Time flies and before you know years pass by and all you remember are the memories – good or bad. We strive to remember the good ones as they are the ones that will bring the biggest smile on our faces when we look back again after another couple of years have passed. Stressing about things that are not in anyone’s control is not going to do any good today or tomorrow, and when you look back you will be able to see that stressing was such a waste of time as there was a reason behind what happened when it happened.
Today marks our one-year anniversary of moving to Ireland. To say in simple words, it has been a roller coaster ride so far, filled with memories and moments that we will remember for a long long time. Between all the stress and learning, life happened and we managed to do the few things we are so passionate about. Raga got hooked to his Guitar again after going through a dry phase of 4 years and even managed to perform in a pub. We managed to travel to 7 new countries and started this blog, an Instagram account and a Facebook page. Having never worked out of India, I found a job in just a few months. We met a handful of great people whom we now happily call friends. We discovered how much we hate cooking and the daily chores, but have learned to multitask and get things done nonetheless. After a year of living in Ireland, all I can say is life has been too kind to us and we can’t be grateful enough.
To mark this anniversary, I thought of sharing 5 tips to keep in mind while planning a trip to this beautiful country. I will go to the limit of saying – if Ireland is not on your list, change it and make it happen because oh, it is just so beautiful!
- Plan your Visa: First thing first. If you are a part of EEA or from a country listed here, you don’t need a visa. For others, well you are like us Indians and you will need an Irish visa to enter the country. Indians can apply for Irish tourist visa through VFS and don’t need to book tickets in advance. The process takes up to one month and you are given a tourist visa of three months. Unlike other countries, you can travel to Ireland anytime within those three months and then stay up to 3 months from your date of entry. Also, the most important thing is that you can visit Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and UK on your Irish tourist visa. I think that’s a win-win situation!
- When to visit: That depends on your priority and what you want to do here. Ireland is extremely famous for St. Patrick’s Day parade that happens every March. If you are not really keen and can skip that, then May till September is a good time to travel. The weather is a bit warmer, the rains are less and you will be able to enjoy the coastal areas like they are supposed to. This comes with a disclaimer though – Irish weather is unpredictable and being an Island it can rain throughout the year.
- What to wear: Come prepared! Get warm clothes. (Yes, even when you plan to travel in summer). Ireland has a very moderate climate. Which means that it doesn’t get very cold and neither does it get very hot. The maximum temperate it can reach is 25 degrees Celsius, and the minimum is 0 degrees. I remember, last summer there was particular day when it became extremely hot and it was 30 degrees. Everyone was so happy that my manager asked us all to go back home early to enjoy the sun! Something that I have never seen happen before. Well, get jackets with hoodies and some stockings and closed shoes if you like to wear dresses. People love to dress up here, so get some party wear if you plan to go to a fancy restaurant for a dinner. Last but not the least, get some good walking shoes as you might need them for cliff walks and walking around the city.
- How to travel: Ireland is pretty accessible and most of the places can be reached via buses and trains. But there are a few places like Connemara and Donegal county where the connectivity is not that great. So, it is a great idea to rent a car and drive on unexplored routes. Especially the drive on the Great Atlantic Way can’t be put in words. Ireland has left side driving rule, just like UK and India and with an EU driving license you are sorted. There are a lot of rental companies who even let you rent cars on Indian driving license but it is always good to have an International Driving License. Also, cliff walks are a must when in the country like Howth, Bray and Cliffs of Moher. Some of the places that can’t be missed are Dublin, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle, Galway and Connemara. Check out more articles on our blog where we have written in detail about these places.
- Where to eat: Last but not the least, my favorite topic. Food! Let’s talk about Coffee first. I never knew I loved coffee so much, before moving to Ireland. These days all I do is crave for coffee (anytime of the day!). After trying and testing so many places, we have finally settled for a few favorites. Dublin has so many options for food and so many different cuisines to offer. Surprisingly, Ireland doesn’t have any specific Irish dish apart from a good Irish breakfast of sausages, eggs, hash browns, beans and bread. Well, we are vegetarians. Even if you are vegetarians, don’t fret as there are lot of options and even at the remotest town you will be surprised to find an Indian restaurant. Did I tell you – Irish people love Indian food. Ireland is famous for its Guinness beer and Dublin has over 3000 pubs serving variety of beer and drinks. Some of these pubs play foot tapping Irish music at night and it is just so much fun! A must-do, when in Ireland.
We are loving it here so far, and what makes it better is the people. Irish people are so warm, pleasant, polite and courteous. In just one year, Ireland has become a home away from home.