Ireland is still essentially a safe country, but you do need to observe some basic precautions.
Don't leave valuables in a rental car: this is advice countless visitors neglect with sad consequences. Most car theft is opportunistic—if there's nothing visible like a pocketbook, a bag, a camera, even maps or guides within the car, most likely your petty criminal will amble past toward more available pickings.
Likewise, when parking in urban areas, use a car park—this also guards against auto clampers (a recent scourge of Irish towns, where fines to release your car cost up to €130).
Carry only the minimal amount of cash with perhaps one credit card when strolling around the streets and shops—while handbag snatching is infrequent, there's no point in making yourself a possible target.
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