Are you wondering what to wear in Ireland? The Emerald Isle has drawn many tourists from all over the world to its shores for decades. Perhaps it’s ancestral pasts for so many American’s that draw people to Ireland. Or it could simply be the friendly locals who create such a welcoming atmosphere in a stunning country rich in heritage.
For many visitors to Ireland, it’s their first trip abroad. Ireland is filled with rolling green hills, castles, dramatic coastline, and plenty of sheep. It’s a small country well known for being easy to travel and filled with warm locals. It’s safe and easy to travel to so it’s only natural that visitors may wonder what to pack for Ireland on their first trip.
The small island cast in the Atlantic has long been known for inclement weather. How else can you explain why the countryside is so green and lush? It also makes it difficult to determine what should go in the luggage and what should stay at home.
Don’t let any poor weather deter you though, there’s no bad weather in Ireland, just the wrong clothes. We’re here to help you out about what to wear in Ireland with our packing list.
What should you pack for Ireland?
There are a number of staple items that I would recommend everyone bring for their trip to Ireland. The island is well known for being wet so weather will play a large role in what you throw in your backpack or suitcase. The vast majority of Ireland is very down to earth and simple wardrobe choices will feel right at home. There is always the odd exception like a night out to the Abbey Theatre in Dublin or a fine meal in Galway.
With that being said we spend the majority of our time in Ireland wearing a sweater, jeans, and a pair of boots. Most travelers, ourselves included, will spend their time outside exploring Ireland’s countryside. It’s filled with old walking paths, castles, sheep, and quaint towns it’s the perfect place to lose yourself.
Ireland is a wonderful place to spend your days and it’s a place that has really grown on us. Truth be told our first trip left us uninspired since then we’ve returned twice and each time fell more in love with Emerald Isle.
In this post, we’ll share with you some packing suggestions and what to wear in Ireland. You’ll have some pictures for outfit inspirations and suggestions to some of our favorite travel products. At the end, you should be able to build your own packing list for Ireland. Then finally we’ll share some of our favorite tips for traveling in Ireland.
What to Wear in Ireland?
What to Pack for Ireland: Essential Items
If there is one article of clothing made for travel in Ireland it’s the wool sweater. Sweaters can make a great travel outfit staple. They’re comfortable, stylish, and warm. It doesn’t matter the season either as most of Ireland is temperate and remains cool year round. This means comfortable day time temperatures during the day and chilly evenings in the summer.
I have a number of sweaters, but my favorites are from organic materials like wool or Alpaca. It’s even become my favorite travel souvenir and I treasure my Scottish wool and Peruvian Alpaca sweaters. Ever since then we’ve been living out of them in the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Ireland.
Ireland has some terrific wool and sweater producers, but it may take a bit of digging. In recent years we’ve found that the major tourist shops often sell cheap Chinese versions. Of course, you can still find a great sweater at home. I love this recycled one from Patagonia, one of our favorite outdoor brands.
T-Shirt or V Neck
A classic tee will never go out of style. We suggest sticking with solid colors like black, white, or grey. There’s also the option of a v neck for a more stylish look, but it all depends on personal preference.
A simple base layer like a t-shirt, v neck, or even a thermal is perfect to keep you warm and comfortable. Hiking on a sunny day in the countryside can be quite warm and we found ourselves shedding layers often.
Keep it simple when it comes to tees. No one needs a fancy designer tee as a base layer. Cameron prefers the grey as it’s super easy to stain the white ones. T-shirts are cheap and we like order new pack before each trip as old shirts look slobbish.
Flannel shirts are great mid layers for both men and women. They provide warmth and go well with vests. Most of Ireland is a very relaxed place and with a flannel or sweater you’ll right at home sipping a Guinness in the local pub.
Underlayers are the closest layer to your body and maintain your body heat. When we reference thermals this includes long sleeved thermals and underwear. I always wear quality baselayers when active in cold temperatures. It is a wee bit chilly in Ireland from about late September to April and thermals will certainly help with your layering.
We’ve tried a few different brands, but recently settled on Kora as our favorite pair of thermals. It may be best for us as we need something technical when we snowboard or climb mountains to wick away moisture from our bodies. Kora makes high-performance technical clothing out of quality Yak Wool from the Himalayas — warning they are high priced.
For base layers we recommend they fit snug are made from a non cotton material like nylon or wool. We’ve had a lot of baselayer, but our favorites are wool based layers from Helly Hansen, Smartwool, Black Diamond, and the yak wool from Kora.
This is a travel staple and a great wardrobe choice for both women and men traveling in Ireland. They act as an accessory to your outfit and they’re super comfortable giving you an added layer of warmth. Ireland is known for its windy days so the scarf is wonderful at protecting your neck.
Scarves are especially great for travelers: They can spice up an outfit that you’ve already worn three days in a row and can be thrown into a bag or purse to pull out when the sun sets and the weather gets chilly.
Right after you pack your wool sweater reach for a rain jacket. If we were taking bets we’d make a strong wager you’ll see some rain during your trip to Ireland, it doesn’t get that green without plenty of rain.
You’re going to need an Irish raincoat or jacket. No matter the season a rain jacket is always essential for traveling to Europe (and the rest of the world). We both have rain jackets made by Kathmandu and Patagonia. They are lightweight, durable, packable, waterproof, and windproof. Any rain jacket will do, but the top dollar ones will hold up and really help in inclement weather.
There are only a few travel items I recommend everyone have and one of them is the down jacket. A down jacket is one of those staples and it’s tremendously versatile. We always recommend you always bring a great packable down jacket on just about any extended trip. With a destination like Ireland it’s a great way to keep warm without eating up too much space in your luggage.
Jeans go with anything, and despite the notion, they are “American” casual the right pair is attractive. I see jeans everywhere I travel as well, and it’s definitely not just Americans wearing them. You’ll find plenty of Irish in well-cut jeans, but nothing baggy or ripped.
We stick with the classic look in jeans. That means fitted jeans that are a dark color. No fades, light blues, or rips! That would be the Levi’s 511 for men and 721 for women.
Technical pants like these are water resistant and dry quickly, not to mention they’re comfortable on long walks. Traditionally these pants were pretty ugly, but now times are changing and pants are looking similar to chinos or khakis. If you plan to spend some time outside in the Irish countryside I would suggest adding these to your Irish attire.
For women, Tasha likes a pair of hiking pants made by prAna that roll into capris. For men, prAna makes the Stretch Zion Pant, a tremendous pair of hiking pants for a reasonable price. Here are some other great travel pants for an international trip.
If you’re spending time in Dublin I’d suggest you have some clothes that are appropriate for city exploring. A pair of chinos works on both sexes. It’s a classic look that when combined with a sweater that works well in Ireland. I always pack a pair of these pants in my bag!
Men should opt for more neutral colors like grey, blue, brown or green, but you can break the trend with a deep red, white, or even pink. Women can never go wrong with white, yellow, beige, or light pastel colors.
Hitting the sidewalk and letting the city or Irish town unfurl around you is one of the best ways to get familiar with a new destination. A comfortable pair of shoes for both men and women are essential when packing your bag for Ireland. However, I wouldn’t recommend packing those terrible clunky hiking shoes or athletic shoes many tourists like to bring.
Europeans are not opposed to sneakers just trainers outside of the gym, so opting for a pair of casual Vans is great. These old school skate shoes have a great look to them that will keep your feet comfortable and look great with a pair of jeans or chinos. Considering most of the Ireland’s towns and cities are made to be walked around be prepared to spend a lot of time in them.
These are great all year round as you can never go wrong with a pair of leather boots. Women can wear them with a pair of chinos and a blouse while men can pair them with just about anything from jeans, chinos, and even a suit.
It’s wet in Ireland and you can expect a lot of boggy weather so packing a pair of good hiking boots for hikes is crucial for protecting your feet. Locals like to wear “Wellies” or Wellington Boots which are big rubber boots. We were fine in a decent pair of boots because we stayed off farms.
I’m a leather boot fiend and love a classic boot. If you’re looking for the best boots for Ireland check out an affordable option like Clark’s or Timberland for leather boots. However, if you want quality and boots to last a lifetime check out Chippewa, Danner, or Red Wings boots all manufactured by hand in the United States.
We’ve learned to love our feet with a good pair of socks. You will want to keep your feet nice and dry while you walk around. Most importantly wool socks stay fresh for several days as they have natural antimicrobial properties.
We travel with a couple pairs of the Darn Tough Merino socks and our feet have never felt cold or wet. As a bonus, they’re produced in Vermont!
Despite preconceived notions Ireland does occasionally have sunny days. It’s important if you’re driving to in Ireland to have a pair sunglasses. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses; however, we love ours and will never buy cheap ones again. Of course, there are always more affordable options!
You’ll need something to stash your photography gear, hand sanitizers, papers, phones, and anything else that you need for a full day out when traveling. Saddleback Leather makes some of the best quality backpacks – hands down and fantastic for Ireland. They aren’t cheap by any means, but they are quality.
Saddleback Leather even ensures their products with a 100-year warranty. They only use sturdy materials on their bags including full grain leather, pigskin lining, and marine grade polyester thread.
We always recommend bringing a travel towel when you’re on the road, Ireland is no exception. If you plan on staying in hostels or more budget accommodation you’ll often need your own towel. Consider a towel an essential for your Ireland packing list.
The biggest complaint about travel towels is that they often feel nothing like the plush cotton towels we are accustomed to at home and in hotels. However, with the PackTowl you can forget about all of that because they set out to create a towel that mimics its cotton counterparts with the technical features of a travel towel.
What Women Should Wear in Ireland
If you want a stylish look that will keep you warm I’d suggest picking up a peacoat. A peacoat is great for providing warmth and looking great. While we love our down jackets for their warmth and convenience they aren’t the best looking things in the world and you’d look pretty silly wearing one with a dress or suit.
Long Sleeve Cardigan
This is one of my favorite items to wear in Ireland. A cardigan has a great relaxed style and look plus it keeps you warm. They’re also light enough to eat up minimal room in the suitcase. I pack one during any season in Ireland as it be combined with a coat in winter, and it’s rarely too warm in the summer.
While Ireland is casual people are still presentable in public. You’ll see most women will wear a nice dress shirt, blouse, or sweater on cooler days. Should you get the rare warm summer day they’ll definitely bust out the summer dress.
Most women should shy away from graphic tees or short sleeve shirts instead use a light blouse for the day to day. It’s a perfect item to wear in the summer as the right blouse is super cool and comfortable.
This all depends on the season, but in the spring or summer a pair of capris are perfect for Ireland. Women gravitate towards light colors or earthy tones during this time so go with a pastel or brown colored capri.
Rompers are probably one of my favorite travel outfits because they’re stylish, comfortable, and practical. You really can’t go wrong here and I’d suggest throwing at least one or two rompers in your suitcase for Ireland. They’re great for a night out on the town in Dublin and surprisingly great for Irish attire.
Make sure to pack a nice black dress for nights out. It’s a travel staple and takes up almost no room in your suitcase.
A pair of black flats is always great to have in a suitcase. They’re stylish comfortable and they take up minimal space in your luggage. My tip, stay away from heels, many European towns have cobblestone streets and you don’t want to break an ankle trying to look good. Just let the locals impress you with their skills of walking in heels.
Ireland is, for the most part, an unpretentious affair (we spent the vast majority of our time in hiking boots). If you plan on spending any time in Dublin or a big city you’ll likely want a decent pair of dress shoes or casual shoes. We have a whole post on women’s travel shoes for the ladies!
No need for push up bras when you’re active. I always bring a few pairs of sports bras when I’m traveling. It’s easy to forget bringing a sports bra as you might not be headed to the gym, but they’re tremendous for active days. I love this one from Patagonia as it provides support in a more a subtle cut.
What Men Should Wear in Ireland
I’d look pretty ridiculous wearing a T-shirt or a flannel out to a nice meal in Dublin. Men should pack at least one or two dress shirts for a trip to Ireland. I like to stick with a classic color like blue or white that will never go out of style. If not in a casual sweater I find most Irish men can be found in a nice dress shirt often with a tie after work it’s a classic look with the cuffs rolled up.
I recently ordered a new selection of shirts and ties from the Tie Bar and so far I’ve loved my clothes. All stylish, nice quality, and affordable. Plus their online website makes it easy to order a new wardrobe with suggestions for what matches and inspirations for outfits.
A henley is a great clothing choice for Ireland. It’s lightweight yet provides some warmth from the wind and it’s more appropriate than a long sleeve graphic shirt or technical clothing.
A technical long sleeve shirt looks great and is typically well constructed. You should look for a nice blend of synthetic materials that allow for quick drying. A long sleeve shirt like this allows for greater comfort moving from chilly mornings into warm days. It’s a great travel shirt as it avoid wrinkles, resist stains, and looks better than relaxed tee.
It’s a good shoe to have in the summer as the right pair can be worn with a low cut sock that shows ankle for a more relaxed look. It’s perfect for a night out while you listen to live music or you can go with those leather boots I love.
You won’t look out of place in Dublin with a suit and for that matter the greater Europe. Whether standing at a cafe bar, sipping cocktails in Copenhagen, or sitting down for a fantastic meal in Dublin, or catching a show at the Paris Opera there is no denying it’s best done in a suit. Check out these options from Perry Ellis.
The right watch is the perfect accessory for men. I’m not a fan of big gold watches and find them to be overstated. Opt for something more stylish and modern like this leather and silver watch. As a plus, they’ll match a pair of brown boots lending to more versatility in everyday life. I just picked up this one from Michael Kors and think it’s a perfect blend between casual and formal.
Electronics To Pack For Ireland
You will definitely need an adaptor for your electronics on your packing list for Ireland. We always keep one handy in our carry-on bags, that way we can charge electronics on arrival or at the airport.
A high-quality camera is an important packing item for Ireland if you want some great shots while on your vacation We travel with a bunch of cameras, but the one we universally recommend is the RX 100.
They make a number of models at different price points, but it’s a simple to use point-and-shoot camera that anyone can operate. It also takes superb images with a 20mp resolution and full manual controls.
While I love having a good real book when I travel sometimes it’s just not practical because of the weight. I’ve recently switched to a Kindle Paperwhite which is small and compact, plus it has a backlight for reading at night without a harsh glare.
Many of the big tourist sites have self-guided tours. Like the Museums and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, I find it’s always nice to have your own personal earbuds to stick into your ear for these tours. No one wants to stick dirty headphones over their head or use disposable ones that you’ll toss away after, just wasteful.
I love traveling with a power bank to make sure my phone never dies. The majority of the time I don’t need to use it on long flights as some of the nicer airlines provide entertainment systems with USB ports! We also make sure to find a charging point during layovers, but getting to a new city without your hotel reservations and map can be a major pain in the ass.
Accessories For Ireland
As Lonely Planet Pathfinders who regularly go on assignment for the guidebook company we love to have a physical guidebook when traveling. We spend enough time attached to our phones in everyday life and planning our trips.
Once we reach a destination like Greece we put the phone away and pick up a guidebook to help with our trip.
We’ve suffered through enough red-eye flights to never forget to pack a travel pillow for international flights. My favorite travel pillow is the Cabeau Evolution Pillow, but we break down more of our favorite travel pillows here.
Packing cubes are great for any backpack or suitcase. They keep all of your clothes and toiletries organized. I’ve had these Eagle Creek cubes for three years now and think they were worth the investment to stay organized and create space in my luggage.
For the women, I suggest traveling with a theft-proof purse that is blackand stylish to hold belongings. Cameron has a great passport wallet that holds his passport and credit cards so he never leaves it anywhere.
These are small but essential travel necessities for Ireland as they can be crucial to your sleep. Whether you’re flying in business class, sleeping in a hostel, or in the cabin of a ferry a good pair of earplugs will help you sleep. You also never know if you may have noisy neighbors, have a room on the ground floor, or a train passes by in the middle of the night.
Hanging Toiletry Bag
It’s always a good idea to keep your toiletries organized and separated from your clothes. So we love always travel with a toilety bag; however, Irish bathrooms can be cramped and small. If you are limited on counter space a great option is to buy a hanging toiletry bag. This style of bag tends to a have better organization system with a variety of sections for storage than the traditional option.
You Need This To Travel in Ireland!
We never travel without travel insurance with World Nomads. Natasha is a bit of a worry wart and would rather stay safe than sorry. World Nomads offers incredible flexible and great plans!
You never know if the worse could happen while you’re abroad and often your insurance plan at home will not cover medical emergencies abroad. Having the peace of mind that we have a good backup plan helps us sleep at night.
What Not to Wear in Ireland?
This shouldn’t need to be said, but please do not wear a fanny pack it’s 2019.
Although Irish is rapidly changing to be one of the most progressive countries in the world it still has its Catholic roots. Irish Catholicism is still very much abundant in the country and people generally dress conservatively, we’d suggest doing the same.
We touched on this earlier, but it should be noted that athletic clothes are meant for the gym or being active. Walking around in a pair of athletic shorts, tank top, or running shoes is frowned upon by most Irish. Don’t get me wrong you can wear what you want when it’s hot out, but you’ll be instantly pegged for being a tourist.
For the most part, you’ll find shorts on very few Irish, as in almost none. That being said attitudes are changing and with global warming I’m sure they’ll warm up to the idea, pun intended.
White Athletic Socks
Europeans do not wear white socks. Try to wear patterns, black socks, or to match your socks to your pants.
What’s the weather like in Ireland
What to wear in Ireland during the spring?
The springtime can be one of the best seasons to visit Ireland as temperatures are mild and range from 7°C (45°F) to 13 °C (55°F). It’s a good time to catch some sun, but showers are still frequent. As always you don’t want to be caught without a rain jacket.
What to wear in Ireland during the summer?
As should be expected this is the warmest time of year in Ireland. You can expect long summer days as Ireland. Temperatures range on average from 12°C (54°F) to 19°C (66 °F). It’s always a good idea to have some warm weather clothing for outdoor activities during this time.
What to wear in Ireland during the fall?
Autumn weather is probably the most varied time of year in Ireland and can go from mild and sunny to cold and rainy in a matter of hours. On average temperatures range from 8°C (46°F) to 14°C (57°F).
What to wear in Ireland during the winter?
Ireland’s weather doesn’t vary all that much since it’s surrounded by the Atlantic. In the winter time, the average temperature high floats around 5°C (41°F) just above freezing. Snow does fall, but it’s mild in most of the low-lying areas of Ireland.
A Few Tips For Your Ireland Trip
When is the Best Time to Visit Ireland?
In my opinion, the best times to visit Ireland are April, May, and September – but it all depends on what you want! June-August is high season, but it is also summer in Ireland and the cities are buzzing with locals and tourists alike. It’s also the best chance for sunny weather in Ireland.
However, my personal favorite time to travel Ireland is during the fall months. It’s during September when you get the last of summer and beautiful products in season the cherry on top is that tourism is slowing down.
How much does a pint cost?
If you have traveled all the way to Ireland you are probably going to want to get at least one pint of Guinness in the pub. A pint of Guinness should cost no more than €5, and if it does you are more than likely in a tourist pub that is ripping you off.
We do however recommend visiting the Guinness Store House. At €17 a ticket it may be the most expensive Guinness you’ll ever pay for, but the whole experience and tour is well worth it when you are visiting Dublin. You can pick up priority access tickets here and skip the line!
Chase your family ancestry!
I think we were asked at least 10 times what we made us plan a trip to Ireland. Were we chasing our ancestry? Did we have relatives in Ireland? Do we have Irish blood? Truth is we just came for the beautiful countryside, history, and friendly locals. (And I really love PS I Love You).
So, we always had to tell our new friends that we weren’t Irish and neither of us had Irish ancestors – at least not that we knew of. The reason we were asked so much is that there are a lotof tourists in Ireland – specifically a lot of American tourists like us who are tracking down their ancestors.
Between 1820 and 1930, 4.5 million Irish immigrated to America. At one point they made up over 1/3 of the immigrants in the country. So, that means there are a lot of Irish Americans floating around today and many of them want to go chase their heritage!
You don’t NEED a car
I’ve traveled to Ireland twice now. The first time I was backpacking Europeand took public buses everywhere. The bus and train system in Ireland is efficient, affordable, and reliable, with most of the transport options featuring free WiFi. On our most recent trip, we rented a car to get around the island, which is also affordable and reliable.
Having a car is always the easier and more convenient option, but if you are just one person the cost of the rental and fuel may break your budget. I would suggest checking Ireland’s bus timetablesto make sure you can get where you want to go with public transport. If you are a group of two or more consider renting a car.
Just note that in both Ireland and Northern Ireland drivers drive on the left side of the road and you should know how to drive a manual car as automatics are expensive.
Speed limits are posted in kilometers per hour in Ireland and miles per hour in Northern Ireland – confusing. We were able to get a car from Dublin airport for two weeks for €150 and we paid €1.20/liter for fuel. You can drive the car in and out of Northern Ireland as much as you like without border checks.
Protect Your Valuables
Ireland is incredibly safe, and we’ve never had even hint of insecurity in all our time while traveling around Ireland. That being said Dublin is an incredibly popular tourist hub in Europe and those hubs often attract pickpockets. These thieves like to operate in busy environments and crowds so they have an excuse to be in close contact.
In order to protect your valuables, we recommend wearing clothes that help protect your items. When walking around cities it’s a habit of mine to wear jeans with the wallet in my front pocket. This makes it incredibly difficult for a pickpocket to even attempt. Then when wearing a jacket I aways store my phone and valuables in the inner breast pocket, ideally one with a zipper.
When it comes to theft while traveling it’s all about minimizing opportunity — more than likely you’ll never experience any problems.
What To Wear in Ireland Summary
It’s best not to forget things like medications, toiletries, and any other personal items that you yourself might need when you travel. However, this is a general Ireland packing list for all to go off of.
Remember that Ireland isn’t the end of the world, and if you forget something it’s likely you’ll be able to find it when you get there.
Enjoy your trip! Sláinte!
Plan your trip to Ireland!
We rely on a few trusted websites that help save us money and time when booking our trips. Check out some of our preferred partners below
- Travel Insurance:
You never know what can happen abroad, and that’s why we always travel with travel insurance with World Nomads. Their plans are flexible and affordable.
- Plan to Rent a Car:
We love to drive ourselves around Ireland. We’ve done it every time, just remember they drive on the left. Compare prices here!
We found the tap water in Ireland more than fine to drink, if you want extra assurance then we love traveling with our Lifestraw Go Waterbottle. More than anything it’s about reducing plastic waste. Read more about that in our best water bottles post.
Remember that Ireland uses the three-prong British plug. Make sure you have one for visiting!
- Recommended Guidebook:
They’re the reason we made this trip to Ireland and we love to have a physical copy of a guidebook. Pick up Lonely Planet’s Ireland guidebook.
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