
Bring the Proper Rain Gear for the Season
Trench coats and umbrellas are fine if you’re staying in the cities like Dublin and Belfast, but not if you plan to go to the countryside. Opt for water-resistant pants and a proper raincoat with a hood. Hint: if you want a cute raincoat, check out the collection from Joules! You can purchase a pair of “splash pants” at your local sportswear store to keep your jeans or leggings from getting soaked.
Image Credit: Forever Amber
Layer, Layer, Layer!
Has the airline ever lost your suitcase? It’s the worst! People tell me time and time again to pack only what you can fit in a carry-on, and believe it or not, it’s do-able. Make sure you pack items that all go well together so you can mix and match outfits every day, and bring a sweater or two you can layer under. Remember, your enjoyment of the day trip you had planned depends largely on how comfortable and warm you are.
Must Haves: Camera, Tablet, Backpack Cover
Your stuff can still get soaked even if you have a good-quality backpack. It’s always a good idea to bring a waterproof backpack cover you can put on if the skies open up all of a sudden. You’ll want to remember your trip, so don’t forget a camera! Make sure it’s a good one and don’t forget the handy neck strap so you can be hands-free. Always bring a tablet or smartphone during your travels. You can connect with family and friends through Wifi, check your emails and social media, upload your photos, and confirm B&B bookings!
Bring a Map Even if You Don’t Use It
A map can be one of the greatest souvenirs from a trip. You can mark the places you went with a push-pin, frame it, and hang it on your wall. However, chances are you’re going to need a few directions. A faraway map of the whole country is handy, but don’t forget to also bring detailed street maps of the cities/towns you visit. If you’re anything like me, it’ll save you from being perpetually lost.
I can’t wait to visit Ireland! I’m going to spend a day in Dublin and travel west to Galway. From there, I’ll explore Connamara, the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher, Burren, Westport, Croagh Patrick, and Knock!