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Best Places to Travel Solo: Ireland

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The Cliffs of Moher, pints of Guinness, myths and legends, and the greenest grass you have ever seen; Ireland is somewhere every traveller should visit at least once in their lifetime. Already on your list but you can’t convince your friends to come with you? Don’t worry about it. Pack your bag, grab your passport, and board the next flight, because solo travel in Ireland is pretty epic. Need convincing? Here are a few reasons why.

SOLO TRAVEL

A Choice of Accommodations

Ireland is one of few places that actually has a decent choice of accommodations that won’t burst your travel budget. Hostels are always a favourite among solo travellers, and there are plenty to be found around the country (many of which are, conveniently, attached to pubs!).

However, for those who aren’t big fans of the hostel life, yet don’t want to spend all the money on a hotel room, I recommend B&Bs. Irish B&Bs are some of the best in the world; with friendly hosts and full Irish breakfasts to start your day, you may never want to leave.

Owners are helpful and often willing to go out of their way to help solo travellers experience the best of what the area has to offer. This is especially true in terms of solo female travellers, whom most owners tend to keep an extra eye out for.

Check hotels.com, booking.com or even airbnb for some top rated options.

Tip: Keep in mind when booking a B&B; some are located quite a ways out of town. So if you don’t have a car, make sure to ask about the location and make sure it’s either within walking distance or there is public transportation.

Friar's Glen B&B just ourside of Killarney

Ease of Transportation

There’s no need of worrying about having to rent a car to travel around which is one of the best benefits of solo travel in Ireland (although, road tripping it is a great way to see the country). Ireland is well connected by a network of buses, and for some routes, trains. Tickets can be purchased in advance (online or in the station) or right before departure at the station. Student fares are available, though purchasing them in person is not recommended as some stations only accept Irish student ID. So to be safe, it’s best to book online.

Another bonus: bus tickets are not specific to certain times, only certain days. So if your trip has a stopover in a small village and you want to stretch your legs and explore, there’s no issue with getting on a later bus. Express buses are also available on some routes, though they will cost you a little extra. However, depending on the route they may be worth it.

Tip: Bus tickets are significantly less expensive than train tickets and in many circumstances (ie Dublin to Galway), the bus route is faster.

Major Irish Bus lines include: Bus Éireann and City Link.

Many Options of Affordable Day Trips

Ireland is small, and there is plenty you can see by just taking day trip. Local tour offices in major cities offer a variety of tours targeted to your needs and interests to multiple destinations across the Island. It’s a great way to see the sights, and if you get a good guide, hear some great folklore and stories about the area. It’s also a great way to meet fellow travellers. Before you book, check and see if your hotel has any discounts or affiliation with a certain company, and check online for discount codes. Student fares are available on most tours if you have proper ID (any student ID is accepted).

There are plenty of day trip options available from both Dublin and Galway, many of which are priced around the $50 mark. Some of my favourites to recommend are:

From Dublin: Northern Ireland, Wicklow and Glendalough, Cliffs of Moher

From Galway: Aran Islands, Connemara and Kylemore Abbey, Cliffs of Moher

Pub Life

The Irish are known for being friendly, and this stereotype doesn’t disappoint. If you are looking to get in with the locals, Ireland is a great place to do it, and what better place to find yourself some local friends than at the pub.

Pubs are great and many serve as restaurants as well as the watering hole for your nightly entertainment. All age groups can be found here; from young and barely legal teenagers to old grandfathers with hearing aids and jaunty caps. The pub culture of Ireland is one of the best things in the country and everyone is welcome.

Don’t worry about being alone, just grab a seat at the bar and chat to the bartender. Sooner or later you’ll fall into conversation with some fellow patrons and before you know it you’ll have some new drinking buddies.

For some of the best pubs in Dublin check out this post. Or, for some of my favourites in Galway, check this list. 

*Tip: Proper Irish drinking etiquette is to buy everyone a round. So if people are taking turns buying you drinks, it’s not just because you are alone or good looking. Keep things going by buying everyone a round when it’s your turn, or else you might lose your new found friends.

A night out at the pub

So if you dream of chasing leprechauns (or more likely, sheep), dancing to traditional music in pubs, and drinking your weight in Irish beer with locals, then head to Ireland for an epic solo travel experience.

Tips to Keep in Mind: aka How NOT to Make a Fool of Yourself in Ireland

  • When people tell you the ‘crack’ is great, they aren’t talking about drugs. Craic is the Irish word for a fun atmosphere. So if you are looking for a good time, yes you want to go somewhere with great craic.
  • If you are waiting to be served and someone asks if you are alright, they don’t actually care how your day is going. They are ready to help you or take your order.
  • A proper Guinness is poured in stages, so don’t panic if you order and the bartender pours half your pint and then moves along to someone else. He/ she didn’t forget about you, just give it a minute.
  • Drinking in Ireland is a social event; it’s not a race to see who can pound back the pints the fastest. Pace yourself.
  • Baby Guinness shots are the best things ever. Trust me.

Need a place to stay? I love using hotels.com, booking.com, and airbnb!

Must Have Travel Accessories for Solo Travel

I love solo travel, but it does mean I need to take some extra precautions. For any other solo travellers out there, especially my ladies, I highly recommend you pack the following:

Psst: Need more help planning your trip to Ireland? Check out my Ireland-specific blog, Ireland Stole My Heart for tips and advice.

Considering solo travel in Ireland? Its the perfect place for a solo trip. Here's why. #Ireland #Solotravel #solofemaletravel

*This article was updated Jan 2018. 

33 thoughts on “Best Places to Travel Solo: Ireland

  1. Ryan Biddulph

    I rarely do the solo bit as my wife and I usually travel together but the thing that’d vibe with me most is that rental car situation. Hate it when a travel spot has you by the cajones – or other stuff lol – and you need to rent a car, to get around. Then they jack up those sweet prices. We ran into this in Fiji last year. But we were blessed, in that we could walk into town or get a cheap taxi to local spots. If we did travel, we sought out the advice of some Fijians, and we befriended a few, then hitchhiked with them. Not nearly as dangerous as it sounds, as I only nearly died like 3 to 4 times hahahaha!

    Ireland is beyond beautiful, and your stories and pictures painted a wonderful picture for us. Thanks so much and keep on inspiring Hannah!

    Ryan

  2. Alli

    I haven’t been to Ireland yet, Hannah! Soon though, soon! It looks incredible. The pub life seems incredibly fun in particular (You look ravishing in that photo).

  3. Ben Warner

    Fantastic perspective. I actually did Dublin solo in February 2013 after a work event.

    I thought it was extremely easy to meet new people, both local and tourist. I found myself taking the Jameson tour with two army boys from Germany, and later attending an Irish comedy show at a local pub (although some of the regional jokes I didn’t understand).

    Great beer, great people, not the best food or weather.

    Cheers!
    Ben
    http://www.HugePartyTravel.com

  4. Meg Jerrard

    Great post! Ireland really is one of the best places I have ever traveled solo – it’s just so easy, people are so welcoming and friendly, and you really do have friends wherever you go!

  5. Els

    Haha, yes, I was confused as well in the beginning when bartenders asked me if “I was allright” 🙂 Or if they said “Are you getting?”
    I learnt proper BBC English when I was at school, so this Irish variation was very confusing to me 🙂 But you gotta love the pubs and the craic indeed! 🙂

  6. Sammi Wanderlustin'

    Can you believe I haven’t been to Ireland? And yes I know it’s right there! I was hoping my beau would have time to visit with me when he’s back in the UK because I wanna visit my beour and some of our friends from Lapland whilst I’m there.

    1. Hannah Logan Post author

      Haha yes you read the crack right…aren’t you glad I gave you the heads up? Haha.
      Budget depends on where you stay. Hostels in the bigger cities ( epecially Temple Bar district in Dublin) are pricey, especially on weekends, and for the same 40-50 euro you may be able to find a good B&B. In the smaller towns expect 15-20 euro/night. Busses you can average out between 10-20 euro or so each route (one ways). As for tours, the most expensive are the 12-13 hour all day trips from Dublin and, as of my last visit in March 2014, were about 65 euro at the highest end. Food you can go all over the place from cheap sandwiches at cafes to full meals at restaurants. You can definitely make food budget work how you want. If you are planning a trip and looking for specific recommendations feel free to contact me, I’m happy to help!

  7. Nina

    Hi Hannah,

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I’ve been to Ireland only twice (Cork, and we recently celebrated new Year in Dublin) and it would be my top destination to travel solo. Ireland is fantastic, there are so many things to do and see and the people are so great. It’s so easy to meet new people in Ireland, top country! 🙂

  8. Toccara

    Good insights (crack, buying a round of drinks, Guinness pouring, etc.)… all good things to know before making your first trip to Ireland! We visited this summer and loved it. Everyone was super friendly and you cant beat the scenery!

  9. Jenna

    Totally agree with you on the Baby Guinness shots–love them! Reading though this makes me want to head back to Ireland–we absolutely loved it there and can definitely see how it would be a perfect place to travel solo!

  10. kami

    I’ve been twice to Ireland but never did a solo travelling there, always went to visit friends. but it was such an easy country to travel around! I so would love to go back and explore some more!

  11. Lauren

    Would love to visit Ireland! Great tip about staying in B&Bs. I’m not a big hostel person really so I think that Justin and I would do great staying at some cute B&Bs! Would love to take in the environment, the scenery, and hopefully meet some people while there! 🙂

  12. Joleen

    I’m planning to go to Ireland for my first solo travel for my 19th birthday. I loved all the pictures and the blog posts about Ireland. And I cant wait to go. But the thing is I think i’m too young or too inexperienced to go there alone. I was thinking to just visit Galway, then stay there for the rest of my trip. Or just travel with my family. Any suggestions or tips?

    1. Hannah Logan Post author

      Honestly- I think Ireland is THE perfect place to start travelling as a solo female and I don’t have a single bad thing to say about Galway- although I definitely think you should explore more 🙂 feel free to email me with you want- more than happy to help you with tips and planning!

  13. brian@irelandfavorites

    Hi Hanna, Yes Ireland is a great place to travel solo, but there are some nuances also. The pub is more than just a bar to most locals and there can be quite a difference between big city tourist pubs, big city local pubs, and small country pubs. I would advise against strolling into a pub and buying a round for the bar, it won’t endear you to locals. The best way is to sit at the bar wait to be served and order a pint, fight the urge to engage others, wait for your Guinness to be poured properly, wait for your pint to settle and take a nice long sip, thank the barman. What happens next depending on the pub is most likely a local will ask what country you are from or what part of the states you are from, they know because your accent will give you away, in a nice way. Once a little conversation flows you find yourself right in the middle of a craicing good time.
    Cheers.

    1. Hannah Logan Post author

      Hey Brian. I definitely didn’t recommend walking into a new pub and just buying everyone a round- I don’t think most travellers could afford that, especially in the busy pubs 😉 it was more of a comment for when you meet or go out with a group of Irish friends. I’ve done exactly what you said- sit at the bar with my pint- many times and ended up in a small group of locals. In that situation you need to kick in the rounds- although usually I don’t start them.

  14. Tanvee

    Hey! I’m planning a trip to Ireland sometime in November. This is my first solo trip so I’m completely lost as to how and where to begin! How long before do you need to start the planning and the bookings? Also, any recommendations for some of the best places to visit? Thank you! Any tips and suggestions will be highly appreciated.

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  17. Kanika Bakshi

    One thing I will say about Ireland is that. The cheapest country, people in there are nice and would not easily fool you but if you are a solo traveler they might fool, people always take an advantage.thanks for the article

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