Information and tips for booking a holiday trip to the West of Ireland

The West of Ireland, home to Galway, Connemara, Mayo, Clare and Croagh Patrick has a rugged coastline that is home to many ports and small islands. The natural beauty combined with the friendliness of locals who provide some of the best traditional Irish music you are likely to hear, make this area a magnet for some of the seven million tourists who visit Ireland each year.

There are so many things to see and do in the West of Ireland that I’ve put together some information and tips for booking a holiday trip to the West of Ireland.

When to travel

The summer months of mid-June through mid-September are high season in Ireland, when costs of flights are higher, as is accommodation. The shoulder season is April, May and early June, plus early October offers lower prices whilst retaining many of the summer perks including longer days, good weather and extended shopping hours. Traveling to Ireland between November through March will see some attractions closed for the season, though prices can be half those of the summer.

How to travel around

If you want to focus your trip on the West of Ireland and time is limited, fly into Shannon airport near Limerick. From Shannon Airport, Bus Eireann has over a hundred routes that can take you to almost anywhere in Ireland.

Car hire

Car hire is a good idea as outside of the major cities; public transport is not very good. Cars can be hired from the airport, and it is possible to book online in advance. It may appear expensive, but it will save you hours of time and gives you the freedom to stay in places longer than most organized coach tours.

Heritage site card

OPW Heritage card.Buying an OPW (Office of Public Works) Heritage site card offers entry into over 600 national monuments for only EUR40 euros per person. In the West of Ireland, this includes Athenry Castle, Aughnanure Castle, Ballycroy National Park, Boyle Abbey, Connemara National Park, Coole Park, Céide Fields, Dun Aonghasa, Ionad Cultúrtha an Phiarsaigh, Conamara, Portumna Castle and Gardens as well as Rathcroghan. If you plan your visit to coincide with the first Wednesday of every month, entrance to sites are free.

Food and drink

Irish breakfast - sausages, eggs.Ireland is now famous for its fresh local food. A full Irish is a must do when you visit Ireland, a plate full of sausage, eggs, boxty, mushrooms, tomatoes, bacon and beans. The movement towards local produce and sustainability has dramatically increased, so that is sometimes possible to find out what field the animal was grazing in before it arrived on your plate. Vegans and vegetarians are also increasingly being well catered for. (See The Best Restaurants in Ireland)


Your choice of accommodation in the West of Ireland is extensive. You can choose glamping, B&B or hotels. There are caravan rentals, camping rentals, castle stays, and hostels. Many hostels are affordable, and some have private rooms and en-suites just like hotels.

Weather in the West of Ireland

There is much banter about the weather in the West of Ireland, and you can experience four seasons on one day, but the temperatures are usually mild, even if it is raining. Out on the cliffs and along the coastline, the wind coming off the sea can make it feel quite cold. Just be prepared for rain.

What to pack

Mountain boots.Good hiking or walking shoes or boots are a good idea as you will no doubt be tramping up gravel pathways, negotiating mud puddles from the rain and many sites are in what looks like the middle of a farmer’s field or up to a muddy path. Wearing layers of clothing makes the best sense in such a changeable climate. A good warm waterproof jacket will come in handy when visiting the Cliffs or coastal areas, so if flying, wear this onto the plane to save luggage space.


You will need a converter or adapter for any devices you might bring with you if you do not use the three-prong system that works in Ireland and the UK. These are easy to find at most department stores.

What’s on during your visit

Check what’s on when you’re going to be in the West of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations may mean that tourist accommodation is limited, and restaurants booked out. If there is a religious holiday such as Easter or Christmas, many places will be closed. There may also be parades, celebrations, fireworks, and festivals could cause delays to your itinerary.


WIFI is good in the West of Ireland, but there are many remote places where WIFI is nonexistent. This means a reliance on a road atlas, though even if you do get lost, you will find something you never thought you would see.

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