Ireland is everything you’ve seen, heard, and read about, and so much more. It’s a place where old meets new, where tradition meets trends, where rural meets urban. Ireland might be small, but it’s a hiker’s paradise and a history lover’s dream-come-true. Here, mountains tower over green landscapes, and centuries-old churches line cobblestone streets. Ireland is waiting to be explored. But when is the best time to visit Ireland?
What is the Climate in Ireland?
Year-round dreary skies and rainy afternoons are a stereotype. Ireland experiences a mild, temperate climate, with moderately warm summers and crisp winters. There are no real weather extremes, though bring your umbrella — it can drizzle (a lot), and often without a moment’s notice. The average year-round temperature here is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, though this depends on the exact location.
Pro tip: When the heavens open, there are plenty of pubs — more than 7,000, to be exact — to keep you dry.
Weather Seasons in Ireland
Ireland has distinct seasons, with very pleasant weather during the spring. At this time of the year, temperatures range from 46-53°F, with April and May experiencing generally mild weather. It can (and will likely) rain, though, so pack a long-sleeved top and a light, waterproof jacket.
For the most part, summers are dry, apart from a brisk shower or two. To be on the safe side, pack a raincoat, but don’t forget your shades and t-shirts. Temperatures range from 60-68°F from June through August, and it won’t get dark until well after 10 p.m.
Temperatures hover in the high sixties during the fall months, with September, in particular, a mild month. It will feel cooler toward the end of the season, so bring a thicker jacket alongside your umbrella.
Winters start off feeling fresh and then get colder as the season progresses, with temperatures ranging from 39-42°F. Snow in Ireland is rare, and temperatures only drop below freezing occasionally. But, it can still be very cold. Pack winter clothes to keep warm!
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So When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Ireland for the Weather?
The best time of year to visit Ireland really depends on your preferences and what you plan to do during your trip. Personally, I think the best time of year for the weather in Ireland is August or September time. Although, we traveled to Ireland in the Spring because the prices were cheaper. So we were willing to put up with a bit of cold, wind and rain.
Where is the Best Weather in Ireland?
Ireland spans 84,421 square kilometers, so there are temperature fluctuations depending on where you travel. Generally speaking, the south-west corner of the island, and County Kerry, in particular, is considered the warmest part of the country, with the beautiful Valentia Island (try to visit!) experiencing the mildest temperatures. So it’s possible that this area may be considered to have some of the best weather in Ireland. This area is where you will also drive the popular Ring of Kerry!
When it comes to the big cities, Dublin’s temperatures range from 41°F in the winter to 60°F in the summer, while Shannon fluctuates from 38°F to 67°F.
One thing’s for sure, regardless of where you travel — it will probably rain! Always pack a good raincoat and save the indoor activities on your itinerary for a wet day. Still, if you rent a car in Ireland and drive around then you can still enjoy the scenery even if there is a bit of rain!
Festivals in Ireland
If you’re visiting the Emerald Isle for a festival, prepare for the weather. Ireland is a musical melting point, home to a wide range of genres. It’s no surprise, then, that summer plays host to some of the world’s biggest festivals. Expect chilled vibes, great beer, and some seriously good music.
Perhaps Longitude Festival is the most popular, with hundreds of thousands of music lovers flocking to Dublin’s Marlay Park every July. Although there are no certainties when it comes to Irish weather, you should be good with a T-shirt and shorts — it’s high summer in Dublin, after all, and temperatures flirt in the low sixties. It could be significantly higher than this. Recent Dublin heatwaves have seen temps hit the high eighties.
Electric Picnic is another super-popular festival. This one takes place in County Laois in early September, where temperatures are cool and relatively dry. A light raincoat should be good, but you might not need it at all.
Special Events in Ireland
There are many special events year-round in Ireland. Every February, Tedfest rolls into Inishmore, an island in Galway Bay, western Ireland — the world’s biggest celebration of the hit television show “Father Ted,” which has become something of an Irish cultural institution. Just like on the TV show, this part of Ireland can be wet, wild, and windy, so bring a rain jacket, boots, and a good umbrella!
Then there’s St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), which attracts people from around the world. The biggest celebrations happen in Dublin, where tourists guzzle a pint of Guinness (or two) and watch the world-famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which snakes through the city center. The weather can be unpredictable, with sunny spells and heavy showers both a possibility. Add to the suitcase the following: Umbrella, T-shirt, warm coat, shorts, shades, shamrock.
The first Monday in June is a public holiday in Ireland, making it a great time to visit Giant’s Causeway, a unique hexagonal landscape feature that will take your breath away. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Giant’s Causeway is located in County Antrim, on the north coast of neighboring Northern Ireland, where temperatures are generally cooler than the Republic. However, at this time of the year, expect the climate to be mild (and, as it borders the sea, it’s more than a little breezy).
Christmas is one of the most popular times of the year to visit Ireland, and with very good reason. The city of Cork, located in the south-west of the island, is known for its Christmas cheer, with several food markets and a gigantic Ferris wheel. It will probably be windy and a little drizzly, so dress appropriately! This is the perfect time of the year to relax in the cozy corner of a pub with a crackling fire.
New Year’s Eve celebrations close out the year, and these are best enjoyed in Dublin, where fireworks and a light show illuminate the city’s skyline. Again, expect rain, but also pack a winter jacket in case it’s a particularly chilly night.
So When’s the Best Time to Visit Ireland?
There’s no best time to visit Ireland. Winters can be cold (though rarely freezing), but there’s so much to do indoors, especially in cities like Dublin and Shannon —pubs, museums, galleries, coffee shops — that it doesn’t really matter.
If you prefer the great Irish outdoors, save your trip for late spring or summer when it will be sunny and warm (although there’s still a risk of showers). Popular towns like Killarney have many things to do and are lovely to visit! Fall, when temperatures cool down and the weather is usually dry, makes a great time to visit Ireland.
What’s Your Preference?
In the end, it all depends on you and what you want to experience during your trip. If you are on a budget, then perhaps traveling off-season will be best for you. But others who are planning a trip to Ireland may be more interested in visiting over a festival or special event, such as St. Patrick’s Day.