Our tried and tested packing list for Ireland with what to bring in each season and style guide to be comfortable and stylish during your travels in Ireland, may you be in a castle or the great outdoors.
One of the questions I receive more often from friends and readers, is what to pack for Ireland.
Indeed nailing the perfect Ireland packing list is less easy that it seems: with weather as unpredictable as the Irish one, what should you bring?
And how dressy is Ireland: is there a dress code for pubs or dinners out?
In this article I try answer all your question with my expert packing list for Ireland in winter, summer, and mid seasons.
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What to wear in Ireland: the weather in each season
What to pack for Ireland depends on the season you are visiting and the activities you plan on doing.
In general, winters in Ireland are cold and wet but seldom freezing. The presence of the sea and of the gulf stream keeps the temperature from spiking to extremes and inn winter the temperature averages around 5 C / 41F (January being the coldest month).
The main issue you face during the winter is the wind, sometimes very strong, and the rain which is frequent.
Snow is unusual in Ireland but the last few years have seen a thick blanket of it in parts of the country and in the mountains.
This is still very much an exception and not worth packing for unless the weather forecast for the days of your trip mentions it as an option: when we expect snow here, it is a big deal so it gets on the news!
From May onward the temperature starts climbing and summers are usually mild and sunny, with average temperatures around around 15 C/ 61F.
While not hot by any stretch of the imagination, the central hours of the day can get surprisingly sunny and warm in summer while evenings tend to have temperatures plummeting down again.
Because of the seasonal weather pattern, a packing list for Ireland needs to be specific to the time of the year you are visiting and also needs to take into account one important factor.
Weather in Ireland is very changeable and, no matter the season, you can go from very cold to mild in a matter of minutes!
When packing for Ireland, layers are the name of the game and clever items that can quickly protect you from a change in temperature a must.
What do people wear in Ireland? Style tips
Ireland is not a dressy country.
In most situations, casual clothes are the norm and you if you are here on vacation you will only need more elegant clothes if you are planning on staying one of the most elegant Irish castles hotels.
Some have a dress code for the restaurant and in that case you want to have a dress / shirt and blazer with you and nicer shoes.
If you are planning on going out at night, the attire will largely depend on your style of entertainment.
Pubs do not require a dress code and neither do most restaurants.
However, if you do feel like dressing up you can especially in the city.
In Dublin for instance women love dressing up to go out so while you don’t have to do it, you wont’ be out of place if you decide to go for a pair of heels and a nice dress!
What to pack for Ireland in summer
Summers in Ireland can be beautiful and bright but, with some exception, never hot. Usually temperatures average around 15 degrees or a little higher, with huge swings depending on the time of the day.
During Irish summers it is not unusual to find yourself properly sweating and looking for refuge from the sun at lunchtime to then reach out for a light jacket in the evening.
Make sure your your summer packing list for Ireland includes:
- Wind breaker jacket with hood
- Cardigan / light sweater
- Short sleeve tops
- Jeans / trousers /skirts
- Hiking scarf
- Comfortable walking shoes such as runners, hiking shoes for mountain walks (see our selection at the bottom of this post too)
What to pack for Ireland in winter
Layers, waterproof and versatile clothing are key when packing for a trip to Ireland in winter.
My travel essentials for winter in Ireland are:
- Warm waterproof winter jacket with hood (I love my Patagonia Parka)
- Scarf, hat, gloves
- Short and long sleeve tops for layering
- Thermal vest (many Irish people disagree with me on this one but I find it a lifesaver. Find my favourite thermals here)
- Warmer sweater
- Long trousers / skirts/ winter tights
- Pajamas (not too warm as interiors tend to have strong heating)
- Comfortable walking shoes or boots (make sure they are waterproof)
- Umbrella (but close it in case of wind as few umbrellas survive Irish gusts!)
- For small kids: water resistant overalls so they can play outside whatever the weather
Fall and spring Ireland packing list
Fall and spring are the trickiest seasons for packing for Ireland, mostly due to the fact that the weather is unpredictable and you can get lovely dry days or cold and wet ones without any predictable pattern.
My Ireland packing lists for fall and spring includes:
- Mid-season jacket, waterproof
- Short and long sleeve tops for layering
- Warmer sweater
- Long trousers / skirts and tights
- Comfortable walking shoes or boots
- Umbrella (although hoods are better in case of wind)
Packing list for Ireland: must have for all seasons
On top of items for the specific season, you will want to pack for Ireland also some essentials.
They will make your trip easier and save you from having to purchase them once in the country.
While the perception of prices will change depending on where you come from, prices in Ireland are a lot higher than many people expect so the more prepared you are with stuff from home, the better.
- Travel documents and travel wallet
- Travel adapter with converter plug (Ireland uses a 3 pin plug, like the UK)
- Water bottle
- Travel backpack and day bag
- Good walking shoes (see below)
- Chap stick and mosturising cream for those windy days (with SFP if coming in summer)
- Driving licence / driving insurance
- Phone charger and charging dock
- Paper map for road trips
- Binoculars for bird /wildlife watching
- Kids car seat / booster seat if travelling as a family (our top picks here)
- First aid kit
The best shoes for Ireland
The biggest challenge when packing for any trip and especially for one with weather as changeable as Ireland is finding good shoes.
After 13 years living in Dublin, my favourite shoes for Ireland are those that hit both comfort and style. Some style I recommend are below.
The best shoes for Ireland in summer are
Walking sandals (for hot days) such as these by Ahnu or the always reliable Birkenstock
Walking shoes for hiking
The best shoes for Ireland in fall /winter are:
Ankle boots in waterproof material and good rubber sole, such as these by Blondo
Tall boots you can line with thick socks for the coldest days
Hiking boots if you want to tackle the great outdoors
I hope you found my packing list for Ireland useful.
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