Home Packing for Ireland What to pack for Ireland in December: full packing list for Ireland in the holiday season

What to pack for Ireland in December: full packing list for Ireland in the holiday season

by Mama Loves Ireland
Kilkenny Ireland Christmas market

What to pack for Ireland in December: full packing list, travel essentials and what to wear in Ireland in December to stay warm and stylish on your Christmas holiday in Ireland

Ireland is a lovely place to spend a Christmas holiday.

The weather in Ireland in December is cold and rainy and indeed, if you are looking for a road trip, this is hardly the best time.

However, the country compensates for the not so welcoming winter outdoors with amazing festive interiors, Christmas markets, lots of events and glorious Christmas food.

Overall, you are in for quite a treat!

When it comes to what to pack for Ireland in December, my advice is to pack for the cold but also throw in some nicer outfits nights in hotels, pubs and restaurants.

While Ireland is a relaxed and laidback country when it comes to style, Irish people love to dress up for Christmas and it is nice to join in with some seasonal touches

This is my complete, tried and tested packing list for Ireland in December.

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What to pack for Ireland in December: Ireland travel essentials

I am going to start this packing list with essentials for all seasons and then drill down on the specifics for the month of December.


  • Passport and Visa if required (find Visa requirements for Ireland here)
  • Driving Licence
  • International driving license if needed (check here Ireland’s driving requirements for foreigner)
  • Kids birth certificate and authorization to travel letter of the child’s guardian should be traveling to Ireland alone with a child with a different surname as your
  • Medication and prescriptions for ongoing conditions/ needs
  • A print out of your reservations (cars, hotels, tours etc)

Top tip! If planning on driving in Ireland, make sure the car rental company kits out the car with winter tires and snow chains, so you are ready for all eventualities!

Medications and toiletries

  • A well-stocked first-aid kit with essentials you may need while exploring the outdoors are medications for seasonal ailments such as cold and flue
  • Moisturizing cream for face/hands with UV protection (the wind and cold can be intense here)
  • Allergy cream/medications, if needed
  • Paracetamol or similar for pain/fever
  • Any prescriptions and ongoing medications you are used to taking at home + the generic name of the active principle should you need to stock up. Please note that commercial names in Ireland are often different than back home: pharmacists are usually able to help finding an equivalent but having teh genertic name handuy will make the whole process easier!

All your basic toiletries including:

  • Body wash/shampoo/conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Tweezers
  • Shaving cream/blade
  • Women sanitary supplies
  • Brush/comb/detangler
  • Hair ties
  • Moisturizing cream for face /body
  • Nail clipper
  • Makeup if using
  • Toothbrush/tootpashe/floss/mouthwash

Top tip! Toiletries are easy to buy in Ireland: you can find them in supermarkets, specialized shops and pharmacies. However, they often come in packages that are too big for vacation needs. To avoid waste, I recommend you bring your favorite from home, in easy-to-carry, travel-size bottles.

What to wear in Ireland in December

Official weather statistics say that Ireland in December says that

  • The average temperature in Ireland in December is 6.5C/44F
  • The average number of rainy days in Ireland in December is 23

In practical terms, this means that December is a dark, rainy month in Ireland and being ready for the rain is paramount.

For sightseeing and to explore the Irish countryside, you will want to have long sleeve tops, woolen sweaters and a good outer layer that can protect you from the wind and the rain.

You usually do not need snow gear for Ireland at Christmas although you may find snow on the mountains. At lower altitudes, a white Christmas in Ireland is an exception, more than the rule, so you usually do not need special preparation for it in terms of clothing.

For indoors, you want to have layers: Irish hotels tend to be warm and long sleeve tops and light sweaters are enough.

December is also a month with many fun indoor events so I recommend you also pack some lighter clothing for those cozy nights in front of the fire.

You will not need short sleeves but a slightly lighter cardigan can be handy.

This is what I recommend you pack for Ireland in December:

  • Rain resistant winter jacket, with hood.
  • Scarf hat and gloves
  • Long sleeve tops
  • A thermal underlay (top only): many locals disagree with me on this but if you are used to mild/hot weather, you will be happy to have one!
  • Woolen cardigan/sweater
  • Long pants/ jeans
  • Winer skirt / dress (black, brown, dark green, warm red are all popular choices)
  • Tights if planning on wearing a skirt/dress
  • Good walking shoes such as winter sneakers/ankle boots/ tall boots. If you are planning on spending a lot of time in the country, rain resistant, ankle-height hiking shoes are a must
  • You usually do not need snow boots however, I like lined city boots especially if planning on traveling around
  • Underwear and socks
  • Pajama/nightwear
  • Swimsuit and flip flops only if planning on staying in a spa hotel
  • Kids rain gear (rain pants or rain suit, ideally wellington boots)
  • A nicer outfit if staying in a castle / high-end hotel

What to wear in Ireland in December for festive dinners and events: Some castle hotels, some high-end restaurants and clubs do request their guests to abide by a certain dress code, especially for the evening meal and especially over Christmas. Information for each is available on the website of the structure in question, however, usually, this means shirt/tie/suit for men, no sneakers and no denim for both men and women.

What to pack for Ireland in December: tech and gadgets

Need to know: December is a windy, stormy month and umbrellas hardly ever survive it! I do recommend you bring a travel size one but make sure it is sturdy and also, make sure you have a hood should the wind catch you outdoors.

Luggage and bags

You don’t need all of this however, I recommend you choose your bags for Ireland wisely so you don’t’ find yourself awkwardly dragging stuff around!

  • Hardshell luggage if driving (super handy to stack in the trunk of the car)
  • Trave backpack if traveling light / using the bus or train
  • Reusable tote bag for grocery shopping / extra bits
  • Wet/dry bags especially if traveling with young kids
  • Packing cubes (this stuff is magical, they pretty much double the space in your luggage)

What to pack for the kids

  • Safe and Ireland-authorities-approved car seat (official rules here)
  • Kids travel pillow for the plane/car
  • Well stocked changing bag
  • All-terrain stroller (I prefer these in Ireland to the super-light ones: they are much better when exploring the Irish amazing countryside)
  • Stroller cover/sleeping bag
  • Baby carrier and winter carrier cover (for wind and rain)
  • Winter bodysuits for long days out
  • Rain cover for stroller
  • Rain gear for toddlers, such as rainproof pants and rain boots for puddles/mucky terrain
  • Kids’ tether, blanky and favorite toy

Good to know: baby essentials are widely available in Ireland. You find diapers, formula and baby food in supermarkets all over the country and there are lovely shops for anything you may need from teethers to car seats. however, be aware that especially in smaller centers, you may not have these items available 24/7: always stock up before nightfall. You can find here >>> my tips for visiting Irland with a baby or toddler.

You usually do not need to carry your own high chair or toddler crib.

Ireland hotels and restaurants tend to be well equipped and, most of the time, will be able to provide what you need.

If staying in smaller properties and B&Bs, ask for a cot in advance to make sure they have one available on your dates.

I hope you found this packing list for Ireland in December useful. Safe travels!

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