Traveling solo has become one the most common ways I travel, so it was no different in Ireland. It was a sporadic last minute decision, but so are many of my solo travels. With my 16€ round trip flight booked, there was no going back. I was going to travel solo in Ireland.
Safety is my biggest and main concern when it comes to solo travel, especially as a woman. I make sure to let a few people in my immediate circle know where I’ll be. I provide them the name and address of where I’ll be staying, as well as activities I’ll be participating in.
While on the trip, I refrain from telling too many people I am there alone. Usually I say I’m doing this activity alone or decided to take the day to myself and will meet up with my friends in the evening. Even though Ireland is considered a relatively safe country for female solo travelers, you never know who you might encounter. So I applied my usual solo traveler tactics.
A mix of the pandemic, safety awareness, and all around good people and encounters, I had no bad experiences. There were times where I feel I was given a slight preferential treatment just for being a woman traveling alone. But in no way did I feel I owed anyone anything in return.
Solo Travel Story time
I took a variety of trains and buses around Ireland all by myself. Due to there not being a lot of people traveling, most likely due to the pandemic, I was always able to sit by myself. For precautionary reasons, I always prefer to keep my bag next to me instead of putting it above or below me. This way I always have quick access to it should anything happen.
If you’ve read my “Getting Around Ireland Using Public Transportation” post, then you know I took the train from Dublin to Ennis then had to take a bus to the Cliffs of Moher. I asked the bus driver named Joseph if they accepted a credit card as payment. He said no. At that moment I slightly panicked because I had about 20€ and no way of getting more at that time.
Kindness of Strangers
I told him my situation thinking he would tell me I shouldn’t take the bus. Instead he let me ride for free 🥺. He said he did not want me to get stranded there. I thanked him more times than I could count and told him I was very grateful for his nice gesture.
Once I finished at the Cliffs I started walking in the direction of Doolin to catch the bus to Galway. When I made it to town and looked up the bus times followed by the train times from Galway to Dublin, I knew I wasn’t going to make it. Or I’d make it with just enough time to only catch the train and not actually enjoy the city. That’s when I realized I needed to head back to Ennis instead.
The hotel next to the pizzeria where I bought pizza had a gentleman at the desk who told me I should take the bus instead of the train. That it was much cheaper and probably faster than doing the train transfers. He looked one up for me and helped do the purchase. It came out much cheaper than the trains I had taken earlier that day. Read this post for all the cost details.
I started waiting for the bus to take me back to Ennis to catch my bus to Dublin. And guess who was the bus driver? Joseph! The same bus driver from the morning. He remembered me and didn’t let me pay for the ride back. Instead we ended up talking for part of the ride about why I was visiting Ireland and what I thought about it so far.
Grateful and blessed
Of everything I expected to happen while traveling solo in Ireland, this experience was not one of them. I feel that I’m always preparing for the worst and needing to protect myself at all times, but it was nice to meet such caring individuals.
This is not to say anyone should expect this from anyone in Ireland or elsewhere, but it was a beautiful gesture and really shows that kindness is not dead.
I share this experience with you to show that traveling solo even with its ups and downs can be beautiful. And that sometimes you can have people thinking about your safety without asking them to. I hope this has inspired you to consider having your own solo travel experience in Ireland.
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