With abundant natural beauty to explore and a worldwide reputation for friendliness, Ireland is perfect for backpackers. The Emerald Isle is welcoming and relatively easy to navigate, but here are a few things any backpacker should bear in mind before they go.
1. Plan Ahead
As romantic as the idea of donning your backpack, booking a cheap Ryanair flight and heading to Ireland on a whim may be, you’ll be best served by putting some foresight into your trip. Like many other European countries, trains in Ireland can be incredibly expensive, but Irish Rail do good online deals on tickets in advance (especially mid-week). Although the word ‘itinerary’ is definitely a death-knell to spontaneity, a well thought-out route will most likely work out significantly cheaper.
2. Consider More Than One Airport
Despite the vast majority of Ireland’s tourist traffic coming through Dublin– now Europe’s fastest-growing airport – there are several well-served alternative airports in the country. Cork Airport in the south, Shannon and Knock in the west and Belfast International Airport in the north are all convenient, and flying into one and out of another is worth considering if you are pressed for time, rather than looping back to Dublin.
3. Get The Galway Weather Report
Most people visiting Ireland will probably want to head west for at least a day, whether to see the Cliffs of Moher, explore the colourful and creative city of Galway, visit Yeats Country or just try the seafood. The west is widely considered the jewel in Ireland’s crown, but as its exposed shores get the brunt of the country’s infamously high rainfall, it’s also the most vulnerable to being rained-out on the day of visiting. So even if you plan everything else to the letter, it would be good to leave this part of your trip semi-flexible if possible, to be able to choose the best day to go closer to the time.