What to pack for your Irish summer holiday

Describing the weather in Ireland as ‘unpredictable’ is a huge understatement! There really can be up to four seasons in the one day, so it is important to be prepared, whatever the weather.

If you are lucky enough to be visiting our wee island or if you are venturing off on a ‘staycation’ weekend, it is essential to pack properly for the occasion to avoid any weather mishaps or wardrobe malfunctions. To help the first-time visitors to Ireland or the local hoping to experience a new side of gorgeous County Down, we have compiled a list of useful things to pack for your holiday. These brilliant packing hacks will ensure you are safe, dry and fully charged up while travelling.

Weatherproof wonders

It goes without saying, packing an umbrella for a visit to the Emerald Isle is a given. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t rain all the time, however the weather can be changeable so it’s advisable to be prepared. At times, Mother Nature may be giving it all she’s got, especially in winter months. A perfect choice is a small collapsible brolly which can be stored in the glovebox of your hire car or your handbag.

Colder temperatures and strong winds may deem your umbrella insufficient, so waterproof clothing can come in handy. Bring along some shoes that are at least a little bit weatherproof. Rubber shoes or sturdy hiking boots can do the trick. You will inevitably need a jacket that will withstand water. Ideally, you want a lightweight but sturdy, and properly waterproof rain jacket (with a big hood). For those who are fashion conscious, an outdoor raincoat may not be the first pick for packing. A lightweight trench coat, one that’s not too bulky, can look the part and is great for layering on chillier days and taking you from a day of sight-seeing to an evening out for dinner or drinks.

Carry a ‘’quick fix’’ kit

Here in County Down we are blessed with vast areas of unspoilt natural beauty. Beautiful grounds open to the public, such as Castle Ward Estate and other areas off the beaten track, just waiting to be discovered. A walk around the beautiful countryside or a hike up the mountain should be on your itinerary when visiting Northern Ireland. So, what should you take along with you just in case?

There is nothing better than completing a strenuous hike and rewarding oneself with some warm tea or coffee. Bring a travel flask to include in your backpack so you can enjoy the view with an almighty brew. Some painkillers or an energy bar for when the trek is proving quite challenging are also advisable, as you never know when an impromptu hill walk may pop up, and some wet wipes are a great addition to your pack for wiping muddy shoes before getting back into the car.  Finally, remember to pack sun cream and sunglasses - whilst we may not reach the sizzling temperatures of Spain, in summer months we can be subject to some rather intense sun and many are often caught without it!

Pack Light Layers and versatile pieces

When dressing for our weather, a light layers approach is key.  Layer up on tees, jumpers and a light jacket early in the day, and as it warms up, you can easily adjust your outfit to suit any surprise heat waves.  And if you get a bit damp during a brief rain shower, light layers are quicker to dry than thick and bulky clothing, not to mention the various mix-and-match options your travel wardrobe will have if you assemble a capsule wardrobe of complementary colours which can be worn together or separately!  Items which can be worn in many circumstances are ideal for travel, including denim which can be worn during a walk along the beach or dressed up for a night out.  Small accessories like statement necklaces and light scarves for ladies and a bold pocket square or favourite sunglasses for men can kick up a basic outfit without taking up much additional space in your suitcase.  And remember, the most efficient way to pack your case is by rolling items of clothes rather than folding, helping you to avoid extra baggage on your journey.

List list list!

Carrying a notepad or a mobile app such as OneNote or Evernote can be super useful on your journeys. Before you even tackle the daunting task of packing, writing a checklist of things to remember will really help you to ensure you include what you need. You may also want to have a quick search on the internet about the best things to see and do in the area you are visiting. Jotting these ideas down can help you follow a clear plan and enables you to get the most of your break, but remember to keep an open mind on your trip and be willing to go off the beaten track or take recommendations from locals who are the experts! It is well known that people in this part of the world are very friendly, and you may stumble upon locals who are happy to suggest places to eat, drink or get the best view.  Leontine at Dufferin Coaching Inn & Hall has helped guests from near and far enjoy their stay in County Down for over a decade and is a valuable resource to tap into during your stay at Dufferin’s charming guesthouse.

Extra essentials

A few final items that may be worthwhile to include in your suitcase.  You may want to bring an extra battery pack or a power bank for your smartphone – there’s nothing worse than reaching the summit of a high hill or mountain and not being able to capture the moment on camera! A reusable water bottle will save you money on having to constantly buy bottled water in the shop and you will be helping the environment in the process by minimizing waste. Reusable water bottles are a must have for those who are interested in walking and sightseeing and many can be flattened when empty to minimise space in your bags. Finally bring plastic bags, these can be extremely useful when you need to pack damp clothing or shoes in a hurry and don’t want them touching your clean clothes or electronics.

So, there you have it. An essential guide on what to pack for a holiday in Ireland. Whether rain or shine, this country is a splendid place for exploring, just ensure to pack for all the elements!