Travel Ireland on a shoestring BUDGET: top 10 money-saving HACKS for 2024

Ireland may be expensive, but what if we told you there are a few tips that can help you save money when travelling the country? Let’s take a look.

Travel Ireland on a shoestring budget: top 10 money-saving hacks for 2024.

It will come as no surprise that Ireland has emerged as one of the most expensive countries in Europe.

In 2022, when Ireland was compared to other European countries, the result was that prices were 46% higher than the European national average. Yet did you know that Ireland can be travelled on a budget?

With that in mind, we will explore ten ways to travel to Ireland on a shoestring budget, utilising fantastic money-saving hacks that won’t break the bank.

10. Be flexible – the best way to travel on a budget

A collection of euro banknotes and coins.
Credit: Pexels/ Pixabay

Ireland can be expensive to travel to, but one of the best money-saving tips for exploring the country with public transport is flexibility.

The worst way to travel is to stick to exact dates, which leaves you vulnerable to high prices and missing the chance to avail of promotions and last-minute deals.

If you are flexible, it is always good to shop around to get the best price for trains, buses, internal flights, or tours.

9. Research inexpensive accommodation options – shopping around

A man checking into a hostel. Finding inexpensive accommodation options is one of our tips for travelling Ireland on a shoestring budget.
Credit: Pexels/ cottonbro studio

Ireland has many hotels, B&Bs, hostels, campsites, and AirBnB options, meaning a good deal can always be found.

Many Irish hotels promote special deals during the week, which can be an excellent opportunity to treat yourself without breaking the bank. Meanwhile hostels and B&Bs have lower prices than hotels, even on weekends.

Always compare prices to find the best deal and stay in alternative areas with good public transport to save even more money.

8. Paddywagon tours – inexpensive day trips

A Paddywagon bus parked in a car park.
Credit: Facebook/ Paddywagon Tours

Paddywagon is a fantastic way to explore Ireland, specifically on day trips from various cities, at unbeatable prices. With day tours starting from as little as €30, you can enjoy trips to some of the country’s best sites even if you are short on time.

Paddywagon is such a great money-saving option that it appeals to both locals wanting to explore their country and tourists visiting the island.

7. Heritage Card – ideal for cultural enthusiasts

The entrance to the National Gallery of Ireland. Getting a Heritage Card is one of our tips for travelling Ireland on a shoestring budget.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Fáilte Ireland

If you are visiting Ireland and are eager to see as many heritage sites as possible, one of the best options is purchasing a Heritage Card. This card gives you unlimited access to 45 historic sites and attractions. Children under 12 can also visit these for free.

There are various types of cards for adults and families and discounted cards for seniors and students. Make sure to buy your card before you arrive to avail of the savings.

6. Make a list of free things to do – a top money-saving hack

Believe it or not, travelling to Ireland on a shoestring budget is not hard, especially when researching the abundance of free things to do around the country.

Some examples include visiting the Botanic Gardens and National Museum of Ireland in Dublin, Killarney National Park in Kerry, the Ulster Museum in Belfast and the English Market in Cork. Doing free activities can save you a lot of money in Ireland.

5. Walking tours – exploring Irish cities on foot

Someone playing the bodhrán on a walking tour of Belfast.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Rob Durston

Walking tours are famous worldwide, and Ireland is no exception. If you want to get to know a city on foot, with local knowledge, and a chance to make new friends, then a free walking tour is the way to go.

You can find these informative and fun tours in major cities like Cork, Dublin, and Galway, so if you have the chance, do not miss this opportunity to explore these areas.

4. Early bird menus – an inexpensive way to wine and dine

A bowl of Irish stew. Finding early bird menus is one of our tips for travelling Ireland on a shoestring budget.
Credit: Flickr/ James

Ireland is well known for its abundance of early bird menu options, which is a fantastic way to enjoy delicious dishes at a fraction of the cost – if you are flexible.

Early bird menus can generally be found in Ireland’s main cities, and if you are happy to enjoy an early dinner, opting for this experience is a great way to save money.

They tend to run until 6/7 pm, depending on the restaurant, so check in advance and always reserve a table if possible.

3. Free or cheap music nights – unmissable Irish entertainment

A trad session in a pub in Ireland.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Fáilte Ireland

If you are visiting Ireland, you will not want to miss the opportunity to experience Irish entertainment in all its glory, and the good news is it can be done for free or at a very low cost.

Many Irish pubs offer free traditional live music sessions, while some venues offer free music nights and promotional events, which can save you a few bucks. In addition, keep your eyes peeled for free and unmissable comedy nights around the country.

2. Avoid tourist traps – go beyond Temple Bar

The exterior of the Temple Bar pub in Dublin. Avoiding tourist traps is one of our tips for travelling Ireland on a shoestring budget.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org (Svein-Magne Tunli – tunliweb.no)

Pubs in Temple Bar may seem like fantastic places to grab a pint or two, but believe us when we say that this is perhaps the most expensive area to wine and dine.

To save money in Ireland, always avoid eating or drinking in the main tourist areas and opt for a bar or restaurant in a local area, where the prices are much lower.

There are plenty of bars in Ireland with happy hours, cheap bar food, budget beers, and promotions, so don’t get caught up in the hype of Temple Bar.

1. Travel in the shoulder season – one of the best tips

Car's driving along the Antrim Coast on a pleasant day, with the sea stretching out in the distance.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Chris Hill Photographic 2011 +44(0) 2890 245038

If you are flexible, visiting Ireland in May or September, when the weather is decent and the prices are generally lower, is best.

This can help you save money on tours, accommodation, and even flights to and from your home country, saving you money before you have even arrived?

So, now that you have seen some of the best ways to travel Ireland on a shoestring budget, what are you waiting for?

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