Ireland is a beautiful place with so much to see and do. You can take in the outstanding natural beauty at the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare or raise a glass of the black stuff on a night out in Dublin. Even if you’re just visiting to go on the tear, you’re bound to go online, so we’ve compiled a list of the best VPNs for Ireland to keep you safe.
Please note that this article is aimed at the Republic. For Northern Ireland, check out our best VPN for the UK piece.
There are many reasons to use a virtual private network, no matter where you are. For the most part, it will protect you from online dangers, but it will also get you access to restricted content and services.
It’s not so great if you like to torrent copyrighted material, though. After a court ruling in early 2018, internet service providers have to block websites that involve illegal sharing of copyrighted material.
If you find one that isn’t blocked and deliberately infringe on a copyright, it could result in you being suspended or permanently disconnected from the broadband service. Our best VPN for Germany article shows another example of strict copyright laws.
In 2010, it was revealed that the Irish government considered introducing internet filtering, arguing that it would remove offensive and illegal material and make it more difficult for those involved to operate. In 2013, the ISP Association of Ireland said ISPs should not be made censors of internet content. While there isn’t any filtering now, who knows what the future holds.
There are other ways you can be prevented from viewing content besides censorship. Geoblocks can be a real pain. They block you from accessing content unless you are in a permitted country. Take RTE Player, for instance, due to license restrictions, you’ll only be able to access its full library if you connect to an Irish server.
The same can be said if you want to watch U.S. Netflix. You need to connect to a server there. With a suitable VPN, you should have no problem doing either. Read our best VPN for Netflix piece for more suggestions.
Surveillance in Ireland
Surveillance in Ireland is governed by the 1993 Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages Act and the 2009 Criminal Justice Act. With those, authorities can intercept your emails and other communications to combat serious crime and protect the security of the state.
Still, little is known about how they are used and authorization of a judge is only needed when surveillance devices, such as cameras, are used.
The lack of judicial oversight means authorities can survey almost anybody without repercussions. In 2010, a member of the Gardai was caught spying on her former partner through data retention. Even after an internal disciplinary process, she faced no prosecution and retained her job.
In 2015, leaked emails showed Irish Defence Forces had been talking to a controversial hacking company called Hacking Team, which sells spy software to authorities around the world. The emails showed communications from 2012 until mid-2015. The military said it didn’t buy anything, but that isn’t necessarily true.
Best VPN for Ireland 2018
What Makes a VPN the Best for Ireland
Many VPNs offer a good service, but some have features that make them more suitable for Ireland.
First, you want to make sure the provider has servers in as many places as possible. That will make it easier to circumvent restrictions. You may also want servers in Ireland, especially if you aren’t in the country, as that will allow you to access content limited to there, such as certain programs on RTE Player.
Its speed is an important factor if you plan on streaming or torrenting, as is unlimited bandwidth.
You should choose one with good security, as well. That will keep you hidden from government surveillance and protect you from cybercrime. In addition, you want a strong no-logs policy in place, which means the company doesn’t keep records of your activity.
Other factors to keep in mind are ease of use, what devices are supported, customer service and how much you are willing to budget for the service.
Best VPN for Ireland: NordVPN
NordVPN is the best service for Ireland because it offers a great service with many features to suit your needs. It has thousands of servers covering over 60 countries, meaning you should have no problem finding one that works. A whopping 32 of them are in Ireland, which is more than any other provider we checked.
Its speeds are good, but it can slow down when connecting to a server that’s far away. They’re still decent, though, and you can switch servers quickly. NordVPN gets into most streaming services and has unlimited bandwidth, so you can spend as much time on it as you like. as you like.
Plus, its a good choice if you want to torrent, as it came in first in our best VPN for torrenting piece.
Its security is among the best and has the option to use double-hop encryption. That adds more protection to the VPN tunnel. The company also honors your privacy with a strict no-logs policy, so there’s no record of your online activities.
Read our NordVPN review for a better look at the service.
Other Reasons We Like NordVPN
It has clients for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. They’re user-friendly and have a good layout, so selecting servers is easy. You can connect six devices simultaneously and it won in our best VPN for multiple devices article, so it’s a good pick if you are gadget-happy.
Support is available if you need it. There’s a good knowledgebase, so you can try to fix the issue yourself. If you still need assistance after that, you can contact a member of staff through live chat or email. Live chat will get you the fastest response and the staff is helpful.
NordVPN’s monthly price offers good value for the money, but you would be better off opting for a longer subscription as you’ll save money doing so. If you’re weary of that, there is a 30-day refund, so you can make sure the service is right for you before diving in.
- Gets into Netflix
- Gets into BBC iPlayer
- Double-hop servers
- Lack of detail on server location
Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN offers a great service. Check out our ExpressVPN vs NordVPN piece to see how they compare. It has many servers spread over 94 countries, including Ireland, so you can access content from there.
It has great security and you don’t have to mess with the default settings to get it. Plus, you can easily increase it if you want. ExpressVPN also protects you with a solid no-logs policy. Check out our ExpressVPN review for more information.
Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN
It has desktop clients for Windows and macOS and mobile apps for Android and iOS, all of which are easy to use. It’s a good choice for those who don’t have experience using a VPN as it does almost everything for you out of the box. You just need to make sure you’re connected to a suitable server.
If you run into problems, you can ask for help through live chat and email. ExpressVPN is slower than other providers, but it aims to get you back on track as soon as possible. The staff is helpful and friendly.
A downside to ExpressVPN is that it is expensive compared to its rivals. It offers an excellent service, though, so it is worth the money. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can make sure you like it.
- Easy to use
- Slow switch time
- 3 simultaneous connections
CyberGhost is another good service. It has over 2,000 servers in 60 countries, giving you plenty to choose from, including 10 in Dublin.
There are no bandwidth caps and its speeds are good, but, like NordVPN, it can slow down over long distances. Still, it’s a decent choice for streaming and torrenting.
You’ll be protected with great security, but it isn’t as customizable as some services. CyberGhost doesn’t overlook privacy, either, as it carries a good no-logs policy. Read our full CyberGhost review for more details.
Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost
You can use it on Windows and macOS, though the desktop version’s tile interface may not be to your liking. It is easy to use once you get used to it, though. It also has a good mobile app for Android and iOS.
Customer support includes a useful knowledgebase that should help you solve common issues. If you need further help, you can reach a member of staff through live chat. Email is available, too, but it will take longer.
Its monthly plan isn’t great, so you’d be much better off opting for a longer one. If you want to try it before committing, you can take advantage of the seven-day trial. Plus, there’s a 45-day money-back guarantee, so you can’t go wrong.
- Easy to use
- Dynamic tile interface
Private Internet Access has servers in 30 countries, which isn’t as many as our other selections. There are 10 in Ireland, though, so you can still get content restricted to the Republic.
Its speeds are good, but that is mainly due to it using a lighter encryption level by default. Security is set at 128-bit, but you can switch to the more preferable 256-bit easily. Doing so will slow it down, but it will still be okay.
Your activities will remain secret, too, as PIA doesn’t keep logs.
You should have no problem streaming your favorite shows with Netflix. That’s especially true for the U.S. version, as most of PIA’s servers are in the same country. It’s not great at getting into other streaming services, though. Its unlimited bandwidth allows you to watch as much as you like and makes it another good choice for torrenting. Our PIA review goes into more detail.
Other Reasons We Like PIA
Installation is easy and you can get connected quickly using one of its clients for Windows, macOS, Android or iOS.
Customer support is good, but lacks live chat. There is a chat button, but it just sends an email to support. PIA’s response time is slow, but the help is thorough and friendly.
The monthly rate is decent, but you can save money by signing up for a longer period. There’s a seven-day money-back guarantee, in case you decide it’s not for you.
- Gets into U.S. Netflix
- Easy & fast server switching
- Mediocre server network
- Doesn’t get into most streaming services
- No live chat support
Windscribe’s server coverage isn’t as good as some, though it has over 600 servers in 55 countries, including six in Ireland. That should be enough for you to get to what you want. Some locations, including Ireland, require you to be a Pro member to get access, though.
It also has Windflix servers in the UK and U.S. They are built for streaming and work well. The service is a good choice for torrenting, too. You can read more about that in our Windscribe review.
The speed isn’t bad and should be able to handle most activities, including streaming, but it isn’t as fast as our other choices. With the free plan, your bandwidth is limited to 2GB, but there are ways to increase it. If you opt for a paid plan, though, Windscribe gives you unlimited bandwidth.
Its security is good and can be adjusted to suit your needs. There are a lot of privacy settings, which is good, but it does say that it keeps logs. The data held has no real value, though, and is kept to a minimum. There’s no chance of it being traced back to you, either.
Other Reasons We Like Windscribe
Windscribe has a simple interface, which is great for those who don’t have much experience. There are settings you can tinker with, though, if that’s something you like. It’s available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. With the free plan, you can only connect one device, but the paid plan allows up to 10.
If you have problems, you can look at the general knowledgebase, FAQ and guides for help. You can also contact customer support through live chat 24/7, but that will connect you to an AI representative named Garry. To be fair, though, its responses are good and, if you prefer, you can submit a ticket to speak to a real human instead.
It is quite expensive, which is a shame, but you can save money by opting for a longer plan. There is the free plan that isn’t bad compared to others, but you will be limited on bandwidth and devices. Windscribe doesn’t have a refund policy, but you can request a refund within the first three days you have it if you don’t like it.
- Dedicated streaming servers
- Privacy options
- Generous free plan
We hope we have made choosing a suitable provider for Ireland easier. Using a VPN will help you access content that’s restricted, as well as keep you safe from government surveillance and other threats. You should pick one with a large server network and good security.
NordVPN is our winner for Ireland. It has thousands of servers in many countries, including 32 in Ireland, so it’s great for those who want to access Irish content. Plus, its security is excellent so it will keep you safe online.
If you have suggestions for, or experience with, using a VPN in Ireland, let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.