The privacy and openness of Ireland’s internet is somewhat hit or miss. While its limitations aren’t as bad as some, such as China’s great firewall, there are still a number of issues driven mainly by large copyright holders such as Sony and Universal that want certain parts of the internet blocked by ISPs in Ireland. This is just one of the reasons why we’re looking at the best VPN for Ireland.
- Ireland has respectable online privacy laws, but heavy lobbying from a number of companies has caused some Irish internet service providers to block certain sites.
- Any of the VPNs on our list will help improve your online security and get around ISP blocking, but ExpressVPN is our top pick, thanks to its excellent speeds and security.
- While there are plenty of free VPNs available, not all of them are trustworthy, and many come with limitations, such as limited data or server locations.
For years now, ISPs in Ireland have been lobbied by large companies to block customers’ access to sites such as The Pirate Bay and Mininova, since these sites are often used for illegal file sharing. Some ISPs, such as Eircom, have given in and blocked these sites. Others, such as UPC Ireland, are still resisting the mounting legal pressure to block their customers from accessing these sites.
With a strong virtual private network, you won’t have to worry about your ability to access the sites you want. Using a VPN will improve your online security and privacy while also allowing you to bypass geoblocking and even government content blocking. While ExpressVPN is our top choice for a VPN for Ireland, be sure to read on for a more in-depth look at the pros and cons of our five best VPNs for Ireland.
Updated list of VPNs and restructured the article.
Our top pick for the best VPN in Ireland is ExpressVPN. No matter where you’re connecting to, ExpressVPN offers a fast and secure connection that can access streaming services and offers top-notch features like split tunneling.
VPN use is legal in Ireland, and many VPNs have servers physically located in Ireland.
Signing up for a VPN in Ireland is quick and easy. We look at several free VPN options in our article that can get you started, but most of these are limited in bandwidth, server locations or both. Be sure to look at our top five picks for paid VPNs if you need more than the free plans can offer.
The Top VPNs for Ireland
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
- : 5
- : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
- : 6
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay
- : Unlimited
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 7
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin, Paymentwall
- : Unlimited
What Makes the Best VPN for Ireland?
To make it onto our list of best VPNs for Ireland, each VPN service had to meet a number of criteria. First, all the VPN services had to offer a server in Ireland to give you a speedy connection to a local Irish IP address. In addition to hosting servers in Ireland, each VPN provider also had to impress us with its overall server network and provide locations in countries all over the world.
- ExpressVPN — The best Ireland VPN with excellent speed and security
- NordVPN — Dedicated torrenting and double-hop servers
- Surfshark — Affordable VPN with unlimited connections
- CyberGhost — Highly configurable “smart rules” for VPN automation
- Windscribe — The best free VPN and affordable “build-a-plan” option for Ireland
Aside from the strength of each server network, we also took each VPN’s security, ease of use, pricing and other factors into consideration. We expected every VPN service on the list to have basic security features such as a kill switch and strong encryption.
Additionally, we looked at things like how well each of the VPN services could access streaming sites and how fast or slow each one was for larger downloads. Other factors included things like money-back guarantee policies, number of simultaneous connections allowed on each account and the strength of each provider’s no-logs policy.
The 5 Best VPNs for Ireland
Now that we’ve outlined the kinds of things we’re looking for, let’s take an in-depth look at the VPNs we’ve chosen as the best VPNs for Ireland. While each service meets our basic requirements, each one also boasts some unique strengths, weaknesses and features.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: $6.66 per month for 15 months
- Provider website: www.expressvpn.com
- Excellent speeds
- Works well on streaming services
- Reliable & secure
- 30-day money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN finds itself at the top of many of our best VPN lists, and for good reason. It provides almost everything we look for in a VPN. It’s easy to use, secured by OpenVPN and 256-bit AES encryption, has a kill switch and is reliably the fastest VPN we’ve tested. Likewise, it also has servers in Ireland, which means you can get an Irish IP address.
ExpressVPN is also able to get access to tons of geo-restricted content from anywhere in the world, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video. ExpressVPN also supports split tunneling, which allows you to use a protected VPN connection alongside your normal connection.
Where ExpressVPN falls short compared to some of its competition is in pricing. It is a fairly pricey VPN and, on top of that, only allows for five simultaneous connections per account. While this will cover many people’s needs, for some, five connections is simply not enough.
However, ExpressVPN does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, making it easier to try it out. To read more about ExpressVPN’s split tunneling and excellent streaming performance, check out our full ExpressVPN review.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.67 per month for two years
- Provider website: www.nordvpn.com
- Dedicated torrenting servers
- Highly secure
- Competitive long-term pricing
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Unreliable speeds at times
NordVPN measures up well compared to ExpressVPN and offers many of the same features, such as 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch and a 30-day money-back guarantee. It also has 50 servers in Ireland, which will all give you an Irish IP address. However, NordVPN offers a number of features that ExpressVPN does not, and beats it out in long-term pricing as well.
For starters, NordVPN offers a number of specialized servers, including a double-hop VPN for increased security and dedicated P2P servers for fast torrenting. In fact, NordVPN ranks at the top of our best VPN for torrenting list. On top of the dedicated servers, NordVPN also provides a feature called CyberSec, which blocks ads and malware.
Although the monthly pricing isn’t that much better than ExpressVPN’s, the long-term options are where NordVPN offers a convincing value. The one-year and two-year plans are much cheaper than any of ExpressVPN’s options and include up to six connections, which is one more than ExpressVPN. For more details on NordVPN’s CyberSec and dedicated servers, read our NordVPN review.
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: $2.49 per month for two years
- Provider website: www.surfshark.com
- Works on streaming services
- Unlimited connections
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Middling speeds
Surshark has servers in Ireland, which means an Irish IP address, but arguably the most eye-catching thing about Surfshark is that it allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously. On top of this, the two-year pricing Surfshark offers is even better than NordVPN’s, but it still fails to deliver an affordable monthly option for those looking for a short-term VPN.
Aside from being budget-friendly, Surfshark also boasts a number of interesting features. Much like NordVPN, it offers a kill switch, as well as an ad and malware blocker called “CleanWeb.”
Surfshark also provides users with a “camouflage mode” that obfuscates your VPN traffic, making it appear as though you’re not using a VPN at all. This can help when trying to access geo-restricted content, as evidenced by Surfshark’s ability to access all the streaming services we tested it on, including U.S. Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video.
Surfshark’s weakness is its speeds. Compared to a top-shelf option like NordVPN or ExpressVPN, it simply isn’t as fast, but it still gets the job done and is great for streaming. Be sure to take a look at our full Surfshark review to read all about its speed issues and unique features.
More details about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: $2.25 per month for three years
- Provider website: www.cyberghostvpn.com
- Tons of configuration options
- Works with Netflix
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Doesn’t work with some streaming services
For those who are huge fans of customization, CyberGhost can be a good choice. It offers users tons of control over how the VPN functions through what it calls “smart rules.” These rules allow you to define VPN behaviors such as opening CyberGhost whenever you launch certain programs (like a torrenting app, for example) or having it automatically connect the VPN when it detects an unknown network to help you stay safe while on public WiFi.
CyberGhost also offers dedicated streaming and P2P servers for fast torrenting, with some P2P servers located right in Ireland. That being said, the streaming servers aren’t the best we’ve seen. If you look at our recent CyberGhost review, you’ll see that we were only able to get Netflix to work, with other services like Hulu and BBC iPlayer blocking us out.
CyberGhost’s pricing is a lot like the other VPNs we’ve looked at so far. The monthly pricing is a bit high, while the more long-term options bring the cost down considerably. CyberGhost’s three-year plan has one of the lowest per-month costs of any VPN on our list, and CyberGhost also provides a generous 45-day money-back guarantee on longer plans, so you can decide whether you want to keep your subscription or get a refund.
More details about Windscribe:
- Pricing: 10GB free plan, $2 per month build-a-plan
- Provider website: www.windscribe.com
- Generous free plan
- Affordable build-a-plan
- Works with streaming services
- A bit slow
- Ireland servers not on free plan
- Three-day money-back guarantee
Every VPN we’ve looked at so far has followed a similar pricing model. They lack free plans and are expensive on a month-to-month basis, requiring you to sign up for multiple years at a time to get the best value. Windscribe breaks this mold and offers some interesting pricing options.
For starters, Windscribe offers a solid free plan with up to 10GB of data each month, but with a limited selection of servers. Although there are no VPN servers in Ireland, which means no Irish IP address option, but there are servers in the UK, U.S., France, Germany and more.
Windscribe offers the cheapest monthly plan on our list, in addition to a well-priced annual plan, but forgoes the multiyear plans that many of the other services offer. The most interesting option, however, is Windscribe’s build-a-plan option. This lets you choose the individual servers you’d like access to, with each location adding only a dollar a month to your price.
While Windscribe might not be the fastest VPN on our list, or the most feature-rich, its pricing and free plan make it a good option for many. If you want to learn more about its features and plans, read our detailed Windscribe review.
- Per “Pro” server location
- : 10 GB
- : Unlimited
- : Unlimited GB
- : Unlimited
Free VPNs for Ireland
Sometimes, the best things in life are free. With others, you simply get what you pay for. While the promise of a free VPN can be alluring, it’s important to be careful and make sure a VPN service is legit before signing up. Sending all of your traffic through an unsecure or untrustworthy VPN is just as bad, if not worse, than no VPN at all.
That said, there are some trustworthy VPN providers that actually do provide reliable and secure VPNs, but there’s usually a catch. As we saw with Windscribe, if you go with the free plan, you won’t have access to an Irish server, and you’ll be limited to 10GB a month.
If you look at our best free VPNs list, you’ll see there are a number of other free options that we can recommend, but all of them have their limitations. ProtonVPN gives users unlimited bandwidth, but you’re limited to only a few servers in Japan, the U.S. and the Netherlands. TunnelBear is another strong VPN with a free plan, but with TunnelBear you’re limited to 500MB a month. Hotspot Shield also offers users up to 500MB a day for free.
Why Do I Need a VPN in Ireland?
No matter where you are in the world, companies, hackers and the government can track — and in many cases, are already tracking — your online activity. Much of the time this information gathering is for benign purposes, such as targeted advertising, but even so, many people are not comfortable with their online privacy being violated so that companies can profit.
Using a VPN will immediately improve your online privacy by hiding your IP address from the websites you visit and making it harder for your ISP to see what it is you’re doing online. Connecting to a VPN server in another country will also allow you to access content from abroad that would usually be geo-restricted, such as U.S. Netflix.
Internet Censorship & Government Surveillance in Ireland
While Ireland isn’t on our list of countries with the best online privacy laws, it’s also far from the worst. The main thing Ireland struggles with is online censorship, with some ISPs blocking certain sites since the late 2000s.
Many people using an Irish IP address will find that they can’t access sites like The Pirate Bay and Mininova, which are popular file-sharing sites. This is because Irish ISPs have been heavily lobbied for years by large recording studios, including Sony and Warner, to block their users from accessing these websites.
While not all ISPs have given into this pressure, many in Ireland have. If you’re affected by this and are trying to access sites that your ISP has blocked, connecting to a VPN server in another country where those domains are not blocked will get you easy access to them.
Final Thoughts: The Best Ireland VPN
Every VPN we’ve looked at on this list has its own strengths and weaknesses, but ExpressVPN is our top pick for a VPN in Ireland, thanks to its top-notch security and blazing-fast speeds. No other VPN comes close to matching ExpressVPN’s consistency when it comes to providing fast connections from practically any location in the world.
Have you used one of the VPNs on our list, or one that isn’t? Has it met your expectations or left you wanting more? Have you tried any of the free VPNs we mentioned? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.