Best Ireland SIM Cards for Tourists Updated Prices & Where to Buy 2024

Are you planning a trip to Ireland and want to stay connected during your visit? Having a local SIM card can be a great solution to avoid high roaming charges and stay connected with friends, family, and the internet. In this blog post, we’ll explore the best Ireland SIM cards for tourists, including prepaid physical SIM cards and eSIMs. We’ll also discuss the different mobile networks, data packages, prices, and where to buy them.

I. Should You Get a SIM Card in Ireland?

Ireland SIM card is a good option for staying connected while traveling in Ireland
Ireland SIM card is a good option for staying connected while traveling in Ireland

Benefits of Having a Local SIM Card

Having a local Ireland SIM card can provide several benefits for tourists:

  1. Affordable Data and Voice Rates: Local SIM cards offer much cheaper data and voice rates compared to international roaming charges from your home carrier.
  2. Unlimited Data Packages: Many Irish SIM card providers offer unlimited data packages, allowing you to browse the internet, stream content, and stay connected without worrying about data limits.
  3. Stay Connected: With a local SIM card, you can easily stay in touch with friends and family back home, share your travel experiences, and access important information during your trip.
  4. Reliable Network Coverage: Irish mobile networks have extensive coverage across the country, ensuring stable connections even in remote areas.

Ireland SIM Card vs Other Methods

There are a few different ways tourists can stay connected when traveling in Ireland. A local Ireland SIM card, using free WiFi, roaming with your current plan, or renting a pocket WiFi are some options.

However, getting an Ireland SIM card provides the best balance of cost, coverage and convenience. Here’s a comparison:

OptionCostsCoverageConvenience
Local Irish SIMLow cost calls/data. Plans start at 10 euros.Works anywhere in Ireland. No hunting for WiFi.Easily make calls/use maps/messaging anytime.
Free WiFiNo data costs.Only works at locations that offer WiFi like cafes.Have to be in range of WiFi hotspots.
RoamingMay cost a lot extra per day in roaming fees.Works but roaming fees can add up quickly.Still using your regular phone number and plan.
Pocket WiFiRental fees every few days.Portable hotspot but limited to one device at a time.Have to remember to charge it daily.
Comparisons for internet access in Ireland

As you can see, an Ireland SIM card is the most cost effective and gives you flexible coverage wherever you go without surprises. You won’t need to search for WiFi hotspots or pay roaming fees that can really add up. It’s much more convenient to stay easily contactable and access maps, navigation or chat freely as you explore Ireland. Prepaid SIM cards start from just 10 euros, so it’s very good value too.

Recommendation: For affordable costs, reliable coverage wherever you travel and easy convenience, getting a local Ireland SIM card is the best option by far for travelers staying connected in Ireland.

II. Types of Ireland SIM Card for Tourists – Which One is the Best?

When it comes to SIM cards in Ireland, tourists have two main options: prepaid physical SIM cards and prepaid tourist eSIMs.

1. Prepaid Physical SIM Card in Ireland

Physical Ireland SIM card
Physical Ireland SIM card

Prepaid Ireland SIM cards are the traditional option for tourists visiting Ireland. These SIM cards come in standard, micro, and nano sizes to fit various phone models. They offer voice, text, and data packages that can be easily topped up as needed.

2. Prepaid Tourist Ireland eSIM

An eSIM (embedded SIM) is a digital SIM card that allows you to activate a mobile data plan directly on your compatible smartphone without the need for a physical SIM card. Some Irish mobile operators offer prepaid eSIM options specifically designed for tourists visiting Ireland.

eSIMs offer several advantages, including:

  • Convenience: No need to physically change your SIM card, making it easy to switch between carriers.
  • Instant Activation: You can activate the eSIM plan and start using data immediately after purchasing it.
  • Compatibility: eSIMs work on a wide range of compatible devices, including recent iPhone and Android models.

Recommendations: Both prepaid physical SIM cards and eSIMs can be excellent options for tourists visiting Ireland. The choice ultimately depends on your device's compatibility and personal preference.

III. Best Ireland SIM Card Packages for Tourists and Price

Ireland has several mobile network operators that offer prepaid Ireland SIM cards and eSIMs for tourists. Let’s explore some of the best options from the major providers:

1. Best Ireland Vodafone SIM Card Plans and Price

Vodafone is one of the largest mobile networks in Ireland, offering extensive coverage and competitive data packages.

SIM Card ProviderPlanPriceDetails
ThreeUnlimited Data€20/monthUnlimited data with no speed caps or usage limits. Additional charges for international calls.
15GB Data€15/month15GB of high-speed data. Additional charges for international calls.
Vodafone15GB Data€20/month15GB of high-speed data. Free EU roaming. Additional charges for international calls.
50GB Data€30/month50GB of high-speed data. Free EU roaming. Additional charges for international calls.
Orange20GB Data€15/2 weeks20GB of data valid for 2 weeks. Unlimited calls/texts. Valid in Ireland only.
Eir25GB Data€25/month25GB of high-speed data. Unlimited calls/texts within Ireland. Additional charges for international usage.
Tesco Mobile10GB Data€15/month10GB of high-speed data. Unlimited calls/texts within Ireland. Uses the Three network.
Lycamobile5GB Data€10/month5GB of high-speed data. Cheapest plan but less data than others. Uses Vodafone network.
SIM cards from Ireland mobile operators

Notes: These are just a few examples of the prepaid SIM card and eSIM options available in Ireland. Prices and packages may vary, so it's always a good idea to check the latest offers from each provider before making your purchase.

IV. Where to Buy a Tourist SIM Card for Ireland?

As a tourist, you have several options to purchase a Ireland SIM card or eSIM for your visit to Ireland:

1. Buy Ireland SIM Card Online Before Departure

Many Irish mobile operators allow you to order a prepaid SIM card online and have it delivered to your address before your trip. This option ensures you have a Ireland SIM card ready to go as soon as you arrive in Ireland.

2. Buy SIM Card at Ireland Airport

Most major Irish airports, such as Dublin Airport, have kiosks or shops where you can purchase a prepaid SIM card upon arrival. This is a convenient option if you prefer to get your SIM card right after landing in Ireland.

3. Buy SIM Card in the City

If you prefer to wait until you’re in the city, you can purchase a prepaid SIM card at various mobile operator stores, convenience stores, and supermarkets throughout Ireland.

4. Buy eSIM

You can buy Ireland eSIM for traveling in Ireland
You can buy Ireland eSIM for traveling in Ireland

eSIMs can typically be purchased online from the mobile operator’s website or through a mobile app. Some providers also offer eSIM sales at airport kiosks or stores. The advantage of an eSIM is that you can activate it instantly on your compatible device without physically changing the SIM card.

Notes: Remember to have your passport or another form of identification handy when purchasing a SIM card or eSIM in Ireland, as providers may require it for registration purposes.

V. How Much Data is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card for Ireland?

The amount of data you’ll need during your stay in Ireland depends on your usage habits and the duration of your trip. Here are some general guidelines to help you estimate your data needs:

  • Light Data Usage: If you primarily use your phone for basic tasks like checking emails, using messaging apps, and occasional web browsing, a 5GB to 10GB data package should be sufficient for a week-long trip.
  • Moderate Data Usage: For more extensive internet use, including browsing social media, streaming music, and using navigation apps, a 10GB to 20GB data package may be more suitable for a 7 to 10-day trip.
  • Heavy Data Usage: If you plan to stream videos, upload photos and videos to social media frequently, and use data-intensive apps like video calls, you’ll likely need a data package of 20GB or more, especially for longer stays.

It’s important to note that these are just rough estimates, and your actual data usage may vary. It’s generally better to overestimate your data needs to avoid unexpected charges or service interruptions due to running out of data.

Many Irish mobile operators offer generous data packages, so you should be able to find a plan that suits your needs and budget. If you’re unsure, you can always start with a smaller data package and top up if required during your trip.

VI. Ireland eSIM – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards to Get Internet in Ireland

eSIMs are a convenient alternative to traditional physical SIM cards, offering several advantages for tourists visiting Ireland:

  • Instant Activation: eSIMs can be activated instantly after purchase, allowing you to get connected without waiting for a physical SIM card delivery.
  • No SIM Card Swap: With an eSIM, you don’t need to physically remove and insert a SIM card into your device, making it easier to switch between carriers or plans.
  • Compatibility: eSIMs work on a wide range of compatible smartphones, including recent iPhone and Android models.
  • Convenience: You can purchase and manage your eSIM plan directly from your device, eliminating the need to visit physical stores or kiosks.

To use an eSIM in Ireland, you’ll need a compatible device that supports eSIM technology. Some popular providers offering eSIM options for tourists in Ireland include Vodafone, Three, and Eir. You can purchase an eSIM plan through their respective websites or mobile apps.

When purchasing an eSIM, make sure to follow the provider’s instructions carefully to scan the QR code or enter the activation code correctly. This will ensure that the eSIM is properly installed and activated on your device.

eSIMs offer a convenient and modern solution for staying connected during your travels in Ireland, providing an alternative to traditional physical SIM cards.

Ireland eSIM from Gigago
Ireland eSIM from Gigago

Beside, you can choose to buy Ireland eSIM from eSIM provider like Gigago. With their eSIM plans, you will have:

  • More options for data and validity
  • Better prices
  • Easier purchasing process
  • No identity document required

VII. Which Ireland Mobile Networks Are The Best for Tourists?

Ireland has several major mobile networks that offer reliable coverage and competitive data packages for tourists. Here are some of the best mobile networks to consider:

1. Vodafone

Vodafone
Vodafone

Vodafone is one of the largest and most popular mobile networks in Ireland, with extensive coverage across the country. They offer a wide range of prepaid SIM card and eSIM options for tourists, including generous data packages and affordable prices. Vodafone is known for its reliable network and fast data speeds, making it a great choice for staying connected during your travels in Ireland.

  • Ranked #1 network in Ireland.
  • Offers 5G coverage in major cities and towns.
  • Has average speeds of 100-150Mbps for 5G.
  • Offers visitor SIM plans starting at €10 for 5GB data valid for 30 days. Great value option for tourists.

2. Three

Three Ireland
Three Ireland

Three is another leading mobile network in Ireland, renowned for its affordable data packages and good coverage. They offer both prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs for tourists, with options like the €15 prepaid SIM card that includes 20GB of data, unlimited calls, and texts for 28 days. Three is a solid choice for budget-conscious travelers who don’t want to compromise on data and connectivity.

  • Ranked #2 network.
  • Also provides 5G in many areas across Ireland.
  • Typical 5G speeds of 150-300Mbps. Very fast speeds.
  • Sells prepaid SIMs for €10 with 8GB data valid 28 days. No daily charge makes it affordable.

3. Eir

Eir Ireland
Eir Ireland

Eir, formerly known as Eir Mobile, is another major player in the Irish mobile market. They offer competitive prepaid SIM card and eSIM options for tourists, with packages like the €20 prepaid SIM card that includes 30GB of data, unlimited calls, and texts for 28 days. Eir has a strong network presence across Ireland, making it a reliable choice for staying connected during your travels.

  • Ranked #3 network in the country.
  • Only offers 4G LTE for now, no 5G yet.
  • Average 4G download speeds of 30-50Mbps.
  • Prepay SIM option with €20 credit gives 12GB data for 30 days. Reliable at a low price.

Take away:

All three mobile networks have extensive coverage across Ireland, with varying strengths in different regions. It's advisable to check the coverage maps and signal strength in the specific areas you plan to visit to make an informed choice.

Additionally, consider factors like data package sizes, prices, and any additional features or promotions that might be relevant to your travel needs when selecting the best mobile network for your Ireland trip.

IX. How to Use Ireland Prepaid SIM Cards and eSIM

Once you’ve purchased your prepaid SIM card or eSIM for Ireland, it’s important to know how to set it up and use it effectively.

1. Using Prepaid Ireland Tourist SIM Cards

Step 1: Insert the SIM Card

If you’ve purchased a physical prepaid SIM card, you’ll need to insert it into your device. Make sure to power off your phone before removing the existing SIM card (if applicable) and inserting the new Irish SIM card.

Step 2: Set up the SIM Card

After inserting the SIM card, power on your device and follow the on-screen instructions to set up and activate the SIM card.

Step 3: Top up and Activate the Plan

Most prepaid SIM cards come with a small amount of credit preloaded. To activate your chosen data package and enjoy the full benefits, you’ll need to top up your SIM card with the required amount.

Step 4: Manage and Monitor Usage

Once your prepaid SIM card is set up and activated, you can start using it for voice calls, text messages, and mobile data. Keep an eye on your usage to avoid unexpected charges or service interruptions due to running out of data or credit.

2. Setting up and Activating Ireland eSIM

Step 1: Check Device Compatibility

Before purchasing an eSIM, ensure that your smartphone or device is compatible with eSIM technology. Most recent iPhone and Android models support eSIM, but it’s always a good idea to double-check with your device manufacturer or the mobile operator’s website.

Step 2: Purchase and Activate the eSIM

You can purchase an eSIM plan from the mobile operator’s website or through a dedicated app. Follow the instructions provided to scan the QR code or enter the activation code to install and activate the eSIM on your device.

Step 3: Configure the eSIM

After activating the eSIM, you may need to configure it as your primary or secondary SIM, depending on your device and preferences. Refer to your device’s manual or the mobile operator’s instructions for guidance on how to set up and manage the eSIM.

Step 4: Start Using the eSIM

Once the eSIM is activated and configured, you can start using it for voice calls, text messages, and mobile data. Remember to monitor your usage and manage your account through the mobile operator’s app or online portal.

Notes: Both prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs offer convenient ways to stay connected during your travels in Ireland. Follow the setup instructions carefully, and don't hesitate to reach out to the mobile operator's customer support if you encounter any issues or have additional questions. Check out: Gigago eSIM installation guide

X. FAQs

Q: Can I use my home SIM card in Ireland?

A: Yes, you can use your home SIM card in Ireland, but you’ll be subject to international roaming charges, which can be expensive. Using a local Irish SIM card or eSIM is a more cost-effective option for staying connected during your trip.

Q: Which mobile network has the best coverage in Ireland?

A: All major mobile networks in Ireland, including Vodafone, Three, and Eir, have extensive coverage across the country. However, coverage may vary in specific areas, so it’s a good idea to check the coverage maps and signal strength for the regions you plan to visit.

Q: Can I use my eSIM and physical SIM card simultaneously?

A: Yes, many modern smartphones support dual SIM functionality, allowing you to use an eSIM and a physical SIM card simultaneously. This can be useful if you want to keep your home SIM card for occasional use while primarily using a local Irish eSIM or SIM card.

Q: Can I transfer my remaining data or credit to another SIM card?

A: Generally, prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs in Ireland do not allow you to transfer remaining data or credit to another SIM card. The data and credit are linked to the specific SIM card or eSIM account you’ve purchased.

Q: What happens if I lose my prepaid SIM card or eSIM?

A: If you lose your prepaid SIM card, you’ll need to purchase a new one as the account and remaining credit are tied to the specific SIM card. If you lose access to your eSIM, contact the mobile operator’s customer support for assistance in deactivating the lost eSIM and obtaining a new one.

Q: Can I use my Irish SIM card or eSIM in other countries?

A: Prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs purchased in Ireland are primarily intended for use within the country. While they may work in some other countries, you may face higher rates or limited coverage. It’s advisable to check the specific plan’s terms and conditions or contact the mobile operator for more information on international usage.

XI. Conclusion

Having a local Ireland SIM card or eSIM can significantly enhance your travel experience in Ireland, allowing you to stay connected, access essential information, and share your adventures with loved ones back home. By considering factors such as network coverage, data packages, and prices, you can choose the best option that suits your needs and budget.

Remember to purchase your SIM card or eSIM from reputable providers like Vodafone, Three, or Eir, and follow the setup instructions carefully to ensure a smooth and hassle-free connection during your trip. With the right plan and setup, you can enjoy the benefits of affordable data and voice rates, reliable coverage, and the convenience of staying connected throughout your travels in the beautiful and vibrant country of Ireland.