Is Ireland Expensive? Trip to Ireland Cost Guide in 2024

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by Maggie Turansky


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Is Ireland expensive? How much will a trip to Ireland cost? As one of the most popular places to visit on this side of the Atlantic and, for many, their first sojourn into Europe, Ireland isn’t always considered to be the best destination for budget travellers.

Especially considering that its capital city of Dublin is an expensive city and one of the priciest urban areas in Europe.

But that doesn’t mean that a trip to the Emerald Isle isn’t attainable for those travelling on a shoestring budget. So if you’re wondering how much an Ireland trip will cost and want to be able to adequately budget your trip, read on to get a breakdown of the prices in this beautiful country.

Ireland Trip Cost Guide

So how expensive is Ireland? Not including the cost of flights, you’ll need to budget for the cost of food, cost of transport in Ireland and other things like accommodation, activities and entertainment.

Travellers to Ireland may find it to be more expensive than other places in Western Europe, with an average trip cost being approximately €90 to €175 per person per day (around $96-188 USD) assuming you are splitting costs between two people.

You can expect to spend at the lower end if travelling on a tight budget or at the higher end if you have an upper mid-range budget.

Accommodation Prices

The first, and often biggest, aspect of an Ireland trip cost that you need to consider is the price of accommodation. The cost of accommodation in Ireland is probably going to take the biggest chunk out of your overall daily budget.

On average, you should expect to spend around €30-40 per person per night if you are a solo traveller staying in hostels or a couple splitting a private room on Airbnb. This will increase to around €50-75 per person per night if you plan to stay in mid-range B&Bs or hotels during your Ireland trip. Assume a double room to cost you around €100-150 on average, depending on where you’re staying.

What you will find is that prices can vary drastically depending on where you are in the country. Dublin is by far the most expensive when it comes to accommodation costs, especially if you want to be centrally located.

Other urban areas like Cork and Galway also, not surprisingly, tend to cost more than in the Irish countryside. In general, accommodation costs also tend to be higher in Northern Ireland vs the Republic of Ireland.

If you’re going the typical budget backpacker route when you’re travelling in Ireland, you are in luck as the Emerald Isle has quite a well-established hostel scene. There are myriad hostel options in Irish cities and you can normally find one or two in smaller towns.

Town of Clifden
Town of Clifden

If you’re planning on staying in hostels while travelling, don’t expect to pay any less than around €35-40 per night for the cheapest dorm bed in cities and around €30 per night in more rural locations.

If you have a little more to spend than that of a typical budget backpacker, then consider staying in a B&B or guesthouse. These are ubiquitous throughout Ireland and can be a great option if you’re travelling on a mid-range budget. These can average around €100-150 per night, depending on the season and the location.

We booked a couple of good-value rooms through Booking.com including The Stop B&B in Galway and Errisbeg House in Roundstone

Maghera Beach
Maghera Beach in Co. Donegal

Transport Prices

Another major factor in your total trip to Ireland cost is going to be the price of transportation. While there are a few different ways to get around Ireland, outside of the big cities, Ireland is a country that is really best seen by car.

Public transport exists, but it’s pricey and it can be infrequent, especially if you want to spend some time in more rural areas and want to get a bit off the beaten path, for instance, if you’re keen to wander around Donegal, where there are absolutely no train routes.

So, if you want to travel independently or want to experience the delights of popular routes like the Ring of Kerry or the Dingle Peninsula drive, your best option for transport in Ireland will be to hire a car.

You can expect your average price for renting a car in Ireland to be around €30-40 per day, so around €15-20 per person per day if splitting costs between two.

You’ll also need to add some buffer to this to fact in the cost of fuel prices. Ireland is expensive when it comes to petrol prices, averaging about €1.80 per litre of unleaded in December of 2023. Luckily, most newer cars these days are quite fuel-efficient so you may not need to fill up all that often.

There are a few other costs you need to consider when renting a car in Ireland. First off, as with many places in the world, it can be significantly cheaper if hire a manual transmission than an automatic. So, if you can drive stick, it will definitely save you a few euros along the way.

Another way to save money when renting a car is to forgo the excess insurance that the car hire company will push and opt for an independent policy. We suggest using iCarHireInsurance whose prices can be less than major rental companies.

In cities, public transport is always an option and generally preferable to driving when you’re sightseeing. However, most urban centres in Ireland — including Dublin, Galway, and Cork — are very compact and all of the main sites are accessible on foot.

If you’re looking to save on any transport costs, I would recommend walking everywhere that you can. In Dublin, you can also rely on the bus to get around if distances are too far.

You can save money on your overall trip cost by only renting a car when visiting rural areas and not as soon as you arrive if you’re planning on spending some nights in major cities like Dublin.

Driving the Sky Road in Connemara
Driving the Sky Road in Connemara

Food Prices

The third thing that needs to be considered in the cost of a trip to Ireland is the cost of food.

Over the past decade or so, Ireland has seen something of a food revolution where innovative chefs have reimagined the local cuisine and the results are something spectacular.

Everywhere from fine-dining establishments to local, neighbourhood pubs serve up fantastic Irish cuisine that you could never have imagined. But how much does a typical meal cost?

Well, if you’re travelling on a super tight budget and staying in a hostel or Airbnb with self-catering facilities, one of the easiest ways to cut back on your Ireland vacation cost is to cook for yourself.

Irish grocery prices are affordable and on par with those that you might find elsewhere in Western Europe, the UK, etc. In this case, you can probably get by on around €15-20 per person per day on food.

If you’re not looking to cook for yourself, there are obviously numerous options for food in Ireland. Street and fast food are widely available throughout the country and can be the cheapest, if not always the healthiest, option for those who are trying to keep their Ireland trip cost to a minimum.

For those looking for a sit-down meal at a mid-range restaurant or pub, you can expect to pay somewhere around €15-20 for a main meal. If your tastes are a little more high-end or you feel like a splurge, expect a nicer, three-course dinner meal to cost about €30-40 per person.

If you do want to take advantage of one of Ireland’s fine dining establishments but don’t have the kind of money to blow on a ten-course tasting menu, many of the best Irish restaurants offer fixed lunch, early dinner, or weeknight menus where you can experience the phenomenal Irish food revolution at a more affordable price.

On average, I would suggest allocating around €25-40 per person per day if you want to have a mix of cooking for yourself and some mid-range meals.

Fish and Chips in Ireland
Fish and Chips in Ireland

Activity Prices

Now that we’ve covered the most basic aspects of your trip to Ireland, it’s time to focus on how much it costs to actually do things on the Emerald Isle. Well, depending on your preferences and general travel style, it is entirely possible to spend a day visiting museums and sightseeing in Ireland without spending anything.

Most public museums in Ireland are free of charge to enter. The only time you’re likely to have to pay entry at a museum is if it is privately owned or there is a special, limited-time exhibit. Even attractions like the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland can actually be visited completely free of charge, provided you don’t park at the visitor’s centre!

It is also completely free to experience Ireland’s spectacular natural scenery. Hiking and hill walking are two of the best things to do in Ireland and it costs nothing to do.

If you’re interested in visiting historical sites, castles, or ruins in Ireland, oftentimes these places do charge an admission fee. Generally speaking, a full-price adult ticket to one of these sites costs around €10-20 depending on the site, but there are almost always discounts available for seniors and students with a valid ID.

The Giant's Causeway
Visiting the Giant’s Causeway can be completely free!

Entertainment Prices

What is a trip to Ireland without the occasional pint or dram of Irish whiskey? Well, it’s important to factor the cost of this into your budget.

Well, unfortunately, liquor prices in Ireland aren’t exactly cheap and if you’re planning on sticking to a tight budget on your holiday, I would recommend keeping pub drinking to a minimum.

The average price for a pint at a pub or restaurant in Ireland is around €4-6, and a basic cocktail such as a gin and tonic averages about €10-12 depending on where you are.

As usual, most liquor prices are going to be more expensive in the bigger cities and in places that are more frequented by tourists. Even in Dublin, you can see a massive difference in prices between bars and pubs in heavily touristed areas compared to those that are more frequented by locals.

A good tip if you’re trying to visit Dublin on a budget is to avoid drinking in the Temple Bar neighbourhood altogether, as prices here are incredibly inflated.

As always, however, it is infinitely less expensive to buy your booze at the supermarket or liquor store or not to drink at all.

In general, if you want to have a few beers at the pub in the evenings during your trip to Ireland but don’t plan on binge drinking or ordering anything top shelf, then plan to budget about €5-15 per person per day on entertainment while in Ireland.

Guinness in Ireland
A pint of Guinness is a must while in Ireland!

Average Trip to Ireland Cost

So how much does it cost to go to Ireland in 2024? While it is possible to travel and an incredibly tight budget while in Ireland for the purposes of this section, I’ve averaged all of the costs so you can have an idea of how much you might spend per day while travelling in Ireland. This is assuming costs such as accommodation and car hire are split between two people.

Accommodation: €30 – 75/night

Transport: €25 – 30/day

Food: €25 – 40/day

Activities: €5 – 15/day

Entertainment: €5 – 15/day

This means that you can expect an average trip to cost roughly €90 to €175 per person per day with obviously the lower end being appropriate if travelling on a tight budget and the higher end if you’re on an upper mid-range budget.

Obviously, it is possible to cut costs more and spend less per day and it is certainly possible to spend more. This doesn’t factor in any pre-trip expenses such as airfares or ensuring you have the right gear for your Ireland trip such as comfortable shoes and a waterproof jacket.

Another thing to consider when determining your overall Ireland trip budget is travel insurance. World Nomads offers flexible and simple travel insurance policies with coverage for more than 150 activities that you can buy or extend while on the road.

If you’re travelling on a tight budget then SafetyWing is an alternative option that offers travel medical insurance policies. Click here to get a quote from SafetyWing.

The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
The stunning Cliffs of Moher

Travelling in Ireland doesn’t have to be an incredibly expensive experience and it’s entirely possible to stick to a tight budget. If you’re smart about where and how you spend your money, your Ireland trip cost shouldn’t be exorbitant. 

Are you planning a trip to Ireland? Have questions about the prices? Let us know in the comments!

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Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

Comments

  1. My wife and I are planning a 2 week trip to Ireland. The hope is to fly into Dublin for a few days. Then rent a car and just wonder around for the balance of the time.
    It is a small island compared to where we live in California. I am expecting a fun laid back time. Am I wrong?

    Reply
    • You will definitely be able to cover a lot of ground in 2 weeks, but don’t expect to be able to travel distances as quickly as you can in California – especially in rural areas 🙂 For a truly laid-back trip, don’t pack too much into your itinerary and really just concentrate on a few areas. Hope you have a lovely trip!

      Reply
  2. HI I am enjoyinging reading your blog we are looking to go to london scotland and ireland in july. We are attending a wedding in ireland and I am feeling like I dont know where to start in planning the trip. Thank you

    Reply
  3. I’m planning a trip to Ireland next year. I would like to know more about the planning of this trip. I would like to travel to see the country side of my ancestors. Thank you for your time.

    Reply
  4. I am a widow and would love to go to Ireland. Want home base to take day trips without having to change hotels often. What would you recommend?

    Reply
    • Hi Brenda – depending on what you want to see and do in Ireland, a base in either Dublin or Galway could be good choices 🙂

      Reply
  5. Thanks for the info. My wife and I are going back for our 2nd trip. The first having been cut short due to the COVID outbreak. I must agree that the best way to see Ireland is a self driving tour. Just be prepared for some narrow roads. A lot of the cross country roads can be 1 Lane and you need to keep an eye out for oncoming traffic and a place to get out of the way. A beautiful country to see no matter what budget you have.

    Reply
  6. Thanks Maggie! You took the initial confusion out of where to start with organizing plans and budget. Off and running….Cheers!

    Reply
  7. Your article, How Much Will A Trip to Ireland, was very helpful. I am delighted to have found it. It has provided my husband and I with information that is valuable.

    Reply
  8. Thank you for your article, it was very informative to my husband & I. We will soon be celebrating our 25 anniversary in July & are planning a trip there in the same month. We are looking forward to visiting Ireland & experiencing the beauty of the green isle. We are searching for more tips for our trip, any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Again, thank you so much,

    Reply
    • Hi Maggie! Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you found this article helpful! I hope you both have a fantastic trip to Ireland…if you have any more questions at all, feel free to send me an email! I would be happy to answer them 🙂

      Reply

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