How to pack for Ireland in August
July 11, 2012 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I am going to Ireland for 8 days in August with my mom, aunt and cousins. I'm looking at the average weather and panicking a little about what to pack/bring/carry. I specifically need a good backpack for a camera, and some decent looking shoes. Can you help?

We're going to be doing the normal touristy walking around and bus tours. I have 2 major concerns:

1. I have a nice SLR camera that I'd like to carry with me, so I need a good bag that's not too bulky and at least a little stylish. I don't love messenger style / cross body bags because I have bigger boobs and the strap cuts between them and make me look ridiculous. Any suggestions for a good camera backpack?

2. Travel shoes / comfy sneakers look horrible. I'll probably bring my hot pink Converse low-tops, and a pair of patent leather nude flats. Any other good suggestions for stylish comfy shoes?

Any other suggestions for dressing for the temperature would be great. I'm a very short 32-year-old female who likes bright colors.
posted by elvissa to Travel & Transportation around Ireland (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think you will be very sad if you bring your Cons. While adorable and great for kicking around, the have NO arch support and can feel rough after trotting around after the first hour.

I got two pairs of Born shoes to do London in and they were awesome. The sizing is weird because they're European, so if your regular size feels weird go up or down accordingly.

You may want to get a good pair of sneakers, not necessarily walking shoes, but something stylish with support. I'm over the whole "cute shoes" when I travel thing. If you can't hand with my Nikes, oh well.

I think a backpack is contra-indicated, what with pickpockets and crowds and whatnot.

A small, light, digital camera is best. You will HATE anything heavy after awhile, especially as you trudge up one more flight of stairs.

I too am well endowed and I have a little Tigniello crossbody bag. So I look goofy, who cares? If it doesn't fit in the bag, I don't take it.

I used to have a Coach belt/bag combo that was great for Disneyland. Ah well, that was 20 years ago.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:33 PM on July 11, 2012

I have no idea what source you're using for "average weather" information but FYI, this summer has been absolute shit. There is no way of knowing if it will be glorious in August but at the moment, not so much. It's not cold but it is dim and wet and unseasonably crappy. Sorry.

I'm not totally clear of the specifics of your packing panic. Bring... jeans, t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, one jumper and possibly some kind of windbreaker/rain thing if the weather keeps up like this.

I can't help you with the SLR. I have never understood the point of special camera bags because special camera bags mean I never take my camera anywhere! I just carry mine in... a normal bag or handbag or whatever. If you're super contentious you can put it in a bodybag in your regular bag?
posted by DarlingBri at 1:38 PM on July 11, 2012

Re: camera bag, are you taking multiple lenses for your DSLR? If so, something like this might work if you already have a handbag w. a large main compartment (I got one to put into my big hobo-style purse for non-photo-centric days). For photohiking, I have this backpack and love it to death. I'm short and busty, and the straps actually adjust small enough to fit me well--first time ever in a pack. Has a hideaway all-weather cover and hideaway tripod straps.
posted by smirkette at 1:49 PM on July 11, 2012

I wore these Mary Jane type shoes all over London recently and recommend them. They have decent arch support and I was able to wear them right out of the box on a six mile walk with no blisters or sore spots, and that with no socks on.
posted by terrierhead at 2:13 PM on July 11, 2012

Okay, for fashion and comfort...

- skinny or bootcut jeans in dark denim (US blue denim stands out a mile)
- bring your Chucks, I'm Irish and I wear them, rain be damned
- bring a fitted jacket or a blazer and use an umberella rather than going for waterproofing to the gills. Every other tourist will be in Northface or fleeces. I find I have a better time out and about in this country when I'm slightly smarter dressed.
- definitely something like a pair of Docs. When you're over here, try and get a pair of Clarks shoes, seriously.
- layers, seriously. Blazers help with this -> funky tshirt, either cardigan or zip-up hoodie over jeans and your tailored jacket
- bag-wise, try a messenger with shorter strap to wear as a shoulder bag

Please remember the weather in Ireland is so terribly changeable. Today for instance, the morning was sunny, mid morning was misting, then it brightened up quite nicely for lunchtime and it actually felt warm. Afternoon? Thundering sideways rain. Evening? More rain, but just before 9:30 it got all bright and sunny again.

Also, please don't be afraid of the rain. It was lashing yesterday and all the tourists were huddled in doorways, etc. but plenty of locals were walking about, some without umbrellas/coats. You'll get wet, yes, but you'll be grand ;)

Ireland in August: wet but never cold, rather clammy but never humid. Sunshine? Tempermentally
posted by Chorus at 2:34 PM on July 11, 2012

Rubber soles rather than vibram, which slip on wet pavement when the tread wears down.
posted by brujita at 6:48 PM on July 11, 2012

If the weather continues as it has been and you're planning on doing any walking in the countryside/easy (flat) hiking at all I highly recommend buying a cheap pair of wellies in either Penney's or Dunne's when you arrive - there's a cliffside walk from Bray to Greystones that wasn't really navigable in anything else a while back, for example. Anything else will leave you with sodden shoes that you have to squelch around in all day which is miserable. (The problem with being a tourist is that unlike being a local you can't dry out quite so easily/change as often and you are often hoping not to have to head back to the hotel before late.) Whatever backpack you get (if you go that route) should be waterproof. Not water resistant: waterproof.

It shouldn't be too cold, so I recommend bringing non-heavy jeans that you can dry easily. And I'd recommend going for a brightly coloured slicker. They've been selling them in various shops in Dublin as festival wear so there's a fair few locals can be seen in them and they're light to carry when the sun actually does come out.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:36 PM on July 11, 2012

Cole Haan shoes are widely acclaimed throughout Ask MeFi and beyond for both comfort and style. Can't say that I'd find Chucks to be supportive enough for sightseeing, but to each their own, and although the patent flats might be adorable, remember that the leather is non-breathable, and your feet may suffer as a result. lesbiassparrow's suggestion of getting a cheap pair of wellies when you're there is excellent.

Nthing everyone else who's noted that carrying a complete DSLR kit is going to be mighty tiring after a while. My rule of thumb is that if the whole shebang doesn't fit into a medium-sized Crumpler Haven, then it ain't going.

As for bags, I don't know what your price points are, but I listed a bunch of options in a previous comment. Patent leather resists scuffs and stains, is water-repellent, and generally pretty sturdy, so bags like Big Buddha's JAriel or JPearl, Steve Madden's patent tote, or Echo Design's soft patent tote would also work.

I'm terribly fond of my Chrysalis dress from Nau, which works as a great outer layer (especially when treated with something like Trek7's waterproofing spay), and paired with a small umbrella like the Davek Traveler, you should stay pretty dry.
posted by evoque at 11:47 AM on July 12, 2012

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