HOW TO GET THERE
This trip starts in Dublin and ends in Bunratty. There are a ton of options to get from the US to Dublin with many airlines, so it will be easy for you to get to the start of our trip.
Ending in Bunratty, you have a few options to get back to the Dublin airport. You can either go by train or bus.
Train to Dublin from Bunratty: A short 15-minute taxi ride to Limerick’s Train Station arriving Dublin Heuston. The train ride takes 2.25 minutes.
Arrival Dublin Heuston
OR Bus to Dublin from Bunratty: The bus stop is just across the street from our hotel and it runs pretty much hourly, 24/7.
You will ride to a Connection area called Red Cow Luas in Dublin and connect to the Airport direct bus.
Arrival Dublin Airport connecting at Red Cow Luas.
The whole trip takes approximately 3.10 minutes.
You can easily route your flights using FlightsFrom.com to view the best way to get to and from destinations. We also recommend using Google Flights to compare the diﬀerent airlines and their prices/routes. ALWAYS book your flights direct on and airline’s website and don’t use third-party sites. You don’t want to have issues in travel and must rely on calling a third-party for assistance. Airlines will not speak with you directly about third-party bookings.
The currency used in Ireland is the Euro.
Most places in Ireland will take credit cards, but some of the smaller places and markets may require cash. There are also ATMs at all the towns we visit to get cash on the go. Try downloading a currency app like XE Currency to see the most current currency conversion.
There are not any visas or vaccines required to visit Ireland.
The entry requirements for US citizens to visit Ireland is a passport with at least 6 months of validity and 1 blank page. For more information, please visit the State Department website here.
There are not vaccination requirements to visit Ireland as of June 19, 2023, but we always recommend checking Sherpa travel requirements that are updated by the government. That site can be found here.
For Ireland, the associated plug type is G, which is the plug that has three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern. Ireland operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Click here to purchase your adapter/converter and see other travel accessories that will be great for this trip.
Each traveler will be expected to bring $100 per person to tip the guides and the driver. Tip $80 for guides and $20 for driver. Euro is preferred, but USD dollars are good — just make sure all bills are crisp, no tears. Your Happy Guide will collect tips from everyone towards the end of the trip before giving them to the guides and porters.
WEATHER & WHAT TO WEAR
Ahhh beautiful, but often rainy Ireland! The weather in September in Ireland can be very pleasant. Temperatures range from 55 degrees F to lows of 48 degree F. If it does rain, western and northern parts of the island receive the bulk. Most rain falls as showers, punctuated by sunshine.
What to Wear
This is an active trip, so we recommend packing accordingly. One day we have a biking tour and other days we will have light hiking. You will want to bring good waterproof hiking/tennis shoes and at least one pair of comfortable waterproof pants. We also recommend packing layers so you can be prepared for whatever Ireland throws at us.
And as you know that Ireland is known as one of the rainiest places in the world, it is smart to pack waterproof clothing! A rain jacket with a hood is a MUST. Adding other waterproof clothing to your luggage is recommended.
You can find a great Ireland packing guide here.
We also have a great video from an Ireland local to share on what to pack here.
To shop You Can’t Steal My Happy recommended gear for this trip, click here.
If you decide to come early for our Ireland trip, we recommend staying in Dublin’s Temple Bar District! Temple Bar is not just a place to visit, but also an area in itself. This is known as Dublin’s “bohemian quarter” and known for its entertainment, art, and culinary attractions. We have a few recommendations on places to stay in this area.
Situated conveniently next door to one the best pubs in Temple Bar (The Palace), The Fleet is a classy hotel that’s recently undergone a major refurbishment to make your stay even more enjoyable.
The 93 rooms are clean and decorated in a classic modern style, while the deluxe double bedrooms ramp up the luxury if you want to pay a little extra.
The Fleet is also the owner of the Fleet Terrace, a lovely little garden space that feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of the area.
Temple Bar Inn
Just a little further down on Fleet Street is the Temple Bar Inn, a relaxed boutique hotel in a mighty location.
Everything feels fresh here and their generous breakfast selection is great too, covering everything from full Irish and vegan signature breakfasts to a cracking continental selection.
If you’re looking for hotels in Temple Bar a stone’s throw (it’s less, actually) from the action, book yourself in here.
The Morgan Hotel
Sitting incongruously next door to the always tourist-ravaged Hard Rock Cafe, The Morgan is one of the finest boutique hotels in Dublin, and it exudes a bit more elegance and style than its party-loving neighbours.
Standard rooms are spacious, airy and furnished in relaxing shades of cream, with pastel pink and green notes. Their fine restaurant 10 Fleet Street offers classy cocktails and a nice mix of smaller and larger dishes, including their delightful battered hake and tartar sauce.
If you’re looking for boutique hotels in Temple Bar, you can’t go wrong with a night here (it’s one of the quirkiest boutique hotels in Dublin, as it happens!).
Arlington Hotel O’Connel Bridge
While this hotel isn’t located in the Temple Bar District, it is just a 5-minute walk away from this hotel. This is a much more cost effective hotel choice to check out. Overlooking the River Liffey, The Arlington is in the heart of Dublin and home to Dublin’s longest-running traditional Irish dinner and dancing show, which is open everyday. It offers spacious rooms with satellite TVs and free WiFi. Rooms at the hotel feature bathrooms with baths and showers. Rooms also include a seating area and hairdryers. The Knightsbridge Bar & Terrace has an extensive menu and serves carvery lunches. The medieval-themed Knights Bistro offers traditional food including breakfasts, lunches and dinners, while Sinatra’s bar provides an a la carte menu, breakfasts, Irish stew and seafood.
Dublin is a fun place to drink – especially for a Guinness or Jameson! There are also some great places to eat in this city.
- Half & Half: known for its insanely delicious cheesy burgers and fries in the country.
- Pizza Yard: BEST pizza in Dublin and fun place to eat!
- Six by Nico: a menu that changes every six weeks and a very fun place to eat. They offer a 6-course set menu that is only 45 EUR.
- Bow Lane: this brunch place offers a very fun drag brunch! They are also known for their nightlife.
- Happy’s Bar: this place is known for its vibe and fun brunches. Located in Temple Bar district.
- Eatyard: great food market in Drumcondra with tons of food vendors to try out.
TRANSPORTATION & SECURITY
While we provide transportation during the trip via bus, travelers are responsible for getting to and from the airport/hotel on the first and last day of the trip. There are taxis in Ireland, but not Uber. You can use the Uber app to hire a taxi though!
Ireland is a very safe country. With all places you visit, petty crime can be an issue. Please be aware of your surroundings and belongings while traveling.
INTRO, HISTORY, & GEO
Travelers looking for charm, friendly people, solid service without a “touristy” feel and plenty of places to explore should plan a vacation to Ireland. In addition to pubs and Riverdance-style step dancers, you also can find local musicians, friendly locals, stunning scenery, ruins and historical sites, and golfing to enjoy at a relaxed pace.
Nearly everyone will find something to enjoy in Ireland, be it the green countryside, Irish whiskey, shopping, bicycling tours or wandering sheep. Traditional culture still thrives, and the Emerald Isle’s people and way of life have not been significantly altered by modern trends. Travelers will find good service, lots of accommodation options and little crime aimed at visitors. Even the souvenir shops seem rather low-key.
Once, we asked an old man for the Irish-language equivalent of manana (“tomorrow” in Spanish). He paused for a moment, then took off his cap and scratched his head, pondering the question. Then he took an old, battered pipe from his pocket, a knife from the other and started cleaning out the bowl. When he had done that, he rummaged in his pockets and produced a plug of tobacco. He cut off a few slices and placed them in the pipe, tamping them down with the blade of his knife.
Then he searched his pockets once again, produced a box of matches and proceeded to light his pipe. Once he had it going well he took off his cap and scratched his head once more. Putting the cap back on, he smiled at us and said, “In all truth, Sir, I do not think that there is a word in all of the Irish language for expressing such urgency.”
Take your time when traveling around the country. Although it’s possible to drive the length of Ireland in less than a day and to traverse the width of the country in a few hours, we prefer to settle in and explore a particular region, whether on foot, on horseback or behind the wheel—mindful, of course, of wandering sheep on small back roads.
Ireland is an island off the western coast of the U.K., from which it is separated by the North Channel, St. George’s Channel and the Irish Sea. The coastal areas of Ireland tend to be mountainous and rugged, especially on the western side of the island, which wards off the Atlantic Ocean with an almost unbroken line of cliffs and mountains. By contrast, the central portion is relatively flat, fertile farmland dotted with bogs.
The genial nature of the Irish is surprising considering their country’s history of conflict: The island has drawn wave after wave of invaders. Celtic tribes from Europe led one of the early onslaughts, arriving around 300 BC and wresting control from the people who were already living on the island. The Celts were gradually converted to Christianity beginning in the AD 300s (St. Patrick being a prime motivator), and during the Dark Ages, scholars based at Irish monasteries helped preserve important writings from throughout western Europe.
Viking plunderers menaced Ireland beginning around AD 700, and some of the Norse invaders eventually settled on the island. Three centuries later, English warriors intervened in a dispute between two Irish kings, beginning England’s long involvement in Ireland. Religion played a key role in the struggles: The majority of the Irish were Catholic, and they were often at odds with their Protestant English rulers. The fiercest and most bitter battles occurred in the mid-1600s, when Oliver Cromwell reasserted English control by shedding much Irish blood, seizing the lands of his opponents and desecrating Catholic cathedrals all across the land.
The horrific potato famine of the mid-1800s killed a million people in Ireland and forced another million to leave the country. It also intensified resistance to English rule, because many believed English leaders should have done more to aid the starving people in Ireland. A long and bloody struggle for independence culminated in the Easter Rising of 1916 and the subsequent Anglo-Irish War, which came to an end in 1921. As a part of the agreement that ended the war, the majority of the island became an independent country—the Republic of Ireland (Eire). The northeastern sixth of the island, which has a Protestant majority, remained part of the U.K. as Northern Ireland.
In 1973, Ireland joined the European Economic Community (now the European Union), which gave it a tremendous boost through expanded trade opportunities and economic investment. By the late 1990s, when many high-technology firms opened offices there, it became the fastest-growing economy in the industrialized world. Signs of its prosperity are evident in the capital and in new construction around the country. In 2002, Ireland adopted the European currency, the euro.
The global economic downturn in 2009-10 had an adverse effect on Ireland, but despite that it is business as usual.