Hi there, I'm Rob Rankin, founder of Vagabond & Driftwood Tours 👋.
Welcome your go-to resource for planning an unforgettable trip to the Emerald Isle!
Perhaps you've already booked a Vagabond or Driftwood tour for 2024 or 2025?
Whatever you're planning, I’m sure you're excited to learn Ireland travel tips and tricks.
Read on, intrepid traveller, Ireland awaits you!
🗺️ Ireland - The Basics
Ireland is a small but mighty country located in the northwestern corner of Europe.
We're located quite close to Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom (UK) — but on a separate island.
Ireland is roughly the size of the state of Indiana. You can drive from the northerly tip to the southernmost peninsula in about 8 hours; east to west takes roughly 4 hours.
Known for its stunning landscapes, friendly people, and rich culture and history, Ireland is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves travel.
🤔 What Type Of Ireland Trip Should I Take?
When it comes to planning a trip to Ireland, the seemingly limitless options out there can get confusing.
There's the option to self-drive; that means renting a car, developing your own daily itinerary, booking your own hotels and familiarising yourself with Irish road rules.
You can also go private. In this case, you and your travel buddies rent the entire tour vehicle and have 100% of the guide's attention and skills to yourself. The itinerary can be completely bespoke or — in the case of Vagabond private tours — a lightly customised version of established tour routes.
Finally, of course, there are our scheduled small-group tours. Our vacation packages have a maximum of 15 guests. Because of this small-group approach, you will be on first-name terms with all of your fellow travellers, not to mention your tour guide.
We book your hotels for you, include all of our favourite attractions in the price and suggest a range of optional activities for you to choose from.
Another choice you'll have to make concerns the level of physical activity. Do you want to experience Ireland's great outdoors — hiking, biking, surfing and horseback-riding?
Or are quaint villages, crafts, culture and castles more your thing?
Thankfully, we offer both types of tour. Our friendly sales team will help you find a tour style that matches your interests and abilities.
Lastly, make sure to read our latest TripAdvisor reviews to ensure Vagabond & Driftwood are the right fit for you.
📅 Best Time To Visit Ireland
There's no bad time to take a small-group Ireland tour!
The Irish climate remains mild all year round. So the best time to visit Ireland depends on what you want to see and do.
Summer in Ireland (June-August) is the most popular time for visitors, with long hours of daylight and often prolonged periods of sunshine. However, popular attractions can be crowded in the summertime and flights are at their most expensive point.
Visiting Ireland in March or April is increasingly popular. Not only is Saint Patrick's Festival in full swing, there are wonderful wildflowers blooming and often surprisingly pleasant weather. All scheduled tours departing in March and April are discounted by 10% versus the May to September rate.
Fall/Autumn is also a great time to explore the Irish countryside and visit cultural attractions. September boasts mild temperatures but fewer crowds than in summer.
Winter is the quietest time of year, with shorter days and colder temperatures. We take a break from touring between November and February.
Airline prices could have a major bearing on your choice of when to visit Ireland. Check out our guide to booking cheap flights as well as our list of direct flight connections between North America and Ireland.
Lastly, hotels in Dublin raise their rates around major concerts and events. Avoid them for best value. Check our 2024 event guide before you settle on a time to visit.
🧳 Planning for Ireland: Money, Phone, Hotels, Packing
Great, you've decided when to take your small-group tour of Ireland.
Now, what do you do?!
It's time to start planning of course!
We recommend bringing a limited amount of euros in cash with you. Remember, if you're visiting Northern Ireland, you'll need some sterling (£) in cash too.
Your cellphone is probably the next area to concentrate on. Let your network know that you'll be travelling well in advance of your departure date. You won't want to arrive in Ireland without the ability to call or text home.
Check with your network about roaming fees. Some providers offer roaming deals which work out significantly cheaper than regular bills. Finally, download our recommended free travel apps.
Choose the location of your Dublin hotel carefully if you're taking a tour with us; some hotels and areas of Dublin are more convenient than others for our tour departure point.
Our past guests are very generous with their hard-won travel tips, useful advice and experience. Unsurprisingly, 'What to Pack' is probably the most frequently asked question on our friendly Facebook group. That's why we've suggested this comprehensive packing guide.
🏞️ Where To Go In Ireland
Ireland has something for everyone.
Our small-group tours visit all corners of Ireland,
While in Northern Ireland, we recommend visiting the Causeway Coast; this northern coastline is less-visited but rivals Ireland's more famous destinations.
Read our 7 Day Tour Comparison to get a feeling for some of the shorter itineraries.
Our 11 & 12 day tours offer a more comprehensive overview of the country, taking you on a full lap of the island.
Travel Guide To The Wild Atlantic Way
It's arguably the world's most beautiful touring route; the Wild Atlantic Way boasts almost 4000km of coastal highway, stretching from Donegal in the north to Cork in the south.
Along the way, you'll be staggered by all the scenic beauty on show!
Travel Guide To Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is a little piece of heaven!
This heavily underrated destination has everything: incredible music and history, scenery and wilderness, great food and cosmopolitan cities.
Guide to Nature & Wildlife in Ireland
People LOVE Ireland because of its green hills and clean air.
Understand why Irish nature and wildlife is so endearing with these handy guides.
Unmissable Things To Do in Ireland
We love going off the beaten track to get active in the fresh air!
You simply won't beat these amazing things to do around Ireland.
Best Irish Movies, TV Shows and Books
Irish literature is world famous and the island has also been the subject of many films.
Your trip is the perfect opportunity to understand Irish culture better through the best Irish movies, books and TV shows.
All About Irish Music
You can't talk about the Irish without mentioning music.
So don't you dare leave here without experiencing a traditional Irish music session!
📸 Travel Guide to Dublin Ireland
Arriving in a new country can be daunting. Luckily, Dublin is one of Europe's friendliest and most compact capitals.
Even more fortunately, all of our small-group tours depart and return to Dublin.
We've answered your most common questions about Dublin.
😉 What Are Irish People Like?
There's a lot to learn about Irish people and our everyday habits.
We might appear to be normal human beings at first glance.
However, on further examination, lots of us talk funny and abide by eccentric rules for tipping, eating and drinking.
🥔 What's Irish Food Like?
The simple answer is: AMAZING!!
There's never been a better time to experience Irish food.
Start your days on tour with Vagabond by eating the food of kings; a full Irish breakfast. Even better news? All hotel breakfasts are included in our tour prices.
Another food we're famous for is the humble potato.
Nowadays, of course, Ireland has other vegetables too! It's easy to eat healthy, vegetarian or vegan food while touring.
Just like most other countries, Irish people stick to some pretty strict rules when it comes to eating.
For example, in Ireland, we always get together at Christmas time to eat ourselves silly. It's just what we do.
More Food! Easy Irish Recipes
Get a taste of Ireland at home by trying out our simple and traditional recipes from Ireland.
☘️ Tracing Irish Roots
Everyone's got a little Irish in them!
Unearth Irish genealogy before you arrive in Ireland with our in-depth articles.