Why Ireland is Perfect for First-time Solo Female Travelers

When readers ask me where they should go on their first solo trips, I always say Ireland. Ireland is perfect for solo female travelers. I’ve been to Ireland three times, all solo, and always had an amazing time.

My first solo trip was to Ireland when I was 19. After several Guinness and live music-filled days, Ireland had earned a place as one of my favorite countries- it really is a beautiful, surprisingly rugged place with lots of good-hearted (and handsome) locals.

Dingle, Ireland

In in my mind, Ireland is the perfect first-time solo travel destination for solo female travelers. Here’s why:

a. It’s English-speaking

b. The locals are incredibly friendly and welcoming

b. There are oodles of fascinating ruins and sites, as well as great culture and music

c. Ireland’s less expensive than other English-speaking destinations such as as Australia or the U.K.

d. And it’s a small, safe country that you can cross in 3 or 4 hours

In my pre-blogging days, I was much less vigilant about taking photos- hence why I literally didn’t take one picture of Dublin or Galway. But here is my coverage of the wonderful, windblown day I spent biking around Ennismore, the largest of the Aran islands.


A bike which was mode of transportation for the day as well as a source of frustration…34620_1419443006596_3144367_n                                            Stumbling upon a Celtic graveyard…34620_1419443086598_7760689_n                                                           Stopping for some delicious fish chowder and brown bread…34620_1419443126599_4397201_n

34620_1419443166600_7754303_n                                                Buying a Celtic wraith t-shirt and Claddagh ring…

Ireland1                                                Biking to Dun Aengus, a beautiful Celtic fortress ruin…34620_1419443366605_4550902_n 34620_1419443406606_842896_n

Overall it was a perfect day of solitude, blustery weather and a quiet kind of joy you feel when you’ve done someone really good for yourself, all on your own.

Also- before I left the island, there was a magical moment when an Irish boy welcomed me into his bike shop to escape the rain. After we chatted for about an hour he asked me if he could kiss me, and as I had a boyfriend at the time, I was forced to decline. Sadness.

Since then I have returned to Ireland twice. And I can safely say that all three of my solo trips to the Emerald Isle have been amazing.

Is Ireland safe for female travelers?

Yes, very. But like anywhere, take safety precautions: carry pepper spray, don’t walk home alone at night (especially not with headphones!), and don’t drink too much.

So please, think about Ireland if you’ve never traveled alone before but might want to try. I promise you won’t regret it- and maybe, just maybe, a cute Irish guy will pull you out of the rain. And in that case I implore you to give him a kiss or two.

For more of my Ireland coverage: A Grand, Google-Filled Weekend in Dublin’s Fair City, My 22nd Birthday in Cork, IrelandA Journey to the West- Dingle, Ireland, Dingle II: Irish Heritage and Craggy CliffsA Mini Irish Road Trip

Have you ever traveled solo in Ireland? Do you think it’s a good place for solo female travelers?

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

26 thoughts on “Why Ireland is Perfect for First-time Solo Female Travelers”

  1. I really like solo travel & Ireland was my first solo trip! Mostly because of heritage and Guinness!

    Such a great place to explore and learn about.

  2. I haven’t done any solo travel…yet. However, Ireland is a place I definitely want to travel! Thanks for all the great information and pictures Ashley!

  3. I have been to Wales ages ago and it was my first solo travel experience and I agree with what you said about Ireland. It was easy to communicate and there were so many friendly locals around to help you out plus the scenery was beautiful. Hope to go to Ireland one day :)

  4. I agree about Ireland (but I am Irish!)

    My number one tip is stay in hostels, they are THE BEST place to meet other travelers. My favourite is Screig an Iolair in Crolly Co.Donegal. A wonderfully friendly place with music and amazing people.

    If you don;t like hostels carry your smartphone with you and join websites like Travlbuddy, Wandermates.com and VivTrav to help meet other people (like me http://www.wandermates.com/profileview.php?profileuserid=6 :)

    Finally, if there are no people or hostels, go on 1 or 2 day activity outings, e.g. diving, climbing, canyoning, etc. They are another great way to meet people. I recommend Kerry, Galway and CLare for the best outings.

    • Thanks for the tip with wandermates! What a great idea :). And I find if you talk to shopkeepers or young people who work at the hostel you often meet people… I met two Irish guys by talking to their dad at their shop and then got invited to a house party in Dingle, ha!

  5. Am currently in Dublin, and I have to say, 90% of the time we have had sunshine. Not the dark gloomy Ireland I had imagined. Before Ireland, I hadnt seen the sun for about 3 weeks I think.

  6. Just to let you know, pepper spray is illegal in the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It is classed as an offensive weapon.

  7. Hi,
    I am in my 40’s and just alone for the first time in my life. Thinking of traveling alone to Ireland in October as dropping my daughter in UK for her uni.
    Any suggestions ? A bit scared but very excited.

    • Hi Prem, I would definitely look into staying in B and B’s- they’re so cozy and reasonably priced. And I’d check out Galway, Dingle and the west coast in general- so beautiful :)

  8. Ashley — Did you book your trip with a company or just wing it? I would like to travel there next month. It’s the #1 & last thing on my “turning 40” bucket list (which is now almost 3 years old). I definitely want to self drive & stay in a combo of hotels and B & B’s. Looking to spend 6-7 days there.


  9. Hi Ashley-

    I’m in the process of planning my first solo trip ever, and it’s going to be Ireland! As a huge history nerd, the idea of going alone to take my time sightseeing and spending hours at the ruins, is what has me the most pumped. However, I will admit, the thought of meals alone, as well as checking out the social scene, makes me nervous. I like to think I’m a pretty social person, and have no problem hanging out at a bar by myself here at home, but how does a woman go about meeting people there? Just curious how you handled that, i.e., did you hang out at the bars alone, and was it safe enough?

    Thanks so much!

    • Ireland’s really safe – I wouldn’t worry at all. Obviously don’t get super drunk and keep your wits about you, but you should be fine. I would definitely recommend staying at hostels to meet people if you’re alone. Good luck!

  10. hey! I am thinking of planning my first solo trip and Ireland is the first place that i thought of! I have a couple of questions. First and foremost, how do you get around if you don’t have a car on you. Is the transport system safe and fairly frequent there? Also, is pre booking for the stays at hostels or B&bs necessary? And lastly, how do you begin to start researching? I’ve never planned a trip on my own before and I’m completely lost. Thank you! Also, please recommend some really must visit places from your trip there! :)

    • The transport system is great – buses come and go all the time. I’ve been there three times solo and have never rented a car – the buses are great. I think it depends on the time of year as far as hostel and hotel bookings go – in summer I would book ahead. I would check out travel blogs, Lonely Planet and possibly forums! As far as must-visit places, I loved Galway, Dingle and the Aran Islands :)

  11. It’s really great to know that Ireland’s a great place for a solo travel! Thank you so much for the information and pictures. I’m currently planning my first trip, and solo at that, to Ireland but I have no idea where to start, where to fly into, where to stay, where to go, etc.! Can you offer any tips or any of your favorite places? Thank you so much!

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