Before traveling to a new place, whether it’s for a couple days or for the rest of your life, one of the biggest worries is over packing. This post is meant to help you with packing for Ireland. I have recently moved back to the States from Ireland and in the process, I discovered how badly I over packed. So, if you have an Irish bound suitcase, keep reading, this contains some valuable information that I wish I had before moving to Ireland.
It Rains A LOT! Yeah, you’ll need a jacket.
Well, I don’t have to tell you this, but just in case, you’re going to need a rain jacket. Now, depending on what kind of activities you like to fill your weekends with, this might mean a couple different jackets. If you’re like me and enjoy the great outdoors, bring a waterproof shell for your hikes and what not. This shell will double as your summer and spring, city jacket as well.
Now, for the winter, you’re going to need a very trustworthy, heavy jacket. This jacket doesn’t need to be 100% waterproof. The rain in Ireland, while there may be a lot, is rarely ever heavy. Bring a jacket that you wouldn’t mind going to dinner out in and one that has a hood. All in all though, you really only need two main jackets because you’ll generally rely on layers. It never gets extremely cold in Ireland, nor does it get extremely hot. It’s a climate with not much fluctuation, so you don’t need a wardrobe with much variation either.
Shoes, EVERYBODY’S Best Friend!!
Shoes will probably be the most important piece of your wardrobe. Your shirt and pants will dry out quickly, but shoes stay wet for days! Hiking boots are great for walking through the wet streets, but they are often quite heavy. I found no shoe can truly defeat the Irish rain, except a Wellington! If you haven’t heard of Wellington’s, you will within the first week of your arrival in Ireland. For shoes, I would bring one pair of dress shoes, any shoe you need for your extracurricular activity and your favorite daily shoe. Any other shoes, buy them in Ireland.
One of the main things I learned when coming to Ireland is that nothing dries quickly. For instance, I had a very thick towel and for 6 months I hung and laid that towel out in every possible position in order to try and dry it before my next shower. One of the most obnoxious things in this world is to come home from a wet day, take a relaxing hot shower and then “dry” yourself with a wet, damp towel. Do yourself a favor and buy a thin towel! For traveling, your best bet is one of those new micro-fiber towels. They take up no space in your suitcase and dry within the hour.
Depending on where you live and how you plan on getting to your daily destination, you’re probably going to need some good pants. If you’re like me and enjoy a bike ride to school or work….GET A PAIR OF RAIN PANTS! Most pants are fine when walking, but as soon as you hop on a bike and find yourself in rain, goodbye to dry pants all day. Grab a cheap pair of rain pants and you’ll thank me. Other than rain, they also protect you from mud and other things that might pop up off the street when riding.
Basically, Don’t Bring Everything but the Kitchen Sink
Like me, I kept thinking of the little things I MIGHT need. Notice the bold letters around Might!!! Ireland is not deprived of stores. Anything you forgot at home will be available in whatever town or city you end up in. In America, a lot of people rely on thrift stores for cheap and quick clothing or furniture. Ireland has Penney’s.
This store is a normal department store, but the items they have are so inexpensive that it makes shopping very feasible. You may find yourself thinking, “Yeah it’s cheap, but it’s also probably unfashionable.” That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Irish love to show off their thrifty purchases from Penney’s and will generally ask, “Where do you think I got this from?” If you answer anything but Penney’s their face will light up and with great pride and announce, “Haha, I got it from Penney’s.” I would suggest Penney’s for shoes as well! If Welly’s are a bit too expensive for you, they have an off brand that works just as well. Remember, you’re packing for Ireland, not the vacations you will take while living in Europe.
For other things like bikes, electronics, kitchen items, etc. there are plenty of shops that have these things, as well. Also, there are lots of specific online pages that have items for sale in the location you’re based in. In Cork, there are plenty of Facebook groups that have items for sale constantly.
I love to get out to the mountains on the weekends, so I brought my camping gear with me. They took up a lot of space, but it saved me a lot of money in the end. Basically, if your personal hobby requires a lot of gear, just ask yourself the question, “Can I buy the same gear in Ireland for cheaper than traveling with it?” Many times, the Irish gear may be different and more useful to the conditions in Ireland compared to your home country. I also play Ultimate Frisbee and found that the Irish play on turf mostly. So, they usually only used turf cleats, making the cleats I brought over pretty useless.
If you find yourself not being able to find items that you need, or the shopping areas of the city, the people on the streets are very helpful and will point you in the right direction. Also, there are groups that conduct Cork City tours that are focused around practical uses rather than tourism.
If this post didn’t give you a great idea about what type of items you need to pack, there are plenty of other stories from people that have moved to Ireland and they might offer another view. Just know that everybody has different experiences and personal items that they hold dear to them. So, if there is something that you couldn’t live without in your current location, you probably can’t in Ireland.
All in all, the main thing you will need to consider when packing for Ireland, is that……IT RAINS A LOT!!!!