As the days become longer and the promise of a summer holiday rests tentatively on the cards, we give you our go-to guide to travelling safely in Ireland this summer.
Ireland is a land known for its woeful weather; days, weeks and months characterised by relentless rain and hazardous winds, high seas and seesawing temperatures. In summer though, this all stabilises – at least, on our better days. And, when the is sun high in the sky and the emerald green landscapes bloom, there is no finer place to be than on the island of Ireland.
After more than a year of lockdown life and a vaccine rollout in motion, we are finally navigating our way out of challenging waters. Soon, it will be time to #exploreirelandagain. Until then, it is crucial to remember that we all play a vital role in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. We do not encourage travel until it is safe to do so, and we’ve been given the green light by the Irish government.
Saying that, for those who dare to dream and are keen to consider the best outcome, we give you our guide to travelling safely in Ireland this summer. From top tips and what to see, this guide strives to arm you with the tools and knowledge to have a secure and spectacular experience on the Emerald Isle.
Whether you’re with Irish Experience Tours, another provider or going it solo, the key to travelling safely in Ireland this summer is planning ahead.
As the pandemic has well and truly taught us, things can change in an instance. You can never fully predict the future. So, all we can do is hope for the best and prepare for the worst. While this may sound somewhat morbid, it is, in fact, a golden piece of advice that comes in handy in any adventurer’s arsenal.
1. Research your provider or means of transport
If you’re looking to travel with a tour provider in Ireland this summer, make sure to research them thoroughly. Independent reviews may be a nightmare for some companies. Yet these are only the ones who are struggling to meet customer satisfaction across the board. For consumers, however, they are a fantastic tool for surveying the market. They ensure you are getting bang for your buck, and most importantly give you peace of mind. You’ll rest better knowing that you’re investing in a sound company that prioritises safety when you’re travelling in Ireland this summer.
For those going it solo, again, planning is a must. If you’re not travelling with a tour group, a self-drive tour is best for a safe, socially distanced adventure. Travellers who plan on using public transport to get around must remember that the pandemic has caused a serious knock-on effect on the transport sector. Reduced frequency, as well as cancelled routes, are common. In fact, during the pandemic, according to Transport For Ireland (TFI), public transport was operating at only 25% capacity. Make sure to get in touch with the relevant body (whether it be TFI, Irish Rail or Bus Éireann) to ensure you’re up to date on all of the latest information.
2. Seek the standards
As the pandemic has played out, a certain set of hygiene and safety standards have developed. These include increased cleaning regimes, the availability of hand sanitiser and face masks, as well as reduced capacities to allow for comfortable social distancing. Remember to also look out for the Covid-19 Safety Charter. This emblem lets you know that members of that business have received extensive training on hygiene measures and responsible practices.
At Irish Experience Tours, we take cleaning and hygiene very seriously. Our speciality has always been small group tours and intimate experiences across the Emerald Isle. And, the safety of our guides and guests is now more important than ever. We travel in low population density areas and, for the most part, avoid the cities. We are committed to responsible tourism and we tend to avoid enclosed spaces where large numbers are gathered.
3. Bubble tours
One of our top tips to travelling safely in Ireland this summer is travelling within your support bubble. A term referenced widely throughout the pandemic, a support bubble is a small group of select individuals with who you have close contact, regardless of whether you live together or not. They socialise only with members within their support bubble and only have one bubble at a time. The concept of a support bubble is to provide comfort and socialisation for those who would otherwise be alone or lacking in human contact.
Although the desired outcome is an open Ireland this summer to allow travel at ease, it is still advisable, where possible, to limit mass contact until the pandemic is well and truly a thing of the past. Mini adventures or private tours which are aimed at accommodating support bubbles offer travellers the chance to #exploreirelandagain while enjoying the safety of their trusted group.
Dos and don’ts
- Stay up to date with all the latest travel advice on GOV.ie
- Keep a two-metre distance, carry hand sanitiser and wear a mask when exploring any public gathering space or attraction
- Leave reviews to let other travellers know the level of hygiene and safety measures in place
- Go somewhere new, support the local economy and spend more times with your loved ones
- Enjoy travelling safely in Ireland this summer, once it is safe to do so!
- Ignore government advice
- Be the eejit who doesn’t follow public safety measures
- Unnecessarily gather in public gathering spaces and hubs
- Book a tour or experience without checking the cancellation policy. Always ensure your provider is offering a flexible travel booking
- Forget to have a ball – Ireland’s is the land of great hospitality and the almighty craic
Irish attractions for social distancing
If you’re planning on travelling safely in Ireland this summer, we recommend you get off the beaten track. Ireland is a hive of remote locations. These offer insight into authentic Irish life and boast just as much beauty as the main tourist attractions.
For those keen to safely explore some of Ireland’s most popular sites, top Irish attractions for social distancing this summer include the Cliffs of Moher, Giant’s Causeway, Connemara, Wicklow National Park and the Causeway Coastal Route.