- Plan Ahead
Regardless of how long you plan to visit Ireland for, whether it’s three days or three weeks, the amount of time you have to explore the country is restricted. A visit to Ireland costs your hard earned money so make the most of it by arranging accommodation and sightseeing options during your free time in advance of your visit rather than once you arrive in the Emerald Isle. Consider booking hostel accommodation with Paddy’s Palace in Dublin, and you’ll avail of free airport transfers and a free tour of Wicklow’s idyllic Glendalough and the medieval city of Kilkenny with Paddywagon. Paddywagon’s famous tours all bring you to other renowned attractions across Ireland from the Giant’s Causeway to the Blarney Stone for unbeatable prices.
Another reason to plan ahead is to take advantage of special offers, deals, and discounts. Sign up to airline email lists so you’re in the know on the best sales for cheaper flights to Ireland. There are six Paddy’s Palace hostels across Ireland but if hostel accommodation isn’t for you, many hotels offer midweek and weekend deals for those staying for several nights and as these deals aren’t always on their websites it’s a good idea to contact your hotel directly. Several of our tours include premium hotel accommodation.
- Getting Started
There’s a huge volume of information on touring Ireland available online, including on Paddy Wagon’s own website. It’s a good idea to have some idea of what you want to do before you visit, and do some research on golf, shopping, sightseeing, or whatever else takes your fancy. Recent guidebooks are always a good source of information, but there are plenty of websites and blogs which you should have a look at too. Not everything you read may be entirely reliable, but you’ll have a good idea of what to expect in no time.
For some ideas, check out our tour itineraries and see what interests you.
- Choosing When to Visit
As with most vacation destinations, Ireland’s high season is typically June, July, and August but there are many reasons to visit throughout the rest of the year, and our tours run 365 days a year so when you’re here, we’ll be here too.
- The Weather: You’ve likely heard stories of Irish weather but no, contrary to popular belief it doesn’t rain all the time. Even so, it’s a good idea to pack an umbrella but hope for some sunshine. The best weather, and the driest, is usually found between May and September but Ireland has a temperate climate and it’s rarely too hot or too cold.
- Daylight Hours: Ireland sits quite far north, and this means particularly short days in winter, when it can be dark by 16:00. In June, daylight can linger until 23:00. Of course, this means you’ll have more time under the sun if you visit in spring or summer than autumn or winter.
- Attractions: Some B&Bs and hotels, as well as attractions, close or operated reduced opening hours in the winter months, particularly in rural regions. In Northern Ireland, several attractions are only open between June and August. The majority of sites that do close for the winter will be open from mid-April until September or mid-October, however.
- Be Prepared
Check to see if your passport needs to be renewed at least six weeks prior to your departure for Ireland. You can lose a fortune on credit card transaction fees in Ireland, so it’s worth your time and money finding one which doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Travel insurance should also be purchased in advance of your visit, to cover both medical emergencies and issues such as cancelled or delayed flights.
- Choose a Travel Style
We all have a different travel style, and you should try to find out which you fit into. Some visitors want to see everything they possibly can during their time in Ireland and, perhaps, don’t spend quite so long admiring the beauty of the landscape and the attractions about them as they should or would like to. Others prefer to take a more measured approach, and explore at a more relaxed pace. If you choose to use a major city as a base for a few days, you can visit both urban destinations and rural wonders (Ireland is small enough to see both on a short trip).
Another kind of traveller recognises that they’ll never be able to see it all, and so uses their vacation to relax and marvel at the wonders about them as they absorb Irish culture, perhaps over a pint of Guinness during a traditional music session in an authentic Irish pub.
Knowing what type of traveller you are will help decide how best to approach your visit to Ireland because unless you intend to visit for a year, you aren’t going to see it all during your vacation. That’s why Paddywagon tours are perfect for all kinds of visitors, as we cram in a packed itinerary and remove the stress of arranging your own transportation, driving on the left, and, in our overnight tours, of finding accommodation. You’ll also be in the company of an experienced guide, who’ll tell you stories and jokes as you travel the highways and byways of Ireland to see its iconic attractions.
No matter where you are in Ireland, you’re never too far from a mesmerising sight; a castle towering over fields from a hilltop, a roaring waterfall cascading through a peaceful glen, or a sandy beach which you may have all to yourself. There’s more, from quaint villages to bustling cities, but every time you stop in Ireland takes time away from your itinerary, and it’s something to have in mind as you explore the country.
There is of course something to be said for simply arriving in Ireland and exploring the country in a footloose fashion, winging each day of your visit as you go, but you need to be very flexible. Many towns in Ireland host festivals which you may not know about, meaning that accommodation prices will likely be higher, if there are any rooms at all. The last thing you want to be doing is left scrambling for accommodation as night closes in. This type of travelling can be difficult in high season, and for groups of five or more.
- Create a Plan
There are many facets to any vacation, and while you can’t account for everything, there’s something to be said for coming up with a brief plan to summarise when you intend to visit, where you plan to stay, and what you want to see.
Decide on the dates which best suit you for your vacation and consider the length of the trip you’re going to take, the longer your visit, the more you’ll see. Sign up for airline e-newsletters and check travel websites for sales. Become familiar with the costs associated with travelling in Ireland, such as food, accommodation, travel, and entrance fees to attractions (Paddywagon tours usually include some or all of these factors in the price).
- Organise the Essentials
Decide what’s essential to your visit to Ireland and organise accordingly, you’ll end up with a lot of information in the process of arranging your trip, just don’t become overloaded. A vacation is supposed to be fun after all!
At the vest least, be sure you have your tickets and passports in order. You may need your credit card when booking into your accommodation, and a printed version of your reservation, usually sent by email. If you’re visiting the Republic of Ireland you’ll need euros if you plan to use cash, but you’re going to need pounds sterling if you visit Northern Ireland (though some shops do take the euro). Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards are widely accepted, but far fewer locations accept American Express.
- Avoid Common Mistakes
You simply won’t have time to see it all, pick what you’re most interested in and make time to see it on your own, or as part of a tour. Ensure you have enough time to visit your top attractions, and have worked out how to get there, plus travelling time. When you’re not touring, come up with itineraries for rainy days and sunny days just in case and do leave some time to explore, you never know what might be waiting just around the corner!
There’s a certain level of finesse required in making sure you don’t under-plan, but don’t overdo it either.