February 20, 2019
Yes, you really do see things like this all over the country; their history is LONG, and cherished. They haven’t been able to preserve absolutely everything in pristine condition, but even when things are a bit mossy and crumbly, they’re beautiful!
Much of what we did on our vacation was to drive to someplace beautiful and amazing, and then get out and WALK a ton. Some of the roads aren’t quite what you’re used to (unless you live in rural West Virginia, maybe), but they’re worth braving for the isolated pockets of wonderment that you will find…
And my packing was… overall, great! Getting dressed was easy, and I was pretty comfortable (with 1 exception, which I will share in a minute!)
At the last minute, I tossed my Uniqlo Heattech top into my bag, because it was lightweight, and I had a hunch that I might want it. WELL… I wore it over shirts, I wore it under shirts, I wore it on its own – it was warm, soft, and comfortable. Possibly the single best garment in my bag!
The combination of velvet jeans, corduroy pants, and regular jeans was perfect for me. It is – of course – possible to wear your jeans day after day when you’re out in the countryside. We weren’t doing hard-core hiking, so I didn’t need tech-fabric pants; I found that jeans were perfect. The velvet jeans were nice to wear on the days that we spent in town (Ennis, Galway, and Dublin), while the stretchy corduroy pants are perfect for those 22-hour days flying. (connecting through Heathrow is ghastly, by the way…) A more normal woman might want blue jeans rather than black, or maybe even 2 different colors of pants, but no matter what colors you prefer, I’m a fan of the overall “3-pant” plan!
I was really happy with my Blondo boots, and have worn them so much that they’re headed into the shop for their 2nd tune-up in 2 months! And good hiking shoes were important on the days that we had to climb stone walls, traverse limestone landscapes, or wade through lots of damp, muddy ground!
All of my other sweaters and tee shirts were just fine, but I struggled with my body temperature for reasons I can’t quite figure. If I’m having hot flashes, they’d better just STOP NOW, because I’ve already done that little dance of wretched life change… Might have been a change of medication that we made before the trip, or the fact that the weather was (by Ireland standards) unseasonably warm.
And here’s where I ended up having outerwear envy… Belovedest packed a Patagonia down layer and an Arc’teryx shell, which proved to be ideal for the weather we encountered. Yes, his outerwear was mad expensive, but it’s the kind of thing that you buy ONCE IN YOUR LIFE, and keep forever.
I, on the other hand, had my Lands’ End parka with me… Don’t get me wrong – I love my parka, and I plan to own it until I die. I wore it the last 2 winters that we vacationed in Ireland, and it was perfect. But this trip was warmer, and I was a melty, melty princess… So I’m going to replicate his plan, in the future.
And what did I forget? Nothing terrifyingly important, but 3 things that would have been so smart to have with me…
First up, there’s no excuse for any of us not to have a reusable cup of some sort with us almost all the time; so many people carry big bags of some sort, and these cups aren’t heavy. Let’s start remembering to pack them, eh?
When we got to that critical “mountain of tee shirts for my favorite children” point of souvenir shopping, I realized that my Longchamp bag would have been so much better than trying to wrangle with shopping bags. I ended up buying a fabric shopping bag at Avoca, but I really could have avoided yet another bag if I had remembered to pack what I already own!
And yes, the floors in the AirBnB were cold; slippers would have been worn tons!
So I give myself a B+ for packing – I am always looking for ways to do better!
Do you love Ireland as much as I do?
Taste of France says
That down jacket with a shell does look very practical. Combinations like that cover so many bases, and you know that these fit together (vs. buying a jacket and windbreaker separately).
Yes, the weather is exceptionally warm this year. We sometimes see snow for a couple of hours in February, but this year the windows are open in the afternoons.
Mme P says
You can get the function without the screamingly high prices. If you like Lands End and their clothes fit you well – they make a “3 in 1 squall rain jacket” that is a shell, with a fleece liner. If you want to be warmer in the shell, they also have several versions and weights of packable down jackets. That’s if you really like Lands End. LL Bean has TWO similar things – “Sweater Fleece 3 in 1 Jacket” and Weather Challenger 3 in 1 Jacket” that has a down inner jacket. If you like to mix and match, they also have at least two weights of packable down jackets for choice.
I suspect I’d get the Fleece 3 in 1 and one of the down packables, or perhaps add a down packable vest. Have fun picking out your packing jacket system!
Very good advice – I’ve never seen the “3 in 1” in person, but I’ve had SUCH good luck with my parka from Lands’ End…
Was in Dublin and London in January and it was also warmer most days (upper 40s-low 50F) than I anticipated. Luckily, I had worn a very lightweight down coat (3/4 length) that wasn’t overly warm. On the few days it was windy and a bit colder, I had an undershirt (Marks & Spencer’s heatgen, bought a couple of years ago), similar to your Uniglo one. Very lightweight, but helpful in taking the edge off any coldness.
Was also kicking my self for not bringing my Longchamp bag. Did end up buying a large burgundy tote (only 11 euros on sale) in a store on Grafton Street to bring home gifts for others–which was necessary, even though I had brought a folded bag with me to bring back extras. That was filled, too, and I was able to check it. In fairness, my main suitcase was only cabin-size. Sadly, I could open a shop with the number of travel bags I own–enough that my extended family “shops” from my collection before they travel.
Returned from DUB through LHR, too. Makes for a long day of travel.
Absolutely love Ireland. Traveled there last October on a Trafalgar tour. I know, bus trips are hell, but this was a wonderful introduction. Would love to go back soon. Definitely used the layering technique. I had a waterproof short, sort of trench, hooded coat from Costco that was perfect! It’s going to Germany with me this spring, lovely wine color. I always pack slippers. Warm feet are worth the extra ounces and space. And I agree about LHR, but we spent the points for a airport hotel overnight and eased our way home. Your posts are always an inspiration.
I have this exact same Costco trench, and love it to pieces. It’s going to Croatia in May and China in October. The color is so pretty, and a neutral, too. Happy traveling!
Margie from Toronto says
I have been all through England, Scotland and Wales (on more than 1 trip) but still haven’t made it to Ireland as yet – although it is very near the top of the list! Your photos are wonderful.
I love the idea of the 3 in 1 jacket that someone mentioned – the weather can be so changeable at this time of year in Europe and I hate to be too hot – must check out the LL Bean selections. I have a waterproof shell and a down parka from them and the parka has been a Godsend this winter (expensive & not terribly fashionable but when it’s Minus 40C outside somehow that doesn’t seem to matter)!
LOVE the slippers – I have lightweight travel slippers, kept just for travelling, that I keep in my tote but I’d love those raccoon ones for home!
I always enjoy your posts analysing what you packed. I wished I had taken a thin robe/dressing gown with me on my last trip to wear after a shower while drying my hair etc. The apartment I stayed in had a washer/dryer and it would have been a good idea to take some laundry tablets with me. I had to buy a bag of 20 but only used 2.
I always enjoy hearing about your trips, Janice. Have not made it to Ireland yet, but this sounds similar to our experiences in northern Scotland. One proviso about the “3-in-1” jackets: with the one I had a few years ago, the sleeves of the inner fleece jacket seemed fairly narrow (to fit into the outer shell), and this made it difficult to slide my arm into it if I was wearing a sweater. I find it much easier to use a down jacket or vest inside a shell, because the down outerwear typically has a slick surface so sleeves are easier to use. Just a thought … And yes, slippers and a camping mug go on every trip.
Me too! (Scotland and England and Wales – lots of trips, but not the Republic of Ireland, although I had a long weekend in Northern Ireland). – nancyo
My daughter is in Ireland also. So between your photo’s on Instagram and hers I have felt like I was there and can not wait to go. As to jackets, have you checked out Columbia Sportswear? They might have just what you are looking for and for lower price. I swear by there Omni-dry group.
Hope you can educate me on the Uniqlo Heattech. I tried on a Heattech tee a couple years ago and it was unwearable! Thin, sausage tight, just showed everything. Not wearable on it’s own. I have two Uniqlo sweaters that may get sent back. They’re just boring. Boring cut, yarn, knit.
I’ve loved Uniqlo’s ultra light down jacket for wearing under another jacket because it’s so thin but adds extra warmth. I like that it’s collarless too so you don’t see it. Alone with a scarf looks really cute too. I’ve also had good luck with Uniqlo’s merino wool sweaters. Got them on sale for $19 and they rival $60+ sweaters I’ve bought other places. You have to SIZE UP with Uniqlo! Normally I wear a small at Lands End but need a large at Uniqlo. Recently bought 2 funnel neck wool sweaters in x-large so they would be roomy and it was perfect (and they were on sale for $9!)
Uniqlo has been changing their sizes over the past few years. I asked about it at the store and was told they have been ‘Americanizing’ the size range. So give them another try, maybe.
Definitely. I’ve noticed that things that are available in the US are sized much more like I am used to, compared to what I buy in Paris.
I will be traveling to Ireland for the first time in early May. I would love to see a travel wardrobe for Spring.
Thank you for all your wonderful tips and ideas of what to pack.
Also going to Ireland/Wales for two weeks the first of May. Although I want to start packing TODAY, I’ll wait for your expertise ?
Ditto! I’m also traveling to Ireland for the first time in May. Would love to see some suggestions.
Mid May packing suggestions needed.
Thanks as always for the great tips and sharing your packing “yays” and “nays”. I think the down jacket/shell are so practical and usually fit better than the “combo” jackets. I must say that I find the colours most companies make for women extremely matronly/aging – green or rose or violet – so will stick with black or silver that can always get a pop of colour from a nice warm scarf.
Glad you enjoyed your trip so much.
An inspiring post! The pictures make me want to catch the next plane over.
Re jackets, I just got the hooded LL Bean waterproof primaloft packaway jacket–wearing it today in freezing rain. It’s lightweight with good “in-between” insulation. The colors are sober, which I prefer–dark blue, black, off white, and a drab “cinder” that I got because good for birding. It has technical features that hikers and walkers would find useful, such as zippers in strategic places to alleviate overheating. Fits well over a sweater. It really does pack down small. It’s expensive but worth it, I think. I got mine on sale.
For lovers of things Irish, right now I’m reading the newest Tana French novel “The Wych Elm”: highly recommended, set in Dublin, and as all her novels do, involves a murder, but also history and identity in a peculiarly tragic Irish way.
Alison M Gunn says
Living in Seattle, I will ‘promote’ Eddie Bauer, which makes the best coats/jackets for travel, better usually than Lands’ End, although it has to be said my most-used water-resistant and mostly waterproof jacket was bought from Travelsmith and is a two-piece jacket and button-out liner. The best cold-weather (as in Sweden and Iceland in Winter-cold) coat is from Eddie Bauer, which also has a button-out liner and a waterproof exterior. I put that coat and liner into a compression sack and store it in an outer pocket on one of my bags then pull it out when I need it once I’ve arrived in Iceland. You can do anything to Eddie Bauer coats, they’re meant for serious use. I have found the best things to wear in Ireland are middle-range heat protection clothes, as in, my Travelsmith jacket (which is a cotton-rich shell with a protective layer, so it breathes, which it has to be said, the Eddie Bauer waterproof doesn’t, and I wouldn’t recommend their heavier Winter coats for Dublin at this time of year, which is quite warm in comparison with true cold, but it does get a lot of rain, like Seattle). And always waterproof boots, and I mean waterproof if you’re going to walk in Ireland. I’d suggest check out the forecast just in case you wing it, as I have done too often, only to regret that. I also just recently bought two jackets from Eddie Bauer, one is a thin stretchable anorak-style to wear underneath a heavier fleece-lined but also stretchable coat. I’m going to give this combination a try, since weather is so unpredictable now.
Been dreaming of Ireland as well and can’t wait to return! Outerwear is always a bit of a challenge! I’m a huge fan of the light down jacket with waterproof shell combo as well. Just got a new Northface light down jacket so will be test driving it in Santa Fe next week! As for the Uniqlo Heattech line – for me it’s a “must pack” for any winter travel – lightweight, inexpensive and definitely helps keep me warm!
Erin Roy says
When my husband and I went in 2013, we landed in Dublin on July 4. We were told that because of the strong connection to the US they have fireworks at the park by their Presidential residence and US ambassador’s house.
The next week saw a heat wave that literally melted the asphalt roads across the island. We kept hearing this weird “clopping”- like noise and found out it was from the tires sticking to the road. The mixture of the asphalt isn’t mixed for temperatures in the upper 80s. We were rerouted several times down those narrow roads because road crews were making repairs. We definitely felt at home- in Arkansas they had similar temps that week!
So our wardrobe included several purchased warm weather tops.
We also didn’t get any of the typical rain (except when we went to Innishmore one night – ah! Rainstorm on a thatched roof!). Unfortunately, you need rain for Irish rainbows! That is ok. It was still a wonderful trip.
I bought a beautiful sweater from the Aran market on the island. I wore it that night and had to keep it packed the rest of the trip, but it is a staple in the Fall and spring here at home.
As far as the cup goes. I agree. I bought a Hydaway collapsible thermos to keep in my backpack and bags. Perfect for traveling.
I would return to Ireland at a drop of the hat any day. We still need to see the northern half of the island and Northern Ireland. Maybe some day.
Kathryn Holbrook says
Patagonia is currently having an up to 50% off sale on past season colors. Your coat in blue or burgundy is $149. The insulation in your coat, or hubbies, isn’t down. It’s polyester, very lightweight, squish able, & most importantly warm when wet, better than down. Patagonia also guarantees their products for life. It breaks, gets holes, they will fix it. I’m a huge fan!
Arc’teryx also stands behind their products – after a dozen years the inner drawstring detached from my wonderful shell. I contacted the company to see if I could get it repaired and they replaced the jacket for an entirely new one! And this was even though mine was originally purchased at the Arc’teryx outlet in Vancouver for half price (which I did tell them). – nancyo
Lisa Laree says
I have Irish roots, and Ireland is on my short list of places I would actually be willing to endure flying to see. Maybe someday…. ;-)
Coco bray says
Aaah, the many joys and lessons of travel! I have relied heavily on your blog for ideas for my 3 month sabbatical to Spain and Italy this winter. We are just starting week 3. We didn’t think we could do 3 months in a carryon, especially since I had some dress up events, but just needed one size up. Weather is supposed to be in the 60s and low 70s but it feels so much cooler, especially in the mornings and evenings. I agree with your conclusion about the wisdom of down (we brought uniqlo down vests and a uniqlo long down collarless coat (great with scarves, also acts as a blanket, packs down into size of less than one shoe and light of course!)), uniqlo heat tech (tanks and long sleeves, worn almost every day!) and ballet fats with rubber bottoms for day wear and as slippers. So far I have been rotating denim leggings, jeans, black leggings (also uniqlo) with different Ts and cardigans. The cardigans are so visible, I wonder if the 3 I brought will be enough. I expect I will be pretty tired of them after 3 months!
I just ordered a hooded down jacket from LL Bean in anticipation of probably being sent to Canada in March for work training. My parka will probably be too heavy for the average temps, so I’m taking the down jacket and my rain jacket (oversized due to weight loss and yet to be replaced) to layer as needed, along with my wool sweaters. I’m a knitter, I have several. :)
michelle delloch says
I love these packing reviews. You inspire us all so much with your wardrobes so it’s nice to hear how the packing works out.
I always travel with slippers, usually the ballet-flat terry kind. They pack flat and tuck into the front pocket of my suitcase. I don’t like to have bare feet on hotel carpets!
My latest trip was 9 days in Mexico with a 5 day stop on the way home in Victoria BC, so spending time in 2 climates. It was a bit tougher, but managed. My white jeans did summer and winter duty this time! It’s always good to review and plan for next time.
Great picture of Poulnabrone. I need to get back to Ireland one of these days. It sounds like you had a lovely trip. Thanks for the packing tips!
Photographer Friend says
I like your idea of a travel cup. I have a folding water bottle. But unless it is full, it doesn’t really stand up on it’s own. A small cup, especially if it has a no-spill lid would be perfect for water or other beverages.
If anyone needs a wide brimmed hat for travel. Check out Wallaroo. I just found one made of cloth that has sun protection. It packed well, fit well, and allowed for air circulation.
My husband and I, and two family members went to Ireland in May of 2016. I recognized the photo of the Poulnabrone in the Burren. It was one of the great wonders we saw in Ireland. We stayed in Doolin for four days, Dingle for another four days, and an overnight trip to Inishmor – Aran Islands. Yes, I bought several sweaters at the Aran Sweater market. For outerwear, I wore a Carhartt ladies jacket with Thinsulate lining. I also packed a Lands End windbreaker for lighter layers and warmer days away from the ocean. What I read about Irish weather was to be prepared for peeling off layers throughout the day. It was similar to spending time along Lake Huron in the spring. We spent most of our time exploring on the Wild Atlantic Way, taking a charter boat to see the Puffins nesting along the Blasket Islands, warming up with a formal tea at Ashford Castle (Cong, County Mayo), and experiencing a 90 minute Falconry lesson and walk at Ireland’s School of Falconry. My two coats fit my needs perfectly given our various activities. It was a trip of a lifetime, and a celebration of my recovery from breast cancer treatment and reconstruction.
Hurrah and hurrah! I lived in Dublin, and am homesick for it still (after 14 years) every day… Ireland is wonderful, isn’t it?
Yes, Ireland is wonderful. Ireland has touched my soul. Perhaps it is my Irish roots on both sides of my family. Here’s to traveling back to Ireland. Happy St.Patrick’s Day +2, from Michigan. Thank you for the wardrobe inspiration. I am dressing better thanks to reading your blog.
Suburban Detroit, Michigan.