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Ireland In December 2023/24: Advice From A Local (Weather, What To Pack + More)

Ireland In December 2023/24: Advice From A Local (Weather, What To Pack + More)

Visiting Ireland in December comes with its pros and cons.

On the plus side, Ireland at Christmas is hard to beat – there’s a number of Christmas markets in Ireland and many towns and villages have a lovely festive buzz to them.

On the minus, the days are short, the weather can be terrible and flights can be pricey with people flying home for Christmas and New Years.

In the guide below, you’ll find everything from average temperatures and what to expect to things to do in Ireland in December. Dive on in!

Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Ireland in December

visiting Ireland in december

Photos by stenic56 (Shutterstock)

Although a visiting Ireland in December is fairly straightforward, there’s a few nuggets of info that’ll get you up-to-speed quickly.

Below, you’ll find info on the weather in Ireland during this month along with some handy info.

1. The weather

The weather in Ireland in December is, unsurprisingly enough, unpredictable (December is winter in Ireland). The average temperature tends to hover at 8°C, with average highs of 10°C and average lows of 3°C.

2. Short days

At the beginning of the month, the sun rises at 08:22 and it sets at 16:19. This means you’ve a limited time each day to explore, which can make planning your Ireland itinerary a bit trickier.

3. It’s Christmas (pros and cons)

Christmas in Ireland is hard to beat. Festive markets and fairy lights bring a buzz to many towns and villages, making them a delight to ramble around. However, flight prices sky-rocket with people returning home for the celebrations, so keep that in mind if you’re visiting Ireland on a budget.

4. Festive activities

There’s lots of Christmassy things to do in Ireland in December. Markets aside, you’ll find carol services, Christmas shows and more festive events taking place in many towns and villages.

5. Make an informed decision

Deciding when to visit Ireland isn’t easy, and it can get overwhelming, especially if it’s your first visit. If you’re unsure, we’ve written easy-to-follow guides to each month:

The pros and cons of spending December in Ireland

weather in ireland in december

Photo left: Rihardzz. Right: mark_gusev (Shutterstock)

So, there are some advantages and disadvantages to visiting Ireland in December, and I touched on a couple of them above.

I’ve lived in Ireland (Dublin, specifically) for 32 years, so the below are based on my own experience (note: you’ll find detailed info on the weather in the next section).

The pros 

  • Festive buzz: Christmas in Ireland brings a lovely, festive buzz to many towns and villages in Ireland
  • Christmas markets: Many of the bigger towns and cities host markets from mid-November
  • Accommodation prices: Accommodation in the more off-the-beaten-track towns and villages will be cheaper
  • It’s quieter: As this is the off-season, many of the more notable towns, villages and attractions will be much quieter

The cons

  • The weather: The weather in Ireland in December can be very unpredictable (see below)
  • Short days: At the start of the month the sun rises 08:22 and it sets at 16:19, giving you less time to play with
  • Flights: With people flying home to spent NYE and Christmas in Ireland, flight prices sky-rocket

What to expect from the weather in Ireland in December

Christmas markets

Photos via

The weather in Ireland in December is unpredictable. In recent years, we’ve had Decembers that were dry and mild and ones that were wet and cold.

Here’s what the weathers been like during previous years. Note: this data comes from MET Eireann, Ireland’s Meteorological Service

December 2021

  • The weather in Ireland in December 2021 was mild, changeable and windy at times
  • The number of days where rain fell ranged from 15 days (Casement Aerodrome in Dublin) to 26 (Cork Airport)
  • The average temperature for the month ranged between 7.0 °C and 7.2 °C

December 2020

  • The weather in Ireland in December 2020 was cool, wet and windy at times
  • The number of days when rain fell ranged from 20 days (Dublin Airport) to 31 days at several stations
  • The average temperature for the month ranged from 4.9 °C to 5.8 °C 

Average temperature in Ireland in December

temperature in Ireland in December

Photos via Yulefest Kilkenny

The average temperature in Ireland in December tends to hover at 8°C. There are average temperature highs of 10°C and average lows of 3°C.

Those from colder temperate climates will find the temperature in Ireland in December cool but manageable, while those who come from more tropical climates should find December in Ireland to be cool.

The average temperature in previous years

  • 2021: 7.1 °C
  • 2020: 5 °C
  • 2019: 6.1 °C

Things to do in Ireland in December

Galway Christmas markets

Photo by Paddy Finn/

There’s some obvious things to do in Ireland at Christmas and some not-so-obvious activities, as you’ll discover below.

If you’re on the hunt for things to do in Ireland in December, dive into our counties in Ireland section – it’s packed with the best places to visit in every county! Here are a handful of suggestions to get you started:

1. Christmas markets

dublin at Christmas

Photos via Shutterstock

One of the most obvious things to do in Ireland in December is to plan your visit around one of the many Christmas markets in Ireland.

These tend to kick-off from mid-November and run until late December. Here are some of our favourites:

2. Take a well planned road trip

Causeway coastal route

Photo left: Leo Pinheiro. Right: shawnwil23 (shutterstock)

If you’re planning a trip to Ireland during this month, you’ll need to plan with precision, as you’ve limited daylight hours to play with.

If you’re struggling, we’ve an easy-to-follow guide to mapping out an Ireland itinerary. We also have ready-made guides to spending 5 days in Ireland and 7 days in Ireland.

3. Cosy pubs

best pubs in howth

Photos via McNeill’s on Facebook

One of my favourite things to do in Ireland in December is to spend a morning and afternoon tackling one of the many walks in Ireland.

And an evening tucked away in one of the many pubs in Ireland. If you can, opt for one of the traditional-style pubs, as they tend to have more charm and character.

4. Have indoor activities at the ready

14 Henrietta Street

Photos by The Irish Road Trip

The weather in Ireland in December can be terrible, so it’s worth having some back-up plans for those wet and wild days.

If you hop into our counties hub, click the place you’re visiting and you’ll find plenty of museums and indoor tours.

5. Visiting Dublin in December

dublin Christmas market 2021

Photos via Shutterstock

There’s endless things to do in Dublin in December. If the weather’s good, try one of the walks in Dublin.

If the weathers bad, there’s plenty of things to do in Dublin in December when it’s raining! See our 2 days in Dublin and 24 hours in Dublin guides for an easy-to-follow itinerary.

What to pack / what to wear in Ireland in December

cuilcagh mountain

Photo left: Irish Road Trip. Right: Joseph Molloy (shutterstock)

December is winter in Ireland so packing is fairly straightforward – prepare for the worst… i.e. rain, wind and snow… and more rain.

A good warm jacket (waterproof if possible), plenty of warm layers and a good pair of walking shoes will come in handy. Here’s some more suggestions:

The essentials

  • A good jacket (ideally waterproof)
  • Walking shoes (ideally waterproof if you’re planning hikes and walks)
  • Warm layers like long-sleeved t-shirts and jumpers/hoodies
  • Hats, scarves and gloves
  • Causal clothes for the evening (smart wear is required in the fancier restaurants)

FAQs about visiting Ireland at Christmas

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is Ireland Green in December?’ (it is) to ‘Does it snow?’ (on the mountains, yes, but rarely on lower ground).

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is December a good time to visit Ireland?

In my opinion, December is one of the best months to visit Ireland. Weather aside, there’s plenty to see, loads to do, and there’s an infectious festive buzz in many towns and villages. It could also bring snow, wind, and rain.

How cold is it in Ireland in December?

Christmas in Ireland can be reasonably mild (there are exceptions) with average highs of 10°C and average lows of 3°C.

Are there many things to do in Ireland in December?

The obvious things to do in Ireland at Christmas are to visit the festive markets. However, there’s plenty of hikes, walks, scenic drives and more on offer, too.

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Tuesday 3rd of January 2023

This is really helpful. My family is attempting to plan an Irish Christmas for December 2023. Not afraid of weather and short days but rather closed markets and closed activites. Trying to hone in on exact dates for the best Christmas experience while taking advantage of days off. Active family so hiking and exploring are must for us as well as pubs and music. Thinking about countryside then Dublin on actual Christmas and boxing day...or would you recommend a switch on that?


Saturday 26th of November 2022

I've read a number of your posts/pages now and they're all so helpful! My wife and a friend and I are planning on visiting NI and Ireland around Christmastime for a while. You have some great recommendations here for December in general. Do you have any recommendations on what to do on Christmas itself? We've travelled around Christmas before and have found Christmas Day a bit sad because we don't really fit in anywhere and aren't able to partake in our usual traditions. We're trying to find a way to celebrate well. Thank you!

Keith O'Hara

Monday 28th of November 2022

Hey Dylan! Thanks for the kind words. So, if you're looking to partake in some form of festive tradition, I'd recommend finding a hotel that runs some form of Christmas type package. Many do and they generally have a schedule of activities over the 2/3 days (usually from the 24th to the 26th. Ireland in December isn't for everyone, but personally I love heading off on weekends away during that month. Mainly as you can warm up in a cosy pub after a long, chilly hike! Have a lovely trip and shout if you need! Keith

Lyn Burdine

Sunday 1st of May 2022

Hi Keith, My husband and I visted in October 2021 and loved it so much we brought our 5 year old in March 2022. I turn 40 this year right the week after Christmas and we are trying to decide on coming back during that time. I assume the Christmas markets will not be going the week after Christmas? I can work around the weather, but would love some advice on the best places to travel during that time of year. Any parts of the country that are better to hike during that time of the year? I've taken your advice for both trips and they've been great! Thanks, Lyn


Thursday 16th of September 2021

I am planning to convince my husband we are going in December. We cancelled our May 2020 trip, and have just been waiting for pubs to have music to make a plan. He can take more time off work over the holiday.

Alan Troy

Wednesday 18th of March 2020

Very helpful. Obviously an added reason to visit in December is that flights booked for the more usual time of June/July (as mine currently are) will almost certainly be cancelled due to the coronavirus. Added to the fact that if you live in Australia (as I do) and want to visit elderly parents more frequently than every 2 years (as I do) and have kids (as, again, i do) the longer school holidays are in December. I have often been in Ireland in winter in the past but not for 20 years. It is a complete jump into the unknown for my wife so this is all really useful information. cheers Alan

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