When is the best time to visit Ireland? We say, whenever the opportunity presents itself! Of course, each season has its advantages and disadvantages. From the weather to the crowds to the events throughout the year, everyone may have a different idea of when is the best time to visit Ireland. Ireland weather usually quantifies when is THE best time to visit. So we’ll go through each season and you can decide when you want to pack your bags!
Weather in Ireland
In Ireland, the weather is the topic of conversation A LOT! It’s truly unpredictable and you can easily have four seasons in a day no matter the month, so dress in comfortable layers and have rain gear readily available. Ireland’s showers are usually brief in nature, but they can sneak up on you fast. Always be prepared! You’ll find the temperatures to be pretty mild throughout the year (50°F/10°C on average), thanks to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean.
Summer in Ireland
While summer certainly brings about the most desirable weather, it also brings the largest influx of visitors. European bank holidays are also a fairly busy time, so try to plan around those, if you are able. Ireland summer weather consists of occasional rain showers and temperatures reaching an average of 64-68°F/18-20°C, which is extremely pleasant. For the weather alone, many people may say that summer is the best time to go to Ireland. The weather in Ireland in June is quite fabulous, as are the rest of the summer months. July and August are the “warmest” months and get roughly 18 hours of daylight. Darkness doesn’t set in until after 11 pm in the summer, which is another reason why these are usually the most favored months for visitors. Just because Ireland is not as warm as other destinations around the world, don’t underestimated the power of the sun, especially during summer. Make sure you’ve packed your sunscreen!
Summer Crowds in Ireland
St Patrick’s Day (March 17) officially kicks off tourist season, though the real crowds typically don’t show up until June, July, and August. This is when you’ll experience the best weather and have a plethora of summer festivals to choose from, but it’s also when you’ll face competition (and thus higher prices) for airfare, accommodations, rental cars, etc. Plus, you’ll be sharing the roadways with countless other drivers and large motor coaches. If this is the only time you are able to visit, don’t fret. Just plan ahead, budget accordingly, and get ready enjoy some of the best weather Ireland has to offer! Not all of Ireland is crowded in the summer, but the popular attractions like the Cliffs of Moher, Gap of Dunloe, and Slea Head Drive (Dingle Peninsula) most certainly are. Get off the beaten path to escape the crowds and to experience rural and unspoiled Ireland.
Winter in Ireland
Winter temperatures (inland) usually average 46°F/8°C, with January and February being the coldest months. The days are much shorter, with fewer hours of daylight. If you’re wondering – does it snow in Ireland? The answer is yes, occasionally and sporadically. In the higher elevation hilly and mountainous regions there is an average of 30 days of snow per year. Whereas, the Wicklow Mountains tend to see closer to 50 days of snow a year. It certainly doesn’t snow everywhere in Ireland, but know that it can and does snow on occasion. The advantage to traveling to Ireland in winter is that you’ll typically be able to find great deals on airfare and rental cars.
While the winter months are ideal for avoiding crowds, it’s important to note that many of the attractions have limited opening hours/days. Some accommodations shut down completely during the winter. So if the Ireland winter weather doesn’t deter you from visiting, double check lodging availability. Also, ensure that the attractions you’d like to experience will in fact be open on the days you plan to visit before making your final plans.
Ireland in November
Our most recent visit to Ireland was in November. To be quite blunt, the weather in Ireland in November stinks! At least it did when we were there! Our stay was a total of 3 weeks, so we’re not basing this off just a few days. It was extremely cold, wet, and windy. We can certainly deal with the cold (we dress in layers). We can deal with a little bit of rain (we have waterproof clothing). But the wind combined with these other two factors was just too much! There were countless days where we couldn’t even go outside. The rain was blowing sideways. Granted we were on the Dingle Peninsula for most of our stay. Weather on the peninsula tends to be a bit more wet and wild, especially in the winter months. We’re not saying Ireland in November is always terrible. In fact it may have been gorgeous elsewhere around the country. It was, however, our least favorite time to visit Ireland of the 4 times we’ve been.
Springtime in Ireland
For pretty even-keel weather without the summer crowds, consider April/May for your visit. The cool of winter is still in the air, but the warmth of summer is working its way in. Average temperatures are between 46-54°F/8-12°C. Wildflowers are starting to bloom and the green hills are exceptionally vibrant. Accommodations are readily available and it’s generally a more affordable time to travel to Ireland. And the best part about visiting Ireland in the Spring?! There are lambs everywhere! Spring is when the countless sheep all over the Emerald Isle give birth to the most adorable fluffy babies. It is definitely cuteness overload!
During one of our spring visits, we stayed at the cottage of a gentleman who owned several sheep. I asked him to let us know if any gave birth during our stay. Not only did he bring twin lambs to our doorstep, but he put those babies in my arms and I just couldn’t contain my excitement! Still one of my favorite Ireland travel memories to date! The weather in Ireland in May is starting to reach summer temps. With all of the other perks (flowers, lambs, etc.), we personally consider Spring to be the best time of year to visit Ireland.
Ireland in the Fall
Just like April and May in the spring, the weather in Ireland in September and October is mild enough to make it a very desirable time to visit. They are also great months to avoid the crowds, as the summer crowds have since dissipated. The days are starting to get shorter, but the weather is still fairly decent. Ireland fall weather is mild with average temperatures between 57-64°F/14-18°C.
Fall brings about several world famous festivals. Each September Clarenbrige in Galway celebrates the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival. The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival (Europe’s largest single’s event) attracts over 20,000 people throughout the month of September. The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival takes place in Cork in late October each year. And the Wexford Festival Opera takes place in Wexford during the months of October and November. So if you’re into festivals of all sorts, maybe fall is the best time to visit to Ireland. There’s definitely no shortage of things to do, in additional to all of Ireland’s wonderful attractions.
So… When is the Best Time to Visit Ireland?
Again, no matter when you visit, the weather can be unpredictable, so always be prepared for anything! Whether you plan your visit for winter or summer or somewhere in between, we can almost guarantee you’ll be swept away by Ireland’s unparalleled beauty, fascinating history, and friendly locals. Therefore, we personally believe whenever you are able to visit, THAT is the best time to travel to Ireland!
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Topics Include: Getting to Ireland | Getting Around Ireland (Rental Cars & Public Transportation-Train, Taxi, Bus, Motor Coach Tours) | Top 10 Scenic Drives in Ireland | Awe-Inspiring Abbeys | 4 Traditional Irish Pubs to Check Out | 5 Charming Small Towns Not to Miss | Ireland’s 6 National Parks | Interesting Facts About Ireland | Irish Dishes to Try | Islands of Ireland | Exploring Ireland’s Fascinating History | Top 5 Highlights in Ireland’s Most Visited Counties* | Frequently Asked Questions About Travel to Ireland | Money Saving Tips | 4 Detailed Sample Itineraries | Additional Resources | Photo Guide to County Highlights *Counties Included: Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Mayo, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford, & Wicklow