We’ve all seen the magazine shots of blue skies, fluffy clouds and open roads. We’ve imagined gazing over the ocean as the sun fades beyond the horizon.
In awe of the afterglow turning the sky wild with colour over the 40 shades of green and lush wilderness. I hate to break it to you, but Ireland’s weather isn’t all heatwaves and refreshing sea breezes. Regardless of the season, you need to prepare for the weather to turn.
If you’ve not packed with this in mind, you run the risk of ruining an otherwise epic trip. So what do you need to pack for Ireland?
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing – Alfred Wainwright
The Irish weather
No matter what time of year you visit Ireland, the chances are you’ll have a mix of weather. The seasons will determine the temperatures.
Suffice to say, winters are cold while a fine summer’s day can be scorching. Spring and autumn can see some glorious fair weather too.
Even so, it can (and probably will) turn at short notice. If you’re out walking, prepared only for the weather to remain the same all day, you may get caught out.
There was just 4 hours between shooting these 2 photos. In the first photo, I was convinced the weather would stay pleasant all day. Just a few hours later, we could hardly see beyond the wall.
Some days can be damp, not so much with rain but with sea mists. The fog can descend so fast, you’ll wonder where Ireland went to! Then there’s the wind.
While forecaster will warn of big gales, they tend not to mention how windy it can become on cliff edges. It can take your breathe away.
What clothes to pack for Ireland
You need to pack clothes for all for seasons when packing for a trip to Ireland, so layering is the golden rule to follow.
By packing clothes suitable for any weather, you won’t waste valuable packing space. Make sure all your items are versatile so you can mix ‘n’ match.
Combat trousers are great for walking in the great outdoors. Get those with removable legs to allow you to turn them into shorts if the weather turns fine.
Short and long sleeve t-shirts are ideal and easy to peel on and off in variable conditions. They’re lightweight so won’t make your day pack too heavy to carry.
One or 2 fleece tops or warm sweaters will help keep the evening chill away. If you’re travelling to Ireland in the late autumn or winter months, 3 or 4 is more suitable.
Don’t forget to pack your pyjamas. The night time can get really chilly in Ireland, even is summer so a set of pyjamas will keep you cosy.
The dress code in Ireland is casual. Even for a night in the local pub, people don’t get over dressed. Unless you’re invited to an event or fancy party, keep your evening wear casual. Jeans, a nice top and shoes you can walk down a country lane to a pub in are ideal.
What shoes to pack for Ireland
Even in the summer months, some of the wild countryside of Ireland is soggy underfoot. Boggy ground will rarely dry out.
Even on a glorious day, you could find yourself walking through wet heathland. A pair of lightweight, waterproof walking boots aren’t cheap but they’re great value for money.
My last pair lasted 9 years of regular wear before I finally needed to buy a new pair.
Do I need to pack a coat for a trip to Ireland?
Is the pope Catholic? You need a coat. A waterproof, windproof raincoat or jacket is just what you need. They’re lightweight so ideal year round.
Coupled with an inner fleece for the colder winter months, this is a fine investment. I’ve lost count of the people wearing budget raincoats returning from a hike looking as though they’ve been for a swim rather than a walk!
Not dressing for the conditions is a sure fire way of ruining your day.
You need something you can throw on your back and keep your hands free. There’s plenty to choose from on the market these days but make sure its lightweight.
Don’t forget, if you’re bringing a camera, make sure the backpack is waterproof too! Hindsight is a marvellous thing!
Talk about versatile! After losing a camera to the weather in Nepal, I’ve learnt my lesson. Even so, I’m still paranoid and my camera stays well away from raindrops.
I even go as far to put the camera inside a bin liner, inside the waterproof bag! I said I was paranoid. Bin liners are great to use as a make shift seat on wet ground too.
No need to lug around bulky waterproof lined picnic blankets. Unroll a bin liner and you have an instant ground cover to rest on without getting a soggy bottom.
Don’t forget your guide book
First aid kit
Make sure you can self treat any minor ailments, cuts and grazes while you’re in Ireland. Some parts of the country are remote and getting to a well stocked pharmacy isn’t always a short walk or drive. Take a look at this post so you pack the essentials in your travel first aid kit.
No traveller worth their salt would leave home without a decent travel insurance policy. You can use the widget in the sidebar to look up a policy that is right for you.
If you’re on a short 1 to 2 week trip to Ireland, it’s best to keep the amount of electronics you carry down to a minimum. Most of the time you will spend out in the countryside.
Wifi and mobile phone reception isn’t terrific and going off grid is a great way to unwind. We suggest you don’t bother with any gadgets other than your camera and battery charger.
Essential reading: what travel documents to pack for a road trip
Now you know what to pack for Ireland
You’ll get most enjoyment from Ireland’s epic coastal route from spending more time out of the car than in it. Now you know what to pack for a trip to Ireland, you won’t let the weather dictate if you have a great time or not.
If you forget something, who cares? So long as it’s not your passport, anything you might need is available in Ireland.
Most of all, pack a smile, a sense of humour and enjoy! You’re in for a real treat!