Planning a solo trip to a foreign country can be a daunting task. Particularly, if it is your first international adventure alone. There are usually a few thoughts that play through our minds before jumping on the plane. We question our safety, the language, transport, the people and of course things to do. Luckily, solo travel in Ireland is not only perfectly safe, but it is also one epic adventure.
This guest post is written by Laura Barton, an Irish content creator who is passionate about travel, the great outdoors, and discovering new cultures. Being based in Dublin, Laura sure knows what she’s talking about! (And want to read more on traveling solo in other cities and countries? Read my posts here!)
I wanted to kick start this post with 10 reasons why you should book a solo trip to Ireland. As local, I hope to bring to you some insider tips that will help your first visit to Ireland be extra special.
In Ireland, you will meet some of the most welcoming people in the world. The Irish are known for their laid-back attitude, friendly encounters, and willingness to help others. It’s important to note that they can be extremely sarcastic, but want nothing more than to “have a laugh” and to create fun memories.
If you find yourself in need of help on your trip to Ireland, don’t be afraid to turn to a local. They’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Just prepared to stop for a while because the Irish are a chatty bunch.
Ireland is a popular destination to many. This means that you are bound to bump into fellow solo travelers as you enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Emerald Isle. People travel from all over the world to catch a glimpse of the iconic Cliffs of Moher. Or, have a sip of Guinness in a traditional Irish pub as they swap travel stories from around the globe.
No matter where you end up on the island, you are sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.
One of the best things about Ireland is the country’s size. It is possible to get from one end of the country to the other in under 6 hours. Ireland also has a fantastic network of trains, buses, and boats (yes boats, you’d be surprised how often you may use them).
The Leap Card has prepaid a tap-on tap-off system that can be used on bus services in most cities and some major towns. It’s a great way to preload your transport budget onto a card before traveling.
The only problem with Ireland’s public transport is it generally only runs between cities and major towns. Therefore, those looking for a more “remote” feel to their trip will have to look elsewhere. The good news is Ireland generally has some quite affordable day trip options.
All it means is that you can still visit some bucket list destinations such as Glendalough, the Giants Causeway or the Cliffs of Moher without having to rely on public transport. Day trips from Dublin are the most popular among tourists followed by those from Galway, Cork, and Belfast. Day trips are also a great opportunity for solo travelers as it provides them with the opportunity to make friends as they travel around the country.
There is no denying it, Ireland is an extremely expensive country, especially when planning to spend a few days exploring it. However, there are a few ways to keep the cost down.
Instead of eating heavy restaurant meals each day, consider buying from local “chippers” aka fish and chip shops or food trucks. Food trucks are becoming rather popular in the last few years and are generally quite affordable. They also don’t always need to be unhealthy.
If you plan to stay in hostels most will have a communal kitchen where you can cook your own food reducing your cost significantly.
When you arrive in Ireland you will notice there are two languages everywhere, English and Irish. English, however, is the most widely spoken language on the island.
Irish is still used throughout the country on road signs, on public transport, and just in general. Don’t worry though, English is the main spoken language so you will have no problem communicating. (As an Irish person it’s nice to see our language still being used and I love it when tourists notice it.)
Staying in hostels is probably the most cost-effective way to solo travel. It’s also a great way to make new friends who are also backpacking Ireland alone. Luckily, Ireland has hostels all over the country, even in some of the more remote areas that you may not expect to see them.
The country’s size is another great reason to organize solo travel to Ireland as you will more than likely continuously bump into the same people time and time again. Most tourists base themselves along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way route or in Dublin.
Therefore, don’t be surprised if you bump into a familiar face or two while on the road. You never know they may become lifelong friends.
Ireland is a relatively safe place to travel around. The people are friendly and would look out for anyone who looks like they may be in trouble. However, with that being said, like in all countries, it’s important to have your wits about you when traveling alone.
Ireland has somewhat of a drinking culture, especially when tourists come over, as drinking in the pubs is ranked one of the top things to do in Ireland. And while a night on the town is always a good bit of “craic” (aka fun), it is important to drink only a responsible amount even more so when you are traveling solo (here are some solo travel safety tips!).
So, number 10 on the list for reasons to solo travel in Ireland is well, because it’s beautiful. So, technically this point can be on any Ireland travel list but it’s still an important one to make.
Ireland’s scenery is sure to take your breath away with every corner you turn. Whether you plan to spend your time in Ireland along the Wild Atlantic Way, or discover Ireland’s Hidden Hearthlands, or maybe even exploring the Ancient East, one thing is for certain: you will fall in love with the country’s awe-inspiring beauty.
That’s a promise!
Now that we have established the top reasons why you should book a solo trip to Ireland, I wanted to address some questions you may have prior to booking your trip.
Packing for Ireland is not an easy task, which is why it is important to have a solid Ireland packing list before jetting off on your adventure. If I had to pick five things you must bring on a trip to Ireland, I’d say:
The Irish weather can be a bit of an interesting subject, because, well no one has quite figured out how it works. I can however advise you on the best times to visit based on the “typical” weather trends but take these tips with a pinch of salt because the Irish weather does what it wants, no matter the season.
Generally speaking, June is the month with the most sun. Of course, this can change from year to year but I only remember once when Ireland didn’t have at least one week of sunshine in June.
September is a great month to visit because all the children have returned to school and the tourist attractions are far less busy. The weather is still fairly decent for Irish standards and there is a nice breeze to keep you cool in the evening times.
I love Ireland in the winter months, particularly when the streets are filled with Christmas lights and everyone is walking around with the biggest smiles upon their faces. There is just something special about Ireland during the holidays.
Ireland is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and there are thousands of guidebooks on the top things to see and do. As a local, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite spots around the country that are a little less visited.
This is a group of islands located off the coast of Galway. One of my favorite things to do in Ireland is spending the day on a bike exploring any three of the islands.
Bikes can be rented from 13 euros per person, allowing you to explore all of which the Islands have to offer, from soaring cliffs, a hidden wormhole, or a shipwreck made famous by popular Irish TV show Father Ted.
Step aboard Ireland’s only cable car (if you are brave enough) and dangle along the Wild Atlantic Way. The Cable Car leads to Dursey Island in West Cork. It is a popular destination for those who have a sense of adventure and love to explore.
The Cliffs of Moher are the most famous cliffs in Ireland but what many people don’t realize is the country is home to several more cliffs that are just as magnificent. One favorite is the Slieve League in County Donegal. It is possible to enjoy the day exploring the beautiful scenery of Slieve League with only a fraction of the people present at the Cliffs of Moher.
These are just some things in store for you when you visit my country. A solo trip to Ireland is definitely something you will remember!