Okay, here it goes. I am a little embarrassed to post our costs for Ireland, as we really blew our budget. In my mind I had thought that Ireland was going to be a little more expensive than our goal of $100 per day, but as it turned out it was a lot more expensive than we had planned. So in saying that, the total amount we spent in Ireland was $3,841.68. This averaged out to $128.06 per day or $42.69 per person per day. Yikes! Our biggest costs were the usual suspects: lodging, food, and transportation. So here is the break down.
Our total cost for lodging was $1,338.90. In further breaking down the lodging expenditures, we spent 5 nights in hotels and B&B’s for a total cost of $317.39. Our house in Bantry Ireland cost $967.50 for the month, which is about average for what we have been spending for a monthly rental. But I must say, the house in Bantry was by far the largest house we have had: 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Although it was way bigger than we needed, we could not have asked for a nicer location or nicer house. Also included under lodging is $54.01 for the miscellaneous cost of coal and wood to help keep us nice and toasty warm.
Our food was the second biggest expenditure for the month. We spent $1,080.85 for food. This is the most we have spent on food since beginning our around the world adventure. We spent $778.02 on groceries and $302.83 on dining out. Dining out costs was higher than pervious months due to spending our first 4 days in Ireland in Hotels and B&B and not having access to a kitchen. For those 4 days without a kitchen, we spent $231.59. Breaking food expenditures down further, we spent on average $32.66 per day for food while in Bantry versus $57.90 per day while in Dublin. This really does show that eating out will kill any budget. We also noticed in general that food, and especially alcohol, costs more in Ireland.
Transportation was our third biggest expenditure coming in at $964.29. In our search for a place to stay while in Ireland, we found that it was difficult to find a house for a reasonable price that did not require a car to get around. So we looked at the option of renting a car for 28 days. We were pleasantly surprised by the cost and decided that it would give us more freedom to see Ireland. Our car rental was $356.53 including insurance. If we did not get the insurance by the car rental agency, it would have only cost us $72 for a 28-day rental. Normally we decline the insurance by the car rental agency and use our credit cards’ insurance, but unfortunately our credit card does not provide coverage while Ireland. Over the month the cost for petrol was $354.26 and we paid $9.20 in tolls. I feel like that’s not too shabby for a month of freedom.
Also included in transportation costs was local transportation (taxis, bus) of $75.25 and $168.78 for ferry and train to get from Dublin to Bath, England. We used the Sail Rail deal to get from Dublin to Bath, which saved us money. If we had bought the train and ferry tickets separately, it would have cost us approximately $282.80.
After lodging, food, and transportation, our next biggest expenditure was miscellaneous items, which came to $273.48. You may think that this was pretty high, but $183.40 was for horse riding lessons for Sydney. Let me tell you that that money was well spent and I would do it again. Seeing the joy on Sydney’s face and confidence as she learned to jump horses was all worth it and believe me a happy child makes everyone else happy. Other miscellaneous costs included shoes for Sydney, swim cap, a soccer ball, and a gift for a birthday party that Sydney was invited to.
We spent a total of $136.99 for entrance fees to historical sites. $64 of this was for a Heritage card. The Heritage card covers admission to all sites that are managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) and is good for 1 year from date of purchase. If you will be traveling around Ireland and seeing a lot of the sites this is a good deal. We saw the following sites with the heritage card: Bru Na Boinne, Trim Castle, Dunmore Cave, Kilkenny Castle, Rock of Cashel, Charles Fort, Desmond Castle, Garnish Island, Ross Castle and Muckross Traditional Farm. There were lots of other sites included, we just ran out of time. If we had paid for each of these sites individually, it would have cost us $128.70.
We spent $42.58 on entertainment. $2.62 was for a library cards and $39.30 for boat ride out to Garnish Island. We also spent $4.59 on communication.
Lessons learned while in Ireland
Never treat your around the world adventure like a vacation. Interestingly, for the first 4 days in Ireland while we were in hotels and B&B, we spent a whopping $685.77. This is approximately 18% of our entire cost while in Ireland. Unfortunately, we got lax and rationalized many of our purchases like that 8-dollar pint in a Dublin bar.
Unless you are spending your entire time in Dublin, a car rental is your best bet. But be prepared as petrol costs a lot more in Europe and the roads are really narrow. Many of the sites of Ireland would be difficult to see without a car.
If you are coming from or going to England the Sail Rail deal is a good deal. It covers the ferry and train.
If you will be seeing a lot of the sites in Ireland, it is worth looking at the Heritage Card.
While I do not regret spending a month in Ireland, as it is a beautiful country with many genuinely friendly people, I wish that we had been closer to our goal of $100 per day. We are hoping to make up our costs in the second year while we are in Southeast Asia. I would not let our budget discourage anyone from seeing Ireland, as Ireland can be done on a cheaper budget.