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BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
With its mild climate and easy access, Ireland is a country that can be visited all year round. The most popular time to travel is between May and September with July and August being by far the busiest months.
The Eastern coast tends to be drier and warmer than the Western part of Ireland, where, especially over the winter months, the conditions can be stormy, cold and wet. Temperatures all over Ireland hardly ever fall below 0 though. From late October to mid March,
the days are short, so if you are looking at touring, the longer days of the year would be more suitable.
Ireland usually sees the driest and warmest season in May and June, making the time perfect for outdoor activities all across Ireland when the often boggy underground has dried up. While there is a chance of storms due to the hurricane season across the Atlantic, September can bring some lovely late summer weather with mild and sunny days, especially on the East coast.
HOW TO GET THERE
With an annual passenger volume of almost 33 mio in 2019, Dublin airport is by far the busiest airport in Ireland. To compare, Shannon Airport in the West saw around 1,7 mio passengers while Cork airport saw just under 300,000 passengers over the same period.
Dublin serves an extensive network of destinations and airlines, connecting Ireland to mainland Europe and North America. Direct routes are also operated to the UAE and Asia. The best European hubs to connect to Dublin are London Heathrow, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
In Ireland, the easiest way to get around is by rental car. The bus network is extensive and connections are frequent, but public transport mainly connects the main centers and it can be challenging to travel in rural areas or off the beaten track. The Irish train operates a centralized system through Dublin, so depending where you want to go, the journey might not be the best choice due to the detour to Dublin.
Citizens from the EU/EEA will require a valid passport upon entering Ireland. Ireland is not part of the Schengen area, so it is always necessary to go through immigration upon arrival. Unless traveling from states with visa exemption agreements with the EU, non-EU citizens will require a Visa upon entering Ireland.
TRAVELING WITH KIDS
The wealth of exciting ancient history, outdoor opportunities and fantastic scenery makes Ireland a great destination to visit with the whole family. The country is not large and a good road network makes it easy and reasonably fast to travel across the country.
Though Ireland would not be considered to be a beach destination by many, Ireland offers some extraordinary long sandy beaches with calm waters, which are perfect for swimming, surfing or
water-sports. Further, Ireland has some exciting marine wildlife and it is possible in many places to spot seals, dolphins and whales in their natural habitat.
Ireland’s rich cultural and historical heritage includes ancient castles, vibrant cities and fabled creatures. Many sights exploring the mythical world are laid out for kids and offer great entertainment for old and young.
Hotels and B&Bs offer family accommodation with family rooms or separate lodges to house larger family groups. Restaurants nearly always offer a kids menu or will prepare smaller portions. It is always possible to request a cot or high chair for small kids.
WHAT TO BRING
It is not a myth that it rains a lot in Ireland, so whenever you travel, the most important thing to bring is a waterproof jacket. Umbrellas might be used in urban areas, though rain is often accompanied by strong winds, making the use of umbrellas sometimes challenging.
Comfortable and decent shoes are essential as no matter where you go or what you plan to do, you should prepare to walk quite a bit, also in the cities. If you are planning on hiking, waterproof hiking shoes or boots are advisable as trails are not always well maintained and often lead through boggy and wet terrain.
Even though people tend to be obsessed with the weather, temperatures are moderate and never get extremely low or high. Warm evenings are rare, even at the height of summer, so always prepare for chilly evenings with a warmer jumper, cardigan and jacket.
The sun gets surprisingly strong over the summer months, so sun lotion, a sun hat and sunglasses are recommendable. A small backpack or handbag will be perfect to carry your belongings when out and about.
While people enjoy a casual style in their routine or when outdoors, especially the younger generations love to dress up in the evening, so you should also pack a nice outfit if you plan to hit the town in the evenings.
From traditional B&Bs and guesthouses, chique boutique and rural country house hotels to luxury manor houses and 5* castles, accommodation types in Ireland are varied and cater for every taste and budget. If you prefer the personal touch of a B&B or prefer to stay in a more anonymous hotel, be sure to be met with a warm welcome no matter where you travel.
Quite often, hotels in Ireland come with a fully equipped leisure center with gym, pool and sauna. Further, on many evenings you will encounter live music or other events in the bars, especially outside the bigger centers. Family rooms are widely available in all types of accommodation and in bigger hotels outside the cities it is also often possible to rent a lodge or cottage with the family.
Castles and manor houses are perfect if you are looking to spend a few days enjoying some old-world charm with all luxury amenities. Set in extensive grounds, they often offer a good choice of activities, including walking, cooking classes, specialized tours or fun activities like archery, 4x4 off road adventures or clay pigeon shooting.