Ireland's Seasons, Weather, and Tourism

The lush and verdant valleys of Ireland come at a price — rain, and lots of it. When planning a trip to Ireland, consider the best times of the year that will decrease your chances of getting showered upon day in and day out. While this is much easier said than done, prepare yourself for variant weather patterns by bringing garments you can layer, a daypack, and perhaps a sturdy travel umbrella.

The season you choose to travel can affect the type of experience you may have. In the summer, namely July and August, throngs of people visit the Republic for its oceanic temperatures, festivals, and long daylight hours. The warmest and longest days of the year are April through October; at the summer's peak, daylight extends from 6 A.M. to 10 P.M. Travelers who plan months ahead for this season will benefit greatly from the best-priced airfare, top room choices, and tickets to main attractions.

Essential

When traveling in Ireland, try to not let the weather put a damper on your day. A short drive to your next destination might mean clear blue skies. Weather can vary from one hour to the next. If the sky is falling, head to a nearby caf é or pub and wait out the worst of it. Before you know it, you will be energized to head back out.

Traveling in the wintertime is feasible, but has some disadvantages. Days are shorter and can feel more rushed, as driving distances often takes longer than expected. Winter brings with it more rain, wind, and even snow to the higher elevations. The coldest months of the year are November through March; the true wintry months are December through February. More precipitation and colder temperatures occur in the west and throughout the northwest during this unpropitious time.

Alert

Traveling during the week before Christmas and through the New Year is most difficult. A large number of restaurants, B&Bs, monuments, parks, and sites are closed for the holidays. It is the only time that Ireland truly shuts down. Planning your trip with this in mind will ensure you are able to see, visit, and enjoy the sites much more.

Ireland in the spring or fall might be the best option. The last few years have brought amazing fall weather, even better than summer. With less chances of rain, longer days, cheaper prices, sites in full operation, and activities still occurring, traveling on either side of the peak summer months will benefit you greatly. With regard to the weather, one maxim holds true: The only certainty is uncertainty.

Temperature and Precipitation

The eastern coastline of Ireland receives less rainfall than its western half. Dublin receives about half as much precipitation as some of its western counterparts, such as County Kerry. The southeast of Ireland is enviable by all other regions for its sunshiny days, even in the colder months.

Fact

The Irish understand both Fahrenheit and Celsius, as they do kilometers and miles. Ireland inherited the imperial system from England, and many of the older generation continue to relay temperatures and distance in it. Officially, the European Union conducts its measurements in the metric system.

In and around Dublin, expect summertime peak temperatures to range between 18°C (65°F) and 24°C (75°F) with lows between 6 and 10°C (mid-40s–50°F). In the winter, expect highs around 6°C (mid-40s°F) and lows hovering above freezing to 5°C (42°F). Although rain falls throughout the year, it does more so in December and January. The relative temperature scale also applies to Belfast in Northern Ireland, although it does get 10–20 percent more rain.

Cork and Galway have similar summertime temperatures as Ireland's capital city, but slightly warmer winter months. However, in December, January, and March, expect 30 percent more rain. In the fall, especially in October and November, twice as much rain falls in the western half of Ireland than in Dublin.

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