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The Best Time To Visit Ireland: A Locals Guide To Weather + What To Expect

The Best Time To Visit Ireland: A Locals Guide To Weather + What To Expect

If you’re stressed about finding the best time to visit Ireland, relax – you’ve landed in the right spot.

Planning a trip to Ireland is tough going, and the first decision you need to decide upon before mapping out your Ireland itinerary is when you’re going to visit.

Each month comes with various pros and cons and, as the weather in Ireland is very unpredictable, deciding when to visit can be hard.

In the guide below, you’ll find a very clear process to follow that’ll help you decide when is the best time to go to Ireland based on YOUR likes and dislikes.

 

Some quick need-to-knows about the best time to visit Ireland

best time to go to ireland

Photos via Shutterstock

Picking the best time of year to go to Ireland requires you to weigh up the pros and cons associated with each month. Here’s some quick info to get you started.

1. When’s ‘Best’ is VERY subjective

Take every guide to the best month to visit Ireland with a fat pinch of salt! The best time of year to visit Ireland is going to be specific to YOU, so you need to weigh up the pros and cons of each month.

2. The factors you need to consider

Every season comes with its pros and cons. The summer months boast long days with plenty of daylight hours to explore. The ‘Shoulder Season’ is less crowded, but winter has yet to sink its teeth in. More on this below.

 

3. You often need to make a calculated bet

When deciding when to visit Ireland, you often feel like picking a month is a gamble, as the weather in Ireland is unpredictable at best. In an ideal world, summer in Ireland would be all sunshine and dry, warm days, but that’s often not the case, as you’ll discover below.

4. The seasons in Ireland

The seasons in Ireland are fairly straightforward; Summer in Ireland: June, July and August, Autumn in Ireland: September, October and November, Winter in Ireland: December, January and February and Spring in Ireland: March, April and May. Here are the tourist seasons:

  • Peak season: June to September
  • Shoulder season: April to May
  • Off-peak: November to February

5. My two cents

In my opinion, and I’ve lived here for 32 years, the best time of year to visit Ireland is May, September and October. In May, the days are long and usually mild. In September and October, you’re on the back of the busy summer seasons, winter is yet to hit and many places are a lot less crowded.

 

The best time to go to Ireland: A speedy overview of the climate by month

ireland in february

Photos via Shutterstock

The section below will give you an idea of the best time to visit Ireland weather wise. Each table below contains the average temperatures for each month.

The next section of our guide tackles the pros and cons with each specific month, so you’ve a better idea of what to expect.

 

Summer (June, July and August)

DestinationSeptOctNov
Killarney13.2 °C/55.7 °F10.6 °C/51 °F7.5 °C/45.6 °F
Dublin13.1 °C/ 55.5 °F10.3 °C/ 50.5 °F7 °C/ 44.6 °F
Cobh14 °C/ 57.3 °F11.6 °C/52.8 °F8.6 °C/47.4 °F
Galway13.6 °C/56.4 °F10.8 °C/51.5 °F7.9 °C/46.2 °F

Autumn (September, October and November)

DestinationSeptOctNov
Killarney13.2 °C/55.7 °F10.6 °C/51 °F7.5 °C/45.6 °F
Dublin13.1 °C/ 55.5 °F10.3 °C/ 50.5 °F7 °C/ 44.6 °F
Cobh14 °C/ 57.3 °F11.6 °C/52.8 °F8.6 °C/47.4 °F
Galway13.6 °C/56.4 °F10.8 °C/51.5 °F7.9 °C/46.2 °F

Winter (December, January and February)

DestinationDecJanFeb
Killarney6 °C/42.9 °F5.5 °C/42 °F5.5 °C/42 °F
Dublin4.8 °C/40.6 °F4.7 °C/40.5 °F4.8 °C/40.6 °F
Cobh7.1 °C/44.8 °F6.5 °C/43.8 °F6.4 °C/43.5 °F
Galway5.9 °C/42.5 °F5.8 °C/42.5 °F5.9 °C/42.5 °F

Spring (March, April and May)

DestinationMarAprMay
Killarney5.5 °C/42 °F8.4 °C/47.1 °F11 °C/51.9 °
Dublin3 °C/37.4 °F4.8 °C/40.6 °F7.6 °C/45.6 °F
Cobh7.1 °C/44.8 °F8.8 °C/47.9 °F11.4 °C/52.5 °F
Galway6.9 °C/44.4 °F8.9 °C/48 °F11.6 °C/52.9 °F
 

Deciding on the best time of year to visit Ireland: A breakdown of each month with their pros and cons

best time of year to visit ireland

Photos via Shutterstock

Deciding when to visit Ireland can be stressful. One of the best ways to help you decide is to weigh up the pros and cons.

I’ve listed out the main advantages and disadvantages for each month below, based on the 31 years that I’ve spent living here.

January

visting ireland in march

Photos via Shutterstock

Ireland in January can be very hit and miss. I’m typing this on January 13th, 2022, and we’ve had a week of freezing cold weather and a week of relatively mild weather.

The average temperature in January hovers around 7° C with average lows of 3°C (this can change drastically).

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • The weather: The days tend to be cold, wet, and windy
  • The days are short: The sun rises at around 08:29 and sets at around 16:38
  • Closed attractions: Some seasonal attractions will be closed
 

February

best time to travel to ireland

Photos by mark_gusev (Shutterstock)

Visiting Ireland in February can be another tricky one, especially if the weather is your deciding factor.

Spring is still far from the horizon and the days are short and chilly. In the past, we’ve had heavy snow fall, flooding and stormy weather in February.

Advantages

  • Prices: Like January, February is off-season in Ireland, so flights and accommodation should be cheaper
  • Crowds: Ireland’s usually hectic attractions will be much quieter (the likes of the Guinness Storehouse and the Giants Causeway will always draw crowds, though)

Disadvantages

  • Weather: The weather in February is very unpredictable, with average highs of 8°C and average lows of 2°C
  • Short days: The sun rises at 07:40 and sets at 17:37
  • Seasonal attractions: Some seasonal attractions will remain closed
 

March

visiting ireland in july

Photos via Shutterstock

March is regarded as the best time to go to Ireland by many that have been bitten by the St. Patrick’s Day buzz.

Yes, there’s a great buzz around the country for the 17th, but there are plenty more reasons for visiting Ireland in March.

Advantages

  • Prices: March tends to be the last month of cheaper accommodation (the Easter break in April sees demand skyrocket)
  • Weather: March marks the start of spring which, for the most part, results in finer weather
  • Longish days: The sun rises at 07:12 and sets at 18:17

Disadvantages

  • Weather: The weather can be very changeable. Over the last five years, we’ve had snow storms, heavy rainfall and scorching weather
  • FlightsFlight prices in March tend to be higher
 

April

best month to visit ireland

Photos via Shutterstock

April is regarded by some as the best time of year to visit Ireland as the weather has picked up, the days are longer and we haven’t hit peak-season yet.

The only issue with April, aside for the potential for bad weather, is that schools get two weeks off, which results in a shortage of accommodation in some places.

Advantages

  • Flights: If you’re visiting Ireland on a budget, it’ll be cheaper to fly in April than in the summer
  • Long days: The sun rises at 06:23 and sets at 20:00
  • Weather: The weather can to be nice and mild

Disadvantages

  • Easter holidays: Schools get 2 weeks off around Easter, which can drive up the cost of accommodation
  • Weather: The weather can also be terrible (see our April weather guide)
 

May

visiting ireland in august

Photos via Shutterstock

In my opinion, along with September and October, May is the best time to visit Ireland, as you get the best of both worlds.

I.e. the weather is mild, the days are nice and long and we’ve haven’t yet reached the summer holidays, so places aren’t too busy (see our guide to Ireland in May for more).

Advantages

  • Weather: The weather in May can be good, with mean temperatures ranging between 9.0 °C and 13.0 °C over the last three years
  • Long days: The sun rises at 05:17 and sets at 21:26
  • Summer buzz: Long, mild days and the incoming summer tends to bring a lively atmosphere to many towns and villages
  • Festivals: This is when they really start kicking off (see our Irish festivals calendar)

Disadvantages

  • Weather: Yep – it’s a pro and a con – the weather in May can also be awful (it was last year!)
  • Prices: Accommodation and flights will be near peak level price-wise
  • Crowds: Better weather and long days means more people tourists
 

June

visiting ireland in June

Photos via Shutterstock

June in Ireland marks the arrival of summer, bringing with it warm and often dry weather and average highs of 18°C and lows of 11.6°C.

June is regarded as the best time to travel to Ireland by many visiting tourists. The weather is at it’s best, the crowds are their highest, and the accommodation and flights at their priciest.

Advantages

  • Weather: Weather tends to be dry and warm with highs of 18°C and lows of 11.6°C
  • Long days: The sun rises at 05:03 and sets at 21:42
  • Festivals: Numerous music festivals in Ireland take place during June

Disadvantages

  • Prices: Demand is at its highest, so you can expect to spend more for flights and hotels
  • Crowds: As June is peak season in Ireland, expect places to be more crowded
 

July

best beaches in dublin

Photos via Shutterstock

July is the best time to go to Ireland if you’re looking for good weather. Although it’s not guaranteed, it’s more likely to be fine in July than during many other months.

Personally, I head away for one week in Ireland every mid-July and, for the most part, we always get decent weather (see our guide to Ireland in July for more info).

Advantages

  • Weather: We get average highs of 19°C and lows of 12°C
  • Long days: The sun rises at 05:01 and sets at 21:56
  • Summer buzz: Long, balmy days tend to bring tourists and a lively atmosphere to many towns, villages and cities

Disadvantages

  • Prices: Summer is peak season, so you’ll be paying more for hotels, B&Bs and Airbnbs
  • Crowds: As the schools are out for the summer, expect more crowds travelling around the island, especially to the likes of Killarney and the Dingle Peninsula
 

August

clogher strand slea head

Photo by Melissa Bobo (shutterstock)

August is another one of the best months to visit Ireland, with long days, warm weather and plenty to see and do (see our counties hub for endless places to visit).

As was the case with July, there’s several pros and cons for visiting Ireland in August, many of which revolve around the demand for accommodation and crowds.

Advantages

  • Weather: It’s usually good with highs of 18°C and lows of 11°C
  • Long days: You’ll have 16 lovely hours of daylight to wander
  • Summer buzz: Again, the summer months bring a buzzy atmosphere to many towns

Disadvantages

 

September

Garretstown Beach cork

Photos via Shutterstock

As I’ve mentioned already, I think September is, along with May and October, the best time to visit Ireland. The days are still nice and long, the weather is mild and there’s way less crowds.

Demand for accommodation also falls, as the kids are back in school. See our guide to Ireland in September for more handy info.

Advantages

  • Crowds: As kids have gone back to school, there’s less crowds
  • The weather: The average high temperature tends to hover between 13°C and 16°C
  • Flights: Flights should be a little cheaper as this is the shoulder season
  • Long days: The days are starting to shorten, but the sun still rises early at 06:33 and sets at 20:15

Disadvantages

  • Weather: Yep, a pro and a con. The weather, as always, is unpredictable. With that being said, we’ve had some great Septembers recently
 

October

Clonakilty In Cork

Photos via Shutterstock

I know I’m like a broken record now, but I think October, along with May and September is the best time to go to Ireland.

October in Ireland is Autumn and you’ll find many places blanketed in orange leaves. The weather is chilly, but not unbearably so, and the days still have a bit of length in them.

Advantages

  • Weather: We often get Octobers that are sunny, crisp and dry
  • Crowds: Ireland’s usually busy attractions will be less crowded as we’re no longer in peak-season
  • Prices: Accommodation in the more off-the-beaten-track locations will be cheaper (you won’t notice a huge difference in the hot-spots)
  • Prices: You should find that flights are cheaper than in peak-season

Disadvantages

  • Shorter days: By mid-October, the sun won’t rise until 08:00 and it sets at 18:40
  • Weather: The weather in Ireland in October is unpredictable (see our October weather guide)
 

November

Kilkenny Christmas market

Photos via Yulefest Kilkenny

November is one of the best months to visit Ireland for a city break, as you’ll find many towns and villages with Christmas markets in full swing (from mid-month).

The weather is cool and crisp and the average temperature in Ireland in November tends to hover between 12°C and 9.5°C.

Advantages

  • Crowds: You’ll encounter fewer crowds at the usually busy attractions (although places with Christmas markets will be busy)
  • Prices: Accommodation in the more off-the-beaten-track towns and villages will be more affordable
  • Flights: Should be cheaper as we’ll be in the depths of the off-season

Disadvantages

  • Short days: The sun doesn’t rise until 07:23 and it sets early at 16:53
  • Seasonal attractions: Some seasonal attractions in Ireland’s quieter villages in towns will be closed
  • Weather: The weather could be wintery. We’ve had mild, stormy and freezing cold Novembers in the past few years
 

December

dublin Christmas market 2021

Photos via Shutterstock

December is the best time to visit Ireland if you’re after a cosy buzz, Christmas markets, big open fires and cheaper accommodation.

The average temperatures for Ireland in December tends to be similar to November, at around 5°C, but this can vary.

Advantages

  • Festive buzz: Most towns and villages in Ireland will be decked out in Christmas lights
  • Crowds: You’ll encounter fewer crowds at the usually busy attractions
  • Prices: Accommodation in the more off-the-beaten-track towns and villages will be cheaper

Disadvantages

  • Flights: Flights in December can extremely pricey with people flying home for Christmas
  • Short days: The sun rises at 08:16 and sets around 16:10
  • Weather: The weather in December has been mild for several years, but there’s also a good chance of rain and strong winds

FAQs about the best time to visit Ireland

 

Emails asking about the best time to go to Ireland hit our inbox on an almost daily basis, and it’s a hard question to answer, as it’s so objective.

I’ve attempted to ask the most FAQs that we receive about the best time to travel to Ireland below, but feel free to ask questions in the comments.

What are the best months to go to Ireland?

Personally, I think the best time of year to visit Ireland is the ‘Shoulder-Season’. Specifically, September, October and May.

What is the best time to visit Ireland for the first time?

The summer months are arguably the best time to go to Ireland if you’ve never been before, as you’ll have plenty of daylight hours to get around.

What is the best time of year to go to Ireland?

Again, this is a tricky question, as it’ll be subjective. If you’re on a budget, go off-peak. If you’re not, go for the ‘Shoulder-Season’ (see above).

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Rick Mullins

Tuesday 1st of March 2022

I agree with your time frame. I have been to Ireland a 1/2 a dozen times since 2014 usually going the last 2 weeks of May the weather has always been great. I did make one trip the last 2 weeks of October it is a little different. I encountered most of the rain in October but was not so much that it daunted my travels. We tend not to hit too many of the tourist spots and more often go to the out of the way places of historic value.... We have had our next trip planned for the last 2 years but due to covid, it has been postponed. We are scheduled to go this May again and we will be there 16 days. Have not pulled the trigger yet as airline prices are skyrocketing and fuel prices are going up.... I will make a decision here in the next couple weeks... But my wife and I are anxiously waiting to go back..... For both of us having ancestors coming from there it is like going home..

Janine

Monday 8th of March 2021

Hi! Thank you so much for all of your wonderful tips! My husband and I are planning to bring our adult daughters (24 and 29) to visit at the end is September. We are very excited! Should we stay in Dublin and then take our guided tours from there? We will have 9-10 days. Thank you! Janine

Amy

Thursday 27th of February 2020

We just booked a trip to southern Ireland for November. I am very excited. Can you recommend some must do's while we are there?

Keith

Wednesday 4th of March 2020

Hi Amy,

If you hop into our guide to the counties of Ireland you'll find heaps of things to do!

Cheers,

Keith

Toni

Thursday 30th of January 2020

Hi Keith Thankyou for the great read. My daughter and I are wanting to travel to Ireland for Xmas from Australia. As it will be cold n rainy which doesn’t really bother us, but worried we mighten get to see a lot of attractions would many be closed? Cheers Toni ?

Keith

Saturday 1st of February 2020

Hi Toni,

If you pop in the name of the attraction into Google and visit the official site you should get an idea of whether or not they'll be open or close when you're visiting.

Everywhere will be closed on Christmas Day with many places also staying closed on December 26th, but that can change from attraction to attraction.

Cheers,

Keith

Claire

Thursday 18th of July 2019

Well... Just booked a week for the end of November. Realized that may have been stupid on my part. Luckily, I've been before as I studied abroad there, but the husband's never been so it'll be his first time for everything. Will we still be able to salvage the trip, even with not great weather?

Keith

Wednesday 24th of July 2019

Hi Claire,

Sorry – I’ve been away on holidays for the past week and I’m only catching messages here now.

Of course you will.

Just go into it with a sure-look-if-it-rains-we'll-still-make-the-most-of-it-attitude.

The weather can be shite regardless of the time of year. One of the things you'll be up against is the shorter days.

But you'll gain cosy pubs, a Christmassy atmosphere and plenty more.

Don't be stressing about it. It'll be great!

Keith

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