Be prepared for it to rain all day every day – not that it will – but if you’re prepared for that, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t.
1) Water proof your shoes. If you’re going to wear tennis shoes, you could buy a can of water proofing and spray them. You’ll want to do that at least the weekend before you leave so that they have time to dry out and don’t stink (in case you’re going to put them in your suit case). If you’re wearing hiking shoes, be sure they’re waterproof (or spray them also). If you like leather shoes, be sure they have good traction on the bottom. You’ll be outside a lot of the time on the trip and even the inside can be treacherous (like the stairs in Doune Castle). I like my J-41’s. They’re made by Jeep (for women and men) and they slip on and off. But they don’t have good support so I don’t use them for serious hiking or walking. But I like to wear them on the plane and in the tour van. I also take my Patagonia hiking shoes which I LOVE. I do waterproof them before I go. I actually wear my hiking shoes on the plane and take the light weight shoes on the plane with me to wear to the bathroom and when I get up and stretch.
Update from 2022: Patagonia stopped carrying the shoes above, so I replaced them with Oboz which I wore for 6 weeks in Europe (as well as hiking in Colorado) so they’ve been replaced with my second pair of Oboz which I LOVE!!
2) We also waterproof our pants before we go using the tech wash and softshell waterproofing from Nikwax (you can get it on line or stores like REI). We do a fair amount of hiking where we’re out in the elements for hours at a time, so we need to. If you’re going on a tour, this isn’t as necessary but it is helpful.
3) And of course you should have a waterproof (not water resistant!) raincoat and possibly an umbrella. The little cheap umbrellas from Target don’t hold up well in the wind over there – I know from personal experience. :-0 I usually do take a decent umbrella, but mostly I use it for keeping my camera dry when taking pictures. Otherwise I just pull up the hood on my raincoat.
And you probably want to make sure the raincoat is waterproof before you get over there. What I do is put it on, and put my forearm under the faucet. If the water beads up and rolls off – that’s good! If it soaks in – that’s bad. You either need to water proof your jacket or find another one. And I always check my jacket before each trip because the waterproofing can get washed out if you wash your jacket.
I bought a raincoat in Ireland that said it was waterproof(yes – you would think they only sell waterproof jackets in Ireland!), but when I was out hiking, *then* I found out it wasn’t.
4) Speaking of hoods – I know it messes up your hair – but people over there do a more “natural” look with their hair – they have to – nature makes a mess of it. So you will need something to hold your hair.
I take headbands. I found some that are braided brownish from Ulta that go with my brownish hair.
Me in my headband at Callanish Standing Stones with the wind whipping my hair back.
Guys, my husband wears a hood too. Ladies do not wear baseball caps (found that out personally too) and I don’t remember guys wearing them a lot either. You can buy yourself one of those tweed caps when you’re over there. 😉
Dan in Dublin wearing his hood.
Update: I’m not finding the J-41s at DSW anymore – they have something a wee bit bigger called a Jsport. The blue is the Jsport and the grey is the J-41. The Jsport has more padding inside.