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Visit Ireland in 2021

What to Know About Visiting Ireland in 2021

If you want to visit Ireland in 2021, I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that Ireland, unlike much of the rest of Europe, never fully closed its borders.

The bad news? Ireland’s hapless PM has flirted with the country adopting a quixotic “zero Covid” strategy à la Australia or New Zealand. Although it’s unlikely this will be implemented, it would involve the indefinite closure of the Irish border to foreign travelers.

Continue reading to learn not only about the logistical challenges that may underscore your 2021 Ireland trip, but the destinations and experiences you’ll be able to enjoy once you pass through those pearly gates—you know, the immigration ones at Dublin Airport!

Need help planning your 2021 trip to Ireland? Hire me as your Travel Coach!

Ireland’s Border Never (Fully) Closed

Although it will almost certainly be easier to visit Ireland in 2021 than it was in 2020, the two years share one thing in common: An open Irish border! Unlike many countries around the world (and the EU more broadly), Ireland never made the mistake of fully closing its border in response to the coronavirus pandemic, even if certain regulations (namely, a mandatory quarantine) were put in place (and even if it’s possible the border will end up closing).

If this nightmare scenario (i.e. a full and indefinite lockdown) doesn’t take place, Ireland will face a shorter road back to travel normality than most of Europe. I’ll speak about the particulars of this in just a few paragraphs—in particular, whether or not we can expect global vaccination campaigns to reduce or even eliminate the Irish quarantine. As a general rule, however, you can expect that visiting Ireland this year will be significantly easier than it was last year.

The Ultimate 2021 Ireland Road Trip

Start in Dublin


Ireland’s capital is both underrated and overrated. Underrated because most people never explore it beyond famous attractions like the Trinity College Library, Liffey Riverfront and Guinness Brewery, and overrated because those places pale in comparison to attractions elsewhere in the country. Still, since you’ll likely land in Dublin anyway, you might as well enjoy the city.

Go counterclockwise


Another tip for visiting Ireland in 2021? Rent your car after you’ve spent a couple days in Dublin, exploring by foot and public transport. From there begin driving south, heading down to colorful County Cork before curving around and heading west toward the Atlantic Coast.

Savor the Wild Atlantic Way


Although one of the most-visited places in Ireland, the Wild Atlantic Way definitely lives up to the hype. This is true whether you’re driving along the Dingle Peninsula, near the southern boundary of the route, or approaching the popular Cliffs of Moher, farther north.

Don’t forget Northern Ireland


Traveling up the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s tempting to head due east from Galway and travel back to Dublin. However, if you visit Ireland in 2021, I urge you to continue northward through counties Mayo, Sligo and Donegal en route to Northern Ireland, which is just as much a part of Ireland as the Republic.

(And don’t discount Belfast)


Unfortunately, most travelers who do end up visiting the (technically) British part of Ireland focus entirely on natural attractions such as the Giant’s Causeway and the Eerie Forest from Game of Thrones fame, ignored the capital city of Belfast due to its largely undeserved reputation. I urge you to buck this trend!

Will Vaccines Eliminate Ireland’s Quarantine in 2021?

If I were a betting man, I’d say that some travelers to Ireland will be able to evade quarantine by the end of 2021. While the idea of mandating vaccination for entry is unprecedented (at least in European countries), I would imagine that travelers who are willing to prove they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19 will have a much better chance of traveling in Ireland as in the “before time” than those who turn up at the border empty-handed.

Allow me to repeat this again: I do not think a vaccine will be necessary to visit Ireland in 2021, even though I personally plan to get one. However, even if you aren’t required to present a vaccination certificate at the border, you will almost certainly need to prove you aren’t infected with the coronavirus. The good news is that rapid tests will likely be even more rapid (and perhaps even instant) in 2021 than they are now, in late 2020.

Other FAQ About Visiting Ireland in 2021

Is it safe to travel to Ireland right now?

Ireland has a rate of Covid-19 spread similar to much of the rest of Europe and the US; it is no more dangerous to travel in Ireland in the pandemic era than it is to be in other Western nations. Once the coronavirus is a thing of the past, you can fully rest assured: Ireland is a very safe country, with low rates of violent crime and even petty theft.

Can Americans travel to Ireland?

Travelers from the United States can enter Ireland, subject to a 14-day quarantine requirement that will be removed at some point in the future. Note that coronavirus travel restrictions (to Ireland and elsewhere in the world) are based not on citizenship or nationality, but travel history.

What is the best month to visit Ireland in 2021?

Ireland is at its most beautiful during the summer, coronavirus or not. Since it’s likely that Covid-19 travel restrictions will begin rolling back in July or August, I recommend timing your 2021 trip to Ireland to coincide with these (relatively) warm months, assuming the country is open quarantine-free by then.

The Bottom Line

Want to visit Ireland in 2021? It’s possible but not certain that you’ll be able to do so. If you do come, many restrictions will be in place, especially early in the year. With this being said, I do hope travel in Ireland will be closer to normal by the time the second half of this year rolls around, particularly for travelers who have been vaccinated against Covid-19. For now, I’d recommend focusing less on the regulations and minutia of traveling to Ireland, and more on the amazing places you’ll be able to visit (and the things you’ll be able to do) once you’re on the ground in Dublin. Breathe an even deeper sigh of relief when you hire me to plan your 2021 (or 2022) Ireland trip.

Leave Your Daily Hell   Filed under: Ireland

About The Author

is the author of 1206 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!


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  • I plan to spend the first half of 2021 in Kyoto, Japan, where I'll be taking a Japanese course. While I intend to publish some posts about my travels around Japan here, I encourage you to visit Japan Starts Here for my most up-to-date and in-depth Japan travelogues.

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