The first time I went to Ireland on a Wild West Irish Tour, I had no idea what to bring with me – other than the suggested layered clothes, adapter, and passport. Those seemed to be the essentials – but I also grievously over-packed and was left with a suitcase larger than myself and an enormous backpack to haul around. Too much junk that wasn’t needed – being a worrier, typically, I doubled up on just about everything. For someone who typically tries to take up as little space as possible, this wasn’t ideal.

So this time I’m packing with one of our mottos in mind: expect great things in simple places. Recently I’ve been learning to roll my clothes for more economic options spacing. I found my long-lost windbreaker, and doubled up only on the socks I typically pack. But I also turned to the Wild Westies for some assistance in case I missed anything this time – and to avoid the sin of over-packing.

The consensus from many people was the same: good shoes for hiking/walking, layered clothing, a waterproof jacket, wool socks. Geraldine, our friend and keeper of a splendid Irish B&B, had the additional suggestion of packing a fleece: the ideal layer, especially during the evenings. Plus you might be able to get up close and personal with a sheep or two!

An “Irish uniform”, as Geraldine puts it, seems to be warm clothes that deflect the mists and gusts.

 

A couple of important outliers are a camera – and for those using their phones as cameras, Mary Ellen Powrie had the great suggestion of using a portable battery pack that could be recharged and used on the go. In her words, this meant absolutely “no worry about missing that perfect photo.” You’ll find there’s quite a few opportunities for beautiful photos in the Wild West of Ireland – and inspiration for all the arts, actually.

Talented author Cynthia Owens also had the brilliant suggestion of “a notebook to record every fascinating detail of the trip.” It’s also nice at the end of the day to jot down your thoughts and feelings on what you’ve done so far. There’s details that come to you later, and are wonderful to share with others.

Some things aren’t as easy to pack as a toothbrush or sleep mask, though and a couple Wild Westies suggested, bringing a smile with you! And it’d be hard not to, considering where you’re going.

 – Sam Fishkind.

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