A backpacker’s guide to Ireland

Ireland’s not big on the map, but once you get there it will seem much bigger. The large expanses of open countryside, scenic coasts and the occasional small village, quaint town and lively city are just what the intrepid backpacker needs. One day you could be having a pint in a crowded pub in a hip city, and the next you could be roaming the wilderness of a remote island. The phenomenal thing about Ireland is that you can have an amazing number of different experiences despite the country’s small size. Backpacking in Ireland is an eye-opening  journey that will teach you the essentials about this amazing country, so here ‘s a backpacker’s guide to Ireland.


There are two ways of getting to Ireland from the continent: by boat or by plane. There are lots of boat and ferry services making runs between Ireland and Britain or France, so if you don’t get seasick and you don’t mind a couple of extra hours of traveling. However, it might be more budget-friendly to just take the plane, especially since low-cost Irish airline Ryanair has some great offers most of the time. Getting around Ireland is not going to be especially hard on your wallet either, especially since the infrastructure is very well developed and there are lots of trains or buses to choose from in order to get the best value for money. While it might seem like a better idea to book your ticket online for Irish Rail and Bus Eireann, not all fares are posted on their sites and you might get cheaper tickets if you buy them at the station.


photo by Peter Gerken

If you are planning on staying at hostels, there are plenty of them in every village and town in Ireland where tourists are not a novelty. Even if you are visiting places that are not on the usual tourist route (although there are few of these), you will be able to find a Bed&Breakfast or a cheaper hotel. Camping is possible in summer, but sleeping in a tent is risky because the weather can get rainy quite suddenly. In summer, you can stay at university digs in major university towns, but if you are looking to hook up with other travelers, hostels are the best option.


Food is generally not cheap in Ireland if you want to eat out. However, if you are living in self-catering accommodation and you have a stove and a fridge, you can buy reasonably cheap groceries from supermarkets like Tesco. You can also find farmer’s markets practically in every inhabited area, and fresh produce is cheaper than in stores. For cooked meals, try pubs instead of restaurants – you can get homemade soups or carvery lunches (potatoes, veggies and roast).




Leave a Reply