Ireland is a beautiful country with much to offer. From the Cliffs of Moher to the streets of Dublin, there’s something for everyone. But to make the most of your trip, there are a few steps you’ll need to take. One key travel tip is buying a SIM card. In this post, I’ll help you stay connected by sharing everything you want to know about buying a SIM card for Ireland in 2023.
If you’re an international traveler hoping to share your experiences and stay connected to your loved ones abroad, you’ll want a SIM card. A SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) is a small chip that allows you to use your phone’s cellular network. This means you can make calls, send texts, and use data without Wi-Fi. An eSIM is a digital version of the SIM card – just what you’ll need in 2023.
Now, perhaps your reason for traveling is to disconnect. In that case, why would you need a SIM while abroad? Isn’t it easier to use public Wi-Fi? As a frequent traveler, I think it’s always better to have the option. You never know when you’ll need cell data. That’s why I always find a way to connect, even if I’m backpacking Europe or booking a wellness retreat.
Having a local SIM card provides you with seamless connectivity. It allows you to take advantage of local rates and data packages, ensuring a hassle-free experience. In this blog post, I’ll guide you through buying a SIM card for Ireland in 2023 so you can stay connected.
>Don’t have time to read the full guide? Here’s my top pick for a SIM Card in Ireland: SimOptions
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Why it’s important to have a SIM card when traveling to Ireland
One essential consideration when planning your trip to Ireland is staying connected while exploring the country. Opting for a local prepaid SIM card or an eSIM card offers numerous advantages to enhance your travel experience.
The primary reason to get a local SIM or eSIM card is to save on roaming costs. Overseas data plans can be expensive and often come with limitations on data speed. By choosing a local prepaid SIM or eSIM , you can access reasonably priced data plans with unlimited data within Ireland.
Some plans even include free EU roaming if you want to explore Europe. This means you can enjoy the best 4G/5G connection and experience fast internet speeds with an uninterrupted online experience throughout your journey. With a local or European SIM card, you can live stream your exploration of Westport or other Instagrammable destinations.
While many hotels, bars, and restaurants in popular tourist destinations like Dublin provide free Wi-Fi, it’s not guaranteed everywhere you go. Having a reliable data connection on your phone makes traveling much more convenient. You can effortlessly order a taxi through an app, rely on accurate directions from Google Maps, discover nearby places of interest, handle emergencies, access banking apps, and more.
By acquiring a local SIM card or eSIM card for your Ireland trip, you can explore beyond the limits of Wi-Fi coverage. Stay connected, informed, and make the most of your travel experience . And your friends and followers can enjoy your TikTok videos no matter where you venture.
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How to buy a SIM card in Ireland
When purchasing a SIM card in Ireland, you have a few options to ensure you stay connected during your trip. Here’s a guide on how to acquire your own local SIM card.
One option is to buy a prepaid SIM card in person. You can find these SIM cards at select international airports, mobile provider stores, and convenience stores. However, buying a SIM card at the airport may come with higher costs and limited data offers.
For a better selection and potentially more cost-effective options, visit a mobile provider store directly. Here, you can find a variety of SIM card packages tailored to your needs. It’s advisable to carry your passport or a valid identification document, as some stores may require proof of identity when purchasing a SIM card.
However, if you prefer to be connected right upon your arrival in Ireland, there are alternative options to consider. One option is an eSIM, a virtual SIM card that can be activated on compatible devices. In some cases, such as with newer iPhones, an eSIM is your only option.
Alternatively, you can purchase a European prepaid SIM card online before your trip. This allows you to have the SIM card ready to use as soon as you land in Ireland, ensuring seamless connectivity.
By exploring these different avenues for obtaining a SIM card in Ireland, you can choose the option that best suits your preferences and requirements. Whether you purchase in person or opt for an eSIM or online purchase, having a local SIM card will enable you to make the most of your trip and stay connected throughout your Irish adventure.
Where to buy a SIM card in Ireland
When you arrive in Ireland, you have several convenient options and are ready to purchase a SIM card. Here are the most common places to buy a SIM card in Ireland.
Major international airports in Ireland, such as Dublin Airport, Shannon Airport, and Cork Airport, often have kiosks or shops where you can find SIM cards. While the convenience is tempting, keep in mind that prices at the airport can be higher, and the available options may be limited.
Mobile Network Provider Stores
One of the best places to buy a SIM card is directly from the stores of mobile network providers. Companies like Three, Vodafone, and Eir have retail outlets throughout the country, especially in larger cities like Dublin, Galway, and Cork. Visiting these stores allows you to explore different plans, compare prices, and get assistance from knowledgeable staff who can help you choose the best option based on your needs.
Numerous convenience stores across Ireland, such as Spar, Centra, and Tesco, also sell SIM cards. These stores are easily accessible and can be found in cities, towns, and rural areas. While they may not offer the same range of options as dedicated mobile network provider stores, they are a convenient choice for purchasing a SIM card on the go.
If you prefer the convenience of online shopping, you can purchase a SIM card for Ireland from various websites, including Amazon. Additionally, many mobile network providers offer online ordering and delivery services, allowing you to have a SIM card ready before your trip or delivered to your accommodation in Ireland.
Another online option for prepaid travel SIM and eSIM cards is Simify. They offer different packages depending on your data needs, such as 10, 12, and 19GB of data for 30 days. They also offer three sizes for each SIM card (Standard, Micro, and Nano) for device compatibility.
The website I buy SIM cards from online is SimOptions. They are Europe’s #1 marketplace for international Prepaid SIM Cards for travelers from around the world, including the US. They carry all formats of SIM cards and eSIMs so you can stay connected throughout your trip, wherever your adventures take you. If you want to buy a SIM card for Ireland, SimOptions carries options from Three UK, O2, and Orange.
Remember to bring your passport or a valid identification document when purchasing a SIM card in Ireland, as some stores may require proof of identity. Additionally, consider network coverage, data plans, and pricing when choosing the best place to buy a SIM card. By selecting a reputable provider and purchasing a SIM card that meets your needs, you can ensure a seamless and connected experience during your time in Ireland.
The best SIM cards for Ireland In 2023
When selecting a SIM card for your visit to Ireland, you’ll find several great options to fit your needs and preferences. Let’s explore some of the best SIM cards available when traveling to Ireland.
Three (3) SIM cards for Ireland
Three is renowned for its extensive network coverage throughout Ireland. Alongside its reliable network, Three offers highly competitive data plans. For example, you can enjoy the convenience of unlimited data for just €20 per month, ensuring you never have to worry about running out of data while exploring the Emerald Isle.
Pros of using Three SIM Cards
- Unlimited data. Three offers an unlimited data plan for €20 per month. This is a great option if you’re a heavy data user or plan to stream videos or use social media in Ireland.
- Network. Three has the best network coverage in Ireland, so you’ll likely have a signal no matter where you are.
- Free calls to other Three customers. Three customers can call each other for free, even in different countries. This is a great way to save money on international calls.
- Welcome pack. Three offers a welcome pack with all of their SIM cards. This pack includes a guide to Ireland, a country map, and a list of useful phone numbers.
Three is a great option if you’re looking for a SIM card with great network coverage, affordable data plans, and a few additional features.
Cons of using Three SIM Cards
- Customer service. Three’s customer service has been known to be less than stellar. Some customers have complained about long wait times and unhelpful staff.
- EU roaming. Three no longer offers inclusive EU or worldwide roaming to new customers.
Other considerations when choosing a Three SIM card for Ireland
- Go Binge. Three’s Go Binge feature gives you unlimited data for streaming music and video. This is a great option if you’re a heavy streaming service user.
- Go Roam. Three’s Go Roam lets you unlock your call, text, and data allowance in 71 destinations around the world. This is a great option if you travel frequently. Republic of Ireland is excluded from Go Roam’s daily charge.
- Three+. Three+ is a loyalty program that rewards you for using your Three SIM card. These rewards can include things like free data, discounts on phones, and access to exclusive events.
Vodafone SIM cards for Ireland
Vodafone is another top contender, boasting a robust network infrastructure and diverse data plans to suit varying requirements. With Vodafone, you can tailor your plan to your needs, ensuring you have ample data to stay connected during your Irish escapades.
Pros of using Vodafone SIM Cards
- Good network coverage. Vodafone has good network coverage throughout Ireland, so you’ll likely have a signal no matter where you are in the country.
- Variety of plans. Vodafone offers a variety of SIM card plans to choose from, so you can find the perfect plan for your needs.
- Good customer service. Vodafone has a good reputation for customer service, so you’re likely to get help if needed.
- International roaming. Vodafone offers free roaming in the EU, so you can use your SIM card in other EU countries without paying extra fees.
Cons of using Vodafone SIM Cards
- Price. Vodafone’s SIM card plans can be a bit more expensive than some of the other providers in Ireland.
- Data caps. Vodafone’s data caps can be restrictive for heavy data users.
- Customer service. Some customers have complained about long wait times and unhelpful staff when dealing with Vodafone’s customer service.
Other considerations when choosing a Vodafone SIM card for Ireland
- Red Entertainment. Vodafone offers a range of Red Entertainment plans, which include a subscription to one of a number of streaming services, such as Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, or NOW TV.
- Vodafone Pass. Vodafone also offers a range of Vodafone Pass add-ons, which can give you access to things like unlimited social media data, free calls to certain countries, or discounts on data roaming.
- Vodafone Flexi-upgrade. Vodafone Flexi-upgrade is a plan that allows you to upgrade your phone every six months.
Orange Holiday SIM cards for Ireland
As a well-known international mobile network operator, Orange provides excellent coverage and reliable service. Their data plans cater to various needs, allowing you to select a package that suits your usage and budget preferences.
Pros of using Orange Holiday SIM Cards
- Good network coverage. Orange has good network coverage throughout Ireland, so you’re likely to have a signal anywhere in the country.
- Variety of plans. Orange offers a variety of SIM card plans to choose from, so you can find the perfect plan for your needs.
- EU roaming. Orange offers free roaming in the EU, so you can use your Orange SIM card in other EU countries without paying extra fees.
- Customer service. Orange has a good reputation for customer service, so you’re likely to get help if needed.
Cons of using Orange Holiday SIM Cards
- Price: Orange’s SIM card plans can be a bit more expensive than some of the other providers in Ireland.
- Data caps: Orange’s data caps can be restrictive for heavy data users.
- Customer service: Some customers have complained about long wait times and unhelpful staff when dealing with Orange’s customer service.
Other considerations when choosing an Orange Holiday SIM card for Ireland
- Pay as you go: Orange offers a pay-as-you-go option, meaning you only pay for the data you use. This can be a good option if you’re unsure how much data you’ll need.
- Monthly plans: Orange also offers monthly plans, which give you a set amount of monthly data. This can be a good option if you know how much data you need.
- Data rollover: Orange offers data rollover, meaning that unused data will be carried over to the next month. This is a great way to save money if you don’t use all of your data in a month and are planning an extended stay.
- Multi-device support: Orange SIM cards can be used on multiple devices, so you can share your plan with your friends or family.
Other companies to consider when buying a SIM card for Ireland
In addition to these major players, there are other notable SIM card options to consider. Lycamobile, for instance, offers cost-effective plans starting at just €10 per month, ideal for those seeking a budget-friendly solution without compromising on connectivity.
Tesco Mobile is another noteworthy contender with plans starting at €15 per month, catering to individuals who prioritize affordability.
For savvy deal-seekers, GoMo is a low-cost MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) that utilizes the reliable Three network. With plans like unlimited data for an astonishingly low €10 per month, GoMo is an enticing choice for those who want generous data allowances without breaking the bank.
Simify is a global SIM card provider that offers a variety of plans for Ireland, the rest of Europe, and the UK. They also offer SIM cards and eSIM cards for destinations worldwide, including North America, New Zealand, Asia, South America, and the Middle East.
The best eSIM cards for Ireland
When it comes to staying connected while traveling in Ireland, eSIM cards offer a cutting-edge solution that provides flexibility, convenience, and seamless connectivity.
Unlike traditional physical SIM cards, which need to be inserted and swapped in your device, eSIM cards are embedded directly into your smartphone or other compatible devices. This means no more fumbling with tiny SIM cards or worrying about losing them. With eSIM technology, activating a new plan is as simple as scanning a QR code or entering a provided activation code.
One of the significant advantages of eSIM cards is their versatility. Instead of being tied to a specific mobile network operator, eSIM cards allow you to switch between carriers without needing a physical SIM card. This flexibility is especially beneficial for travelers who want to easily switch networks or use local plans in various countries, including Ireland. And since eSIM cards don’t use your physical card slot, you can have multiple plans simultaneously. This is particularly useful for those who want to maintain their home carrier plan while enjoying the benefits of a local Irish plan.
It is important to note that not all phones are compatible with eSIM cards, so do your due diligence before buying an eSIM.
Like physical SIM cards, several options are available if traveling to Ireland. Here are some of the best options for an eSIM card for Ireland.
Airalo eSIM cards for Ireland
Airalo, a popular eSIM provider, offers a variety of plans for Ireland, including an unlimited data plan for €20 per month. They even offer a local eSIM called Fáilte specifically designed for travelers visiting Ireland.
Pros of using Airalo eSIM Cards
- Flexible plans. Airalo offers a variety of plans to choose from, so you can find the perfect plan for your needs. You can also buy data as you need it, so you’re not tied to a monthly plan.
- Global coverage. Airalo offers coverage in over 180 countries, so you can use your eSIM card no matter where you travel.
- Easy to set up. Setting up an Airalo eSIM card is easy. You can do it all from your phone’s settings.
Cons of using Airalo eSIM Cards
- Customer service. Airalo’s customer service has been known to be slow and unhelpful.
- Data speeds. Data speeds can be slow in some areas.
- Limited support. Fáilte eSIM cards are only valid in Ireland and do not support calls or SMS messages.
Other considerations when choosing an Airalo SIM card for Ireland:
- Fáilte eSIM. Airalo’s Fáilte eSIM card is specifically designed for travelers to Ireland. This plan includes a welcome pack with information about the country.
- Data rollover. Airalo offers data rollover, meaning unused data will be carried over to the next month. This is a great way to save money if you don’t use all your data monthly.
- Multi-device support. Airalo eSIM cards can be used on multiple devices, so you can share your plan with your friends or family.
GigSky eSIM cards for Ireland
For travelers with broader global adventures in mind, GigSky presents an appealing option. With various international plans available, GigSky provides a plan specifically designed for Ireland, offering 10GB of data for €15 per month, ideal for globetrotters seeking connectivity beyond Irish borders.
Pros of using GigSky eSIM Cards
- Global coverage. GigSky offers coverage in over 190 countries, so you can use your eSIM card anywhere you travel.
- Flexible plans. GigSky offers a variety of plans to choose from, so you can find the perfect plan for your needs. You can also buy data as needed, so you’re not tied to a monthly plan.
- Easy to set up. Setting up a GigSky eSIM card is easy. You can do it all from your phone’s settings.
- Customer service. GigSky’s customer service has been known to be helpful and responsive.
Cons of using GigSky eSIM Cards
- Data speeds. Data speeds can be slow in some areas.
- Price. GigSky’s plans can be a bit more expensive than some other providers.
Other considerations when choosing a GigSky SIM card for Ireland:
- Data rollover. GigSky offers data rollover, meaning unused data will be carried over to the next month. This is a great way to save money if you don’t use all your data monthly.
- Multi-device support. You can use GigSky eSIM cards on multiple devices, so you can share your plan with your friends or family.
- Travel packs. GigSky offers travel packs specifically designed for travelers visiting different countries like Ireland. These packs include data, minutes, and texts for a specific country.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about buying a SIM card for Ireland
Are you ready to start your trip to Ireland with the ultimate connectivity? Here are some frequently asked questions about buying a SIM card for Ireland and staying connected in 2023.
Do US cell phones work in Ireland?
Yes, you can use your US cell phone in Ireland, provided that it meets certain requirements. First, check that your phone is unlocked. This means it’s not tied to a specific carrier and can accept SIM cards from different providers. If you are unsure whether your phone is unlocked, contact your service provider to inquire about the process.
US cell phones typically use GSM or CDMA technology. While CDMA is less common in Ireland, GSM networks are widely used. The primary GSM frequency bands in Ireland are 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. For your US cell phone to work properly in Ireland, it should support at least one of these frequency bands.
One option for staying connected with your cellphone is to purchase a local Irish SIM card. These are widely available at airports, convenience stores, and mobile network provider stores. By inserting a local SIM card into your unlocked US cell phone, you can enjoy the benefits of local rates and data packages, making it a more cost-effective option for longer stays or frequent visits to Ireland.
Before making any decisions, it’s always a good idea to compare the costs and benefits of both roaming and using a local SIM card. Consider your usage requirements, budget, and the length of your stay to make an informed choice that suits your needs.
Remember to check with your service provider regarding international roaming compatibility and rates, and ensure that your phone is unlocked and compatible with GSM networks before traveling to Ireland.
How can I use my US phone internationally?
To use your US phone internationally, you have a few options.
International Roaming: Contact your US service provider for international roaming options. If your phone supports international roaming, you can use your existing phone number, plan, and data allowances abroad. However, be aware that international roaming charges can be high, so it’s essential to check your provider’s rates and data packages.
SIM Cards: Purchase a local SIM card in the country you’re visiting. This option lets you have a local phone number and access local rates and data plans. Ensure that your phone is unlocked before buying a SIM card. Insert the local SIM card into your phone, and you can make calls, send texts, and use data as a resident would.
Travel SIM Cards: Another option is to buy a travel SIM card specifically designed for international use. These SIM cards are often available online or in stores and provide coverage in multiple countries. They offer competitive rates for calls, texts, and data, making them a cost-effective solution for frequent travelers.
Wi-Fi and Messaging Apps: Utilize Wi-Fi networks available at hotels, cafes, or public areas to connect to the internet and use messaging apps like WhatsApp, Skype, or FaceTime to make calls and send messages. These apps utilize internet connectivity rather than cellular networks and can help you stay in touch without additional charges.
Do SIM cards work in Ireland?
Yes, SIM cards work in Ireland and are a convenient and cost-effective option for staying connected while visiting the country. Whether you have a phone from Ireland or another country, you can easily use a SIM card to access local mobile networks.
To use a SIM card in Ireland, ensure your phone is unlocked and compatible with GSM networks. Most modern smartphones are GSM-compatible, but verifying this with your service provider or checking your phone’s specifications is always wise. Once your phone is unlocked, you can purchase a SIM card from various locations such as airports, convenience stores, or mobile network provider stores.
By inserting a local Irish SIM card into your unlocked phone, you can enjoy the benefits of local rates, data packages, and call/text allowances. This allows you to make local and international calls, send texts, and access mobile data using the local Irish network. It is a convenient way to stay connected with friends, family and access essential online services during your time in Ireland.
Remember to check the coverage, pricing, and data packages different network providers offer to choose the most suitable SIM card for your needs.
Do Irish sim cards work in Europe?
Yes, Irish SIM cards generally work in Europe. Ireland is part of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). This means that most Irish mobile network operators provide roaming services within these regions. As such, this allows you to use your Irish SIM card in other EU and EEA countries without incurring additional roaming charges.
However, it’s important to check with your specific network provider to confirm their roaming policies and any potential limitations or additional charges that may apply while using your Irish SIM card in Europe.
Where can I buy a SIM card in Ireland?
You can purchase a SIM card in Ireland from various locations, making staying connected during your visit convenient. Here are some common places to buy a SIM card:
Airports. Major airports in Ireland, such as Dublin Airport, Shannon Airport, and Cork Airport, have kiosks or shops to find SIM cards. These outlets often offer various options from different network providers, allowing you to choose a SIM card that suits your needs.
Convenience Stores. Many convenience stores in Ireland, such as Spar, Centra, and Tesco, sell SIM cards. These stores are commonly found in cities, towns, and even rural areas, making it easy to purchase a SIM card no matter where you are in the country.
Mobile Network Provider Stores. Each major mobile network operator in Ireland, including Vodafone, Three, and Eir, has its own retail stores where you can buy their specific SIM cards. Visiting these stores allows you to get assistance from the provider’s staff and explore different plans and packages in detail.
Online. If you prefer the convenience of online shopping, you can also purchase SIM cards from the websites of mobile network providers. They often provide options for delivery or pick-up, allowing you to receive the SIM card before your trip or have it ready for collection upon arrival. SimOptions, Simify, and Amazon are popular websites for buying SIM cards online.
Consider factors such as network coverage, data plans, and pricing when purchasing a SIM card. It’s a good idea to compare the offerings of different network providers to find the most suitable option for your needs.
Are SIM cards free in Ireland?
SIM cards are not generally free in Ireland. Most mobile network operators in Ireland require customers to purchase a SIM card separately. The cost of a SIM card can vary depending on the network provider and the type of plan or bundle you choose. It’s advisable to check with specific network operators in Ireland for the most up-to-date information on SIM card pricing.
Does Ireland have 5G?
Yes, Ireland has 5G. The first 5G networks were launched in Ireland in 2019, and 5G coverage is now available in most major cities and towns. The three main mobile network operators in Ireland – Three, Vodafone, and Eir – all offer 5G services.
5G is the fifth generation of cellular network technology, and it offers a number of advantages over previous generations of cellular networks. 5G networks can provide faster data speeds, lower latency, and greater capacity than previous generations. This means that 5G can be used to support a wider range of applications, such as streaming high-definition video, playing online games, and downloading large files.
5G is still a relatively new technology, and its coverage is not yet as widespread as 4G. However, 5G coverage is expected to grow in the coming years.
Can you buy an Irish SIM card online?
Yes, it is possible to buy an Irish SIM card online. Many mobile network operators in Ireland offer online sales and delivery services for SIM cards. You can visit the websites of the network providers to check their available options for purchasing a SIM card online.
When looking for an online SIM card for Ireland, it’s important to ensure that the SIM card you choose is compatible with your device and meets your specific needs in terms of network coverage, data plans, and any other desired features.
Which SIM is best in Dublin?
Several mobile network operators offer reliable coverage and competitive plans in Dublin, including Vodafone Ireland, Three Ireland, and Eir. Consider factors such as network coverage, data speeds, call and text rates, customer service, and available plans or bundles to find the best SIM card option for you.