Ireland is a land of rolling hills, colorful homes and generous people. It also is an awesome destination for budget travelers – once you make it there.
1. It’s totally drivable.
Because of its small size, renting a car and touring the country on your own is easy to do. You may have to stop for sheep or to let another car pass along the narrow roadways, but with your own car you can explore on your own schedule and either make day trips or spend days in each city you want to visit before moving on. There are amazing natural wonders to see like the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher and Killarney National Park.
2. You can enjoy the pubs.
You probably aren’t going to go to Ireland and not hit at least a few pubs to get your drink on. If you can avoid ordering too many drinks and keep your wits about you then you can get the full experience of an Irish bar.
Not only will you find delicious food that will fit your budget, but they are full of awesome locals that want visitors to know how amazing their country is. It’s not uncommon to meet a friendly person in a bar and have them invite you to their home or a festival or for them to give you all kinds of great advice on what to do and see while you’re traveling.
Pubs are also a fantastic place to get a taste of the local music and you can rock out to a variety of music at bars across the country.
3. Self-catering is all the rage.
Ireland is optimal for vacation rentals. Live like a local and save a ton because you can buy food at the local grocers and make as many meals as you like.
Rentals give you your own space, more privacy than a hotel and come with a lot of the comforts of home. Even with rates that are sometimes a little more than a hotel, you end up staying within your budget because of the kitchen amenities, you don’t pay extra for additional travelers and a lot of rentals have laundry in-house, which means you can still pack light and just wash your clothing during your trip.
4. Riding the rails is cheap.
Public transportation is usually an inexpensive way to get around. Though many of Ireland’s cities are very walkable, you might want to hitch a ride to a part of town that seems far away or to another city altogether. Dublin has a super easy light rail system for travelers to use and you can also use the Irish Rail or Ireland Bus to get around the country without spending a lot of money to do it.
5. There’s so much marine life.
If you love dolphins and whales and orcas and seals, the coast of Ireland is the perfect place to see them all. The waters are teeming with wildlife and you don’t have to spend a bunch of money on a boring whale watching boat tour to view them.
A little bit of patience and a pair of binoculars are all you need. You might even catch a glimpse of giant basking sharks, and smaller shark species have been known to splash around in the shallows. While the water isn’t optimal for swimming, the beach is perfect for seeing a load of sea life. Bring your good camera to catch some amazing photo ops.
6. It’s educational.
Ireland is full of ancient ruins and historic sites. See them for less with the Heritage Ireland Card offered by the Office of Public Works. Skip the queues at over 60 attractions with your card, plus the more you use it the more you save.
If you will be concentrating your trip in only one or two cities in Ireland, choose some of the free heritage sites like the Hill of Tara and Glendalough. Both are among the most popular attractions in the country and the sites themselves are free of charge. It only costs to get into the heritage centers. Likewise are the heritage towns. Explore the medieval village of Trim, the Georgian town of Birr or the monastic city of Kells for absolutely nothing.
Fancy a trip to Dublin, Ireland? Dublin is a beautiful city with so many things to offer, some of them even for free. Check them out.
7. You can save up to 50% when you purchase the Dublin Pass like the Heritage Ireland Card, plus you can skip the ticket lines at top tourist attractions.
Your Dublin Pass comes with an airport-city center transfer, entrance to over 30 sites – including the Croke Park Experience for those of you who are sports lovers – discounts on dining, shopping and even unlimited public transportation! Purchase online before you go to save 20% off and keep even more money in your pocket.
Your Dublin Pass is valid for 12 months from date of purchase and “activates” upon your first use. You just need to purchase one for each traveler in your party. Kids’ passes cost less than adult ones and include all the same benefits.
8. It’s full of shopping opportunities.
Usually shopping and budget travel don’t go hand-in-hand, but when you shop the many markets of just Dublin alone you can come home with souvenirs and travel within your means. No matter what you’re looking for, you can find it at one of the markets. From the antique and second-hand items on display at the Blackrock Market to the fresh food offerings of the Ballymun Farmers Market. Look for trendy fashion finds and gifts at the Georges Street Arcade or purchase handmade items and artwork straight from the artists at the Arts & Crafts Market in Newmarket Square.
Ireland is better for couples or groups, because traveling alone in the country will actually run you more in lodging fees and there are not many single rooms available.
The Emerald Isle is full of rich history and culture. It’s hard to meet anyone who does not claim to have at least some Irish ancestry and, once you’ve visited Ireland, it’s not hard to understand why.
If you love the outdoors and hiking, you can find plenty of opportunities throughout the country like the Causeway Coast Way, which combines grassy hills with stunning ocean views. If the city is more your speed, you can choose from family-friendly activities or even romantic day trips – Blarney Castle, anyone?
The lush landscape makes for a perfect backdrop to any vacation and ensures your travel photos will be amazing, while the people of Ireland are so welcoming that it will be almost impossible to have a bad time.