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Wearing a hat in Ireland

Okay, I'm willing to accept that this may be a silly question, but I'll ask anyway. I've never been a big hat person, but as I've gotten older, and my hair has gotten thinner and started to do more crazy things, I have found the basic baseball-style hat to be something of a problem solver - going out in the wind and the rain, etc. I've been watching Youtube videos on walking around this town or that town, what to eat, where to go - all of that. One I watched recently told me not to wear a baseball hat. I gather that part of that idea is to not be so easily pegged as a tourist or an easy mark. Maybe part of it is to try not to stand out as an American, so as to be less of a target? Can anyone comment as far as, is this really a thing? I fully understand that I can wear whatever I want, but I'm trying to be a savvy and sensitive traveler. My wife also, with her long, wild hair, would like to be able to wear a hat. NOTE : Of course we would take the hat off indoors. Any comments about hat wearing in Ireland appreciated! Referring to 10-day R of I trip in October.

Posted by
363 posts

I've never been to Ireland and I'm a female, but what I would tell my husband if he asked me this same question is this: if you want to wear a baseball cap, by all means do so. To "blend in" a bit better, I would suggest a solid color baseball cap, free of logos.

Posted by
7833 posts

I am going to approach this from a health perspective ( and one that has dealt with multiple basal cell skin cancer lesions). Wear a hat outside wherever you are. Don’t worry about sticking out, worry about too much UV exposure.

Posted by
8255 posts

Baseball cap wearers are every where in the world now. Much too my dismay my guide in Havana wore a LA Dodgers ball cap. SF Giants fan here.

Suspect if you walked into a shop in Dublin or elsewhere you’d find a Guinness ball cap or one with the flag of Ireland on sale.

No one will care if you were a baseball cap and why use the word target. Target for what?

Posted by
3956 posts

Ireland is emerald green because of its rains. Baseball caps are common in lots of places that don't play ball. The style is weak defence against a cloudburst or even a drizzle. A warm head is as good motivation as dry hair. You could splash out for a warmer and more Irish tweed hat that will carry souvenir value and last longer.
Or stop worrying about others' opinions and clap a bucket hat on your warm noggin. Please yourself, not the imagined opinions of the locals.

Posted by
14144 posts

What shocked me was the amazing number of NY Yankees baseball caps in Europe. They weren't Americans because the caps were in maroon and that is not a Yankees color.

Perhaps one without logo.

Posted by
386 posts

“ . I gather that part of that idea is to not be so easily pegged as a tourist or an easy mark” You are going to be pegged as a tourist no matter what type of hat you wear. “Savvy and sensitive” is the way to go.

Posted by
57 posts

Thanks to all of you who took the time to comment. As far as my use of the word 'target', well, as an experienced traveler (but not in Ireland), I know that is a common word used in discussions or advice around travel to any number of destinations. Perhaps it was a poor choice of words. The point is, I always prefer to not be the one that people look at from across the park and say "oh, that looks like an oblivious tourist - I'll pick his pocket/ harass him / try to take advantage of him", etc. That's all I meant by that, which is not to say that I really expect that in Ireland.

Posted by
6926 posts

My husband has brought one of his wool flat caps on the last few trips. It packs very easily, provides sun protection for his scalp, and seems to fit in with anywhere in the British Isles. You’ll likely even find them for sale in Ireland, so if you don’t bring something from home, you’ll be able to pick up one as soon as you get to Ireland. Great souvenir, appropriate for fall in Ireland, something you could even wear at home in cooler times of the year, and might not stand out quite as much as a red Phillies cap!

Posted by
3111 posts

Personally when I travel I like to blend in as a "temporary local" as much as possible, despite what some commenters say about it always being obvious that one is American or a tourist or whatever. Hats are definitely useful for bad weather, bad hair, and sun protection. I like to wear a hat in a style that's popular with people in the place I'm visiting.

In Ireland for my husband this was a wool cap (style that he calls a McKeen Shanogg cap -- he's half Irish, what can I tell you, LOL). For me it was a solid color LL Bean rain hat that folds up to fit in the pocket of my trench coat.

Posted by
5295 posts

If you want to look like a local on Europe, then wear a baseball hat. Only tourists or the very old wear anything else.

Posted by
2424 posts

Agree with Emily.

To look like a local wear a football shirt to go with that baseball cap. In Ireland, it will be Man Utd or Liverpool.

Posted by
1205 posts

Hi Miles -

I’ve found baseball caps to be useful as protection for my head (been in pursuit of my missing hair since my twenties) while either hiking, or roaming the cities of the world for many years. I have an extensive collection - I’ve taken to buying a souvenir cap from wherever I travel. For instance while on safari in Botswana I wore my Ireland purchased ‘Guinness’ cap a) because it’s green and offered a decent amount of camouflage as well as protection from the elements and b) because, as it turns out, ‘Guinness’ is a universal language! Conversely, I’m taking my ‘Botswana’ baseball cap hiking in Sardinia later in the year.

So I’m not sure it matters. You may look like a tourist but it’s not solely a baseball cap that is always the giveaway. Just be as unobtrusive as possible and doff the cap when respect calls for it!


Posted by
57 posts

Thanks again everyone for the replies - much appreciated! These comments have been useful. I think what we'll probably do is go with the "baseball style" hat, (because that's what we like), but probably in a plain, solid color. I love Ian's idea about the Guinness hat - I should have thought of that. I'll look for one in black. Thanks again and happy travels.

Posted by
135 posts

I have been to Ireland several times and always wore a baseball cap. And I have bought a couple IN Ireland that I now wear at home :)

The only downside is the strong wind in several locations that will whisk your cap away. I lost a favorite at Dún Aonghasa on Inis Mor.

Posted by
1594 posts

the one that people look at from across the park and say "oh, that looks like an oblivious tourist"

The expensive camera slung about the neck , or guide book in the hand are probably more obvious signs of a tourist...

Posted by
6174 posts

I always travel with a baseball cap, and almost always with a hooded shell parka in case of rain. They combine very well -- the bill keeps the hood and the rain away from my face. Unless I know it will be warm (not Ireland) I also bring a wool watch cap. A warm hat does a lot of the work you'd need an extra layer for otherwise, at a fraction of the weight and bulk. Of course the baseball cap is great for sunny days, keeping down the glare and protecting my expanding scalp from the UV.

Don't hesitate. Pick one that you like and won't obviously offend locals or your fellow travelers. You can always get one over there.