Ireland is one of Europe's prominent tech hubs, thanks to its low corporation taxes. It also has a large ex-pat population.
As a result, VPNs are popular across the country, not least because of the close links with the neighbouring UK.
If you're searching for a VPN for use there it can often be hard to know which to choose and where to turn for advice.
In this guide, we will give you all the information you need to know after testing many of the most popular services.
Ireland has got one of Europe's more robust sets of online privacy laws in place, but there is still plenty of reasons for people in Ireland to want to keep their online activity private and secure.
Accessing geo-restricted content from overseas is also important for many, with online streaming services from the UK and the USA particularly popular.
But there are plenty more benefits to using a VPN too. Different providers have different features and not all are ideal for users in Ireland.
It is a tough choice. Which is why we have picked out our top 7 which you can read all about below.
Top 7 Irish VPNs
IPVanish has been one of the leading VPN services available for years and their Ireland based servers and nearby locations make them stand out.
Servers are available in Dublin and across the water in three locations in Great Britain. Further afield, most of mainland Europe is covered with the west coast of the US too.
So whether you want to protect your privacy on servers closer to home or unblock and stream content from further afield, you're covered.
And with dedicated apps for most devices, including the Amazon Firestick, reasonable prices, and unlimited concurrent connections available with every subscription, most readers will not need to look any further.
If you sign up and don't like the service, there's a lengthy 30-day money back guarantee where you can get a refund.
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ExpressVPN is another big-name provider that offers an excellent VPN service for Irish users.
It offers one of the largest ranges of servers available, with 3,000 individual VPN servers located in 94 countries available to every user. This includes servers based in Ireland as well as neighbouring Great Britain too.
The larger server network helps to ensure fast connection speeds for all and as ExpressVPN is registered offshore, it is also able to offer near-perfect privacy guarantees, including a no user logs policy that has been confirmed and audited by a third party.
Their prices might be a little higher than average, but they do offer an excellent 30-day money-back guarantee which means you can test their service across all your connected devices before committing to subscribe to their service.
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NordVPN has invested significantly in its server network over the past couple of years and the results can be seen in their improved service.
They now offer a far more extensive server network, including 38 servers in Ireland and many more in Great Britain and other neighbouring EU countries.
But not only this, their new and improved servers mean that NordVPN can also offer much more consistently fast connections than was previously the case. They're also P2P friendly if you're into torrenting.
NordVPN can also offer top-level encryption and privacy protections as well as a great selection of additional security features, such as double-VPN connections and VPN over Tor connections.
This makes them a fast and secure provider. With prices lower than many of their fellow premium providers, NordVPN now represents an excellent value VPN server for everyone in Ireland and beyond.
VPN.ac is a relatively small provider but still offers an excellent bet for Irish VPN users thanks to their combination of fast download speeds and top-level security.
VPN.ac's encryption is as good as it gets and for more experienced users, there is also a set of additional security features you can play with too.
Their privacy provisions are as robust as it gets and with six simultaneous connections, they offer a great bet for users with multiple devices and even families.
Their sever location list is a little more limited, and they do not currently have any servers located in Ireland. But they do have servers covering all the major locations, including neighbouring Great Britain, which should be sufficient for most Irish internet users.
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Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the most popular VPN services in the world and with good reason.
They offer superb privacy protection, which has been proven in several court cases in the USA. Their no user logs guarantee really is one you can trust.
- See Also: Our Best No-Log VPN Service Guide
Their encryption provisions are sound too and given that all of this comes at an extremely reasonable price, it is little wonder so many users have signed up.
Over the past few years they've expanded rapidly and were recently bought by KAPE, owners of CyberGhost VPN and Zenmate.
In the sixth spot, we have Surfshrk, a VPN that was launched around two years ago, in the British Virgin Islands.
Surfshark offers a wide variety of features that work together to provide privacy and security, including its security protocols, encryption, server network, but also multiple others.
Those include CleanWeb, Whitelister, a kill switch, MultiHop, and more. Servers are available in Ireland and across all major locations.
Its server network spans throughout 63 countries, and it lets you use 1,700+ servers. It also has excellent customer support, lower prices than its competitors, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Lastly, there is CyberGhost, a VPN service headquartered in Romania, which is one of the top choices recommended by industry experts.
CyberGhost offers one of the largest VPN networks in the industry, spanning through 90 countries, and providing 6,300 servers.
It features 36 servers in Ireland, which is more than enough to satisfy demand and allow you to experience fast speeds and not suffer from issues such as overcrowded servers.
CyberGhost is also known for having the most robust security and privacy features, it keeps no logs, and it has one of the VPN industry's longest-lasting money-back guarantees, which runs for 45 days.
Unfortunately their no-log claims haven't been audited but also there have been no reports of any lapses in security.
How to choose a VPN for Ireland?
When choosing a VPN, there are a number of features that you need to look into and ensure that they are present to be able to confirm that the VPN is actually decent.
Here are the top five considerations when researching:
1. Uses secure encryption and protocols
The first thing to do is to make sure that your VPN of choice uses the most reliable security protocols in the industry.
Right now, the best protocols that the industry has to offer are OpenVPN and Wireguard. These were proven to be excellent, safe, and so far, unbreachable.
Alternatively, PPTP is a type of protocol that you should avoid, as it is old and outdated.
Similarly, you should search for VPNs that use 256-bit AES encryption, which is the industry's strongest, and it is considered unbreakable.
Weaker encryption will likely provide you with better internet speed, but if you are worried about security, they're not advised.
2. Keeps no logs
Logs are records of your searches, your device and system, and any data that has something to do with how you use the internet and what you do.
This data can be invaluable to a lot of entities out there, such as advertisers, the government, various research groups, or even hackers.
This is why you need to protect it, and ensure that the VPN you use doesn't retain this information.
The best way for a VPN to protect your data is to simply not collect it in the first place.
Many VPN services understand this, and they went to extra lengths to go through audits and prove that they don't keep users' logs.
Choose such services, rather than those that don't do audits or openly keep your information.
3. Unblocks streaming sites
Next, you may want to ensure that a VPN you choose can unblock streaming services, especially if that is why you are looking for a VPN, in the first place.
While many VPNs are capable of unblocking most streaming services in theory, this often doesn't work in practice, as they were blocked by services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Peacock, Disney+, UTV.ie, U.TV and many others.
These services don't like it when people who shouldn't have access to their platforms or specific content find a way to access it.
This is why they block any VPN's IP addresses that they can find.
While most VPNs are now practically useless against these services, many are still capable of unblocking them, so ensure they work with the services you intend to access.
4. Allows Torrent/P2P
Torrenting and similar forms of P2P (Peer-To-Peer) traffic have been around for ages, and are almost as old as the internet itself. They are also still very much in use today, although their use is often frowned upon.
To ensure that you can avoid potential troubles, it is best to use them in combination with a VPN.
However, not every VPN supports them.
There are other issues, such as VPNs being too slow to support them, or having similar limitations, But, if you enjoy sharing files in this way, you will definitely want a VPN to keep you protected as you use them.
5. Money-back guarantee
Lastly, make sure that the VPN you wish to buy has a money-back guarantee.
Even though we've tested all seven providers above your own experience with them may differ. You may also find they're not suitable for your specific needs.
If this happens, and there is no way to fix it, the VPN will be next to useless to you, and you still would have paid for it.
If it has a money-back guarantee, you can request a refund once you run into these kinds of problems. And, as you get your refund, you can simply go to a different service and try your luck there.
Is there a free VPN for Ireland?
To answer the question – yes, there are free VPNs that you can use in or for Ireland.
However, you really should not do it, as these VPNs are never good enough. Since they are free, that means that no one pays for them, which leaves the company without the money to acquire adequate protections or ensure features.
So, these VPNs will often have only a few servers, in one or two countries, and they will always be overcrowded and slow.
Many of them will also record your data in order to sell it to fund the service. In the best-case scenario, it will bombard you with ads.
In the worst-case scenario, the VPN could have been set up by anyone and who knows what they want to do with your data.
Many free VPN services have shady links to unknown Chinese companies.
Can I get an Irish IP Address?
You can do this by using any VPN that has servers in Ireland, simply by connecting to those servers. Doing so will cause your original IP address to be moved aside, and you will get a new IP, which belongs to the server you have just connected to.
For every service on the internet, you will appear to be located in Ireland for as long as you are connected to one of those servers.
Will a VPN protect my privacy in Ireland?
Online privacy is as much of an issue of public concern in Ireland as elsewhere in the world.
In the past, Eoin O'Dell, an associate professor in law at Trinity College Dublin, raised concerns over the amount of personal data social media sites and other large tech companies hold on us.
This form of “surveillance capitalism”, as Professor O'Dell has termed it, is just one of a myriad of different concerns over online privacy, alongside state surveillance and the increasingly sophisticated skills of hackers.
A VPN is not a complete panacea to these online privacy concerns. But it does offer a high level of protection to users.
When using a VPN, all of your online data is encrypted, which stops prying eyes from being able to scrutinise your online activity.
A VPN also hides your IP Address by passing all of your online data through an external server. This helps to protect your online identity from the sites you visit as well as stop your ISP from keeping a record of your online history too.
It is these protections which have seen the number of VPN users multiplying rapidly in recent years, both in Ireland and around the world.
Can I use an Ireland VPN for Kodi and Torrenting?
Yes, you can, but there are a few limitations.
Kodi users are all strongly advised to use a VPN whenever streaming content through this hugely popular media platform. This is because some unofficial Kodi addons can enable users to access copyrighted material and so run the risk of legal problems.
A VPN mitigates some of these risks by helping to hide your identity when online.
The most popular VPNs for Kodi users tend to be the same as for regular internet users. But if you are using Kodi on an Amazon Fire Stick, you will want to opt for a provider like IPVanish or ExpressVPN which offer a dedicated Amazon app.
Some VPN providers do have restrictions on Torrenting. A few block it altogether, while others only permit it on specific servers, which can get busy at times.
It is best to do your research and find a provider which allows Torrenting across its network. All of those recommended in this article should be fine.
Irish internet users have many of the same problems as those elsewhere in the world and as online privacy and restrictions creep into our daily lives, many of us turn to VPN services.
After extensive testing we found IPVanish to be the best for use in Ireland, but above we've listed six other good choices you may wish to consider.
Don't forget whichever you end up choosing, they all offer a money back guarantee so ensure you use it thoroughly within that period to see how they perform for the kinds of tasks you're likely to do.
I would love to hear which VPN you ended up choosing so please post a comment below and share your experiences.