Ireland In February 2020: Advice From A Local (Weather, What To Pack + More)

What to expect if you're planning a trip

Ireland in February 2020
Photo by Brian Morrison via Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland

Thinking about visiting Ireland in February and worried that the weather will be terrible and you won’t get to see any of the sights?

Chill.

In this guide, we’ll be telling you absolutely everything you need to know (and what you can expect) if you’re planning a visit to Ireland in February 2020.

February in Ireland is winter. So we tend to get reasonably bad weather, but that’s not always the case (2018 and 2019 we’re actually good – see below).

There’s also still plenty to see and do, regardless! So, if you’re planning a visit for February, relax – you’ll still have an unforgettable trip!

There’s just a few things that you need to prepare for…

What you’ll get from reading this guide

  • Honest no-BS advice on what it’s like here in February 
  • A guide to the weather in Ireland in February
  • What to wear
  • What to pack

Related Read: Check out our detailed guide to choosing the best time to visit Ireland for your road trip. It has a detailed guide for every month of the year.

visiting Ireland in February
Photo by Luke myers

Would I visit Ireland in February: An honest answer

To be completely honest with you – no.

If I could avoid visiting or planning a trip during February, I absolutely would. For a number of reasons:

  • The weather tends to be bad, so it’s a gamble (it’s not always that bad – see the section below on weather)
  • The days are shorter, which means you’ve less time to explore

That being said, there are some advantages to visiting Ireland in February.

  • For one thing, your trip should be much cheaper than if you visited in the summer or autumn months
  • Flights, in particular, should cost less, but you’ll also find some excellent deals on accommodation if you do some digging
  • There are also far fewer crowds about the place.
Weather in Ireland in February
Photo by Chris Hill

The Weather in Ireland in February 2020

While the weather in Ireland in February can be very hit and miss, the last two Februarys have actually been pretty OK (see below – all according to Ireland’s National Weather Service).

2019 was mild and dry

We had a pretty decent February in Ireland in 2019:

  • The month started off cold with snow on the ground in places.
  • Then, from around the 3rd, the weather was mild and wet
  • Storm Erik brought strong winds, but for the most part it was warmer and drier than average (again, this is according to Ireland’s official weather monitoring service)

2018 was cold, sunny and dry

2018 was actually pretty OK too:

  • There was light wintery showers at the start of the month in some places
  • Rainfall was well below average
  • Temperatures were below average
  • Sunshine was above average

Average Temperature in Ireland in February

Average high temperatures can rise to a cool 8°C, while the average lows tend to hover around 2°C. You can be reasonably confident that the temperature in Ireland in February during your trip will below 5°C. 

Towards the end of February, the temperatures usually rise slightly (emphasis on slightly). Those visiting from colder temperate climates should find the weather in February easy to handle.

Does it snow in Ireland in February?

It’s common to see ice and frost during February. While snow is common on higher grounds, it’s rare that there are heavy storms during this month.

The last bad snowfall we had in Ireland was in March of 2018. The country (literally) shut down for 3 days.

Is it likely that this level of snow could fall in February? Who knows! The best thing to do in advance of your trip is to get prepared so that you’re packed for all types of weather conditions.

views of Glen of Aherlow tipperary
Photo by Brian Morrison via Tourism Ireland

What to Wear in Ireland in February

I’ve had a lot of questions in the past from people asking what to wear in Ireland in February. My general advice is to pack smart.

If you’re here on a city break and looking to visit fancy restaurants, you’ll want to bring some formal wear.

If you’re planning on nipping into pubs and regular restaurants, you can pack casual gear, like jeans or pants and shirts and t-shirts or a jumper. Ireland is pretty casual.

If you’re visiting and planning on hiking and walking, bring your outdoor gear and dress for the weather.

What to pack for Ireland in February

If I’m travelling about in Ireland during February or in any of the colder months of the year, I pack layers. Lots and lots of layers.

I like to have a decent amount of light layers (long-sleeve t-shirts, hoodies, pull-overs) that I can throw some on if it’s cold and strip some off if it’s warm.

I’ll then throw a light waterproof jacket on top.

The essentials

  • A waterproof jacket
  • Hiking boots (or shoes) if you’re planning an active trip
  • An umbrella (you can pick one up when you arrive)
  • Waterproof trousers/pants if you’re planning outdoor excursions
  • A hat, scarf, and gloves
  • Plenty of warm socks

Visiting Ireland in February for a city break?

Now, if you’re visiting for a city break, e.g. a trip to Dublin, where you’ll be spending a lot of time indoors, both at indoor attractions and in pubs, you should pack:

  • Jumpers
  • A waterproof jacket
  • A decent pair of runners/shoes to get around
  • A hat, scarf and gloves

This should cover you nicely.

horn head donegal
Photo by Chris Hill via Failte Ireland

Things to do in Ireland in February 2020

  1. Spend wet days hiding from the rain at indoor attractions
  2. Or admire views from the warmth of your car on a road trip
  3. Visit Inis Mor for Tedfest (February 20th-23rd)
  4. Meet the weather head on and head for a hike or a walk
  5. Spending wet evenings tucked away in cosy pubs
  6. Explore some of Ireland’s off-the-beaten-path towns and villages

So, you’re visiting in February and you’re wondering what to do to fill your time here.

There’s no end to what you could add to your February itinerary, however, it’ll need to be flexible.

AKA if it’s p*ssing rain when you arrive and you’re not a seasoned hiker, you’re not likely to be doing any climbing.

Hop into our section that gives you the best thing to do in every county in Ireland – you’ll find hundreds of places to visit during your trip! Here are some suggestions if you need a bit of inspiration:

Gleniff Horseshoe Drive in Sligo
The Gleniff Horseshoe Drive in Sligo

Dive headfirst into the landscape… whatever the weather

If the weather’s shite, you’ve two choices:

  • Sit around, sulk, and likely end up spending your time in pubs and cafes
  • Say f*ck it and go exploring regardless

You’ll see a photo above and below that should give you an idea of what Ireland can be like when the weather is bad.

On both occasions (yes, this happened to me on two different trips in the one year…) I had some time booked off work and accommodation paid for.

The weather leading up to both trips (one to Sligo and another to Donegal) was pretty damn good. Then, when the day of the trip arrived, it all went downhill.

Was it frustrating? Yes. Insanely frustrating. But that’s Ireland for you.

Rain doesn’t bother me that much – mist that completely engulfs the scenery around you absolutely does. That being said, when you mentally prepare yourself for the fact that the weather in Ireland in February could be like this when you visit, it won’t be as much of a disappointment as it could be.

a misty horn head

Indoor attractions… in case it rains

It’s always worth having a plan B in place. That way, if the weather is terrible, you’ll still be able to make something of the trip.

There’s plenty of indoor attractions in Ireland (visit our guide to each of the different counties in Ireland for loads of suggestions).

Naturally enough, some counties will have more than others, e.g. Dublin is packed with indoor attractions.

Cosy ass pubs

There’s nothing like walking through the doors of a cosy pub on a manky winters day after you’ve spent several hours freezing your arse off out walking or hiking.

It’s even more mighty if there’s a roaring fire there to greet you.

Plonk yourself down, warm up the bones, and kick-back with a pint or a cup of coffee.

Things to do in Dublin in February 2020

  1. Explore Kilmainham Gaol
  2. Learn about Dublin’s turbulent past on the 1916 tour in the GPO
  3. Grab a coffee from Happy Out and ramble around Bull Island
  4. Take-in an unbeatable view of Dublin from Killiney Hill
  5. Spend a wet afternoon at the Little Museum of Dublin
  6. Or a dry morning walking along the harbour in Howth

Wrapping it up: Should you bother visiting Ireland in February 2020?

Diamond Hill Walk
Photo by Gareth McCormack

Weigh up the pros and cons.

Ireland in February 2020 could be mild and dry. Or it could be absolutely miserable. 

If you’re looking to keep costs low and the decision on whether or not to visit in February is entirely based on budget, then you won’t have much choice.

You really need to be happy enough to take the chance and embrace the weather, regardless of what it brings.

Planning a trip to Ireland? Make sure to dive into our detailed guide to planning the best Ireland itinerary.

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

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