For tourists when traveling to Ireland, having internet access is very beneficial for using maps, translation apps, booking taxi and more. Ireland SIM card is the most convenient and cost-effective way to get data coverage during Ireland trip. In this guide, we reveal everything you should to know about Irish SIM card, from buying, using and optimizing. Let’s get started!

ireland esim and sim card

I. Should I Buy a New SIM Card for My Ireland Trip?

ireland sim card image

You should get an Irish SIM card for your Ireland trip.

For those visiting Ireland, get a local prepaid Ireland SIM card is highly recommended with many advantages such as:

  • Stay connected wherever you go.
  • Save money on roaming fees.
  • Enjoy included roaming in Europe.
  • Call and text locally at low rates
  • Seem more established with an Irish number.
  • Look for perks like travel insurance.

Airports, some tourist destinations, restaurants or hotels in Ireland probably has free Wi-Fi but keep in mind that public Wi-Fi is through an unsecured connection! Having a local SIM card with data connection on your phone makes things smooth sailing. It’s easier to book a taxi on app, get directions from Google Maps, or find nearby places, etc. 

Overall, a local prepaid Ireland SIM card is the best choice for you to stay connected when traveling this country.

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

ireland sim card image

Have an amazing trip to Ireland with eSIM

When purchasing an Ireland SIM card, you will need to select from two primary options: Prepaid SIM card or eSIM.

By Form:

Type Description Cost
Physical SIM Traditional SIM card that is inserted into the device. ~€10-30 depending on data allowance.
eSIM Embedded SIM that allows digital activation without inserting a physical card. Similar to physical SIM plans.

By Function:

Type Description Cost
Data-only SIM Provides only a data allowance with no voice/text inclusion. ~€10-30 based on data allotment.
Voice and data SIM Offers an allocation of minutes, texts as well as data. ~€15-40 depending on bundle.
Tourist SIM Plans tailored for visitors with extras like travel insurance, European roaming. ~€20-30 for pay as you go bundles.

Tourists should opt for a tourist SIM that ranges between €20-30. These packages meet all connectivity needs at an affordable cost and include bonus perks tailored for short trips. Either physical Irish SIM card or eSIM are great for visitors to stay connected in Ireland.

However, eSIM is the best choice if you need to take the stress out of arranging a plan. Please check that whether your device is compatibility with the eSIM or not before making decision. 

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

Tourists should choose the data plans that suitable with their demands to avoid being interrupted while using. Here are some guidelines for how much data you might need for a prepaid Irish SIM card:

  • Light use: 1-2 GB/week – Good for light maps, some social media, emails, messaging, and web browsing.
  • Moderate use: 3-5 GB/week – Allows streaming music for a couple hours, watching some videos, using data more freely.
  • Heavy use: 6-10 GB/week – For near constant Maps navigation, streaming shows/movies, and hot spotting data to other devices.
  • Unlimited data: Use mobile data without any limits and not monitor usage.

Tips for conserving data when traveling with an Irish SIM:

  • Use Wifi whenever available and download offline Google Maps and playlists when on WiFi
  • Limit video streaming and large app downloads
  • Disable auto app updates
  • Turn off email auto-sync

Most people find somewhere between 3 to 5 GB of data per week is sufficient for staying connected while traveling in Ireland without needing to excessively restrict usage. But assess your own needs. Having too much data is better than running out!

IV. How Much Does an Ireland SIM Card Cost?

ireland physical sim card image

Physical SIM Cards

Costs for prepaid Ireland SIM cards are very reasonable, especially compared to international roaming rates. Here is a table comparing SIM card prices from some major providers in Ireland:

SIM Card Provider Plan Price Details
Three Unlimited Data €20/month Unlimited data with no speed caps or usage limits. Additional charges for international calls.
15GB Data €15/month 15GB of high-speed data. Additional charges for international calls.
Vodafone 15GB Data €20/month 15GB of high-speed data. Free EU roaming. Additional charges for international calls.
50GB Data €30/month 50GB of high-speed data. Free EU roaming. Additional charges for international calls.
Orange 20GB Data €15/2 weeks 20GB of data valid for 2 weeks. Unlimited calls/texts. Valid in Ireland only.
Eir 25GB Data €25/month 25GB of high-speed data. Unlimited calls/texts within Ireland. Additional charges for international usage.
Tesco Mobile 10GB Data €15/month 10GB of high-speed data. Unlimited calls/texts within Ireland. Uses the Three network.
Lycamobile 5GB Data €10/month 5GB of high-speed data. Cheapest plan but less data than others. Uses Vodafone network.

Note that this information is updated on 2nd August 2023

So, in total expect to budget between €15-30 EUR for a 1-week tourist SIM with moderate data use. Power users may want to spend more for an unlimited data SIM. Prices drop per week for longer multi-week SIMs.

Overall Ireland SIM card costs are very low, especially compared to paying crazy international roaming fees!

Get more insight on: Ireland Mobile Operators Which One is the Best

V. Ireland eSIM – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards

Stay connected is extremely important when traveling, especially if you go abroad with unfamiliar the local service providers. ESIM is a perfect choice and a great alternative for physical SIM cards to keep connect with family and friends as you explore castles, coastlines or other astonishing places around Ireland. There are some key benefits when choosing eSIM for your Irish trip.

  • No need to buy SIM cards at store, easy to download an eSIM remotely and start using it immediately.
  • ESIM plans are less expensive than international roaming charges
  • Flexibility to change plans or extend data
  • Don’t have to worry your eSIM being lost or stolen because it operates virtually
  • Allow to use dual functionality: both home number and eSIM.

Three, Vodafone Ireland and Eir are leading Irish tourist eSIM operators. Furthermore, by GIGAGO is another choice without any contract. provides you flexible eSIM plans with high-speed 4G/5G data, allow you to have memorable experiences when exploring Ireland without discontinuity.

Enjoy your full week Irish trip with fast 4G data purchase from If you plan to stay in Ireland for 2 weeks, 1GB to 20GB data packages eSIM is the excellent choice. 

Plans that may interest you

Ireland eSIM 5 Days
Ireland eSIM 5 Days
From $3.61
Ireland eSIM 20 Days
Ireland eSIM 20 Days
From $4.06

VI. Where to Buy an Ireland SIM Card?

You have several options for purchasing an Ireland prepaid SIM card:

1. Where to buy Irish SIM cards for tourists?

Three SIM card and eSIM store

When traveling to Ireland, visitors can purchase SIM card from several locations, including:

  • Pre-Order Online: Many providers like Three Ireland allow you to order a SIM in advance online and have it shipped to your home. This ensures you have connectivity as soon as you land.
  • Airport Kiosks: Dublin and Shannon airports have kiosks after you exit customs where you can conveniently buy SIMs from major Irish providers.
  • Mobile Operator Stores: You can visit a store for mobile companies like Vodafone, Three or O2 in Irish cities to purchase SIMs.
  • Convenience Stores: Many small markets and shops will sell prepaid SIMs from Lycamobile, 48, and other companies. Look for signs advertising SIM sales.
  • Vending Machines: Some SIM card companies have self-service vending machines for buying SIMs located around Ireland. Allows purchasing SIMs 24/7.

If getting connected right after landing, airport kiosks or pre-ordering online are the fastest options. For flexibility, you can also shop around local stores once in Ireland.


  • You must show your passport to buy tourist SIM cards.
  • Compare plans and coverage from the major providers to find which network suits your needs best.
  • Make sure your phone isn't tied to your home carrier before purchasing a SIM card abroad.

Knowing more about Airport in Ireland you can visit this article: Getting SIM Card at Ireland Airports Tourists Guide

2. Where to buy Irish eSIM?

buy ireland sim card

ESIM for Irish tourists can be purchased before or after arrival in Ireland. Here are some options to buy eSIM:

  • Irish eSIM providers: A Lot of Irish eSIM companies provide eSIM service for tourists to Ireland. When making purchase eSIM from these providers, you will have more data plan options and validity than from Irish mobile operators.
  • It is one of the favorite eSIM providers for those visiting Ireland with different data options and validity from 1 to 30 days.


  • Make sure your phone is eSIM compatible. Most recent iPhone, Samsung, and Google Pixel models support eSIM, details here: check your device's compatibility with the eSIM.
  • Consider eSIM services of each providers before make purchasing to find the best plan for you.

VII. How to Use Ireland SIM Card

Using your Irish SIM when you arrive is easy. Just follow these steps when you land:

  1. Unlock your phone

The majority of carriers will either unlock your device automatically once your contract has expired or through an online request. If your device has not yet been unlocked, it is recommended to contact your provider for assistance.

  1. Insert SIM

Turn off phone, remove previous SIM, insert the Irish SIM. Ensure the right size – micro, nano or regular. 

  1. Turn on phone

Turn on your device and activate an Ireland SIM. You will be required to input the provided PIN number.

  1. Configure APN settings

To activate data, input the APN manual configuration found on the SIM packaging.

  1. Top up/recharge when needed

 If your prepaid credit or data is running low, you have the option to recharge your SIM at tobacco shops, retail stores, or through your SIM account online.

  1. Remove SIM When Leaving

Switch your old SIM back in when you leave Ireland. The Irish SIM will deactivate after not being used for a period.

With a few quick steps, you’ll be set up with cheap, reliable data coverage for your whole Ireland trip!

Unlock more insights on Using A Cell Phone in Ireland – How Can I Do It?

VIII. Best Mobile Operators for Ireland SIM Cards

Here is a comparison of top providers of prepaid Irish SIMs for tourists:

Operator Coverage Price Range Pros Cons eSIM Available?
Three Extensive 4G/5G nationwide coverage, including rural areas ~€15-€30/month for plans with 15-100GB data Great value plans, Go Roam feature for data abroad Customer service complaints Yes
Vodafone Wide 4G/5G coverage across the country ~€20-€45/month for plans with 15-200GB data Fast speeds, international roaming, entertainment add-ons More expensive than others Yes
Eir Reliable 4G/5G network in cities and towns ~€20-€60/month for plans with 30-200GB data Good coverage, bundle options with home broadband Limited to Ireland, pricier than some Yes

Three, Vodafone, and Eir stand out as the top mobile operators in Ireland, and both of them offer eSIM services that are worth considering for tourists.

Although Virgin Media and Vodafone have superior network coverage, Tesco Mobile and Lyca frequently offer more budget-friendly rates. Another choice for those interested in Irish eSIMs, is a highly recommended option.

Upgrade your Ireland: Choose, choose beyond limits.

IX. Tips for Saving Data for Ireland SIM Card

Here are some tips for conserving your prepaid data when traveling with an Irish SIM card:

Use Wi-Fi Whenever Possible

Offload data usage like app downloads, video streaming, and big updates to free Wi-Fi whenever available at hotels, cafes, restaurants and other spots. This saves prepaid data for when you really need it on-the-go.

Download Offline Maps and Content

Use WiFi to download offline maps with Google Maps and offline playlists with Spotify so you aren’t pulling them from mobile data constantly.

Disable Auto-Play for Videos & Music

Disable auto-play features in apps like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. This prevents unwanted video and music streaming which eats up data fast.

Switch Off Email Auto-Sync

Push notifications can eat up data in the background. Turn off auto-sync and instead just manually check emails when on Wi-Fi.

Use social media Lite Modes

Apps like Facebook & Twitter have low data usage modes that limit unwanted background data pulls. Enabling these helps restrict social media data usage.

Disable App Auto-Updates

OS and app auto-updates can happen in the background unexpectedly. Disable auto-update and only manually update apps on Wi-Fi to avoid unwanted data usage.

Monitor Usage

Keep an eye on data usage in phone settings so you know when to put on the brakes if getting close to your limit before your trip’s end.

Being smart about minimizing unnecessary data usage will help you stay under your prepaid data limits and avoid costly overages during your Ireland visit!


Do I need to unlock my phone to use an Irish SIM?

Yes, you’ll need an unlocked phone to use a foreign SIM. Contact your home carrier to request an unlock before your trip. iPhones from Verizon work internationally by default.

Can I use dual SIMs with my eSIM and regular SIM?

Most modern phones support dual SIM functionality allowing you to use a physical SIM and eSIM in parallel. Both can be active simultaneously.

How can I recharge my Ireland SIM?

You can top up your prepaid Irish SIM online through your provider account dashboard, or using vouchers purchased from convenience stores and kiosks around Ireland.

What network bands are used in Ireland?

Irish networks utilize 2G, 3G, 4G, 4G+, and 5G coverage on bands like 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2600 MHz Most modern device support these bands. 5G coverage is still limited.

Will my SIM work across Ireland and Northern Ireland?

Yes, SIMs from major Irish providers will work seamlessly across the island providing all-Ireland connectivity. Some smaller local SIMs may have limitations.

Can I use my Irish SIM across Europe?

Irish SIMs only provide free roaming access in Northern Ireland and Isle of Man. Roaming in other EU regions follows standard roaming charges unless your plan includes EU roaming.

XI. Conclusion

Getting a local prepaid Ireland SIM card is the most convenient and cost-effective way to stay connected with cheap data during your travels in Ireland. Shop around the major Irish providers to find a SIM plan that matches your data needs and trip duration. With an Irish SIM in your unlocked phone, you’ll have access to maps, transportation, restaurant lookups, and more – making exploring Ireland even more enjoyable!