Ireland, the Emerald Isle is a stunning
country full of ancient history and some
of the most warm people that you'll ever meet.
Top of the morning to ya!
Have ye seen me pot of gold, mister?
How about me potatoes?
What? Are you a walking stereotype?
No, I just wanted to like
get us in the mood of things.
Nobody says top of the morning to you
except for your annoying co-worker on
St. Paddy's Day. True
Ireland is one of our all-time favorite destinations.
Friendly locals, rugged
beautiful scenery and an evolving
cuisine that's one of the most underrated in Europe.
Ireland holds one of the richest cultures in Europe with
over 7,000 years of history from ancient
burial grounds to Iron Age fortresses
and some of the most intact ruins on the continent.
Ireland is a product of
thousands of years of emigration and conquest,
from the Celts who gave the
island its language, music, and the arts,
to the Vikings who raided Ireland but
built some of its largest cities
including Dublin, to the British who
ruled Ireland as a colony for nearly eight hundred years.
During the Dark Ages
Irish monks played a crucial role in
preserving ancient knowledge, locking
themselves up in remote monasteries like
Skellig Michael now famous from Star Wars
the Last Jedi where they
transcribed old books into beautiful
manuscripts such as the Book of Kells
which is on display at Dublin's Trinity College.
Today, just over a hundred years after gaining
independence from Britain, Ireland is
really finding its stride as a travel destination.
Here are some of the highlights:
Dublin, Ireland's capital, is much more than just
a pub crawl.
It's also a UNESCO city of literature thanks
to authors such as James Joyce and Oscar Wilde,
as well as the capital of
Ireland's bustling design scene.
Galway is the offbeat live music capital of the west coast.
It's the best place to
discover traditional Irish music and
sample some of Ireland's world-famous oysters.
From Galway explore the Wild Atlantic Way,
the longest coastal scenic highway on earth
and one of the world's best road trips, period.
It's got everything from the Cliffs of Moher to
surf towns like Strandhill and fishing
villages like Kinsale in the south.
Down south the food scene of Cork is not to be missed,
not just in the city either,
the farms and fjords of West Cork are
the breadbasket of Ireland and we highly
suggest you get out there and explore.
Then there's Northern Ireland, which has
finally overcome the sectarian violence
of the last century to become a major
tourist draw in its own right.
With everything from the
iconic Giant's Causeway to the awards
winning Titanic experience in Belfast
and of course for all you Game of Thrones
fans the real-life Winterfell.
And yes, you can even visit the direwolves.
We've already covered all of
our favourite destinations in Ireland in
a separate video, so click on this card
to watch that next, but stay tuned for
all the practical information that
you're going to need to plan your trip
starting with when to visit.
The Emerald Isle is green because it rains.
The Romans called it Hibernia because it
seemed to be winter all year long.
So bring your rain jacket.
The safest bet is to avoid winter entirely and aim for
summer where temperatures range between
20 and 33 Celsius or 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
We always film in the shoulder seasons;
we love traveling during the shoulder seasons,
and here in Ireland the shoulder seasons
that we recommend you visit in
are May to June or September and October
when the weather is still pretty mild
but the crowds are a fraction of the summertime.
When it comes to packing,
expect wet weather all year round.
So always pack a rain jacket as well as
really good waterproof footwear,
especially if you're trying to do any
sort of hiking because just a little bit
of rain can turn the paths really really muddy.
It's common to see a couple of
seasons in a day so even if it's sunny
when you leave your hotel in the morning
always dress in layers so you can take
clothes on and off as the temperature changes,
and always pack that rain jacket or umbrella.
You'll be thankful if you do.
If you find yourself underprepared, don't worry.
There's plenty of shops in Ireland
to find that functional and stylish
outerwear that you need.
We recommend getting started in Dublin with the shops
Indigo and Cloth and Makers and Brothers.
Also do not forget to bring the proper power adapter.
It's the same one that
you use in the UK, and it's different
than the one that you use in Europe.
Sounds good, right? But how much does it cost?
Let's talk about money.
Ireland is technically split into two countries :
The Republic of Ireland, which is in the EU
and on the euro and Northern Ireland,
which is part of the UK and uses the British pound.
ATMs are widely available;
credit cards are accepted
pretty much everywhere, but some places
like pubs, especially, will only accept debit cards or cash.
Interesting side note: even though the Republic of Ireland uses euros,
they still use the slang term for pounds.
They still call 20 euros 20 quid.
If you hear Irish people saying 20 quid,
it still means 20 euros, even though
it's referring to British pounds.
Kind of confusing, but if you want to talk
like a local, say 20 quid.
Ireland is not really a budget destination.
It's not as expensive as the UK or Scandinavia, but
it's considerably more expensive than
eastern or southern Europe... about a
hundred euros a day should be a proper solid budget.
You could get by with about 75 euros a day,
but you're going to be pinching pennies.
If you want to live it up,
one hundred fifty euros a day should be plenty.
Your biggest cost is accommodation.
There's a lot of options in the mid to luxury
range, from charming Georgian town houses
or design hotels in Dublin, to palatial
country homes in the countryside but
there are not a lot of really cheap options.
Your basic hostel will cost you twenty five euros.
It's not bad, but it's not as
cheap as other parts of the world and
free camping is not allowed.
If you expect just to pitch your tent anywhere
you see a green pasture, you'll be surprised..
You might get in trouble with the police.
Alcohol is surprisingly expensive for a
country so closely associated with pints and pubs.
So if you are on a tight budget,
buy your booze at the supermarket.
Maybe get a bottle of local Irish whiskey, and
you know, bring a flask.
Be a little cheeky; be a little sneaky.
You can figure it out.
Long story short, you don't have to go out
and get blind drunk.
If you go to the pub,
have one or two pints and call it a night.
Meals and restaurants typically
cost around twenty euros for lunch, slightly
more for dinner. Of course there are the
fast food options like the rest of
Europe from kebabs and curries to the
old standby of fish and chips.
And like the UK, most hotels offer a full Irish breakfast.
It's a really, really filling breakfast,
and it usually comes with a
vegetarian option as well included in the hotel price.
Our tip is to load up
on a late breakfast, skip lunch then find
a reasonably priced pub for a quality
dinner and a pint. More tips on where and
what to eat a little later in this video.
The good news is you can save money
getting to Ireland on the cheap.
Let's move on to transportation.
I would say that Ireland is an easy country to get to
and a slow country to get around.
Let me explain.
Ireland is the home of budget airline Ryanair,
which has tons of cheap tickets
all across Europe, sometimes just a
couple of euros, but be aware of hidden
charges and make sure that you're
traveling carry-on only to really reap the benefits.
It's also the closest
European Union country to the United States,
which means transatlantic flights
are usually quite cheap, especially when
you're using Aer Lingus, Ireland's
national carrier or some of the budget
airlines like Wow Air, which offer
round-trip transatlantic flights via New York City
for around three hundred US dollars.
But if you're going to use these budget airlines,
be forewarned, they will get you
with checked baggage fees, food, even water.
So be prepared.
Getting between cities is very easy.
There are trains connecting all major cities and there
are also very cheap buses that you can
get for well under twenty euros from like Dublin to Galway.
And if you're feeling adventurous,
hitchhiking is relatively easy in Ireland.
I once did it in the dead of winter
to go visit the Cliffs of Moher
and then make it back to Galway.
It was a very cheap, very fun, and very easy.
The soul of Ireland is in the countryside..
rolling hills, small towns,
and peninsulas that stretch off into the
open ocean on the Wild Atlantic Way,
a beautiful stretch of coastal road that
spans nearly the entire west coast of the country.
You can get tons of ideas
for your road trip on the website
Wild Atlantic Way.com, but our best tip is to
find the roads that lead down the
finger-like fjords of West Cork.
It's truly a beautiful place.
Also if you haven't already seen our two different
vlog series from the Island of Ireland,
we did one in the Republic of Ireland
and one in Northern Ireland.
Make sure you check those out
before you book your flight.
There's also plenty of smaller airports along
the Wild Atlantic Way from Sligo to
Shannon to Cork and many more.
If you're doing the road trip along the
Wild Atlantic Way, this is a great money and
time saver because you can fly into one
airport, rent the car, drive up to
the next one, return it there and fly
home from a smaller airport all without
doing the gigantic loop back to Dublin.
One last thing... do not underestimate
road distances in Ireland.
It may say it's only a hundred miles or 100 kilometres,
but Irish roads, many of them, are very small,
one lane twisty curvy country roads,
and distances take a lot longer to
cover in real life than they do on Google Maps.
Also cars drive on the
left-hand side of the road and the vast
majority of them run on diesel so do not put
regular unleaded fuel in your diesel
rental car or you will be footing a very, very large bill.
Now that we've covered the basics,
let's dive in to the juicy stuff:
stereotypes, controversies, and the
do's and the don'ts of visiting Ireland.
Ireland is a wonderful country plagued
by ridiculous stereotypes, many of them
admittedly coming from our own country
of the United States of America where
ironically everyone claims to be Irish
on Saint Paddy's Day, but we're still
plagued by these misconceptions.
Many of our misconceptions about the Irish come
from the mid 1800s when millions of
Irish emigrated to the United States and
elsewhere to escape the Great Potato Famine,
which killed over two million Irish.
For instance, it's not true that the
Irish sit around drinking Guinness all day.
Alcohol consumption is more or less
on par with the rest of Europe.
The portrayal of Irish as drunkards
partially comes from American
anti-immigrant propaganda when nativist
wanted to portray Irish as too drunk to work.
What about St. Paddy's Day, you might say?
Well hate to break it to you,
but that is a holiday that is celebrated
much more in the United States than it
is in Ireland, so don't come to Dublin
expecting a giant celebration.
You're better off going to Boston or Chicago
Not all Irish have red hair.
In fact only about 9% of them do.
However, Irish do have Celtic roots so
their DNA is similar to people from
Scotland, Wales, and even the Basque Country
in northern Spain.
Nor do the Irish lived solely off potatoes.
Sure, the Irish were some of the first
Europeans to adopt this Peruvian tuber
after it was introduced by the Spanish to Europe,
but it was because it was a
great source of calories for poor Irish farmers.
But Irish food has evolved so much since then.
So on that note let's
discuss the essential foodie experiences
to have while you're in Ireland.
Ireland's food culture is so good because its
geography makes agriculture small-scale,
local, and family-owned by nature.
One of the best places to sample locavore
cuisine is Anair restaurant in Galway
where chef JP MacMahon uses only
ingredients sourced from the west of
Ireland to create incredible dishes that
will blow your tastebuds right out of your mouth.
To really get on the foodie trail though,
you need to head south to
County Cork, the larder of Ireland where
pretty much anywhere you eat will be
local, organic, and absolutely delicious.
Ireland has great cheese because there's
plenty of green pastures for cows to graze.
We visited the Grabeen farm in West Cork,
one of the best producers in the country.
Their cheeses are available in specially shops
and supermarkets all across Ireland.
Ireland has a thriving
fishing industry and some of the best
fresh seafood in the world ,including
their oysters just outside of Galway.
Go to Morans on the Weir just outside of
Galway for the full seafood experience.
A classic dish is Irish stew made with
lamb, potatoes, and stout, which is perfect
for warming you up after a cold day or a surf
in the Atlantic as we did in Strandhill at Shells Cafe,
a lovely restaurant with an amazing cookbook,
The Surf Cafe Cookbook.
I've made their Guinness and beef stew recipe many times.
It's always a hit with my friends,
and this is a great cookbook
Also try the morning pie. It's delicious.
Lastly, we recommend trying seaweed
formerly a staple of the Irish diet
until it became viewed as poor people's food.
These days adventurous foodies are
rediscovering the health benefits of
seaweed and using it in all different
styles of cooking. In West Cork we joined
a kayaking tour where we foraged for
fresh seaweed in an incredibly scenic
area then brought it back to shore and
ate it for lunch. Did we mention that
there's a place called Voya Spa where
you can book a seaweed bath?
Trust us, this is incredible and it needs to be
on your Irish bucket list.
Okay enough about food.
What about Guinness? Guinness is
popular worldwide but you really haven't
had a Guinness until you've had one in Ireland.
And although the Guinness Storehouse
is a great experience,
touristic yes but awesome, most locals
will tell you that the key to a good
Guinness is the tap at the pub,
specifically the lines that connect the keg to the tap.
Some pubs have cleaner
and better lines than others; every local
has their preference so ask around and
never drink Guinness from a can.
Then there's Irish whiskey, which uses
barley instead of corn, rye, or wheat like
American bourbon, which is triple
distilled making it a little bit more
approachable than scotch whisky.
Jameson and Bushmills are the two most famous
Irish whiskeys, but head to a proper
whiskey bar like Shellbournes in Cork
which have a much wider selection and
can line you up with a proper Irish whiskey tasting.
Speaking of drinking,
here are some important do's and don'ts in Ireland,
starting in the pub.
Do buy drinks in rounds when you're in a group.
Everybody takes turns; it will come back to you,
but if you buy just a drink for yourself,
it's seen as rude.
Don't take offense at Irish humor or salty language.
The Irish love a laugh,
sometimes at your expense.
It's all in good fun, so feel free to
give as much as you get and swearing is
pretty common, especially with the word feck.
It's kind of like saying
darn but with the F word.
Don't battle the crowds to see the Cliffs of Moher.
Yes, they are iconic; they are gorgeous;
they are truly a landmark of Ireland.
However, they're almost always swamped
with tourists and often covered in fog.
Instead head up to County Donegal to see
the Cliffs of Slieve League.
They're higher and far less crowded.
Do take time to get to know the locals,
especially in the smaller villages.
Locals are usually quite friendly and more than willing to
discuss the hot topics of the day in a
friendly and cordial manner no matter
how controversial the subject may be.
Don't, and I can't believe I actually
have to say this, do not dress up like a
leprechaun and expect people to react
well to it and yes I'm talking to you
sitting in your college dorm room or
your frat house sitting there going oh
going to Dublin let me just dress like
a leprechaun no no do not do this.
The same goes for poor attempts at Irish
accents or just asking everybody about
your last name and where you come from
because nobody knows ok there's a lot of
people the same last names and your
ancestry is just not that important to
the average guy at the pub right here.
On a more serious note definitely do
familiarize yourself with the
controversial history of Northern Ireland
and Ireland's struggle for
independence from Great Britain.
Everyone should do their homework and their
research before visiting Ireland or
Northern Ireland just to be aware.
But, the short version of the history is this:
Ireland was Britain's first colony and
its longest held, nearly eight hundred years in total.
The Republic of Ireland gained
independence from Great Britain only one hundred
years ago and the mostly Protestant enclave
of Northern Ireland remained part of
Great Britain and still does to this day.
The last century was full of political
turmoil, civil unrest, and innocent
bloodshed as the Irish Republican Army
battled the British security forces in
The tit-for-tat bloodshed claimed many innocent civilian lives
and turned Belfast into a war zone
divided along Protestant and Catholic
lines until the Good Friday Agreement of
the 1990s finally brought peace.
There is currently no violence and no border
separating the two nations as both are
part of the European Union.
However, because Northern Ireland is part
of the UK and the UK just voted to leave
the European Union with Brexit,
the future of this border remains uncertain.
As a visitor you have nothing to worry
about in terms of safety.
Just be aware that the conflict has touched every
corner of Irish society and evokes
strong emotions still to this day.
Do be respectful when discussing the issue,
and to state the obvious, don't walk into
a bar in Belfast and order an Irish car bomb.
Instead do consider taking a street art tour of Belfast.
It shows how Belfast murals, which once
divided the city along ethnic lines, are
now being used to heal the wounds of the
past with creativity.
Lastly, do take some time to learn a little bit of
Irish Gaelic, a language that predates English
and is still spoken widely in many rural
areas and the islands off the coast of Ireland.
It's not essential for
communication but the language is
closely tied to Irish identity and most
locals appreciate the effort.
Here are some useful phrases. Basic Gaelic....
starting with please and thank you.
If you're local and you can pronounce
better than me, which you probably can,
please add your pronunciation tips in the comment section.
Please is "Le do thoil"
Thank you is a bit more a mouthful
It's "Go raibn maith agat."
But the most practical and commonly used
as a tourist phrase is probably "Cheers."
"Slainte." That one's easy.
That one's very useful, and you know it's
a good little start towards your Gaelic learning process.
lf all of that seems a bit daunting,
here is a very useful local
phrase that you can easily wrap your head around:
"Craic," which loosely translates to "fun."
Ask a local, "Where's the craic?"
and they'll most likely point you in the direction of the most
fun pub in town.
Finally, if you want to learn more about Irish culture,
here are a few more resources starting with books:
Oscar Wilde is one of the greatest
English language writers. His book the
Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favorites.
Of course there's also James Joyce.
He's famous for writing Ulysses,
which is a stream-of-consciousness novel
that is incredibly difficult to read.
Good luck if you want to attempt it.
You can also go on the pub tour that takes
you to a lot of places he featured in that book,
but I would personally recommend Dubliners.
It's a collection of
his short stories that all take place in Ireland
and are much more accessible and a good
way to get insight into Ireland in that time period.
For films that show a lot
about life in Ireland, I'd recommend you watch
Once, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, and the
Netflix series Can't Cope Won't Cope.
Okay. That's everything we think you need
to know before you visit Ireland.
If we missed anything or if you've got anything
to add, please add your comments down in
the comment section below.
Last but not least, please remember if
you enjoyed this video give it a big
thumbs- up, share it with your travel
buddies, and make sure you're subscribed
to the Vagabrothers channel so you don't
miss any upcoming adventures or travel tips videos.
Okay so in the meantime stay curious,
keep exploring and we'll see you on the road.....
maybe the Wild Atlantic Way