Planning a trip to Ireland and looking for the best way to stay connected? Get yourself an e-sim card for traveling in Ireland or buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival in Ireland to avoid high roaming charges. In this guide you will find everything you need to know about staying connected in Ireland: where to buy a prepaid sim card in Ireland, an Ireland e-sim card comparison, the best 4G/5G network in Ireland, up to date prices as per March 2023, my recommendation and even information about international sim cards for Ireland.
One of the first things I do when I get to a new country is finding out how to get connected. Getting an e-sim card or buying a local prepaid sim card is often the answer. Which one I choose depends how long I stay and how much data I need for my trip. As I am also trying to visit every country in the world you can find more than 200 prepaid sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Europe, USA, New York, Miami, Canada, Toronto, Mexico, Rome, London, Guatemala, Zambia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jordan, Vietnam, Bangkok, Bali, Singapore and many more.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for my personal e-sim card, international or prepaid sim card advice for your destination.
Why buying a sim card for Ireland
If you decide to buy a local prepaid sim card in Ireland then I have great news for you: prepaid data plans are reasonably priced and come with unlimited data in Ireland and include free EU roaming!
Saving on high roaming costs is the main reason for getting a prepaid sim card or an e-sim card when traveling to Ireland. Overseas data plans are expensive and they limit data speed. With a local prepaid sim card or an e-sim card you get the best 4G/5G connection and the fastest internet data speed.
When you are staying in Dublin or any tourist destination in Ireland then your hotel or accommodation probably has free WiFi and so do most bars and restaurants. But that is no guarantee! Having a data connection on your phone makes traveling so much easier. Ordering a taxi through an app or getting directions from Google Maps, finding nearby places of interest, emergencies, using banking apps, etc.
Also keep in mind that public WiFi is through an unsecured connection, the use of a VPN in these cases is recommended.
Traveltomtom recommends a Three (3) sim card for Ireland. They have prepaid sim card plans for Ireland with unlimited data for €20 and they have the best 4G/5G network in Ireland. Pretty good sim card deal, right?
However, not everyone needs unlimited internet and especially those who just want to stay in touch through WhatsApp, check their email and get directions from Google Maps are better off with an e-sim card for Ireland as they already start from $5 USD.
We also recommend looking into world travel sim cards with data for your trip to Ireland. These sim cards you can order online and get shipped to your home address. Have a look at my comparison of the best international sim cards with data in 2023.
E- sim cards for Ireland
The easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Ireland in 2023 is an e-sim card. You can only get these virtual sim cards on the internet. You order online, receive a QR code and follow the instructions. Within less than 2 minutes you are connected.
Have a look at the following e-sim card deals for Ireland.
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $7 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $9 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $13 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $22 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $32 USD
Click here to directly order one of the above Ireland e-sim card deals or find more info.
The above data-only e-sim cards are only valid only in Ireland and calls are NOT supported if you are looking for Ireland e-sim cards that also support calls and include EU data roaming then have a look at the following international e-sim cards that are valid in more than 70 countries:
- 10 GB data + $2 calling credit (top-up possible) for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 8 GB + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $29.90 USD
- 20 GB + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Click here to directly order one of the above international e-sim cards for Ireland and Europe or find more info.
Make sure that your phone is unlocked and your phone is e-sim card compatible before buying an e-sim card.
Is your phone unlocked but not e-sim card compatible or you simply want a physical sim card then you can also still order one online. What about a sim card with 20 GB data in Ireland and Europe for $49.90 USD? Click here to order an international sim card for Ireland directly online and find many more deals.
Mobile internet operators in Ireland
There are 3 major mobile internet providers in Ireland: Three, Eir and Vodafone Ireland. On top of that there are some smaller companies like Virgin Mobile but they don't offer prepaid sim cards for tourists.
For finding the best Ireland sim card for tourists I narrowed down my research to the main mobile internet providers who all offer pay-as-you-go sim card for Ireland as they like to call prepaid sim cards.
Ireland sim cards and free EU roaming
When buying a sim card in Ireland and you are traveling onwards in Europe then make sure your prepaid sim card includes free EU roaming. That means that you can use your data, voice and text bundles from your Ireland sim card also in Germany, Netherlands, Spain, France and the rest of Europe. Since Brexit there are different rules for the UK. Check out my article about the best prepaid and e-sim cards for the UK in 2023 for more info or go to check out my guide for buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival in Europe for more tips about EU roaming.
Prepaid sim card plans in Ireland include free EU roaming, but you can also arrive prepared for your trip to Europe by ordering a sim card for traveling in Europe online. In the link you will find my comparison of the best Europe travel sim cards in 2023.
Where to buy a sim card for Ireland
The most convenient place to buy a sim card on arrival in Ireland is at Dublin International Airport of course. In the arrival hall there are several phone stores that sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. Check out my guide for buying a sim card at Dublin Airport in 2023.
Dublin city center
May you have missed the opportunity at Dublin airport or you simply want a cheaper prepaid sim card deal then you can easily buy a prepaid sim card for Ireland in Dublin city center or any other tourist destination in Ireland. In Dublin all mobile internet operators have official retail stores and in Henry Street you will find them pretty much next to each other. The easiest way to find the nearest mobile internet store is through Google Maps.
Random phone store or convenience store
Traveltomtom recommends buying a prepaid sim card for Ireland in an official retail store of the internet provider, not in a random phone store or convenience shop. In these places you will find sim cards from Lycamobile or Lebara, so called MVNO's. They also work, but you will need to register yourself and activate the prepaid plans, etc. There is little service from the staff of these store.
Already mentioned before but you can also stay connected in Ireland by buying a sim card online. E-sim cards are super easy to get and you can only buy them online. They are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Ireland, but you can also buy a sim card for Ireland and get it shipped to your home address before your trip.
When buying a prepaid sim card in Ireland you will need to bring your passport. A copy of your passport is taken in the store and your new Ireland sim card is linked to your name and passport number. The registration is free.
If you are not ok with this then you want to order an e-sim card for Ireland or an international travel sim card with data that works in Ireland. For these sim cards you don't need to register with your passport, but just with your email.
Prices Ireland prepaid sim cards in 2023
Prepaid sim cards in Ireland are free when you activate any of the prepaid sim card plans. The prices below are updated in March 2023.
Vodafone Ireland offers multiple pay as you go plans for prepaid costumers. They are valid for 28 days:
- 10 GB data at 4G+ speed + unlimited calls/text = €20
- 10 GB data at 5G+ speed + unlimited calls/text = €25
- Unlimited data* at 5G+ speed + unlimited calls/text = €30
*free data roaming in the EU is capped at 30 GB data. For more info see the Vodafone Ireland website.
Eir Mobile Ireland
Eir basically offers only 1 pay as you go sim card for prepaid costumers valid for 4 weeks.
- Unlimited data in Ireland* on 5G network + unlimited calls/sms = €20
*EU roaming is capped at 27.2 GB. For more info have a look at the Eir website for their up to date prepay offers.
Three 3 Ireland
Three (3) offers 3 different prepaid sim card plans for 28 days:
- 1 GB data + unlimited calls = €15
- Unlimited data at 5G speed* + 60 minutes = €20
- Unlimited data at 5G speed** + unlimited calls/sms + 30 international minutes = €30
* 19 GB data in Europe. **28 GB data in Europe. For more info have a look at the Three Ireland website.
Best 4G/5G network in Ireland in 2023
For finding the best sim card in Ireland lets also compare the 4G/5G network coverage maps of all mobile operators in Ireland.
Is there 5G in Ireland?
Yes, there is 5G in Ireland and it is widespread around the country. Almost all tourist destination in Ireland are covered with a 5G signal or when not you will find a 4G signal, even off the beaten path.
Vodafone 4G/5G network coverage map Ireland
Eir Mobile 4G/5G network coverage map Ireland
Three Mobile 4G/5G network coverage map Ireland
Based on the above 4G/5G Ireland coverage maps we can easily conclude that Three has the best 4G/5G network in Ireland in 2023. Eir Ireland has the smallest 4G/5G network in Ireland. All tourist destinations in Ireland are very well covered with a phone signal, regardless which provider you choose.
Best sim card for Ireland in 2023
All the mobile operators offer a prepaid sim card for Ireland with unlimited data, the packages are a little different and so are prices. Some offer 5G, some only 4G and Vodafone is more expensive compared to Eir and Three when it comes to sim cards with unlimited 5G data. So what is the best sim card in Ireland for tourists?
If you don't not use much data the best sim card for Ireland is an e-sim card. You can already buy an e-sim card for Ireland for $5 USD and you get 1 GB data. Enough for staying in touch with friends on WhatsApp, email and getting directions.
When you are going to road trip in Ireland then you want to buy a Three Ireland pay as you go sim card as they have the most extensive 4G/5G network in the country and you can easily find a signal even off the beaten path. But if you also want unlimited calls in Ireland then a Three sim card costs €10 more.
Eir has the best prepaid sim card deal with unlimited 5G data and minutes and sms for €20. From the above Ireland prepaid sim card comparison you can see that every deal has different advantages. So pick your preference!
Because Three has a prepaid sim card deal with unlimited 5G data for €20 and has the best 4G/5G network in Ireland, Three (3) is the best sim card in Ireland in 2023.
Order a sim card for Ireland online
If buying a sim card in Ireland sounds like too much hassle and getting an e-sim card is not possible because your phone is not compatible for e-sim cards then you can also still order a sim card for Ireland online. Arrive prepared in Ireland with an international prepaid sim card with data. These travel sim cards will be shipped to your home address and are pre-activated from its first use. Put the sim card in your phone in the plane and be online as soon the plane touches the ground.
Have a look at the following international sim card deals for Ireland:
Three data pack 10 GB - $24.90
- 10 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Unlimited calls/sms within Europe and UK
- Valid 30 days
Three data pack 12 GB - $29.90
- 12 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Unlimited calls/sms within Europe and UK
- Valid 30 days
O2 Go Card - $24.90
- 10 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- $2 calling credit - top up possible
- Valid 30 days
Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90
- 20 GB data in Europe
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe
- 120 minutes worldwide
- 1,000 sms worldwide
- Valid 14 days
Click here to directly order one of the above sim card deals for traveling to Ireland and Europe.
Also another reminder that you can very easily get an e-sim card for traveling in Ireland. On Airalo you can order data-only e-sim cards for Ireland starting from just $5 USD and on SimOptions you can find international e-sim cards for Ireland including calls.
I hope this article with my comparison of the best sim cards for Ireland was helpful for your upcoming trip. If you have any questions then please leave me a comment below and Im happy to help you out.
For a complete guide about the best UK (e)sim card for tourists in 2023, buying a sim card at Dublin Airport or the best European sim cards for travelers in 2023 have a look at my guides in the links.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of March 2023 I have visited more than 150 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Ireland!
Some links in this article about the best ways to stay connected when traveling to Ireland are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you!