Best Prepaid eSIM for Ireland | Data Plan Buyer’s Guide For Travel


Having reliable, high-speed mobile data while traveling through Ireland is a necessity. Luckily, buying an eSIM data plan for Ireland is a fairly simple process but there are a few quirks that might trip you up. That’s why I’ve created this guide to the best prepaid eSIM data plans for Ireland—including where to buy the cheapest Irish data plan and how to activate your plan.

The Best eSIM for Ireland: The Quick Answer

After comparing multiple plans, I’ve found that the two best eSIM plans for Ireland are the Holafly Ireland eSIM Unlimited Data plan and the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM. These plans start around $3/day and give you a good amount of mobile data allowance.

If want a physical SIM card, then check out my Guide To Using SIM Cards in Europe for a more in-depth guide to European SIM Card data plans.

Comparing The Best eSIM Data Plans for Ireland

There are two main “categories” of eSIM options in Ireland—you can buy a plan directly from a major Irish mobile carrier (which can be difficult for foreigners) or you can buy a third-party eSIM plan that’s designed for short-term visitors (which is a little more expensive but hassle-free). I’ll cover both options in this list.

Orange Holiday Europe eSIM Plan [The Best Ireland eSIM with Calling & Texts]

The Orange Holiday Europe eSIM data plan is the most robust eSIM plan on this list because it comes with many features you don’t find with other mobile plans—including international voice calling and texts (it comes with a French phone number that will work anywhere in Europe). The Orange Holiday Europe eSIM plan also allows you to use your phone as a mobile hotspot.

This plan comes with 20GB of data but Orange sometimes runs a special where they give you an extra 10GB—although 20GB should be plenty of data for a majority of users. Orange is also one of the largest mobile companies in Europe so you’ll always get great coverage and high data speeds.

The main downside is that the plan is only 14 days once activated so it’s not great for longer visits (but you’re allowed to top-up for an additional 14 days). And it’s a bit more expensive than other plans but you do get a good amount of data so it’s still a great option for many travelers.

Orange Holiday Europe eSIM Specs:

  • Price: $49.90 (Check SimOptions for details)
  • Data: 20GB (they sometimes give you 30GB of data)
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: Unlimited within Europe and 120 min outside of Europe.
  • Texts/SMS: Unlimited within Europe and 1000 outside of Europe.
  • Credit validity: 14 day
  • Data Tethering: Allowed
  • Usable on any device (phones, tablets, hotspots…)
  • This eSIM plan comes with a French phone number than can make/receive calls throughout Europe.
  • Service works everywhere in the EU and UK

Holafly Ireland eSIM [The Best Unlimited eSIM for Ireland]

I’ve used Holafly on previous trips to Europe and was happy with the service—read my Holafly eSIM Review for a deeper look).

Holafly is a new data-only eSIM provider based in Spain and they sell both Ireland-specific and EU-wide eSIM plans. Holafly leases bandwidth from Vodafone Ireland and Three Ireland mobile networks so the service will be fast and reliable—but you might get less priority during peak usage times.

Unlike other companies, Holafly gives you unlimited data, and plans run from 5 to 90 days. However, Vodafone/Three may throttle your data for excessive use but most users won’t have issues.

Holafly eSIMs are data only so you don’t get any voice calls or texting with these plans. Holafly also doesn’t allow data tethering in most cases so you won’t be able to use your phone as a mobile hotspot.

Holafly eSIM Data Plan Specs:

  • Prices For Unlimited Data (Check Holafly for details)
    • 10 Days: $34
    • 15 Days: $47
    • 20 Days: $54
    • 30 Days: $64
    • 60 Days: $84
    • 90 Days: $99
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: None
  • Texts/SMS: None
  • Tethering: No
  • Network: Vodafone and Three Ireland
  • Service works everywhere in the EU and UK

Orange Holiday Zen eSIM Data Plan [Cheap Ireland eSIM with Calling & Texts]

The Orange Holiday Zen eSIM is the budget version of the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM plan. It comes with 8GB of data and has fewer voice minutes and texts, otherwise, it’s the same as the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM plan.

Most users will use more than 8GB of data while traveling for a week or two but light data users could easily use less than 8GB of data during a typical 10-14 day trip.

Orange Holiday Zen eSIM Specs:

  • Price: $29.90 (Check SimOptions for details)
  • Data: 8GB (they sometimes give you 15GB of data)
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: Unlimited within Europe and 30 min outside of Europe.
  • Texts/SMS: Unlimited within Europe and 200 outside of Europe.
  • Credit validity: 14 day
  • Data Tethering: Allowed
  • Usable on any device (phones, tablets, hotspots…)
  • This eSIM plan comes with a French phone number than can make/receive calls throughout Europe.
  • Service works everywhere in the EU and UK

O2 Go Card eSIM Data Plan

O2 is another mobile large company that offers EU-wide eSIM data coverage in Ireland. The positive part about the O2 Go Card eSIM is the price—you get 10GB of data for $20 that’s valid for 30 days.

This eSIM technically gives you a European phone number but the plan only comes with about $2 worth of calling credit and non-EU-Citizens must be in the Crezh Repulic to top-up the plan. It also doesn’t come with texting. Otherwise, this is another great budget-friendly eSIM option.

Vodafone Ireland eSIM Data Plan

Of all Ireland’s major mobile providers, Vodafone Ireland is the only Irish company that currently has prepaid eSIM plans (other companies started to roll out their eSIM plans — Three Ireland and Eir — but they paused the full expansion because of technical issues).

However, many foreign users have reported technical issues when trying to purchase service from Vodafone—many are met with an error message telling them to try again later. You’ll also have to provide an Irish mailing address and your credit card will be sent a test charge when signing up to verify that it’s valid (some banks might see this as a fraudulent charge so they’ll block it).

Plan prices range from $22-$30 per month and there are multiple plan options depending on if you want 4G or 5G, the amount of data you want, and if you want calling/texting.

While the service is good, I only recommend using Vodafone if you’re staying in Ireland for an extended period of time because the hassle is too much for short-term visitors. You can learn more about Vodafone’s various plans at

Important Information and Quirks About eSIM Data Plans in Ireland

Let’s jump into some of the quirks you might encounter when trying to buy an eSIM plan in Ireland. If you want to learn more about eSIM data plans in general then check out my Guide To Using eSIM Data Plans in Europe

Irish Carriers Don’t Widely Offer Prepaid eSIM Plans

Unlike physical SIM cards which are sold just about everywhere in Ireland, it’s difficult to simply buy a prepaid eSIM plan in Ireland.

That’s because many Irish mobile companies don’t offer prepaid eSIM plans or they make you jump through a bunch of hoops. Other Irish carriers only offer eSIM options to customers with long-term contracts so these are only convenient to people who live in Ireland.

The easiest option is to buy a data plan that’s designed specifically for short-term visitors—like from Holafly or SimOptions.

Avoid Your Current Provider’s International Data Plan

Your current mobile phone provider likely offers an international data plan but it’s typically expensive and the service is often slow, inconsistent, and has limited data allowances.

For example, the AT&T International Day Pass costs $10/day, Verizon TravelPass is also $10/day and many T-Mobile plans offer free international roaming but you’re only guaranteed 2g data speeds… which will struggle to load Google Maps or even email.

These “international data plans” are 5X as expensive as buying an Ireland eSIM data plan—for example, eSIM data plans from Orange or Holafly will cost you around $2-$3/day.

You Don’t Need An “Irish” eSIM Thanks To EU-Wide Coverage

As of 2017, the EU passed a “roam like home” policy that bans mobile carriers from charging mobile roaming fees for any EU member country. In short, any eSIM data plan bought in the EU can be used in any other EU country without extra fees or restrictions. This is great for travelers because you can use one plan everywhere.

Here are the countries/areas where there is no data roaming: Andorra, Azores, Aland islands, Austria, Balearic Islands, Belgium, Canary Islands, Cyprus, Corfu, Crete, the Cyclades, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faeroe Islands, Finland, France mainland, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg. Madeira, Malta. Isle of Man, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Rhodes, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom, San Marino, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Sweden, Vatican

Note: Some plans may not work in Switzerland and/or the UK since these are not EU countries but certain plans still have coverage (read the fine print).

Data Only eSIM Plans vs eSIM Plans with Talk and Text

Many cheap eSIM plans are data only so you can’t make/receive calls or send SMS text messages.

There are slightly more expensive eSIM plans that come with a European phone number and they’ll include talk and text.

NOTE: Apple’s iMessage still works with a data-only plan (as long as you’re sending messages between iPhones). However, non-Apple phones won’t be able to send text messages on a data-only plan.

How Much Data Do You Need?

As long as you’re not streaming music/videos or uploading a ton of photos, you probably won’t use more than 4GB-8GB of mobile data a week. For reference, the average American smartphone owner uses around 15-20GB of mobile data each month. 

If you’re spending a lot of time on social media (notably Instagram and TikTok) then you might use a bit more but if you’re just doing normal web browsing and using Google Maps then you might only use 1-2GB a week.

Your Phone Must Be Unlocked

Some mobile carriers (mainly in the US, Australia, and New Zealand) “lock” their phones so they’ll only work on their network—this typically applies if you have a plan that includes a free phone with a multi-year contract. You’ll need to contact your carrier and have them “unlock” your phone before it will accept a third-party eSIM.

In the US, carriers are required to unlock phones if the customer requests it but it’s often not unlocked by default. That said, a few carriers still make customers jump through hoops to unlock their phones so don’t put this off until the last minute.

Data Tethering May Not Work

Many eSIM plans don’t allow data tethering so you won’t be able to use your phone as a hotspot for your computer, tablet, etc. There are a few plans that do allow tethering but tethering will consume a lot of data quickly.

More Tips For Traveling Ireland With Your Phone

I’ve written extensively about using smartphones and data plans in Europe and tips for buying SIM Cards For Visiting Europe. Below are some more helpful tips about using your phone in the UK and throughout Europe.


Traveling with your phone will quickly drain your batteries so I highly recommend a portable battery. I use Anker PowerCore 10000 because it’s tiny and affordable but there are multiple options.


Pickpockets love stealing smartphones so pay attention while you’re using your phone, stash it away safely while on public transportation/crowds, and don’t set it down while you’re in public. Read my guide to Pickpockets in Europe for more anti-theft advice.


It’s extremely easy to unknowingly burn through a lot of data because many apps use data in the background. Facebook, email, Instagram, Snapchat… those all constantly use data throughout the day without you knowing it. That’s it’s important to know how to limit your data usage.

  • USE AIRPLANE MODE AND BLOCK DATA TO SPECIFIC APPS: I’ll put my phone in Airplane Mode because that disables all data (but GPS still works in Airplane Mode). You can also go into the settings and disable data access to each individual app. I’ll go in and turn every off except for things like Google Maps or others that I’ll use more frequently — this way when I turn off Airplane Mode only those apps that will use data. Then I’ll turn Airplane Mode back on when I’m done.
  • DOWNLOAD OFFLINE MAPS: Google Maps lets you download entire city maps so they can be used offline. As a bonus, GPS doesn’t use data so offline Google Maps works fairly well (but not all functionality works). Here is a good YouTube video that explains everything.
  • SAVE HEAVY PHONE USAGE FOR WIFI: Wait until you’re somewhere with a WiFi connection before you do any heavy streaming or download files.

More Ireland Travel Advice From The Savvy Backpacker

Here are a few of my favorite travel articles to help you plan your trip to Ireland (and throughout Europe):

James Feess is the creator of The Savvy Backpacker and the author of the book “The Savvy Backpacker’s Guide To Europe On A Budget”. He’s been blogging about budget travel in Europe since 2010.

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