When is the Best Time to Visit Ireland?
Any day is a good day to visit Ireland, but depending on your interests, you may determine there are “better” times. Here’s my take on when to plan your trip.
Irish weather likes to keep meteorologists on their toes. As a guest, you could enjoy sunny, warm conditions in February or wet, cold days in August. Heck, you could have rain lashing at your ankles in the morning and find yourself taking in the sun on the beach in the afternoon.
Despite its reputation for being cold and damp, Ireland’s climate is actually quite mild (especially if you come from a place with snowy winters). In fact, palm trees grow on many parts of the island thanks to the the wind patterns that keep temperatures between 40° and 45° F (5° and 8°C) in the winter and between 60° and 70° F (15° and 20° C) in the summer.
Extreme conditions can occur. On occasion temperatures may drop below freezing and above 80 degrees. Ireland is also subject to hurricane force winds. Fortunately, these severe conditions are usually short-lived.
Springtime in Ireland delivers landscapes bursting with color and fields filled with baby animals tottering alongside their mothers. You are arriving ahead of the main tourist crush, which can mean lower prices.
Summer in Ireland offers the bonus of extra hours of daylight due to island’s high latitude. This prime tourist season offers the most options for things to do, but it can also mean higher prices and crowds.
Autumn in Ireland treats us to comfortable temperatures and the chance to watch as 20 of Ireland’s 50 shades of green turn to rich golds, oranges, purples, and reds. Some attractions may close, but you will have no trouble filling your itinerary.
Winter in Ireland can be chilly with temperatures around the 30s F (1-3° C). With very few hours of daylight, touring can be limited. This can mean only one thing… spending your evenings enjoying the country’s famous pub culture.
- Travel in the “shoulder season.” High season runs from late June through the end of August. The two months before and the two months after high season often offer great rates.
- Disregard the weather statistics. Most guidebooks publish rainfall and sunshine charts. Those are great for some destinations, but Ireland gets statistically “punished” for fluctuating weather patterns that don’t look good on paper. Those charts don’t take into account that misty conditions might only stick around for a few hours or cloudy skies don’t always mean rain.
- Plan your weekend around a festival or event. A quick peek at the calendar could influence when you travel. There’s something for every interest… gardens, food, music, history, agriculture, art, theater, and plenty more.
What other tips do you have for when to visit Ireland? Leave them in the comments below.