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Ultimate Female Travel Packing List for Ireland (in Winter)

ireland

Only the brave attempt Ireland in the winter, but those who do are met with a winter wonderland, with the famous castles dusted in snow. But your packing list must reflect the harsh winds you can experience on the Emerald Isle. Leave your high heels and dresses behind, because instead of hip nightclubs, you are more likely to be sipping Guinness in a rustic country pub. Here is my essential packing list for Ireland in winter.

Clothing:

2 long sleeved shirts: Layering is key for keeping warm in the Irish winter.
1 pair of jeans: Consult Should I… Pack My Jeans for further discussion on this one, but I found them to be vital in protecting against the Ireland cold!
1 pair of pants: A pair of black pants will look nicer than jeans, in case you have one special occasion.
2 bras: I usually pack one nude bra and one black bra and it seems to fit my wardrobe well.
5 pairs of underwear: Maybe less if you have access to laundry facilities or are packing ExOfficio underwear.
1 hoodie or fleece: A base layer will keep you warmer than if you were only wearing a coat.
1 windbreaker/rain jacket: Just in case.
1 winter coat: I brought a black pea coat and it suited my trip well, although I wish it had been longer. It dresses up any outfit and keeps out the chill.
Socks: These are a must have! I prefer Smartwool.
Leggings or Cuddleduds: I increase my layers with flannels, leggings or tights underneath my jeans.
Towel: A travel towel should do.

>>Read about must-pack items for colder countries here.

Shoes:

Closed toed walking shoes: I use my Merrells because they have a thick rubber sole that keeps out the puddles and snow.
Boots: A nice pair of boots are good for cold weather and they can also look nice if you’re going out.
Flip flops for hostels: Better safe than sorry!

>> Read about what shoes to pack and about spare soles for additional shoe help.

Toiletries:

Shampoo/Conditioner: Travel sized and TSA friendly.
Soap or Body Wash: I brought body wash instead, but soap is usually easier to pack if you’re flying carry-on only.

Toothbrush/Paste: Also get a snap-on case so you don’t get anything on your toothbrush.

Deodorant: Keep yourself smelling nice!

Razor: You only need one.

Brush: Travel sized worked for me.

Hair ties: Keep your hair out of your face when it’s blowing in the wind.
Birth Control: You can never be too safe.
Diva Cup: The last thing you want on your trip is to be tied down by lady products. The Diva Cup is ideal for this trip since you will be active and won’t always have time to change.

Prescriptions: You never know if you will be able to find it in Ireland.
Lotion: Keep your skin from getting dried out!
Chapstick: Don’t forget to protect your lips from the harsh wind!
Hair dryer: I wouldn’t usually advocate for bringing a hair dryer, but there’s nothing worse than cold hair in the winter. If you have room, I say go for it.

ireland castle

Protection from the Elements:

Sunscreen: It’s probably better to buy when you get there because of TSA liquid regulations.
Hat: You lose most heat through your head.
Gloves and Scarf: More protection from the elements.
Sunglasses­: It’s still sunny in winter!

Tech Gear:

1 Flashlight/headlamp: For navigating your way through hostel hallways.
Laptop: This is optional, but if you’re interested, there are plenty of coffee shops and internet cafes.
Camera: It’s important to show your friends back home that it really is that green!
Chargers and converters: The outlets here are the same as in England. You might need a plug adapter.
Lock: If you’re staying in a hostel, it’s always a good idea to have a lock for your backpack.
iPod: Perfect for long travel days and for loading up travel apps.

Other:

Water bottle: I recommend using a refillable plastic one so you don’t spend $5 for bottled water at airports.
Books: Keeps you entertained on long train rides.
Hand warmers: I love the packets you can get for your hands and your feet.
Day pack: I took a day trip from Galway and used a backpack so I didn’t have to lug all my stuff around.
Eye mask and earplugs: I stayed in one particularly noisy hostel in Dublin and these items were very useful.

Something to keep in mind in traveling in Ireland is that many of the hostels are in older buildings not equipped with elevators, so you would have to lug your bag up flights of stairs. Backpacks work better for this type of trip, especially if you are traveling by train or bus. Eurail passes are available for Ireland and I recommend it as a great way to see the country.

Photo 1: hilletulp. Photo 2: MFinderup.

Book a Viator Tour Before You Go

2 Day Northern Ireland Tour from Dublin

2-Day Northern Ireland Tour from Dublin – $170.10*
The North of Ireland is now a must-see for any traveler arriving in Ireland. This tour enables you to focus on Northern Ireland, the little corner of our motherland so present in world headlines since 1969 but now experiencing a new dawn after an end to the 30 years of political-violence. Included is the Titanic Experience Visitor Center.

2 Day South Ireland Tour from Dublin

2-Day South Ireland Tour from Dublin – $158.68*
See the world famous Cliffs of Moher, wonder at the barren beauty of the Burren, stroll through the grounds of Blarney Castle and stay overnight in Cork. This tour is ideal for those who seek to visit Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions. Short on time but high on energy and curiosity, this tour is a great mix of rural villages, rugged coastline, dramatic cliffs, historic castles, rolling landscapes, and superb nightlife.

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Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Crystal Davis says

    Love the site! How could this list be modified for packing for Ireland in May? 8 days, 10 year anniversary trip.

  2. Catie says

    Hi!
    So I love the packing list it really is great. But how long is this trip planned for specifically? I will be going to school in Ireland for four months…and I have no idea how much to take.

    • Brooke says

      Hi Catie — this is probably more a backpacking trip of a couple weeks, but still, you can bring the same amount of stuff for 4 months and get by — that’s what most backpackers do. And, you have to consider if you plan to do shopping while there — bring less and buy while in Ireland 🙂

  3. Mary says

    Hello,

    I would recommend getting a small umbrella as soon as you arrive. It rains a lot here in winter, sorry i should be more specific, it rains a lot here all year round. Other then that you seem to have a nice comprehensive list.

    • Brooke says

      That’s a great question, Annie. As a light packer, I usually bring something versatile – like a pair of pants that can double as yoga/exercise pants and lounge pants/flight pants. If it’s really cold, some merino wool layers that can also be used to wear under clothing during the day (if needing to brave the elements) is a good option. If I’m traveling to a warmer place, then a pair of pj shorts and a tank top will work and take up minimal space.

  4. Niamh says

    Seriously it’s not that cold in Ireland and it snows very rarely, I think you over did the snow a bit much. Warm coat with a hood is what you need for the winter, ireland is actually one of the milder parts of northern europe in winter. Of course jeans are fine as most irish people wear them all year round and some good waterproof shoes are very important.

  5. Jill says

    I spent almost a year in Ireland (settled in one place for part of the year, and backpacking the rest), and I agree it does get VERY cold there in wintertime! I’m from the British Columbia, Canada, and I was still shocked by how cold it could be…true there is not much snow, but it is damp and you will be happy with lots of warm layers.

    Waterproof coat and shoes are a must!!

    Also, I wanted to mention that in my opinion the Eurail pass would have been a waste of money in Ireland. It is expensive and has very, very limited destinations. You are better off with the Bus Eireann. Even though it can be frustrating, it will allow you greater access at a much cheaper price, especially if you are a student.

    • Rebecca says

      Hi Jill,

      I was just wondering, I am looking into going over to the UK/Ireland this coming October. As a fellow Canadian, was it hard for you to get organized? Did you go as a student or just on a working holiday visa?
      Cheers!

  6. Savannah says

    This helped a lot! planning to spend New Years in Ireland and totally forgot it got cold over there! thanks so much for writing this !!

  7. Kathleen Shevlin says

    traveling to Ireland in November. Want to carry on my back so I don’t have to lug a suitcase down the street. Need it to fit in an overhead airline bin. liked the idea of a waist compartment and also something mentioned about the top part coming off to use as a “purse” type??

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