Ireland isn’t always the first place when you think of places to visit in Europe. However, that doesn’t mean taking a solo trip to Ireland isn’t amazing.
Because it is!
Ireland has some of the most beautiful natural landmarks and some of the more unique man-made landmarks in Europe.
There is an excellent combination of nature, nerd culture, history, architecture, and pubs.
There truly is something for everybody in Ireland!
If you’ve been considering a solo trip to Ireland but aren’t quite sure if it’s the right destination for you or not, hopefully this article can help you out.
We cover the most important things you need to know before taking a solo trip to Ireland.
Some of the things on this list you may not have considered before, and they might convince you travel alone in Ireland.
Or they may make you decide Ireland isn’t the right place for you.
Either way, I hope you find this article helpful!
1. Ireland is More Expensive than You Think
I think maybe because it’s neighbour the UK has a reputation for being so expensive people think that Ireland is more affordable.
Well, unfortunately, I have news you don’t want to hear.
Ireland is just as expensive (and in some cases more expensive) than the UK. You’re not getting a budget holiday if you choose to go on a solo trip to Ireland.
In fact, I find that accommodation (especially in Dublin) is more expensive than in London, which is saying a lot if you know how expensive London can be!
There isn’t anything wrong with going to a country where it is more expensive, but I want you to be prepared.
I don’t want you to think Ireland is more affordable than the UK and then show up without enough money and be stuck in a jam.
You’re travelling alone, and it’s 100% your responsibility to make sure you can afford to cover every single cent the trip will cost you.
If you nixed out the UK for your trip because of the price, you may want to reconsider going to Ireland.
I certainly was under the impression Ireland was more affordable than it actually is, and it messed up my entire budget for that trip.
2. Weigh the Pros and Cons of Renting a Car
A lot of people rent a car and drive around Ireland. It’s an amazing experience, but it isn’t for everybody.
As a solo traveller, you really need to weigh the pros and cons of renting a car in Ireland and decide what is the best decision for you.
You have to be completely comfortable driving alone in a foreign country.
Pros of Renting a Car in Ireland
- Freedom to go wherever you want whenever you want
- You can see some of the more obscure, off the beaten track locations
- See more of the country
- You can tour alone and not rely on guided tours to visit attractions outside major cities
Cons of Renting a Car in Ireland
- You have to drive on the left-hand side of the road
- Renting an automatic car is expensive if you don’t know how to drive manual
- Need to make sure you have car insurance (either through your credit card or purchasing car insurance when you rent your car)
- Likely have the added expense of renting GPS or portable wifi
- You’re 100% responsible for all the driving
The Bottom Line
The way I see it, it comes down to how comfortable you are with driving (and driving on the left-hand side of the road).
If you’re like me and don’t like driving and driving on the left-hand side of the road makes you nervous, it might be better to not rent a car and rely on guided tours to visit attractions outside of major cities.
If you’re confident in your driving abilities, renting a car is a great choice.
When it comes down to the cost of it, it’s pretty much a saw off between the cost of renting a car and the cost of going on guided day tours.
Your enjoyment and mental health matters more so choose whatever makes you feel most comfortable!
3. Get Outside Dublin
It’s tempting to stay in Dublin and not venture out into the rest of the country, but that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make on your solo trip to Ireland.
Dublin is a great city, but there is so much more to see outside the capital city.
Even if you just take a few day trips from Dublin to see something else, that’ll give you a better idea of what Ireland is about than just staying in Dublin.
In a perfect world, I suggest visiting two or three cities in Ireland on your solo trip (or renting a car and driving around for a week or two), but I know that isn’t possible for everybody.
But, please promise me that you’ll at least take a day trip!
There are tons to choose from depending on what you’re interested in.
You can explore nature, see famous filming locations, visit Northern Ireland, and so on and so forth.
The possibilities are endless!
You can do a lot of the day trips yourself, or you can pay for a guided day trip. Whatever your personal preference is!
The important thing is you get outside Dublin and see more of Ireland!
4. It’s Colder Than You Think (Even in Summer)
One of the things that surprised me the most on my first solo trip to Ireland is how cold it is.
I went in May and thought it would be nice and warm and that a jacket wasn’t needed.
I was very wrong!
It’s surprisingly cool in Ireland even during the warmer months. They get a lot of rain, and the wind cuts right through you.
I have a friend who lives in Dublin now, and she says when it’s nice it’s nice, but when it’s cold, it’s cold. No matter what time of year it is, and you never know what it isn’t going to be nice.
So, be more prepared than I was and pack some warmer sweaters and possibly even a light coat. Preferably one that is water resistant.
But, the moral of the story is to pack something warm. You don’t want to be stuck buying warm clothes in Ireland.
Especially if you’re on a tight budget!
5. Don’t Drink Too Much
I know it’s tempting to go for drinks and have a good time when in Ireland.
There are so many good pubs!
But you really need to be careful.
It’s so easy to go a little crazy and get yourself in a bad situation.
Trust me. I know from experience!
You can go out for a few pints and then find yourself stumbling home at 2am. That’s not the best situation even if your home city, but it can be even worse when you’re travelling.
And travelling alone.
My top safety recommendation for you on your solo trip to Ireland is to have a drinking limit and stay within it.
Don’t give into the temptation to have an extra drink. One extra drink leads to another and another, and next thing you know, you’re puking on the sidewalk.
Again, true story.
So, please be safe and drink responsibly.
And also take into account that you’re likely a bit dehydrated from walking around all day, and that will impact how much your body can handle.
6. Visit Northern Ireland
What I’m about to say may be controversial, but Norther Ireland is my favourite part of Ireland.
Eek. Please don’t hate me!
Northern Ireland is super unique and not like anywhere else in Ireland. It has a super interesting history.
Both in recent times and historically.
I mean the Titanic was constructed in Belfast!
I’m not suggesting you’ll love Northern Ireland as much as I do, but I do feel like a trip to Ireland isn’t quite complete without a trip to Norther Ireland.
It’s so different than anywhere else in Ireland and has a completely different vibe and atmosphere than the Republic of Ireland.
If you do go to Northern Ireland, take the time to learn about it’s history. That’ll help you figure out why it is so different than the rest of Ireland.
7. Ireland is Pretty Safe
If safety on your solo trip to Ireland is your concern, it doesn’t have to be.
All things considered, Ireland is very safe.
The only times I haven’t felt fully safe in Ireland is when I’m walking home in the dark. Not that there is any immediate need to be nervous or scared. It is more just the knowledge that I’m walking home alone and anything can happen.
But it likely won’t!
Outside of that, I’ve always felt very safe in Ireland everywhere I go. The locals are friendly, and they’ll help you out if you’re lost or in need of help.
Of course, anywhere is as safe as you make it.
You need to be smart and not do anything that would put you in harm’s way. Keep your head on a swivel, your valuables secured, and if your gut is telling you that something isn’t right, walk away.
Oh, and be safe crossing the street if you don’t live in a country where you drive on the left-hand side of the road.
I’ve seen too many tourists almost get hit by a car simply because they didn’t look properly before they crossed the street.
8. Don’t Skip Galway
I don’t know why Galway doesn’t get the love it deserves. I skipped Galway on my first solo trip to Ireland but visited it on my second.
A lot of blogs I read said that Galway wasn’t worth visiting and could be skipped, but I’m glad I visited the city.
It has such a fun and upbeat vibe. Not to mention it is one of the most beautiful cities in Ireland.
In my opinion.
Galway is super different to Dublin. It’s more laid back, has very different attractions, and is a more vibrant city.
Plus it’s right along the water, and there are some amazing natural attractions you can easily visit.
So, if you can, be sure to add Galway to your Ireland itinerary.
Or at least consider it!
9. Be Internet Safe
One of the most important (and often overlooked) things you can do in preparing for your solo trip to Ireland is make sure you’re being internet safe.
As a traveller, you’re reliant on public wifi networks to access the internet.
This means you’re at a high risk of having your personal information and data stolen.
And trust me. You do not want to go through the headache of having your banking information stolen while you’re on holiday.
It’s a nightmare!
You may be thinking that you only use wifi networks that have a passcode, and you’re safe. I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re not.
Anybody can get the passcode to a public wifi network and access your personal information if they want to.
The only way you can protect yourself and have your online information be secure is by installing a VPN on your devices.
A VPN basically puts a forcefield up around your devices that makes it impossible for a hacker to access your data even when using a public wifi network.
It makes using public wifi just as safe as using your home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the password.
Installing a VPN is a very simple thing you can do to protect yourself when travelling. It’s more important than you think!
My Favourite VPN
I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my years of travel and honestly hated most of them. VPNs are notorious for slowing down your devices and making the internet painfully slow to use.
My frustrations with VPNs changed when I discovered NordVPN.
NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, which is why I love it so much and recommend it to all my friends and family.
You don’t notice you’re using a VPN because there isn’t a lag on your internet connection, which is super important when travelling.
You can protect up to 6 devices on a single subscription and easily protect all your devices.
The best part is that a two-year subscription to NordVPN costs less per month than a single Starbuck’s latte.
There is no excuse to not protect your online data!
My philosophy is that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect yourself with a VPN.
I hope you have a better idea now whether a solo trip to Ireland is right for you or not!
I’ve tried to give you an objective idea of what solo travel in Ireland looks like, so you can decide if it’s right for you or not.
Ireland is a great choice for solo travel if you have the budget. It has an amazing mixture of nature, history, culture, and architecture.
There really is something for everybody no matter what you’re interested in.
The major problem is that it can be expensive and is sometimes outside of people’s budgets.