Tag Archives: layering

Ireland – Weather & What to Wear


Do you ever have so much information and so much you wanted to share that you were overwhelmed with where to start. That’s how I felt about my trip to Ireland. I don’t know how much I’ll cover, but here’s a start!

One of the main reasons people visit Ireland is to see the beautiful countryside. Sure, it may rain an awful lot, but that doesn’t keep people away. The rain is what gives Ireland its lush green color and why it’s poetically referred to as the Emerald Isle.

Irish Countryside

My first trip to Ireland was in 2000. My friend Jen and I were there at the end of May/beginning of June finishing off our 10-week backpacking tour of Europe. While that time of year is practically summer for those of us in Minnesota, Jen had to buy a fleece jacket in Ireland because it got a little chilly! We really had to use our layers. One moment you could feel the chill down to your bones, the next moment it was sunny and the layer had to come off and the next moment we’d get a downpour of rain. Then we’d have to shed that layer again as it became sunny again.

In fact, one thing I remembering hearing about Ireland was, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.”

This time around, I made sure to come prepared. We had read that weather at the end of September/beginning of October would be in the low 60s. My husband had originally planned to bring his sandals. I thought he was crazy! “What will you do when it rains and your feet get cold and wet?” I asked. He ended up leaving them at home and I know he was happy with that decision!

It was chillier this time of year than it was on my previous visit. This was a family trip. And my mother-in-law was told by the travel agent that the weather would be very nice and that she might need a jacket.” Um. Yeah. I think she should have used the word “definitely” instead. I brought one sweater to go over my long-sleeved shirts, a couple of scarves and a water-proof windbreaker jacket.

I wore the sweater every day.

My waterproof jacket looks bulky with a long-sleeved shirt and sweater underneath. Photo taken at Slieve League.

I love scarves because they can warm you up in pinch, but you can remove them once you go inside and start to heat up. For me, they are instant temperature adjustments. They can also liven up any outfit if you are traveling light and aren’t bringing many clothes.

Speaking of packing light, I had the goal for this trip to try to pack as light as a I did for that 10-week backpacking trip  twelve years ago. If I did it for 10 weeks, I should be able to do it for 12 days, right? For this trip, we planned to stay in most places just one or two nights. So I didn’t want unpacking and repacking to be such a chore.

To accomplish this, I decided to use the same bag I used for that backpacking trip:

REI Tourlite Backpack – bought in 2000. I am not sure if they still make these.

For clothes, I packed two pairs of black pants, one pair of jeans, three shirts, something to sleep in, my waterproof jacket, two scarves, underwear, bras and socks. On travel day, I wore an additional pair of black pants, a long-sleeved shirt, my sweater, a scarf and my only pair of shoes. {Oh, and undergarments of course.}

Everything packed nicely by rolling my clothes in Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes

Then somehow, I realized I had room and these jumped into my bag:

What?! Only a RUNNER would want to bring those along! 😉

Unfortunately, the opportunity to run didn’t exactly present itself. But that’s okay. I think just wanting to pack these made me feel like a real runner. For weeks prior to the trip, I had pictured myself running through the beautiful Irish countryside. However, once we started driving on those narrow roads where people sped around the curves so fast, I decided it just wasn’t a good idea.

When all was said and done and my bag was packed with toiletries and all, it weighed only 26 pounds!

My 26-pound bag!

Okay, before you get too impressed, I did bring a carry-on bag:

This over-the-shoulder bag included things like magazines and a borrowed Kindle for the flight, my iPhone and our chargers, travel documents, meds, Kleenex, snacks, journal, purse, an extra pair of underwear and TSA approved-size toiletries in the event of missing luggage.

Here are some notes I made to myself for packing for my next trip abroad:

  • I’m so glad I packed light!
  • Carrie, you are getting too old to backpack it. Invest in small roll-away bag instead. Yeah, despite that it was only 26-lbs, it kind of was a PITA.
  • Get a new waterproof jacket. I still love the quality of the LL Bean Jacket pictured above {also bought back in 2000} and its ability to pack down to a small pillow. However, as a pullover jacket, it gets really old! I need to invest in jacket that I can just zip up.
  • For this trip, I wished I had brought another sweater, too, just because I got so bored with the one I wore every day.

My husband packed light as well, but in a small roll-away bag. His clothes consisted of jeans, long-sleeved button-down shirts and a waterproof jacket. Ireland is fairly casual, so this is all he really needed. And since he is not a freeze-baby like me, he didn’t need a sweater of any kind.

One of my favorite photos of him when it rained during our trip:

Rob walking in the rain. It actually hailed briefly that day!

Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty more scenery photos to come. This is just a start to my Ireland posts!

What is your best packing tip?