What would you bring with you to Ireland? Each of us has different priorities, ranging from laptop, cellphone and iPod to a woolly hat and some battered binoculars. But there are some things that should be high on the list for travellers to Ireland. And while some may be obvious choices, others are not.
1. Adaptor for Irish Sockets
It is important to note that the power supply in Ireland and the UK (which includes Northern Ireland) is quite different from that in the USA and that the plugs and sockets used are different from those in both the USA and the rest of Europe.
- Electric Shaver: All hotels and most other accommodation in Ireland will have a two-pin 110V to 120V plug for shavers in the bathroom, which will accept an American style plug and allows 120v shavers to run safely, so if a shaver is all you are bringing you need no additional equipment.
For a lot of devices, you will need a Power or Voltage Converters which can be purchased at airports or in your local RadioShack. Power converters step down the voltage from 240V to 120V, allowing equipment which is not dual voltage to operate at the voltage for which it was designed. Converters do not alter the frequency at which electricity is delivered and they are not designed for continuous use, 1-2 hours at a time is the maximum advisable. Choose a converter if: You wish to use common electrical equipment which is not dual voltage, such as hairdryers, irons, fans etc.
2. Euros and/or Pounds
It is a very good idea to have some ready Irish cash on you the moment you arrive, if only to pay for the airport taxi, or to buy a coffee. Take note that the Euro is used in the Republic, the Pound in Northern Ireland. Both currencies may be accepted occasionally – foreign currencies like the US Dollar most certainly will not.
Even though most bookshops will supply an endless supply of excellent illustrated books on Ireland, snapping your own pictures is a must. A small, light camera with an optical zoom is ideal for most tourists. Remember to bring enough storage media or film, as both can be comparatively expensive in Ireland.
4. Photo ID
Please ensure that you have a valid passport for travel. We recommend you take a photocopy of your passport with you also. Visitors wishing to drive in Ireland will require either a full valid national driving license or an international driving permit issued abroad. Either of the above can be obtained from the country of origin.
5. A Good Travel Guidebook
Even if you are joining an organized tour, a good guidebook to Ireland will fill in some blanks. Or induce you to an interesting detour if you are following a recommended route. And it can double up as a souvenir
6. Dress for All Weather
The weather in Ireland is very changeable so please be prepared for sunshine, rain, wind and colder temperatures. We recommend bringing light layers of clothing and then have a warm sweatshirt and a warm waterproof jacket. A small collapsible umbrella will come in handy. Sunglasses are also essential for sunny days.
- Rain-Proof Clothing
- The Irish weather almost always comes with a rain guarantee. So be prepared and bring some clothing to battle the elements. A relatively light-weight jacket you can wear over other clothing would be ideal.
- Good, Comfortable Walking Shoes
- If you are visiting Ireland and want to see attractions close up you will have to walk, sometimes considerable distances. Take your most comfortable walking shoes and step out. Many rural attractions will involve walks over natural, sometimes rough ground. So a sole with a good grip is essential.
- A Warm Sweater
- Even on a hot summer day the evenings can get chilly, take a sweater and be prepared.
- Sunblock and Sunglasses
- This may contrast with the rainproof clothing, but the Irish weather caters for every taste. And decent sunblock is hard to find and fairly expensive. Especially remember to put on sunblock when hiking in a breeze near the sea or in the mountains, you can get easily burned here. Sunglasses are a must if driving – the sun can be low for ages.