What to Pack for Ireland in the Summer—I’m Leaving Today!

I’m heading to Ireland today for the 20-somethingth time. My husband is from Cork and most of his family lives there, so we visit often. By now I’m an Irish packing expert. The thing about Ireland is, you never know what the weather will be like. The country is an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and the weather changes by the hour and the mile. The weather forecast looks beautiful for next week, but I don’t believe it. Here’s my advice for what to pack when traveling to Ireland with photos of what I’m taking in my suitcase.

Follow along on my personal Instagram account if you’d like to see what I do (and wear) in Ireland.

Athletic wear and layers. Honestly, this is what I’ll be wearing most of the time. Cork is quite casual and the main attractions are outdoors. The days are wonderfully long in the summer and the countryside is gorgeous. We’ll spend a lot of time chatting over tea with our family, but we always take a few good hikes along the coast or in an old forest. They won’t be strenuous enough to require hiking shoes, but I’ll definitely take my On sneakers, my must-have travel Lululemon Define Jacket and my favorite Athleta joggers. I’m also taking a light puffer jacket and a windbreaker. They don’t take up much room in my bag and I’ve never been sorry to have extra layers.

Comfortable shoes. I wrote a post dedicated to the joys of comfortable shoes and when traveling in Ireland they are essential. The countryside is rugged and even city sidewalks can be bumpy, slippery and steep. I’m bringing two pair of sneakers, some slip on flats and a pair of white booties for the few dressier occasions we have planned. I hope the summery white lightens up my mostly dark ensembles.

Versatile dark clothing, with pops of color. Verdant Ireland can be damp and muddy even on sunny days. I’m going to be clambering up castle walls and having pints in historic pubs, so I don’t want to deal with spills and stains. I love following a color palette for travel, because everything can be worn multiple ways and multiple times. I’m mostly following a black and white theme, but adding a few pops of coral, because the vibrant hues are cheerful and photograph well in Ireland, even on gray days.

One nice outfit for going out (but not too nice.) This swingy black skirt below is comfy and wrinkle-free. I can wear it with a nice blouse and boots to a restaurant for dinner or with a t-shirt and sneakers for shopping in town. I’ve noticed many young women go all out in the evenings, wearing strappy heels and cocktail dresses to the pub. At 60, I’m way past trying that hard.

Functional Accessories. I always bring a hat and hair ties because with the wind and humidity my hair looks awful most of the time in Ireland. I recommend taking hands-free bags like a backpack or a crossbody bag. Also, bring a light tote bag for groceries and shopping. Plastic bags are a no-no in Ireland, everybody expects you to bring your own. And no matter how sunny the forecast looks, don’t forget your umbrella!

Okay, I’ve got a lot to do before my flight this evening so I’ll sign off. I’ll post more about this family trip when I return. Cheers, or as they say in Irish, Sláinte!

Wherever you’re headed this summer, here are a couple other stories about packing you might enjoy:

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