The shoulder season is the best time to visit Ireland (May, September and October).
During these months the weather is mild, flight and hotel prices are lower and the days are long, leaving plenty of time for exploring.
That’s my opinion, anyway, and I’ve lived in Ireland for 35 years.
If you’re trying to decided on the best time of year to visit Ireland based on your likes and dislikes, the guide below will show you:
- One: The pros and cons of each month of the year
- Two: What the weather in Ireland is like during each month
- Three: What’s on during each month (e.g. festivals)
Some quick need-to-knows about the best time to visit Ireland
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 travel tips for Ireland to get you started.
1. If you want good weather
The best month to visit Ireland weather wise tends to be the summer months. In June, for example, we have average highs of 18°C/64.4°F and lows of 11.6°C/52.88°F. Our summer days are also nice and long. In June, for example, the sun rises at 05:03 and sets at 21:42.
2. If you want less crowds and lower prices
The off-season (November to February) is the best time to travel to Ireland if you’re on a budget and looking to explore when it’s quiet. The days are shorter (e.g. in January the sun rises at 08:40 and it sets at 16:20) and the weather is wintery (e.g. in December we get average highs of 10°C/50°F and lows of 3°C/37.4°F). However, flight, hotel and crowd levels are at their lowest.
3. The seasons in Ireland
The seasons in Ireland are 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
4. The best months to visit Ireland (in my opinion)
Having explored the island during every month of the year, the best time to visit Ireland is during the shoulder season (May, September and October). During these months, you’ll find less crowds along with cheaper flight and accommodation prices. These months experience mild temperatures, plenty of dry spells and there’s a packed festival calendar.
The best time to go to Ireland: An overview of the weather by month
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.
Note: This data comes from Met Eireann, the Irish Meteorological Service.
Summer (June, July and August)
|13.5 °C/56.3 °F
|14.9 °C/58.7 °F
|14.5 °C/58.2 °F
|13.5 °C/56.4 °F
|15.2 °C/59.3 °F
|14.8 °C/58.6 °F
|15.4 °C/59.7 °F
|15.6 °C/60.1 °F
|15.4 °C/59.7 °F
|14 °C/57.2 °F
|15.3 °C/59.5 °F
|15 °C/58.9 °F
Autumn (September, October and November)
|13.2 °C/55.7 °F
|10.6 °C/51 °F
|7.5 °C/45.6 °F
|13.1 °C/ 55.5 °F
|10.3 °C/ 50.5 °F
|7 °C/ 44.6 °F
|14 °C/ 57.3 °F
|11.6 °C/52.8 °F
|8.6 °C/47.4 °F
|13.6 °C/56.4 °F
|10.8 °C/51.5 °F
|7.9 °C/46.2 °F
Winter (December, January and February)
|6 °C/42.9 °F
|5.5 °C/42 °F
|5.5 °C/42 °F
|4.8 °C/40.6 °F
|4.7 °C/40.5 °F
|4.8 °C/40.6 °F
|7.1 °C/44.8 °F
|6.5 °C/43.8 °F
|6.4 °C/43.5 °F
|5.9 °C/42.5 °F
|5.8 °C/42.5 °F
|5.9 °C/42.5 °F
Spring (March, April and May)
|5.5 °C/42 °F
|8.4 °C/47.1 °F
|11 °C/51.9 °
|3 °C/37.4 °F
|4.8 °C/40.6 °F
|7.6 °C/45.6 °F
|7.1 °C/44.8 °F
|8.8 °C/47.9 °F
|11.4 °C/52.5 °F
|6.9 °C/44.4 °F
|8.9 °C/48 °F
|11.6 °C/52.9 °F
The best time of year to visit Ireland based on the pros and cons of each month
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 of each month.
I’ve listed out the main advantages and disadvantages for each month below, based on the 35 years that I’ve spent living here.
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Ireland in January can be very hit and miss. The average temperature in January hovers around 7°C/44.6°F with average lows of 3°C/37.4°F.
January is the best month to visit Ireland if you are working with a tight budget and you are willing to take a gamble with the weather.
- Prices: If you’re visiting Ireland on a budget, flights and accommodation tend to be cheaper
- Crowds: Some of the more popular attractions in Ireland will be much quieter, as this is the off-season
- 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
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.
February is the best time of year to go to Ireland if you have a limited budget and you aren’t too phased by potentially poor weather conditions.
- 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)
- Weather: The weather in February is very unpredictable, with average highs of 8°C/46.4°F and average lows of 2°C/35.6°F
- Short days: The sun rises at 07:40 and sets at 17:37
- Seasonal attractions: Some seasonal attractions will remain closed
March marks the arrival of spring in Ireland. In years past, we’ve had heatwaves in March and stormy weather.
March is the best time to go to Ireland if you have a sizable budget and want to experience St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Spring has sprung, the days are longer and the weather isn’t as cold as the previous months.
- Weather: March marks the start of spring. There are average highs of 10°C/50°F and average lows of 4°C/39.2°F
- Longish days: The sun rises at 07:12 and sets at 18:17
- Prices: The period around March 17th sees prices skyrocket. The end of the month (Easter) can be pricey, also
- Weather: The weather can be very changeable. Over the last five years, we’ve had snow storms, heavy rainfall and scorching weather
- St. Patrick’s Day crowds: Crowds are at their peak (it’s for this reason that, for many, March won’t be the best time to visit Dublin)
in April, the weather has picked up, the days are longer and there are average highs of 13°C/55°F and average lows of 4°C/39.2°F.
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.
April is best time of year to visit Ireland if you’re working within a budget (after Easter) but want plenty of daylight hours to explore the island.
- Flights: The cost of a trip to Ireland is much less in April, thanks to lower flight prices
- Long days: The sun rises at 06:23 and sets at 20:00
- Weather: The weather can to be nice and mild
- 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)
Along with September and October, May is the best time to visit Ireland. This is the shoulder season and the weather is mild, the days are long and both prices and tourist numbers are yet to skyrocket.
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).
- Weather: The weather in May can be good, with mean temperatures ranging between 9.0°C/48.2°F and 13.0°C/55.4°F
- 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)
- 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 in Ireland marks the arrival of summer, bringing with it warm and often dry weather and average highs of 18°C/64.4°F and lows of 11.6°C/52.88°F.
This is peak season in every sense – tourist numbers jump as do the price of flights and hotels.
June is regarded as the best time to travel to Ireland by many visiting tourists as the weather tends to be good, temperatures are mild and there’s plenty of daylight hours.
- Weather: Weather tends to be dry and warm with highs of 18°C/64.4°F and lows of 11.6°C/52.88°F
- Long days: The sun rises at 05:03 and sets at 21:42
- Festivals: Numerous music festivals in Ireland take place during June
- 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 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.
- Weather: We get average highs of 19°C/66.2°F and lows of 12°C/53.6°F
- 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
- 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 boasts 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.
August is the best time to go to Ireland if peak prices and crowds don’t bother you. The trade off is mild weather, long days and a busy festival calendar.
- Weather: It’s usually good with highs of 18°C/64.4°F and lows of 11°C/51.8°F
- 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
- Prices: Yep – prices are still at peak levels
- Crowds: The likes of the Dingle Peninsula, the Inishowen Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry and other tourist hot-spots will be very busy
Ireland in September is when the shift from a busy summer season takes place. Tourist numbers drop and the kids go back to school.
This is Ireland’s shoulder season (the season between peak season and the off season) and it’s a great time to explore.
September, along with May and October, is the best time to visit Ireland as prices drop, the days are long, the weather is mild and there’s less crowds.
- Crowds: As kids have gone back to school, there’s less crowds
- The weather: The average high temperature tends to hover between 13°C/55.4°F and 16°C/60.8°F
- 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
- 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 in Ireland is Autumn and you’ll find many places blanketed in orange leaves and the weather is cool and crisp.
Ireland experiences average highs of 13°C/55°F and average lows of 6°C/42°F during October
October, along with May and September, is the best time to go to Ireland thanks to lower flight and hotel prices, relatively long days and its often dry days with cool temperatures.
- 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
- 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)
- Mid-term: Schools break in Ireland at Halloween for a week and hotel prices jump
On the con side, the weather can be all over the place. November tends to be cool and crisp with an average temperature in Ireland in November between 12°C/53.6°F and 9.5°C/49.1°F.
November is the best time to travel to Ireland for a city break. Many cities (Galway, Dublin, Cork and Belfast) holding Christmas markets.
- 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 in Ireland will be more affordable
- Flights: Should be cheaper as we’ll be in the depths of the off-season
- 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 marks the arrival of Christmas in Ireland and you’ll find most towns and villages alight with fairy lights.
The average temperature for Ireland in December tends to be similar to November, coming in at around 5°C/41°F, but this can vary.
December is the best time to visit Ireland if you’re happy to chance the weather and you want to experience Christmas markets, cosy pubs with big open fires and less crowds.
- 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
- 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, from ‘What to wear in Ireland‘ to ‘What is the best time of year to visit Ireland price wise?’.
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 is the best month to go to Ireland?
The best month to visit Ireland is either May, September or October. These are the ‘Shoulder Season’ months. There’s plenty of daylight hours, the temperature is mild and flight and hotels prices are lower.
When is the best time to visit Ireland for the weather?
Summer (June, July, and August) is the best time to visit Ireland for the weather. Although it’s peak season and both tourist numbers and accommodation/flight prices are at their highest, the weather is most likely to be good during the summer months.
What is the off season in Ireland?
The off season in Ireland is November, December, January and February. During this period, you’ll find many seasonal attractions to be closed while others operate on reduced hours.
What is the worst time to go to Ireland?
The worst time to visit Ireland will depend on your likes and dislikes. If you don’t like crowds, warm weather or high prices, avoid the summer. If you don’t like cold, short days, avoid winter. There is no worst or best time to go to Ireland – it’s very subjective.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.