a house by the sea how much does a trip to Ireland cost
A house by the ocean in Northern Ireland. Photo: goinyk

How Much Does a Trip to Ireland Cost?

Updated June 2024–Are you dreaming of visiting Ireland? Is the cost of a vacation to the Emerald Isle a mystery to you?

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In reality, you could spend anywhere from $2,500 and up on a trip but it all comes down to how long you want to spend in Ireland, what you want to see, what time of year you’d like to visit, the type of accommodation you prefer, how you plan to get around, and your budget.

There really is no easy answer, other than to provide you with up-to-date information on how much it might cost to get to Ireland, how much you can expect to pay on hotels and such, as well as the expenses you may incur while you're there.

1. The Cost of Flights to Ireland

This will likely be the most expensive part of your trip.

a man using a laptop how much does a triip to Ireland cost
Photo: rawf8

However, the price of your airfare will depend on when you travel to Ireland.

To get an idea of how much you could be paying for airfare to Ireland, it’s best to first check on search engine tools like Google Flights, Hopper, Momondo, Skyscanner, and Kayak, which are all useful first steps in your initial research.

When using Google Flights to do your research, you will need a Google account (a Gmail address).

Choose your departing city, the dates you’d like to leave, and then let Google Flights do the rest. Be sure to click on the alerts button so that you are notified of changes over time.

an airplane in the sky how much does a trip to Ireland cost
Photo courtesy of Aer Lingus.

Aer Lingus is a popular option for many and as of now they've just added Las Vegas to the list of North American cities that they fly from. A typical fare on the airline is about $800 round trip but you can get lower fares depending on your departing city and the time of year you fly.

Aer Lingus also runs a number of sales each year, which offers further savings.

American Airlines, Delta and United all fly from the US as does Play Airlines and Icelandair (you'll be making a connection in Reykjavik before continuing on to Dublin).

You can also fly from the US to London, then catch a connecting flight to say, Ireland West Airport. Be prepared to switch at Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world. That option is probably best suited to passengers in the New York area.

2. The Cost of Accommodation in Ireland

At one time, B&Bs were the preferred choice for tourists to Ireland, but today, there are a range of accommodation options to suit every budget.

irelandonabudget.com
The Slieve League B&B in Co. Donegal, a stone's throw from the well-known cliffs. Photo courtesy of the Slieve League B&B.

They include the traditional Irish B&Bs, hotels, rental properties (including AirBnbs), glamping sites, hostels, and more.

Given the current shortage of accommodation in some areas of Ireland due to the ongoing migrant crisis, I'd suggest you book at least three months in advance.

What to Expect to Pay for a B&B in Ireland

It's quite difficult to get an accurate figure on the typical price of a B&B in Ireland these days.

My best guess is that the price averages around €50 per person, but that fee depends greatly on the location of the B&B.

Accommodation in Dublin and other major cities is naturally more expensive than comparable properties in Ireland’s countryside, and B&Bs in hotspots like Killarney and Dingle will be more expensive.

The interior of the Cairnbay Lodge in Bangor, Co. Down. Photo: Chris Mullen, Cairn Bay Lodge.

Some are commonly referred to as guesthouses and are rated from 1 star to 5 stars if they are registered with Fáilte Ireland, the country's tourism authority. Depending on their size and what they offer, they can also be classified as townhouses, country homes, farmhouses, and historic houses.

If budget is a concern, I’d recommend that you look for a 3-star B&B, although some with a higher rating will provide good value at decent rates.

All of Ireland’s 3-star guesthouses come with private bathrooms that are equipped with showers, in addition to a guest lounge and breakfast served each morning.

Staying in a family-owned B&B, no matter the cost, is a great way to immerse yourself in the Irish culture.

Budgeting for Hotel Stays in Ireland

Irish hotels, like their international counterparts, are rated using a star system. They range from 5-star establishments right down to 1-star hotels.

irelandonabudget.com
The interior of Kelly's hotel in Dublin, one of the more affordable places to stay in Dublin and a 3-star property. Photo courtesy of Kelly's.

If you’re watching your budget, I’d suggest a 3-star hotel.

According to April 2023 data from Fáilte Ireland, the average cost per night to stay in a 3-star hotel for two people is €135.76/$147.11 US/£115.50 Sterling/$201 CAD/$221.53 AUD.

Three-star hotels range from small, family-run accommodation to larger, more modern hotels. All have private bathrooms with shower facilities. Restaurants are usually part of the hotel and offer high-quality fare.

The Sligo Park Hotel. Photo: Sligo Park Hotel Facebook.

A little higher up the scale are 4-star hotels. According to the same data as cited above from Fáilte Ireland, they average around €154.79/$167.76 US/ £131.70 Sterling/$229.30 CAD/$252.63 AUD per night for two people.

The average prices quoted above may have increased since the time the referenced report was published. Exchange rates are based on May 2024 data.

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3. The Cost of Transportation in Ireland

Your transportation costs in Ireland will depend on whether you rent a car or not. It’s that simple.

Renting a car in Ireland is useful if you really want to get a feel for Ireland, especially the places that might be more difficult to get to by public transportation.

a train near a river using public transportation to see Ireland
A train in the Irish countryside. Photo: Bart Busschots, https://www.flickr.com/photos/bbusschots/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Using the Public Transportation System

If it seems like it is too expensive, then there are plenty of buses and trains that will get you to Ireland’s main towns and cities.

The actual cost of getting around by public transport is definitely way cheaper than a car rental.

Ways to cut down on costs include getting a Leap Visitor Card, which is most useful in Dublin and especially useful if you intend to use the city's public transport system a lot.

Dublin's public transport network includes Dublin Bus, the DART, the city’s electric rail system, and the Luas, the city’s tram system.

Dublin Bus2
Dublin Bus2

Short adult fares (1-3 stops) on Dublin Bus are €1.70 and long fares (up to 90 minutes of travel) are €2.60.

An adult return ticket on the DART averages about €5. A family all-day ticket on the DART will cost you €16.

Depending on how many “zones” you are traveling through in the city, a single adult fare on the Luas will cost between €1.70 and €2.60.

There are specific deals available on Ireland's rail network, known as Irish Rail, that you can avail of.

They include its Trekker Four-Day ticket for €88 per adult entitling you to four days of unlimited travel, and the Five-Day Explorer ticket for €128 per adult and €64 per child, which entitles you to unlimited travel for 5 out of 15 consecutive days on all Irish Rail lines.

More information on the various tickets available to passengers can be found on the Irish Rail website.

Bus Eireann
Bus Eireann

Getting around Ireland by bus is also doable, with buses operated by Ireland's national bus line, Bus Eireann, bringing passengers to even the most rural of areas. If you can get to a certain destination by train, you can be sure to complete the rest of your journey, if necessary, by bus.

Use the Transport for Ireland (TFI) apps to research your journey and book tickets.

An Aircoach bus. Photo: Creative Commons.

There are a number of private bus companies that you can catch to specific towns and cities and most are very affordable. They include Aircoach, JJ Kavanagh & Sons, Finnegan Bray,  Matthews Coaches,  Collins Coaches,  Wexford Bus, Citylink, and John McGinley Coach Travel.

Taxis in Ireland

Taxis are easily accessible in Dublin and around the country. Many visitors to Dublin use the Uber app.

While Uber is technically not allowed to operate in Ireland, the app will work fine. Expect a regular taxi driver to pick you up. Another way of hailing a taxi is to use the FreeNow app.

Dublin Taxis
Dublin Taxis

The initial charge in Dublin during the day is €3.80, with an additional €1.14-€1.50 per kilometer thereafter.

Use the taxi fare estimator on the Transport for Ireland website to calculate your fare in advance.

As of September 2022, every taxi must accept credit and debit card payments (Visa, Mastercard, American Express) as well as cash.

4. Car Rental Costs

Renting a car in Ireland can be expensive, especially during the peak season. Renting a car in the “shoulder season,” which is the period from mid-April through May and again in late September through October, is cheaper.

irelandonabudget.com
Photo: Twenty20photos

The average cost per day to rent a car is anywhere from $25 to $70. However, it depends upon the size of car you rent and what type of transmission you choose. Most Americans rent automatic cars, which drives the cost up.

All of the major car rental companies are in Ireland, and to be honest, most of them are good, although anyone who has rented a car in Ireland will have their own opinions depending on their experiences.

Websites like Discover Cars, Rentalcars.com, or AutoEurope are good places to start your research.

Credit Card 2
Photo: Getty Images.

Before renting a car in Ireland, be sure to read all of the fine print and use a credit card that will offset the cost of the CDW charge (Collision Damage Waiver), which is required. You may also want to take out additional insurance to cover you for things that are not included in the CDW.

5. Paying for a Package Tour to Ireland or Using a Private Driver

For some first-time visitors to Ireland, seeing the country on a fully guided tour is preferable.

There are many options available, including larger group tours and private tours that allow you to dictate what you want to see and when.

Such tours can cost anywhere from $1,500 per person and up. Most include accommodation, transportation around Ireland and some meals. A few may also include airfare as part of their package.

If you choose not to go on a formal tour, you could use a private driver, an option that is popular with tourists who are interested in airport transfers or transportation to more out-of-the-way places in Ireland that are not easily accessible by public transport.

A CIE Tours bus. Photo courtesy of CIE Tours.

Be sure to hire an SPSV-licensed private driver. SPSV stands for Small Public Service Vehicle. This requirement also applies to taxi drivers.

Proof should be displayed on the dashboard of the car. The cost to hire a private driver can be several hundred Euro depending on the mileage involved and the duration of the journey or excursion.

 

6. Paying for Meals in Ireland

Ireland is not instantly known for its food like, say, France or Italy, but these days you can get the best of fare in restaurants across Ireland, and in unexpected places, too.

breakfast on a plate how much does a trip to Ireland cost
A full Irish breakfast is a staple at most Irish hotels and B&Bs. Photo: Getty Images.

For food that you’ll need in a hurry, there are plenty of options, from cafes to convenience stores, even in gas stations (known as filling stations in Ireland).

Grab a coffee and a scone for less than €5 in places outside of Dublin and maybe up to €7 around the city.

A full Irish breakfast in such places will set you back around €10, maybe a bit more in places like Dublin. That usually includes rashers, sausages, eggs, black and white pudding, roasted tomato, and mushrooms.

people sitting at a table how much does a trip to Ireland cost
Eating out in a Galway restaurant. Photo: Brian Morrison for Tourism Ireland.

While going out to dinner will be more expensive, Early Bird specials will give you the most bang for your buck.

Some to consider in Dublin include the following:

The FIRE Steakhouse & Bar – located on Dawson Street in the heart of the city. This eatery offers a 2- and 3-course early bird special Monday through Friday from 5 to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.
Toscana Restaurant – located on Dame Street in the city center. This popular Italian restaurant serves up a 3-course early bird pre-theater dinner special for €35.95 per person.
Sole Seafood & Grill – the award-winning Sole Seafood & Grill restaurant is squarely in the luxury category given its recent nomination as “Europe’s Best Luxury Seafood Restaurant,” but if you can snag its 2 or 3-course early bird special, you won’t be disappointed.

Photo courtesy of The Boxty House Facebook.

Gallagher's Boxty House – if you find yourself in the Temple Bar area, don’t hesitate to pop into Gallagher’s Boxty House, which takes its name from the traditional Irish dish, “boxty.”Here you’ll find interesting variations of the original humble dish, including on its special boxty menu.
Dada Moroccan Restaurant – known for serving up an eclectic menu, this Moroccan eatery offers an early bird Halal menu on Monday through Friday (5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.) and on Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Choose from either two courses for €25.95 per person or three courses for €29.95. The restaurant uses 100% prime certified Irish lamb.
Quays Irish Restaurant – located in the heart of the city’s Temple Bar section, you can get two courses at Quays Irish Restaurant for just €25.95.

Galway Food Tour
Visitors on a food tour in Galway. Photo: Hu O'Reilly, Fáilte Ireland.

Another way to save on eating out in Ireland is to make the most of your accommodation’s breakfast (quite often it’s a full Irish, so that should keep you going for many hours).

If you are renting a holiday home, you may opt to cook some of your own meals while you’re vacationing in Ireland, or you might even combine some sightseeing activities with a food tour.

The choice of food in Irish supermarkets is every bit as good as it is elsewhere, and sometimes cheaper and higher quality.

a dog sitting outside a food truck the top 20 irish food trucks
Donegal's celebrity canine Iggy awaits a treat from The Brew In Thru food truck based in Teelin, Co. Donegal. Photo: James O'Donnell Photography.

Food trucks are becoming popular in Ireland, not just among the locals but with tourists too. You’ll find a rundown of the Top 20 food trucks in Ireland, which are generally great value for money.

If you’re missing the Irish food back in Ireland, Food Ireland based here in the United States has a variety of items to sink your teeth into.

Read More: The Best Food in Ireland: Discover What’s Available in Donegal, Sligo, and Leitrim

7. The Cost of Tours and Other Activities

The reason you’ve chosen Ireland is to see its amazing scenery and tourist attractions.

There is of course an admission price for many of them, but some are also free.

a white cottage how much does a trip to Ireland cost
The Andrew Jackson Cottage and US Rangers Centre in Co. Antrim, one of the many free attractions on the island of Ireland. Photo: Tourism Northern Ireland.

Among them are the many museums and galleries in Dublin that do not charge admission, as well as other free attractions like the Andrew Jackson Ancestral Home in Co. Antrim, Duckett’s Grove Walled Gardens in Co. Carlow, and the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork City, just to name a few.

Many visitors also like to combine whiskey tours, boat trips and river cruises, and golf outings into their vacation in Ireland.

Passengers on the Skellig boat trip. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan, Tourism Ireland.

Below you’ll get an idea of how much you can expect to spend at the various attractions in Ireland and on various tours.

  • Museum/Tourist Attraction Tickets: €10 to €15 per adult (some will be slightly more expensive)
  • One-Day Group Tours: Most under €60 – including tours of the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin, Glendalough Monastic Site, and Newgrange in County Meath.
  • Multi-Day Group Tours: Such tours can cost between $800 and $900 depending on the provider (usually includes transportation, accommodation, and daily breakfast).

8. Travel Insurance Costs

Prior to the pandemic, most tourists might not have given travel insurance a thought. In fact, the main reason for getting insurance is to cover medical emergencies.

irelandonabudget.com
Photo: Ekaterina79 for Getty Images Signature.

Before you go abroad, you should check to see if your current health insurance policy provides coverage if you get sick and end up in a hospital in Ireland.

While some health insurance companies pay “customary and reasonable” hospital costs abroad, very few of them will cover your medical evacuation back to the United States, if that is required.

U.S. residents who have Medicaid and Medicare insurance policies will not be covered overseas.

irelandonabudget.com
Photo: Vadzim Kushniarou for Getty Images.

Medicare recipients must take out additional health insurance called Medigap to cover them if something should happen while traveling abroad.

Find out more about your travel insurance options at Travel Insurance Master. The company works with travel insurance providers such as AIG, Travelex, USI Affinity, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, and many more.

According to industry experts, travel insurance costs can range from 4%-16% of your total trip cost, so for example, coverage for a trip totaling $1,000 could be as little as $40 or $160 on the high end.

9. Other Expenses to Think About

While there will always be additional expenses that will crop up on vacation, perhaps the expense that many people have questions about is how to pay for Wifi in Ireland.

irelandonabudget.com
Photo: Vector Fusion Art, Getty Images.

Free Wifi is available in most public places in Ireland, including airports, shops, restaurants, and bars.

Sometimes you may have to ask for the Wifi password, but most establishments will have no problem giving you this information. Be sure to turn the data option off on your phone while you do this.

There will be times when you’ll want to stay connected as you travel around Ireland. There are a few ways that you can get around this, including the following:

  • Sign up for an international mobile usage plan from your carrier but read the fine print before signing on as this can be expensive. For example, AT&T's international plan is approximately $12 per day.
  • Purchase a new Sim card for your phone (provided it is unlocked beforehand) from any mobile phone store in Ireland or at Dublin airport (WH Smith bookstore in Terminal 1 or in the Spar shop in Terminal 2). Your purchase will also include a mobile usage plan for the duration of your stay in the country. Expect to pay around €15 for a prepaid SIM card. Alternatively, some newer phones will accommodate an e-SIM. Find out more about that at Airalo.

    Wifi Candy Image
    Wifi Candy Image
  • Rent a personal WiFi device from Wi-Fi Candy from €7 per day or use its new eSIM service. You get unlimited data usage as well being able to connect it to at least 8 personal devices. Take 10% off with code IOB2024.

10. How Much Do Souvenirs Cost?

Many first-time visitors to Ireland want to bring back a keepsake from their adventure or give someone an authentic Irish gift.

There are many places where you can buy souvenirs, including the various gift shops around Ireland, the duty-free areas of Dublin and Shannon airports, as well as popular tourist attractions like the Bunratty Folk Park, a short distance from Shannon.

sweaters how much does a trip to Ireland cost
Photo: Media Production for Getty Images Signature.

Expect to pay anywhere from $10-$15 for a beautiful Irish-themed bookmark, $50 for a silver Claddagh ring at Fallers Jewelry store in Galway, and up to $100 or more for an authentic Aran sweater in shops like the Aran Sweater Market, also in Galway, or at the Shannon or Dublin airport duty-free.

If you’re looking for other gifts that are distinctly Irish, I’d suggest you combine your love of Irish-made goods with a sightseeing activity.

I will say that many of these items are pricey, but totally worth it if you want something that is genuinely Irish.

A visit to the famous Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre in Waterford is a must.

a room with chandeliers how much does a trip to Ireland cost
The House of Waterford Crystal where you can take a tour and purchase the famous crystal. Photo courtesy Patrick Browne for Failte Ireland.

There you’ll see artisans turn their finely tuned techniques and imagination into the world’s most beautiful crystal. Afterward, you can choose from a stunning collection of crystal gifts, from glasses, decanters, ornaments, and much more.

Expect to pay up to $300 for a Waterford Crystal decanter, around $230 for a set of 6 wine glasses, and $150 or so for a crystal.

Take a look at the company’s USA online outlet store for lower prices on various items.

Belleek China is another beautiful Irish gift that you might want to purchase in Ireland as a reminder of your visit.

You can find Belleek products in stores across the country, but you can also visit the Belleek Visitor Centre in Belleek, Fermanagh, which contains pieces dating back to the pottery firm’s establishment in 1857.

flowers in front of a large building how much does a trip to Ireland cost?
The Belleek Pottery Visitor Centre in Belleek, Co. Fermanagh, where you can take a tour and purchase some of its beautiful products. Photo: Brian Morrison, Tourism Northern Ireland.

The neo-Georgian building is home to Ireland’s oldest fine china pottery factory, which produces more than 100,000 pieces of pottery each year.

An onsite store has a variety of items that are made in the factory, but you can also purchase this magnificent pottery online.

Expect to pay around $230 for a classic Belleek Pottery tea set, up to $350 for a classic Belleek Pottery basket, or as little as $30 for a Belleek Pottery mug.

building in red with yellow door how much does a trip to Ireland cost
The Claddagh Ring Museum/Visitor Centre in Galway. Photo: Stephen Power, Tourism Ireland.

Other attractions where you’ll find authentic Irish gifts being made include the Claddagh Legend Visitor Centre at the Claddagh Jewellers in Galway City, where you can watch the jeweler at work making the famous Claddagh rings, wool blankets and other authentic products at the Foxford Woollen Mills in Foxford, Co. Mayo, and beautiful silverware and jewelry being made at the Newbridge Silverware Factory in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, among others.

Other popular items that tourists often look for when in Ireland include Irish linen, Donegal tweed, and Connemara marble, to name a few.

Food, especially Irish chocolate, makes for a less expensive gift.

You’ll find a variety of Irish brands in the airport duty-free and elsewhere around Ireland.

chocolates on a box how much does a trip to Ireland cost
A sampling of Butler's Irish Chocolates courtesy of Dan Butler, Getty Images.

They include Lily O’Brien’s, Butler’s Chocolate (there’s a café in Dublin Airport that serves up all sorts of yummy Butler Chocolate treats!), Skelligs Chocolate (you can take a tour of their County Kerry factory and watch their delicious chocolate being made), and The Chocolate Garden of Ireland (tours are also available).


Season & Location a Factor in the Cost of Your Trip to Ireland

As noted before, the shoulder season (mid-April through May and late September through October) is the cheapest time to visit Ireland. Prices for everything, during the summer months, will go up.

a bridge at night how much does a trip to Ireland cost
The Samuel Beckett Bridge on the Docklands in Dublin at Christmas. Photo: Ruth Medjber for Failte Ireland.

The places you visit in Ireland will also impact your wallet. For example, Dublin (like many other major European cities) will be more expensive than say Sligo, which means that you’ll need to factor all of that into your Ireland itinerary.

I suggest spending two days max in Dublin and then heading out to the rest of the country to explore. If you’re part of a tour, there’s a good chance that is exactly what many of them will also do.

Are you concerned about the cost of an Ireland vacation? If so, I hope that some of the tips above will put your mind at ease and encourage you to visit the Emerald Isle sometime soon. Share your thoughts in the comments  below.

colette

Colette is a County Sligo native who created Ireland on a Budget to provide her readers with money-saving tips on how to get to Ireland and then save even more when they're there. She's a professional copywriter who lives in the New York area with her husband and two children.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar for Richard M. Bash
    Richard M. Bash

    Very nice blurb. Do you run a website or a subscrption? I have a Scot relative who at the end of the Highland wars said, “I will fight no more.” He moved to somewhere in what is now Northern Ireland and became known as Thomas the Meek. Thus started the Irish Meek line through to my mother.

  2. Avatar for Hussein haidar
    Hussein haidar

    Yes I believe Ireland is way too expensive for me and for anyone in my entire whole family!!!!

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