Friday, May 19, 2017

What to Pack for Ireland? Start with Art: Etude de Mademoiselle Pogany by Brancusi

Ireland? I used to live there! If you're going there, you're in for a treat... but be warned, much of the year it's a somewhat colder treat than you might be expecting...

Let's use a beautiful, simple painting to focus our color choices, and just to treat ourselves, eh?

Etude de Mademoiselle Pogany by Constantin Brancusi
Etude de Mademoiselle Pogany by Constantin Brancusi

This is NOT going to be a "Whatever's Clean" wardrobe - it would certainly be possible to do it with this color scheme, but I'm going to recklessly include both pink and red pieces here that will not play nicely together. You don't have to have every last little thing matching, so long as you've got the basic neutrals in place...

Etude de Mademoiselle Pogany by Constantin Brancusi with style guidelines and color palette

You might feel really foolish leaving a fairly warm place and getting onto an airplane while wearing or carrying a hooded rain jacket, and wearing hiking shoes. But the minute you're on the ground in Ireland, you'll realize that the rainwear is essential (with a hood), and that wearing your hiking shoes was a thousand times easier than trying to pack them!

travel outfit in black and red

earrings – Bhavesh; jacket – L.L.Bean; watch - Nixon; tee – L.L.Bean; ponte knit pants – Eileen Fisher; scarf - Kate Spade New York; suitcase – Crash Baggage; hiking shoes – Keen; convertible backpack – Sherpani

Long before you leave for Ireland, you will of course be reading a lot, but I also suggest that you listen to RTE radio to get used to their accent, and to catch up on the news and weather. There are a number of different stations to which you can listen - I generally listen to RTE Lyric FM, which is more or less classical music.

Please note that when you get weather and traffic, you get it for the entire country! So you need to learn where the 4 provinces are - most weather will reference the provinces. (they include Northern Ireland as a matter of course, although it is a separate country; if you're traveling to Northern Ireland bear in mind that they use different currency...)

In addition to knowing which province is which, you might want to get a map or be prepared to look up the various coastal landmarks; it's not uncommon to hear that "there are storms from Slyne Head to Malin Head" (aka the west coast up to Northern Ireland.) It's interesting, and you'll be just a little bit less disoriented when you arrive!

Also note that summer is not hot in Ireland - NOTHING is hot in Ireland. Right now, the days there are incredibly long (look at how far north they are!) but they are only seeing high temperatures in the 60's Fahrenheit. Couple that will an absence of central heating, and frequent rain, and you'll be chilly! If you're traveling in June, July or August, you'll see warmer days, but most of the time you can count on cool nights - definitely check the weather before you go, and plan for almost anything. Warm nightclothes will not be regretted...

If you're planning to hike the countryside, pack for that first. You'll definitely want wool socks, waterproof shoes, gloves, and something that can cover your ears or head - it's better to be prepared for that kind of cold than to be an hour from civilization and suddenly be whapped with a change of weather:

cluster of clothing for cold-weather hiking

red fleece – L.L Bean; gaiter – Buff; trail pants – L.L.Bean; gloves – Bula; wool socks - Smartwool; long-sleeved base layer – L.L.Bean; trail tee – L.L.Bean

Of course all of these clothes can be worn in town, in pubs, in most restaurants, in any sporting venue...

For the rest of your sightseeing, I'm dividing the balance of packing into 2 Clusters - one that uses a lot of pink, and one that makes use of denim blue... Packing shorts to wear in Ireland is definitely a gamble - they may never come out of your suitcase. But on the off chance that you get a warm day or two, you'll definitely want to have them! Frankly, when packing for Ireland, if you wear 90% of the clothes that you pack, you're just about perfect; the weather is that unpredictable.

cluster of clothing in black, denim and pink for sight-seeing

cardigan – L.L.Bean; plaid shirt – L.L.Bean; pink tee – L.L.Bean; pink rayon shirt – Uniqlo; shorts – Uniqlo; shoes – Keds; jeans – L.L.Bean

This is the vaguely dressier cluster - if you get theater tickets, for example, you might want to have a skirt with you (although nobody's going to throw you out if you're wearing your nice pants in which you flew over!). The denim shirt can be a real workhorse; it's a jacket over a tee shirt, it can be worn under either sweater, and of course it's a shirt if you wear it alone...

cluster of clothing in black, denim and white for sight-seeing

marled sweater – L.L.Bean; denim shirt – J.Crew; striped tunic – L.L.Bean; white shirt – Lands’ End; black skirt – Madewell; black jeans – J. Crew; ballet flats – Rockport

The hiking clothes make this wardrobe rather larger than we normally choose. With the constant threat of rain, it's wise to make certain to have dry clothes available. (and note that if you do laundry, the humidity means that drying clothes takes a while...)

Which reminds me - if you're staying in an apartment, be certain that you know how to run the heat, the hot water heater (which may not run 24 hours a day - many are on timers) and the washer/dryer (which is probably 1 machine for both functions). Electricity is very expensive in Ireland, and you'll be a better guest/renter if you can use it efficiently!

what to pack for a trip to Ireland
This is a really sort of bifurcated wardrobe - the red and the pink aren't really compatible. But they're two nice options with very different moods! We could also have chosen either the red or the pink as accent colors, if we really were working for maximum interchangeability, but I think we'll be fine this way...

a travel capsule wardrobe for Ireland

Even with the 2 very different accent colors, this wardrobe offers you lots of options for getting dressed every day:

four ways to dress for hiking from a travel capsule wardrobe

four ways to style a black ponte skirt from a travel capsule wardrobe

four ways to style black pants from a travel capsule wardrobe

four ways to style black jeans from a travel capsule wardrobe

four ways to style black shorts from a travel capsule wardrobe

Ireland is so wonderful... I plan to retire there, and that's where I fully intend to draw my last breath in this lifetime!


p.s. When you walk into a shop, restaurant or pub, someone might very likely say "You're welcome" to you. And your first instinct will be to say "Thank you..." It's all very disconcerting...

p.p.s. If someone asks you if you liked "the crack" in the pub, you are NOT being asked about drugs. "Craic" is the cameraderie, the fun, the conversation and good times...

What to Pack for Ireland? Start with Art: Etude de Mademoiselle Pogany by Brancusi
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  1. Love the cluster method! I haven't been able to settle on a color scheme in my own wardrobe...

  2. A lovely painting once again, and I am going to have to look up more of the artist's works. Great colors for the travel wardrobe as well. I have to say I would probably wear the red with the pink, as long as it was not an orange-red, but I like quirky color combinations!

    Years ago my husband and I were in Ireland for a week in early August, and it did not rain once! Not only that, but the sun was shining most of the time and temperatures were mild to warm. I don't think I needed a jacket once while we were there - we considered ourselves very lucky. It was still very humid, however, and I definitely had to buy some anti-frizz stuff for my hair. Some day I hope we get to go back to Ireland, and to visit Scotland as well (which is probably even colder!).

  3. I've never been to the Republic of Ireland (went once to Northern Ireland which is part of the UK). However the same clothing guidance would apply to large chunks of England (midlands and north) and all of Scotland and Wales!

  4. Love the colors and casual feel of this one :) I've never bee to Ireland but know i would love it lol :)

  5. Last year, I visited Ireland and the Shetland Islands and basically took these pieces in green and blue with navy as my base colour.
    The Irish people were so friendly and there was music everywhere. I can understand why you would want to retire there.

  6. Got it in one. Today in West Cork it it going from rain to sunshine in fact very much like the lastfew days. Perfect wardrobe but for me it would have to be navy not black and a dress.
    Oh yes can't beat retirement in Ireland. ☺

  7. Last year (in JULY) we went to Ireland - it's wonderful - friendly people and GREAT FOOD and GREAT MUSIC and GREAT MUSEUMS! But, at times it did whip up windy and cold - I had to buy a hand-knitted cap and scarf (which were lovely and reasonably priced) but it can be that cold in Ireland in July! In addition to a warm cap and scarf, bring a small umbrella! p.s. - We DID have some glorious weather too! p.p.s. - I love this travel capsule and color combo!

  8. Ah Ireland! We went there for our honeymoon two years ago. Such a charming place and the towns and countrysides so full of beauty!! But we fell in love with the warm friendly people. We did not have rain in early September but did need to dress on the warm side just as you say. It was my first trip there and my Birthday and since I'm 3/4 Irish by ancestry, my husband thought it would be the perfect place. He was right ! We want to visit again in the next couple years. This wardrobe is perfect for there!

  9. If I had real red hair and the complexion to match (blue undertones), I think I would wear the red and pink together. The only change I would make to this collection, is make the rain coat at least knee length. I remember a wonderful time in Dublin in June and I remember being thoroughly soaked as the rain was sideways with the wind!!

  10. I adore the Brancusi painting! Up to now I have only been familiar with his sculpture (love). This is a perfect wardrobe for the kind of trip that involves hiking and tramping around. We do that a lot, and I am always having to put hiking clothes in my luggage. Plus these are pretty much my colors, and the cluster method is such a useful method! - nancyo ps. We have traveled in Scotland a lot (and a tiny bit in Northern Ireland) - always in August - and we found that people there just didn't wear shorts, even on a hot day. In fact in Glasgow we were teased (all in good fun) about being Americans on our first trip when my girls and husband wore shorts.

  11. This was fun to read and fun to think about. I believe that by carefully choosing specific shades of red and pink, and thinking about accessories, you could actually make them work together, if that seemed important. But I have a higher tolerance for color than some.

    The tip I give everyone who goes to Eire or the United Kingdom - whatever the season- is to take a pair of good-looking comfortable, waterproof leather boots. You can wear them when it's raining and stay completely dry, but they still look good when it's sunny even in cities. I've been doing this for 25 years and I always end up wearing them more than any other shoes I've brought with me.

  12. This post couldn't have come at a better time - I'm packing my bag now for an upcoming trip to Ireland! I love the cluster method since I crave variety and am happy to see the inclusion of hiking clothes. And yes, I will be wearing my Lands End Luna rain jacket and Merrell waterproof hiking shoes on the plane to save room in my only bag, a TravelPro carry-on.

    I just got back from my first trip using my new carry on bag and am very happy with the quality of the bag and packing it using guidance from The Vivienne Files. Traveled to an out of state graduation that included activities as diverse as a church service, a cocktail party and hiking. In the bag: 2 dresses, 2 pairs of pants, 2 t-shirts, 2 long sleeved shirts, a lightweight sweater, a short sleeved sweater and matching cardigan, a small clutch purse, jewelry wrap, sneakers, dress shoes, and the usual sleepwear, undergarments and toiletries. And it all fit easily. Travel outfit consisted of jeans, cami, light sweater, short jacket, scarf, and casual shoes. I wore everything and was always appropriately dressed. I think this is the first time I got it right! :)

  13. This post is so helpful. Currently in Ireland visiting family and I will be back each year for several months. This capsule really gives me some great ideas. Fortunately I can keep the more weather-oriented pieces here (I live in San Diego so have little need for them there). But my SD wardrobe is skewed toward hot and dry so I do need help figuring out what to get (usually online) for the middle temperatures. Thank you so very much.

  14. This is a really helpful post. I'm going to the UK for the month of June--for the first time in 15 years. I've had a hard time deciding what to pack and what shoes to buy for the trip. But what I've settled on is very similar to what you show here! I would love to see more posts that split the color scheme like this--this is exactly how my wardrobe looks in the summer: one cluster based on denim and faded colors and one based on black and brights for hiking and camping.

    1. Janice,
      I agree with Laura on showing more clusters with split accent colors, as I see that you kept the bottoms to all black except the blue jeans. I need to pack for two different temperatures and activities -- first a casual week at the New Jersey shore with extended family which will be on the cool side, and then down to hot North Carolina for a grandaughter's high school graduation and family visit. I am considering packing in two duffle bags, as it will be a car trip and using packing cubes. One duffle for the shore, and the next for NC. Plus a small overnight bag that includes my toiletries and nightie and slippers, plus a change of clothes for the motel overnight stops as we travel South and back.

    2. Since you're going to drive, and will have plenty of space, your solution sounds really logical. You can think exclusively of each of the 2 destinations, and prepare for them appropriately. Driving trips are SO much easier, assuming a reasonably generous amount of cargo space!
      Congratulations to your granddaughter!
      and hugs to you,

  15. Ah Janice - retirement in Ireland! I can't tell you how many times I've looked at property there. My dream would be to buy a place now and visit 3 or 4 times a year. I've been there 3 times in the last two years and I just can't narrow my selection to one locale. I tend to favor the west coast and there are so many stunningly beautiful areas......and then I wonder if perhaps living in a little village would be a better choice.

    I wasn't aware that you had lived there.... please tell us more.

    I recently returned from my latest trip and this time I stayed in little towns and used that as my base for sight seeing. It is so sad to see how many empty storefronts there are - it's the same scenario that has happened all too frequently here. The big store opens nearby and the local baker, butcher, produce seller etc. can't remain in business.

    I'm returning in the fall and this time I'm staying where my family came from along the western coast in County Sligo. My son and daughter in law will be biking and hiking the Wild Atlantic Way.

    Your packing list for Ireland is perfect - especially the advice about sudden shifts in temperature and to be prepared for rain - mist - downpours - and my favorite - sunshowers. Since my strenuous hiking days are behind me I wear water resistant ankle boots (Munro is my favorite) that can go from
    day time meanderings to dinner in a nice restaurant. I love the welcoming friendliness of the people and the never-ending scenic vistas.

  16. Your post brings back memories. I first discovered your blog 5 years ago while looking for info on what to pack for Ireland. You were a terrific help and my wardrobe was spot on. Probably could have packed a little less, but I was a rookie. I will return some day. It was the trip of a lifetime.

  17. I haven't been to Ireland for years but my mother is going this fall, I will send her this post! Maybe it's my monitor, but I don't see why the red and pink don't "go" together -- I like red and pink together. But maybe the pink is more orange than it looks on my monitor.

  18. This is a very useful pack for those of us who like to include study hiking clothes. Pink is not one of my colours, but so easy to switch out for another colour that would suit me better.

  19. Janice: I envy your plans to retire! In the unlikely event that I am able to travel to Ireland: what is the proper response when one enters a shop and the clerk says "You're welcome"?

    Love your blog! I live vicariously through you!


    1. I think you can just say thank you; generally I always burst out laughing and say hello. I don't know why I am always surprised and delighted when I hear it...

  20. This is so helpful! Packing for a trip to Ireland tomorrow and referenced your list.thanks!


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