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The solo traveler’s guide to Ireland

Sep 10, 2020 by Jamie Burke

Whether it’s the lively pub scene, amazing museums, or friendly locals, there are plenty of reasons why Ireland is perfect for solo travel. Here, get solo travel tips for traveling to Ireland from our expert Jamie, who visited the Emerald Isle on her own (and can’t stop raving about the experience).

Why travel solo in Ireland?

There’s a popular saying that goes something like: To make a friend, be a friend. As a solo traveler in Ireland, that’s certainly the case! Irish people have a reputation for being welcoming and chatty, so it’s not hard to make a quick friend if you’ve got a smile on. Plus, there are no language barriers to navigate in Ireland, so striking up a conversation is easy.

Traveling to Ireland alone on a group tour is the best way for solo travelers to go. Along with having all the details handled (no driving on the left side of the road—we’ll take care of that), you’ll see some of the best places to visit in Ireland alongside like-minded travelers.

a man strolling on an Irish street under mini flags that hang above

When’s the best time to visit Ireland solo?

Ireland’s weather is fairly mild year-round. That means that the conditions, while occasionally rainy, can be favorable for exploring during any season. I traveled to Ireland solo in the winter, which was a lovely time to soak in a little holiday cheer and see the top sites in Ireland with fewer crowds. Here are some other great times (and reasons!) to visit Ireland:

  • Visit Ireland in late spring to see those classic green landscapes at their most lovely.

  • Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in March with locals on the streets of Dublin.

  • Go to Ireland in the summer for long days and the warmest temps of the year.

musicians playing fiddles in an Irish pub while customers dance and cheers

What should I pack for Ireland as a solo traveler?

Packing advice for a solo trip to Ireland isn’t much different than the advice for any traveler—but it’s good to keep in mind. Here are a few things I kept handy on my solo trip in Ireland:

  • An umbrella and rain boots. Irish weather is notoriously wet, but don’t let that discourage you from traveling to Ireland alone! You know what they say: There’s no bad weather, just bad preparation. I stayed comfy exploring outdoors with good rain gear.

  • A portable phone charger—just in case! It’s always nice to have one so if you’re out exploring on your own, you can make sure your phone has juice.

  • A small bag for daytime. You don’t want to be lugging around a big backpack, or have a bag that you need someone to keep an eye on. The essentials—phone, wallet, camera—are all you need with you during the day for a great solo trip in Ireland.

a street lit up with Irish pub signs above every door

What are the best things to do in Ireland as a solo traveler?

Visit a pub (or two!)

Heading to the local pub is a great way to get in to Irish culture and maybe even catch some live music. Here are a few Irish pubs you need to visit on your solo trip:

  • The Cobblestone in Dublin to listen to local musicians play Irish reels

  • Tigh Neactain in Galway for the history (and the people-watching)

  • Fionbarra in Cork to hang out at the beer garden

  • Shoot the Crows in Sligo for the best Guinness pours in all of Ireland, according to the locals

  • The Perch in Belfast to see the city from the rooftop bar

  • Celtic Whiskey Bar in Killarney to mix it up and sip Irish whiskeys

a tall basket of crispy fish and chips with a lemon wedge, a drink, and sauce on the side

Try the local eats

Ireland is overlooked as a culinary destination, but foodies shouldn’t pass up a visit! As a solo traveler on our Ireland group tours, you’ll enjoy some included meals together with your group—but you’ll also have some free time to strike out on your own if you’d like.

  • Don’t skip a chipper. That’s the local lingo for a fish and chips joint. Many chippers serve their meals to-go, which is great if you’re traveling solo and don’t want to sit at a table.

  • Get a quick bite at cafe. In Dublin, I grabbed a quick lunch of scones and tea at Queen of Hearts—the perfect power-up before I headed out exploring.

  • Sit down to a traditional Irish breakfast. You won’t regret it!

cattle grazing on rolling green hills in the Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Explore the outdoors

Whether it’s rolling green hills or awe-inspiring sea cliffs, Ireland’s landscapes don’t disappoint. These are some of the top sites to visit in Ireland to soak it all in:

  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Slieve League cliffs
  • The Burren
  • Connemara National Park
  • The Ring of Kerry
  • Giant’s Causeway

Blarney Castle, made of grey stone and covered in green moss, on a cloudy day

Get into the history

Irish history is fascinating, and there are so many ways to learn about it on tour. Here’s just a few of the best things to do in Ireland as a solo traveler, and get to know the country:

  • Dive in to the Irish literary scene, from Yeats to Oscar Wilde to Joyce and more.

  • Explore ancient castles in Glendalough, Glenveagh, and Blarney—where you’ll get the gift of gab.

  • Learn about “the Troubles” with a local guide in Belfast.

  • See the Book of Kells and discover Ireland’s medieval history at Trinity College.

Have you visited Ireland on tour? Tell us your Ireland travel tips on Facebook!

Destination guidesSolo travel
About the author | Jamie Burke
Always on the lookout for the next best meal ever, Jamie loves exploring the world—and all the great food in it. When she's not working to inspire new travelers, you'll find her biking around Boston, eating at her favorite sushi place, or hanging out at home with her family (and cat).

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