Best Time to Visit Ireland and Things You Definitely Need to See

Best Time to Visit Ireland and Things You Definitely Need to See

Ireland is a very beautiful place to visit. It’s called the Emerald Isle, and it’s a country everyone enjoys visiting, regardless of the season. There are countless sights to admire and numerous fun activities you can do there. Obviously, your visit will be based on your personal interests as well as your available time.

In today’s article, I will tell you the best time to visit Ireland plus many other interesting details regarding the most popular attractions of this destination.

Why Should You Visit Ireland?

There are many reasons why you should visit Ireland. It’s a place full of iconic sights. Many tourists consider it to be an ideal holiday destination. Here are the main reasons to visit this country.

1. Mesmerizing Natural Landscapes

Most of Ireland’s natural landscapes are simply jaw-dropping. Most people are already familiar with the emerald green hills, windswept rock formations, and seaside cliffs that this country was blessed with. But, when you visit Ireland, you will be surprised to discover many other beautiful attractions.

You can go hiking on Wicklow Mountain. From the Irish west coast cliffs, you will be amazed by all the views of the Atlantic Ocean. There are also several lakes that you can visit, such as Lough Leane and Lough Erne. You can either walk along with them or sail on them.

2. Regal Castles

blarney castle

Ireland has a long history full of important events. These areas were once visited or inhabited by Vikings, Celts, and other warrior clans. According to historians, Ireland hosts no less than 30,000 different castles and ruins.

Here are the places you shouldn’t miss:

  • Blarney Castle – the location of the Blarney Stone, which is very famous;
  • Dunluce Castle – this is a fortress located on a cliff that offers majestic sea views;
  • Ross Castle – this fortress was built in the 15th century and it is placed in a national park;
  • Bunratty Castle – compared to the other castles, this one has won the test of time and most of it has remained as it was;
  • Rock of Cashel – this is an ancient royal site.

3. Music and Festivals

Besides its history and natural beauty, Ireland is also liked for its lively atmosphere created by numerous celebrations, dancing events, and music festivals. For instance, every January, Dublin organizes the TradFest, which is a very large and popular festival where you can listen to traditional Irish music.

4. Scenic Road Trips

If you’re a sucker for road trips, Ireland is the ideal place for that. All you have to do is rent a car and hit those Irish roads. This way, you will be able to see all the country’s popular sights and attractions at your own pace. You could visit the most important Irish castles or go hiking.

5. Lively Cities

Many people love Ireland due to its green fields and majestic cliffs. However, Ireland is also great for those who’re looking for a fun and interesting city break. Your starting point should be Dublin which is the country’s capital. Its architecture is a combination of historic and modern details.

On the west coast, you will encounter a laid-back city called Galway. This city is known for both its food and music. Then, in the south, you will find Cork which is the country’s second-largest city. Cork is also an important cultural hub.

6. Delicious Food

While in Ireland, you should not waste the occasion to taste some delicious local foods. Not many people outside of Ireland know about it, but boxty is a delicious dish. It’s an Irish potato cake. You should also try their popular Irish soda bread.

Many accommodation providers offer a full Irish breakfast consisting of eggs, mushrooms, bacon, beans, sausages, boxty, and toasts.

If you visit the west coast and decide to have lunch or dinner in one of those tiny fishing villages, I would suggest ordering seafood. But, most importantly, you shouldn’t leave the country without tasting their famous stew.

The Best Time to Visit Ireland

If you prefer longer days with more daylight, you should visit the country during summer. But, if you don’t like placed with too many tourists, you should choose another month or period like April or May, both of which are considered “shoulder season.”

Those of you who are don’t mind colder weather or rainy days can visit Ireland in winter and enjoy the country without crowds. Winter is also good for those who want to travel on a tight budget since the accommodation prices are lower.

What Kind of Climate Should You Expect in Ireland?

Well, you should expect a bit of everything: sun, fog, rain, and frost. Irish people love to chat about the weather. One word that could describe Ireland’s weather the best is changeability. Unlike other areas around the globe, this country doesn’t have long periods of one single type of weather.

You could experience a rain shower and bright sunshine in the same hour. Therefore, I advise you to always carry a rainproof jacket with you, one that’s lightweight. Ireland’s climate is mild and temperate. In the summer, the country experiences temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius.

If there are several consecutive days with temperatures around 25 degrees, then the Irish would consider it a heatwave. In the winter, the temperature doesn’t really go below 0 degrees Celsius. As you can guess from its position on the planet, the biggest influence on Ireland’s weather and climate is the Atlantic Ocean.

Visiting Ireland in January and February

During this time of year, you will experience low temperatures of approximately 5 degrees Celsius. In smaller villages and rural areas, you will not be able to find open hotels. However, you will certainly find something to your liking in larger cities and towns.

In January, in Dublin, you will be able to attend a cultural festival with traditional music. This event is organized at the Temple Bar.

Visiting Ireland in March

On the 17th of March, Irish people celebrate one of their most important holidays: St. Patrick’s Day. It’s their national holiday. Therefore, you should expect to encounter crowds of people in all major cities. There’s a party-like vibe everywhere during the entire weekend.

You can become part of those who celebrate and enjoy all the dancing and the music. Don’t forget to wear something green because all those who attend the event will wear this color.

Visiting Ireland in April and May

During this period, the weather becomes warmer and nicer. Spring flowers appear everywhere, particularly around Kerry, where you will see many fuchsias along the roads. In fact, the entire west coast will be full of beautiful flowers.

It is in May when summer tourists begin to come and visit the country. So, you should expect prices to increase around this time.

Visiting Ireland in June

In June, tourists can stroll and go sightseeing at ease due to very warm and pleasant temperatures. The average temperature in the first month of summer is around 13-14 degrees Celsius. By now, all the fields will be full of blossomed and colorful flowers.

In mid-June, Irish people celebrate Bloomsday. It takes place in Dublin and it’s focused on James Joyce, the famous poet, and novelist.

Visiting Ireland in July and August

This is the period during which Ireland receives the highest number of tourists. Schools are also closed, so all children have their summer holiday. July and August are the driest months of the year. Temperatures are also warm. However, when in Ireland, you should always expect rainfall.

In July, there’s the Galway International Arts Festival taking place. So, from the 17th to the 30th of July, you can expect live performances such as theatre, music, and other forms of art.

In August, there’s the Dingle Regatta which is a water festival where you can watch boat races. All rowers must navigate in traditional canoes.

Visiting Ireland in September

If you really want to go to Skellig Islands, I should mention that September is the last month you can do that. From October to April, the weather is unpredictable and doesn’t allow visitors to go there. September is also the last period in which wildlife boat tours are still present.

Around this period, nature is changing its colors and you can admire the deepening of the foliage. Several food festivals are organized in September. The most popular one is the Galway Seafood Festival where you can feast on fresh oysters.

Visiting Ireland in October

If you want to be a witness to nature’s changing hues, you should visit Ireland in October. The mountains also change and they feature russet hues. By the end of October, though, several sites will be closed because both the temperature and the number of tourists decrease.

In early October, you can attend the Kinsale Gourmet Festival, where Irish people celebrate their local produce. You will taste delicious fresh food in no less than 10 different restaurants. Toward the end of October, Cork holds the International Jazz Festival.

Visiting Ireland in November

By this time, Ireland starts to get quieter because most tourists are gone. Some hotels located in small villages or towns could even close for their annual renovations. Normally, November is the wettest month of the year. The average temperature is around 10 degrees Celsius in the south and approximately 7 degrees Celsius in the north.

Visiting Ireland in December

At the beginning of December, the country starts to become more festive as Christmas is approaching. All cities, villages, and towns will be decorated with Christmas lights, and they will host dedicated markets and live plays.

I admit that the weather is pretty cold during this month, but the landscape becomes very picturesque due to the hills and trees covered in frost. Along the coast is also fairly windy. Don’t worry about accommodation, though, because the hotels that are still open will welcome you with roaring log fires.

Things to See and Do in Ireland

There are many interesting and fun things to do and visit in Ireland.

Irish Whiskey Museum

This activity involves a guided tour that presents you with several rooms where Irish whiskey is the main focus: its history, the way it’s made, and many other details. The tour lasts one hour.

Killarney National Park

This amazing national park features some of the oldest virgin forests in the country. Some consider this to be one of the most beautiful touristic attractions in the world. You can even rent a bike and cycle through the entire area.

Surf in Donegal Bay

For those who love to surf and can ignore colder weather, hitting the waves in Donegal Bay would be an awesome activity while in Ireland. This location is on the west coast. In fact, numerous surfing experts give a lot of credit to this particular area.

Leap Castle

According to local myths, this castle is the most haunted one in the world. It’s a truly infamous place. That’s why thousands of visitors come here every year. Besides its spooky inhabitants, you can also find a lot of interesting details about its rich history. You can even arrange private tours.

FAQs

Question: When Does It Rain the Most in Ireland?

Answer: It does rain a lot in Ireland. So, rainfall is commonly seen throughout the country. However, the heaviest and most frequent rainfalls occur during December and January. The driest month in Ireland in April. Still, in some southern areas of the country, the driest month is June.

Question: What Month Should I Travel to Ireland on a Budget?

Answer: According to my research, if you go to Ireland in February, you will spend less on your trip. This is a useful detail for all those who want to travel on a tight budget.

Question: When Is Ireland Crowded with Tourists?

Answer: The peak season for the country is from the middle of June until the middle of September. So, if you go there during summer, expect it to be more crowded than usual. Ireland has multiple periods that are considered “shoulder seasons:” in April and May, at the beginning of summer (early June), and at the beginning of October.

Question: What Are the Most Popular Cities in Ireland?

Answer: Based on flight searches, tourists seem to like the following Irish cities:
• Dublin;
• Shannon;
• Cork;
• Milltown;
• Knock;
• Donegal.
However, Dublin represents an astonishing 88% of all those searches.

Question: How Many Days Should I Spend Visiting Ireland?

Answer: This varies a lot depending on your preferences, intentions, and budget. Some people prefer a short city break trip, whereas others (such as myself) would rather spend at least one week visiting all there is to see in a destination.
If you want to explore all the attractions that Ireland has to offer, you will probably need around 10 days to check the following things: Dublin, Galway, Northern Ireland, the Dingle Peninsula, the Rock of Cashel, and the Cliffs of Moher.

Question: What’s the Best Period to Go to Ireland If You Want to Visit Dublin?

Answer: Summer is the best time to visit the country’s capital, Dublin. During that period, you can have fun because the city is buzzing with locals and tourists. You will have many things to discover, such as entertaining festivals and relaxing green parks.

Question: What Should You Pack If You Plan to Visit Ireland?

Answer: Here are the essential things you should include in your luggage (for those who want to travel light):
• Passport and other important travel documents such as travel insurance, etc.;
• A daily bag or fanny pack to keep your valuables and travel documents;
• A lightweight rain jacket made of premium fabrics like PVC coated nylon;
• One warm pullover with long sleeves for cooler evenings;
• Obviously, you should carry with you your smartphone that has a good-quality camera to capture all those magic landscapes and sights;
• A compact suitcase.

Some extra things you might want to pack are:
• Electrical converter;
• A pair of sunglasses;
• A hat;
• Comfy clothing items;
• Bug spray;
• Towels;
• Sunscreen;
• Toothbrush;
• Medication; etc.

The Best Time to Visit Ireland – Final Thoughts

Ireland is a magical place that will definitely charm you from the very first instant. No matter the season you choose to travel to this country, you should know that the weather might change a couple of times per day. Still, those changes aren’t extreme.

As I mentioned before, the peak season starts in June and ends in September. But, even during summer, there will be rainy days or short rainfalls. Ireland doesn’t really have a dry season. So, make sure to wear multiple layers of clothing and think of sunny days as a well-deserved bonus.

Alexandra Gavrilescu

Alexandra is a keen traveler. She loves to discover new places, plan trips, and tell you all about it. In her articles, Alexandra provides useful answers to common questions regarding travel budgets, finding the best travel deals, accommodations, travel expenses, planning a trip, saving money on flights, travel guides, and many other topics that I am sure you will find helpful. All the tips and detail she offers are tested and proven. With her help, you will save a lot of time and you won't feel overwhelmed by long Internet searches. In her role as a travel blogger, Alexandra allows you to spend more time doing exactly what you love most: traveling.