What does a trip to Ireland cost? In this post, we break down the average costs involved in a trip to the Emerald Isle to help you budget. Ireland is one of the favorite places to travel despite the grim weather because it always delivers a healthy dose of charm.
It’s tough not to love Ireland for its rolling hills of green, forgotten Irish castles, whiskey, craggy coastline, and cozy pubs full of music. We’ve made four separate trips to the country over the last five years and have a pretty good idea of the average costs in Ireland.
That way when you climb the local mountain or book a day trip out to the Cliffs of Moher you know what to expect. For the most part, the country is very affordable as most experiences are centered around exploring the countryside or wandering around towns.
Heck one of the most cultural things to do in Ireland is to drink a Guinness at the local pub while listening to an Irish trad session, which sets you back €5 a pint. It’s one of our favorite places to travel as you get great value in Ireland!
Since all local costs will be in Euros that’s the currency will use for all prices in this guide to traveling costs in Ireland. However, keep in mind that Northern Ireland is in the United Kingdom and uses the British Pound (GBP).
What’s A Trip to Ireland Cost?
Transport in Ireland
Transportation around Ireland is affordable and simple to understand. Most visitors will likely use public transportation as it does an effective job of connecting the main cities and towns. Since distances are not vast in Ireland it’s pretty affordable to rely on the public transport system with a combination of buses and trains.
However, the most effective way to travel around Ireland is in a rental car. We suggest a car because it’s a great way to explore the countryside and typically offers good value for transportation costs.
Trains in Ireland
Ireland is a pretty small nation so train travel is limited, but all of the major destinations are connected via a rail line. We’re often surprised by how extensive the rail network is in Ireland. This is a great way to get around Ireland and makes for a pleasant journey as the Irish countryside passes by the train window. Tickets are affordable with the longest journey costing just around €25 one way. You can find all of the destinations by train on Irish Rail’s website here.
|Dublin > Cork||€22 – €26|
|Dublin > Galway||€18 – €22|
|Galway > Limerick||€8|
|Belfast > Dublin||€18 – €20|
Rail Pass in Ireland
A great value to consider with the train system is one of the tourist tickets offered by Irish Rail. These tickets provide unlimited travel on the trains during a set amount of time. There are two different options for this ticket the four days of unlimited travel with the Trekker ticket and the Explorer Ticket that provides 5 days of unlimited travel over 15 consecutive days.
The Trekker ticket is great if you want to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. However, the Explorer is a tougher sell since most one-way tickets come out to around €20. To get your value out of the ticket you’ll need multiple long-distance trips in a single travel day.
Please keep in mind these tickets only work in the Republic of Ireland which does not include Northern Ireland if you have plans to visit Belfast. Also, these tickets can only be bought at ticket counters for Irish Rail.
Rail Pass Details
|Trekker||4 Days Unlimited||€110|
|Explorer||5 Days Unlimited out of 15 Consecutive Days||€160|
This is one of the most efficient and affordable ways to travel around Ireland with public transport. Ireland has an extensive network of modern buses with WiFi and restrooms that can get you from point Dublin to Dingle and everywhere in between. It’s great to check if a destination or town you’re trying to reach is not serviced by the train system.
The primary bus company is Bus Eireann that operates an extensive network not service by national government buses or trains. Bus Eireann operates several intercity networks too, so they’re prevalent throughout the country. Prices are affordable but operate on a dynamic pricing system so booking tickets in advance, especially in the summer, is the best way to get a deal.
|Dublin > Galway||€15 – €20|
|Galway > Cork||€18 – €20|
|Belfast > Dublin||€10|
|Cork > Dublin||€15|
These are average prices for summer rentals booked three-four months in advance out of Dublin. If you travel in the offseason rates are much lower with averages well under €100 a week!
|Car Type||Weekly Rental Price|
|Economy||€60 – €100|
|Standard||€120 – €150|
|Full Size||€150 – €300|
|Van||€350 – €500|
Total Cost of Rental Car
This is just an average guess of what the total cost of a car rental for a week would cost in summer. It’s based on previous trips in which we have rented a car in Ireland. It’s totally possible to go over or under these estimations.
It’s fairly affordable to drive a vehicle around Ireland as there is not an abundance of tolls roads aside from the highways to and from Dublin. Please note the M50 a ring road around the Dublin city center that requires you to pay online or at a service station.
Fuel on average is around a €1.46 per liter which translates to about €5.51 a gallon. It’s not cheap, but distances are not vast in Ireland so fuel goes a long way between stops. Overall, it’s our preferred method for exploring the countryside but keep in mind countryside roads are extremely narrow and driven on the left side of the road. If you’re not a confident driver it’s best to not rent a car, or you can read our tips on driving in Ireland here.
- RentalCars.com: Provides comparisons for car rentals in Ireland.
- AutoEurope: I can often find deals here for car rentals in Europe.
- Discover Car Hire: Searches rental car prices around the globe.
Flights aren’t that practical of a way to get around Ireland and there are only a handful of routes avaialble. The only real advantage would be if you plan to arrive via Dublin, but then want to fly to the region of Ireland you wish to explore like Kerry or Donnegal. These flights are generally aroud €50-€100.
All of this being said! RyanAir is the low-cost carrier of Europe and it is an Irish Airline based out of Dublin. So you have tremendous opportunities for low-cost flights from Dublin to other destinations in Europe.
When you book in advance you can generally get a good price on tickets. Though, one should always be wary of booking budget airlines. You’ll also have to pay for check bags that can often cost as much as the flight at around €30.
Cost of Accommodation
There is some good value to be had in Ireland for accommodation. However, that occurs outside of the peak summer months of July and August. The summer has a high demand so booking must be done in many months in advance in the most popular destinations to score a deal in a desirable location.
Once you do go for bookings, you can find everything from a cozy bed and breakfast, hostels, standard hotels, lighthouses, resorts, guesthouses, castles, and everything in between. We love traveling Ireland for some of the unique accommodation options!
Accommodation options are largely dominated by small establishments which is the charm of Ireland so don’t expect 5-star resorts or many boutique hotels. That being said there are a few very high-end golf resorts and castle/estate hotels like the Ashford Castle that can deliver a luxurious holiday.
In Dublin due to Ireland’s lucrative tax law that has attracted many multinational corporations, the city sees a lot of business travelers. The business travelers combined with the demand from tourists creates a pretty high priced city year-round. The result is poor value and with no “wow” factor sights or things to do in Dublin, we’d rather spend our time outside of the city. That being said it is a pleasant city where you can definitely spend a few enjoyable few days.
Ireland is very popular in the summer months so to get the best value book in advance or travel in the shoulder season. This also means that in very popular destinations like Galway or Kerry prices can like Dublin be fairly high.
One of our favorite things in Ireland is to book with Airbnb. The platform hosts some really unique accommodation options if you do some searching. You can book things like windmills, crafter cottages, lighthouses, treehouses, converted wagons, or barns. Due to the extensive range prices vary greatly from €30 – €200 a night. For the most part, you can find a great deal!
|Hostel||€20 – €30|
|Budget Hotel||€50 – €80|
|Airbnb||€30 – €150|
|Mid Range||€80 – €150|
|Guesthouse||€50 – €100|
|Luxury||€200 – €1,000+|
Food Cost in Ireland
We love eating in Ireland, it’s certainly not a foodie scene like France or Italy. Ireland does have some great comfort food and beautiful local products like farm-fresh vegetables, cheese, and meat. Since most of the dining comes from low key restaurants and pubs expect to pay anywhere from €10 – €30 for a meal. When you add a tasty pint of beer for €5 dining in Ireland is pretty affordable.
Irish food similar to English food has a bit of a bad rap, but the foodie scene is alive and well. There are a number of Michelin star restaurants and fine dining establishments that uplift Irish ingredients to a tremendous degree. We got to hang out with the chef of Anair in Galway where he shared they our strict in adherence to Irish ingredients to the point where no chocolate or even pepper can be found in their food! For fine dining in Ireland expect to pay €75 – €150 a person.
While the grocery stores in Ireland are of some of the best we’ve ever gotten in the world for quality, experience, and price. If you’re backpacking, on a budget, or a family don’t fret too much if you have access to a kitchen as you’ll be able to cook affordable meals. We’ve spent a week relaxing along the coast in a cottage and spent less than €100 for a week of food and two people. A real budget saver when determining what a trip to Ireland costs.
The great part about many guesthouses, hotels, and B&Bs in Ireland is they include breakfast for free. The standard Irish breakfast includes things like eggs, salmon, toast, mushrooms, sausage, tomato, and beans. If your lodging doesn’t include breakfast expect to pay around €10 for breakfast.
This varies a lot because a simple sandwich from the local grocery store or a packed lunch can be had for a couple of euros. However, if you’re having a meal out the pricing is about the same as dinner so expect to pay €10 to €20.
Daily Food Costs
|Budget||€10 – €20|
|Average||€30 – €50|
|High End||€80 – €125|
Cost of Activities in Ireland
Activities in Ireland, for the most part, are reasonably priced. However, it all depends on when and where. One of the best things to do in Ireland is to simply explore. Free activities can mean hiking in Ireland, music in a local pub, walking around Galway, exploring forgotten Irish castles or relaxing on a craggy beach.
Ireland has been catering to visitors for years now and there are lots of great tours and activities to enjoy in Ireland. Things like bike tours, kayak tours, star gazing, cultural experiences, or distillery tours. Generally, prices range from about €15 up to €100. There are also lots of day trips and tours to spots like the Cliffs of Moher or Giant’s Causeway.
Entry into major sites like many of the Castles in Ireland, the cliffs of Moher, or Giants Causeway cost anywhere from €5 to €15. Of course, you can book these as day trip tours and not worry about the individual prices as it’s included in the tour, but those trips generally cost €50+.
Of course, activities are really broad and prices vary greatly! For example, if you’re coming to Ireland to golf obviously you’ll have to pay a number of green fees. The most famous courses cost around €200 to €300 to tee off, but there are a number of public courses for around €30 around Ireland. Ireland also has some amazing diving, but again expect high costs on specialty activities like diving.
Popular Activities/Tours in Ireland
|Cliffs of Moher Tour||€55|
|Game of Thrones Tour||€65|
|Ballybunion Green Fee (Old Course)||€300|
|Dublin Music Pub Crawl||€16|
|Dublin Dark Side Tour||€12|
Miscellaneous Expenses in Ireland
Flight to Ireland
Like with most travel, your flight to Ireland will be your number one expense. It’s best to book in advance if you know your travel dates. If you have flexibility with your schedule you stand a greater chance at scoring a deal. We like to use Google Flights and Skyscanner’s open search feature to find good deals to Ireland. This can drastically determine what a trip to Ireland costs.
Luggage for Ireland
You’ll need to decide if you want a backpack or suitcase for your Ireland trip. I personally like to travel with a hard shell suitcase for my clothes, and use a carry on backpack for my important electronics. See a few of our posts here for recommendations:
Travel Insurance for Ireland
Healthcare is expensive when abroad, so make sure you have travel insurance in case anything goes wrong. We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you.
You never know what can happen in a foreign country and it’s best to be prepared. World Nomads provides good short term coverage. While SafetyWing is perfect for digital nomads. See our full review here!
How Much Does a Trip to Ireland Cost?
So how much spending money per day should you have in Ireland? Asides from the pre-trip expenses like airfare, luggage, and any Ireland packing list items you’ll want to buy I believe you can get by in Ireland for under €50 a day.
That’s if you’re staying in cheap accommodation, not drinking much alcohol, cooking your meals and eating paninis, and not partaking in costly activities. If you want to travel on a more modest and comfortable budget I would plan on spending €100 per day.
Total Two Week Trip to Ireland Cost (pp)
|Backpacker||€500 – €700|
|Basic||€800 – 1,500|
|Mid Range||€1,500 – 2,500|
|High End||€3,000 – 6,000|
Money-Saving Tips For Ireland
Keep in mind that Ireland is actually two countries! The Republic of Ireland which takes up the majority of the island of Ireland and Northern Ireland part of the United Kingdom occupies the Northeast. The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro (€) and the United Kingdom uses the British Pound (£). You can learn more about travel in Ireland here.
Cook Your Own Food
If your accommodation has a kitchen then it’s best to make use of it. We save money this way when traveling around Ireland. Grocery stores in Ireland are amazing and well-stocked, and one can easily cook an amazing meal with delicious Italian red wine for cheap.
The grocery store provides great value especially on Italian food like pasta, prosciutto, and grapes. Don’t worry about eating local either as they’re often stocked with tons of beautiful Italians products; most Italians eat at home anyways!
Drink Tap Water
The tap water in Ireland is perfectly fine to drink, so best not to waste money or plastic on one-time use water bottles. Get yourself a travel water bottle and keep refilling it!
Travel During the Offseason
In my opinion, traveling in Ireland particularly shrines in the offseason. I don’t like crowds or high prices and that’s why I love traveling between September and May. We highlight the best time to visit Ireland in this post.
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Plan & Pack For Ireland
It should go without saying that the weather in Ireland can be a bit rainy, this is the most important item in your suitcase. You have two options for styles of rain jackets. The first one we recommend is a classic packable rain jacket made for hiking that is a solid choice for outdoor adventurers. The second option being a trench coat jacket for travel for those looking to maintain style while dodging puddles.
The fleece sweater is a perfect layer when combined with an outer shell to keep you warm. We purchased wool sweaters from independent retailers in Scotland, and good ones were fairly easy to find for a decent price. For those with less time, a little bit of online shopping for wool sweaters will suffice. We picked up sweaters from Smartwool and love our stuff from Marine Layer.
Technical pants like these are water-resistant and dry quickly, not to mention they’re comfortable on long walks. They also make for an awesome pair of travel pants as many have become stylish these days with cuts like normal pants.
It’s wet in Scotland and you can expect a lot of boggy weather year-round so packing a pair of good waterproof boots for hikes is crucial for protecting your feet. Good boots or hiking shoes for Scotland are essential. We’d suggest a high ankle boot, but you can go even further with “wellies” or muck boots.
Travel Water Bottle
Plastic pollution is a problem everywhere so it’s best not to contribute to the problem by buying plastic water bottles everywhere – plus the water from the taps in Scotland is perfectly safe to drink.
We’ve shifted to using an insulated aluminum water bottle as it handles the hot sun well. However, we also love filtered water bottles in areas we’re uncertain of the water supply. Read more about favorite water bottles for travel in our post.
Check Out These Posts
Travel in Ireland
- The Best Things To Do in Galway
- The Best Pubs in Dublin
- The Best Pubs in Galway for a Guinness
- What To Wear in Ireland – Ireland Packing List
- How To Plan A Trip To Ireland
- The Ultimate Cliffs of Moher Guide
- The Best Castles In Ireland To Visit
- How to Rent a Car in Ireland
- Tips for Driving in Ireland
- The Ultimate Cliffs of Moher Guide
- What You Should Know About Irish Claddagh Rings
- The Galway Oyster & Seafood Festival
- When is the Best Time to Visit Ireland?
- The Best Hikes in Ireland
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