What Should I Know Before Going to Ireland?

Ireland is undoubtedly one of the world’s most welcoming countries and visitors will always be able to find local people eager to offer recommendations and advice. However, like any destination that offers an array of sights and experiences, visitors who have done their research before travelling are sure to get the most from their stay. At Wild ‘N’ Happy we want to make things easy for you, so we’ve put together a list of some of the things you should know before setting off on your Irish adventure. While you are here, please have a look at our expertly designed 1-Week Wild South Ireland Tour or, for those planning a longer stay in the Emerald Isle, our 2-Week Wild Grande 14 Day Tour, which provides an entire circuit around Ireland, visiting as many of the top spots and hidden gems as possible.

Abandoned cottage overlooking the Atlantic Ocean

Clouds gathering above the Irish coast

Ireland’s Unpredictable Weather

The Irish weather is moderate and unlikely to pose any challenges for those used to travelling. However, while you are unlikely to encounter any extremes in the weather, it is very changeable. In Ireland you will often find days which switch from glorious sunshine to cloudy rain showers and whipping winds. Always have with you a good waterproof coat for rain and a warm sweater for dips in temperature. If it’s a particularly wet day, you may hear the locals remark that the weather is “bitter”, “fierce”, “desperate”, or perhaps a mixture of all three. On such occasions, remember that in Ireland you’re never too far from a cosy pub!

The Old Library Trinity College Dublin photo by Philip McErlean

You Don’t Need to Fly into Dublin

When planning your trip, it is natural to immediately begin looking at travel routes to the island’s largest city, Dublin. But there are various options for your arrival destination, including airports in Shannon, Cork, and Belfast in Northern Ireland. Dublin is home to many of the island’s greatest treasures and may well be where you would like to base yourself. However, depending on how you wish to spend your holiday, flying into an alternative airport may take you closer to your final destination and could get you a good deal on the cost of your flights. 

Irish Pub Kilkenny

Ireland Does Pubs Like Nowhere Else

The Irish fondness for drink is something of an exaggeration with other European nations such as Germany and the Czech Republic consuming much more beer per annum. But the role of the pub in Irish life is unique. Go into any pub in Ireland and take a seat by the bar, it won’t be long before a local is engaging you in conversation. The pub is an excellent place to get a flavour of local life, listen to traditional music, travel back in time in one of the nation’s many historic bars, or simply rest weary legs after a long day exploring. And, pubs often serve delicious food. In recent decades Ireland has become a haven for foodies. Alongside traditional establishments serving hearty Irish favourites, today you will also find pubs (some with Michelin stars) serving world-beating shellfish and innovative modern cuisine. For more about Irish food, check out our Top 10 Best Irish Food Experiences blog

Northern Irelands Parliament Stormont

Be Aware of Ireland’s History

Experienced travellers will know that there are countries in the world where visitors must be especially aware of local sensitivities and cultural norms to avoid getting into awkward situations. Ireland generally isn’t one of them. Irish people are chatty and open, and are usually very pleased to talk about their nation’s history. However, do be aware that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are distinct countries, with the former being a part of the United Kingdom. Though peace in Northern Ireland was achieved in 1998, politics can be a contentious topic, so approach such conversations with open-mindedness and appreciate that local opinions are deeply felt. Those interested in Ireland’s rich and complex history will find excellent guided tours, led by experts, across the island. Ireland is a paradise for history lovers.

Mussenden Temple photo by Philip McErlean

Consider Renting a Car

As much as we love Ireland’s cities, much of what Ireland has to offer is out in countryside. From prehistoric stone circles to medieval castles, award winning restaurants to some of the world’s best golf courses, there are many splendid things to explore in Ireland which can be difficult to reach by public transport. The Irish rail network is old-fashioned and visitors used to travelling on mainland Europe will often find the service limited and quite expensive by comparison. Where possible, take a rental car which will enable you to reach any attraction or area of natural beauty that interests you –– being a relatively small island, driving times are minimal and exploration is easy. For those unable to drive, tours provide the best method of travel, explore our multi-day tours of Ireland

Here ends our guide to the must-know information that will help you get the most from your visit to this fantastic land. If you have any questions for us, feel we have missed something, or simply fancy reaching out for a chat, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We hope to see you in Ireland soon!