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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Book a Viator Tour Before You Go
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 – $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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