Q&A: What kind of adapter do I need to keep my electronics charged in Ireland?

outlets

We’re from the U.S., and we’ll be traveling Ireland with our iphones and ipad. What kind of adapter do we need?

— Marie

There are two things you need to know before “plugging” in your devices in Ireland:

  1. Ireland’s wall outlets/sockets deliver 220 volts (countries like the US and Canada only use 110 volts).
  2. Ireland’s wall outlets/sockets are the same as the ones used in the UK and handful of other countries… if you’re not from those areas, the plug that came with your device won’t fit in an Irish socket.

The Value of Voltage

voltage
Before you do anything, you need to make sure your device can handle 220 volts. Most modern phones, tablets, cameras, laptops, and CPAP machines can work with both 110 and 220 volt outlets. Many devices will have a sticker denoting their limits… if it says something like “110V-220V” or “100V-240V,” it will work in Ireland.

If you’re not sure, contact the manufacturer before plugging it in.

FYI – I once plugged in an external hard drive that wasn’t compatible… there was a quiet “pop,” a slight burnt smell, and a “fried” device with no hope of being used again. The results are swift and merciless when you make the mistake of plugging in an incompatible device.

If your device can’t handle 220 volts, you can use a converter/transformer that will “step-down” the voltage. These gadgets work, but some varieties can be heavy, prone to breaking, and/or require a series of adapters and attachments that can make it difficult to keep it plugged into the outlet.

Devices such as hairdryers, curling irons, and flatirons, are often NOT designed for 220 volts. You can use a converter/transformer, or you can purchase these hair care devices once you get to Ireland. It is easy to find them in a pharmacy or department store such as Dunnes or Tesco for €10-50. At the end of their trip, some visitors choose to leave these items at the last hotel or B&B they stay.

If the Plug Fits

outlets

Ireland uses a large “G” electrical outlet with three square “prongs.”  If your device is compatible with 220 volts, you simply need an adapter. There are several styles of universal adapters — many with prongs that flip out like a Swiss Army Knife to suit a variety of outlets. And there are adapters made specifically for “G” outlets… these will be labeled “UK,” “United Kingdom,” “GB,” “Great Britain,” “England,” and/or “Ireland.”

Most adapters are designed to accept both two and three-pronged U.S. plugs. However, you may find an adapter that only accepts two-pronged plugs. This means that if you have a U.S. device with a three-pronged plug, you’ll need to use a second adapter to convert your three-pronged plug to a two-pronged plug.

A Few More Tips

  • Bring a car charger… cars in Ireland use standard car chargers. So if you rent a car, your U.S. charger should work in Ireland. Test the charger before you leave the rental car lot to make sure it works properly. Remember, some makes of cars require the engine be running for the charger to work.
  • Power up on the plane… many airplanes (and buses and trains) offer outlets built into the seat, so you can charge your devices while you travel.
  • Pack a basic power strip from home… you can use a small power strip to charge several devices at one time; yet you only need one adapter.
  • Make sure the power is “on” … electrical outlets in Ireland may feature an on/off switch. It must be in the “on” position to charge your device.
  • Purchase at the airport… if you can’t find an adapter before you travel, most airport shops offer a full line of adapters for sale. Shops at both Shannon and Dublin Airports sell adapters.
  • shaver2Discover that little outlet in the bathroom… for safety, 220 volt outlets are not permitted in Irish bathrooms, but you might find a 110 volt “shaver” outlet. These outlets are specifically designed for shavers. In a pinch, these outlets can be used to charge your phone… and you won’t need an adapter (note that some outlets offer the option of 110 or 220 volts — be sure to choose 110). Not all bathrooms have these outlets installed.

Author: Corey

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