If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, having a reliable means of communication is essential. Access to the internet while traveling makes navigating new cities a breeze, allowing you to easily find the best restaurants, get directions to your accommodation, book a taxi, and share memories with your loved ones in real-time.
While roaming is an option, the international fees can quickly accumulate. Therefore, we highly recommend either opting for an eSIM or purchasing a local SIM card to take advantage of local phone rates. Thankfully, obtaining an eSIM or local SIM card in Ireland is incredibly straightforward, but it’s beneficial to know which option is best for you.
This comprehensive guide is designed to provide you with all the information you need to know about buying a SIM card in Ireland, including up-to-date pricing and the ultimate SIM card choice for your needs.
There are three mobile network operators in Ireland, Three, Vodafone and Eir, which all offer basically identical prepaid sim cards. They also all have very extensive coverage across Ireland and reliable signal wherever your travels take you.
I consider all three prepaid sim cards to be perfect (and basically the same) for visitors to Ireland and suggest you pick up the one that is most conveniently located near your hotel. If you require EU roaming, however, Eir has a higher data limit so could be a better option.
If you don’t require unlimited data or EU roaming then I would say the best sim card in Ireland is actually the Airalo Ireland eSim. For around the same price (20 Euros) you get 10GB data but you gain the convenience of not having to visit a store and install a physical sim card.
A Tourist Sim Card in Ireland costs 20 EUR in February 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.
Alternatively, an eSim in Ireland will cost between $5 USD and $32 USD. This, again, depends on how much data you require and which eSim provider you choose.
I generally recommend this Airalo plan for most tourists visiting Ireland which includes 5GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $13 USD.
In Ireland, the main sim card providers are Three, Vodafone, and Eir Mobile. Three is known for its affordable plans and excellent network coverage across the country. They offer various options, including pay-as-you-go, monthly contracts, and data-only sim cards. Three also provides competitive international roaming packages, making it convenient for travelers.
Vodafone, another leading provider, offers a wide range of plans suitable for different needs. Their network coverage is extensive, ensuring a reliable connection throughout Ireland. Vodafone provides perks like free access to popular music and video-streaming platforms.
Eir Mobile, formerly known as Meteor, is a popular choice for its competitive pricing and flexible plans. With an emphasis on data packages, Eir Mobile offers generous allowances for surfing the web, streaming videos, and using social media.
Overall, these three main sim card providers in Ireland offer diverse options to cater to different budgets and preferences.
Three is a leading telecommunications company offering tourist sim cards in Ireland. Their sim cards provide seamless connectivity and exceptional coverage nationwide, ensuring tourists stay connected throughout their travels. With affordable data plans and competitive rates for calls and texts, Three’s tourist sim cards are a convenient choice for both short-term and long-term visitors. Explore Ireland without worrying about expensive roaming charges or unreliable networks, thanks to Three’s reliable and efficient services.
The price of a Three tourist sim card in Ireland is 20 EUR.
The plan offered by Three stores includes unlimited 5G data + 19GB EU roaming + 60 minutes calls + unlimited texts valid for 28 days.
Vodafone is a leading telecommunication company in Ireland that offers tourist sim cards for travelers. With extensive coverage and reliable network services, Vodafone ensures seamless connectivity throughout the country. Their tourist sim cards provide affordable data plans, allowing visitors to stay connected, access maps, find local attractions, and share experiences on social media. Vodafone’s user-friendly interface and customer support make it a preferred choice for tourists seeking hassle-free communication during their stay in Ireland.
The price of a Vodafone tourist sim card in Ireland is 20 EUR.
The plan offered by Vodafone stores offers unlimited data + unlimited calls & texts valid for 28 days.
Eir Mobile offers convenient tourist sim cards for those visiting Ireland. With strong network coverage nationwide, travelers can stay connected and share memories with ease. The sim cards provide generous data allowances, allowing visitors to browse, use maps, and access social media platforms hassle-free. Additionally, Eir Mobile’s reliable service ensures uninterrupted communication throughout the picturesque landscapes and bustling cities of Ireland, making it an ideal choice for tourists.
The price of a Eir Mobile tourist sim card in Ireland is 20 EUR.
The plan offered by Eir Mobile stores includes unlimited 5G data + unlimited calls & texts + 27.2GB EU roaming valid for 28 days.
Identify mobile providers: Three, Vodafone and Eir Mobile are your best options in Ireland.
Find your nearest store: Locate a store or retailer by searching on Google Maps for your nearest store or asking at your hotel reception. I’ve never had issues finding a store as they can usually be found in major cities, shopping centers, or tourist areas. If possible, I always recommend to to avoid airports and head in to an official store in the city.
Bring the necessary documents: It is always a good idea to carry your passport or identification documents for sim card registration purposes. We’ve found most providers will need to confirm your identity to provide a sim card and it can be a major hassle to head to a store only to have to come back again later with your passport.
Choose your plan: Either request the plan you are after or consult with the staff in the store to select the right plan for you. My recommendations at the beginning of this guide are a good starting point, but the staff will usually be able to suggest the best option.
Pay and activate your card: Pay for the SIM card and plan, and the staff will activate it for you.
Test: It’s always a good idea to check that you can access the internet before you leave the store. I always search for something on Google then refresh my Instagram feed to check it’s working fine.
Buying a prepaid sim card for Ireland at the airport is usually considered the most convenient option for travellers arriving by plane.
However, airport stores selling sim cards are almost guaranteed to charge inflated prices, so if you are a cost-conscious traveller then you should definitely buy your sim card from a store in the city center.
In addition to this, we would argue that buying physical sim cards at all aren’t particularly convenient now that most people use esim compatible phones. If you are looking for the most convenient option, then buying an esim before you arrive or with the airport wifi is much easier and will save you having to queue up or communicate with staff.
If you must purchase a sim card at the airport in Ireland then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Ireland have stores selling sim cards. Despite the prices being higher than normal, the staff are knowledgable and will be able to get you set up with the correct sim card relatively quickly.
If you want to avoid the inflated sim card prices you’ll find at the airport and your phone isn’t esim compatible, then you’re going to need to head in to a store to buy your sim card.
I recommend visiting one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet operators such as Three, Vodafone and Eir Mobile. Your best option is to enter their names into Google Maps and find the branch closest to your hotel or accommodation. Typically the staff in the official stores in Ireland are knowledgable and helpful which means you can ensure you’ll walk away with a functioning sim card.
Despite this, it’s always a good idea to check your internet is working before you leave the store by loading a Google search results page and your preferred social media app. You should also ensure you always bring your passport with you when purchasing a sim card in case they need to register it.
If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in Ireland with your sim card all sorted and your phone ready to connect to the internet immediately then you should look into purchasing a sim card online.
The first option is to buy your sim card in advance via SimOptions, which is a company that will prepare and ship a sim card directly to your door. It’s a reliable and effective service, but with the invention of eSims it’s becoming obsolete.
The better option is to purchase an eSim online. We’ve written more on that below!
An eSim is a digital version of a traditional sim card and is most likely the future of connectivity for mobile devices. The convenience of no longer visiting a store, handing over your passport and purchasing a physical sim card is quickly making physical sim cards obsolete in favour of eSims.
We recommend Airalo’s eSim when travelling to Ireland. The Airalo Ireland eSim offers fast internet speeds, wide coverage and extremely competitive prices making it a far more compelling option than purchasing a physical sim card from any of the local sim card providers.
In order to get set up with an Airalo eSim, all you need to do is visit Airalo here and purchase the eSim online (the $13 USD plan is suitable for most travellers). Once you’ve purchased the sim card Airalo will email you instructions and a QR code. Following these instructions should take just a couple of minutes, then you’ll have a sim card in Ireland without having to venture outside.
Our preferred eSim provider in Ireland is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Ireland and found the service to be equal to the local sim card but without the hassle of acquiring a sim card in a store.
Airalo’s Ireland eSim uses the Three and Eir networks to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the Three and Eir networksnetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Ireland.
Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Ireland eSim:
1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $5 USD
2GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $7 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $9 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $13 USD
10GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $22 USD
20GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $32 USD
For most travellers we recommend the 5GB data plan for $13 USD which is valid for 30 days. Some travellers may prefer a larger plan, whilst travellers visiting for just a couple of days may be fine with a smaller plan.
An alternative eSim provider we can recommend is Holafly.
Holafly’s eSim is a suitable option for travellers who require large amounts of data, such as digital nomads and people who work online while they travel. All of Holafly’s Ireland eSims offer unlimited data.
Holafly’s Ireland eSim uses the Vodafone Ireland/Three Irelandnetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Ireland
Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Ireland eSim:
Unlimited data valid for 5 days – Price: $19 USD
Unlimited data valid for 7 days – Price: $27 USD
Unlimited data valid for 10 days – Price: $34 USD
Unlimited data valid for 15 days – Price: $47 USD
Unlimited data valid for 20 days – Price: $54 USD
Unlimited data valid for 30 days – Price: $64 USD
Unlimited data valid for 60 days – Price: $84 USD
Unlimited data valid for 90 days – Price: $99 USD
The eSIM, also known as the embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that comes already integrated into devices like smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. Unlike the regular physical SIM cards, there is no need to physically insert or remove anything from the device.
The eSIM is built into the device’s hardware and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This means that users can easily switch between different mobile networks or plans without the hassle of swapping SIM cards.
The eSIM technology offers convenience, flexibility, and simplicity, particularly for frequent travelers or those constantly changing networks or traveling internationally. It eliminates the need to buy and insert physical SIM cards, making it much more convenient to handle multiple mobile connections on one device.
To activate the eSIM, users can either scan a QR code provided by their network operator or manually enter the activation details. Once activated, the device connects to the chosen mobile network, providing regular voice, data, and messaging services just like a physical SIM card.
There are multiple reasons why using an eSIM can be advantageous:
– Convenience: No need to physically insert or remove a SIM card when switching between networks or plans. This is especially helpful for frequent travelers who need to switch networks or use local SIM cards in different countries.
– Dual SIM functionality: eSIM allows for dual SIM functionality, meaning you can have two active mobile numbers on one device. This can be useful for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.
– Space-saving: eSIMs are embedded within the device, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card slot. This frees up space within the device, allowing for smaller devices or additional components.
– Remote provisioning: Activation and management of mobile plans can be done remotely over the air with eSIMs. This means you can activate or switch to a new mobile plan without a physical SIM card or visiting a store, providing flexibility and convenience for managing your mobile connectivity.
– Future-proofing: As eSIM technology gains popularity, more networks and service providers are offering support for eSIMs. By using an eSIM-compatible device, you ensure access to new services and offerings as they become available.
Overall, eSIM technology offers flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it an attractive choice for many users.
eSIM technology is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by a growing number of smartphones and other devices. Here are some examples of eSIM-compatible phones:
Apple iPhone series (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.): Apple was one of the early adopters of eSIM technology and offers support for eSIM on various iPhone models.
Google Pixel series (Pixel 3, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, etc.): Google’s Pixel smartphones also support eSIM functionality, allowing users to activate and use eSIMs.
Samsung Galaxy series (Galaxy S22, Galaxy Note 20, etc.): Many of Samsung’s flagship devices now come with eSIM support, enabling users to utilize eSIM technology.
OnePlus devices (OnePlus 7, OnePlus 8, etc.): OnePlus has included eSIM support in some of its smartphone models, offering users the flexibility of using eSIMs.
Motorola Razr (2020): The latest iteration of the iconic Motorola Razr features eSIM compatibility, enabling users to use eSIMs for cellular connectivity.
These are just a few examples, and the list of eSIM-compatible phones continues to expand as more manufacturers embrace this technology. There’s a very strong chance your phone supports eSims so if you’re unsure we recommend looking it up on our list of eSim supported phones.
Using an eSim is new for many travellers, however, the good news is it’s surprisingly easy to get set up – even for the technologically challenged!
Here’s a general guide on how to use an eSIM:
Check eSIM Compatibility: Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Many newer smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other devices are eSIM compatible including all iPhones produced since 2018.
Obtain an eSIM: There are multiple ways to acquire an eSIM. You can purchase an eSIM online from a provider like Airalo (which we recommend) or directly from a mobile network operator. Some devices also allow you to scan a QR code provided by your carrier to download the eSIM profile.
Activate the eSIM: Your eSim provider will send you instructions to activate the sim. This will usually involve scanning a QR code, entering an activation code, or downloading the eSIM profile directly onto your device.
Set up the eSIM: Once activated, your device will guide you through the eSIM setup process. This typically involves selecting the eSIM as your preferred mobile plan, configuring settings like data roaming, and entering any necessary authentication details.
Enjoy the Connection: Once the eSIM is set up, you can use it as you would with a physical SIM card. Make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and use data services as needed. You can also switch between eSIM profiles if you have multiple eSIMs installed on your device.
Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. Travel Sim Expert is a blog dedicated to helping you find the best sim card for you, no matter where you are or what your budget is.