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Ireland In January: Weather, Tips + Things To Do

Ireland In January: Weather, Tips + Things To Do

Visiting Ireland in January has its fair share of negatives (and I’m saying that based on 33 years of living here!).

The weather in Ireland in January is often wet and wintery and the average temperature tends to hover around 7°C/44.6°F.

Throw in the fact that daylight hours are greatly reduced, and you quickly realise why this isn’t the best time of year to visit Ireland.

However, there are some positives to consider. Below, you’ll find info on the weather, festivals, what to pack and things to do in Ireland in January.

Some quick info about visiting Ireland in January

seeing Ireland in January

Photos via Shutterstock

So, the weather in Ireland in January can play a big part in the overall success of your trip, and it’s for this reason that some people dodge Ireland in January altogether.

Here are some quick nuggets of info to give you a speedy idea of what to expect from this month.

1. The weather is unpredictable

The weather in Ireland in January can be a very mixed bag. January is winter in Ireland and the days tend to be cold, wet, and windy.

2. Average temperatures

The average temperature in Ireland in January sits at around 7°C/44.6°F. We get average highs of 8°C/46°F and average lows of 3°C/32°F.

3. Limited daylight hours

One of the disadvantages of spending January in Ireland is the short days. The sun rises at around 08:29 and sets at around 16:38 each day. If you follow one of the itineraries from our Irish road trip library, make sure to keep the reduced daylight hours in mind.

4. Less crowds and better deals

As January is off-peak, you’ll meet a lot less people at many of the more popular attractions in Ireland in comparison to if you visited during the summer months. As demand is lower, you’ll often get good deals on accommodation, too.

5. Festivals and events

Very few events and festivals in Ireland run during January. One of the more notable to take place is TradFest Temple Bar, which runs at the end of the month. There’s plenty of other things to do in Ireland in January, as you’ll discover below.

Fast facts: The pros and cons of January in Ireland

what to do in ireland in january

One of the most common questions we get from people planning a trip to Ireland revolves around the pros and cons of visiting in X, Y or Z month.

When you visit can play a huge part in the overall success in your trip. Below, I’ll give you some pros and cons of visiting Ireland in January, having spent 33 Januarys here…

The advantages

  • Prices: If you’re visiting Ireland on a budget, it’s likely that January will suit your pocket best
  • Flights: Flights are cheaper than those in the shoulder season and during the peak months
  • Hotels: Accommodation is cheaper and you’ll often find deals running
  • Crowds: Ireland’s usually busy attractions will be less crowded. The Guinness Storehouse, the Giants Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher, etc. will still get plenty of visitors

The disadvantages

  • Time: The days are shorter. At the start of January in Ireland, the sun won’t rise until 08:40 and it sets at 16:20
  • Weather: The weather in Ireland in January will be wintery. While we may not get snow and ice, expect rain and wind at times
  • Closed attractions: Some attractions in Ireland are seasonal, and may be closed during January
  • Festivals + events: January is quiet event wise, however, TradFest, along with some other festivals in Ireland, are on

The weather in Ireland in January in different parts of the country

The weather in Ireland in January can vary quite a bit. Below, we’ll provide you with an insight into the weather in Kerry, Belfast, Galway and Dublin in January.

Note: The rainfall figures and the average temperatures have been taken from the Irish Meteorological Service and the UK Met Office to ensure accuracy:


The weather in Dublin in January tends to be less severe than other parts of the country. The long-term average temperature in Dublin in January is 5.3°C/41.54°F. The long-term average rainfall level for Dublin in January is 62.6 millimetres.


The weather in Belfast in January is, on average, historically worse than Dublin. The average temperature in Belfast in January is 4.7°C/40.46°F. Average rainfall levels sit at 88.51 millimetres.


The weather in the west of Ireland in January tends to be very wet and wild. The long-term average temperature in Galway in January is 5.5°C/41.9°F. The long-term average rainfall level for Galway in January is 116.7 millimetres.


The weather in Kerry in January tends to be wintery. The long-term average temperature in Kerry in January is 7.3°C/45.14°F. The long-term average rainfall level for Kerry in January is 173.8 millimetres.

Things to do in Ireland in January

Kilkee Cliffs

Photos via Shutterstock

Although it’s off-season, there are still LOADS of things to do in Ireland in January. While certain attractions in the more off-the-beaten-track towns and villages will be closed, many remain open.

If you’re looking for things to do in Ireland in January, nip into our counties in Ireland hub – it contains the best things to do in every county! Here are a handful of suggestions to keep you going:

1. Head off on a well planned road trip

An overview of this itinerary

A sample of one of our road trip itineraries

Remember, the days are shorter in January, so you need to plan your Ireland itinerary properly, to ensure you make the most of your time here.

The easiest way to do this is to follow a guide – we have the world’s biggest library of Irish road trip itineraries, each of which is 100% free.

Our 5 days in Ireland and our 7 days in Ireland guides tend to be the most popular!

2. Keep an eye out for indoor attractions

Waterford Treasures: Medieval Museum

Photos courtesy Waterford Museum of Treasures via Failte Ireland

It’s good to have a list of indoor attractions on hand, so you’ve somewhere interesting to head to if it starts raining, as it tends to do during winter in Ireland.

If you hop into our counties of Ireland hub, you’ll find guides to each county. Each section contains a mix of indoor and outdoor attractions to tackle.

3. Spend dry, chilly days walking

Howth Cliff Walk

Photos via Shutterstock

One of the more popular things to do in Ireland in January is to walk/hike (many of us are on the back of an indulgent Christmas, after all…).

There are plenty of walks in Ireland, with something to suit every level of fitness. Find hikes in the county you’re visiting here.

4. And wet evenings tucked away in a cosy pub

The Gravediggers

Photos left + bottom right: The Irish Road Trip. Other via Google Maps

There are few things that I enjoy as much as a wet winters evening whittled away in a cosy pub. Luckily, there are thousands of pubs in Ireland to choose from.

One of the Ireland travel tips I find myself repeating over and over is that, if you can, try and aim for the more traditional Irish pubs, as many of these tend to be like stepping back in time (see above).

5. Visiting Dublin in January


Photos via Shutterstock

Although we have a dedicated guide to Dublin in January, I’ll give you some of the need-to-knows.

The LTA (Long Term Average) temperature in Dublin in January is 5.3°C/41.54°F with average rainfall of 62.6mm.

There’s plenty of things to do in Dublin in January. If the weather’s good, tackle one of the many walks in Dublin.

If the weathers bad, there’s plenty of things to do in Dublin in January when it’s raining, from museums and tours to castles and more.

If you want a ready-made itinerary, jump into our guides to 2 days in Dublin and 24 hours in Dublin.

What to wear in Ireland in January

So, we’ve a handy guide on what to wear in Ireland in January, but we’ll give you the quick need-to-knows below.

If you’re visiting Ireland in January, there’s two key bits of advice when it comes to packing – you need to pack smartly and layers are your friend.

The beauty with packing layers is that if you get too hot, happy days – you can strip off a layer. Too cold – bang it back on.

Now, keep in mind that what you bring will depend on the kind of activities that you plan on doing while you’re here. If you’re an avid hiker, you’ll be bringing a different set of gear altogether

Here’s a rough guide of what to pack for the weather in Ireland in January:

  • Sweaters
  • A good jacket that’ll keep you warm
  • Jeans, fleece-lined leggings and hoodies, plus a good coat (waterproof if possible).
  • Lots of socks
  • Gloves, woolly hats, and some comfortable walking boots/runners

Are you considering visiting during a different month?

Barleycove Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Deciding when to visit Ireland is tough – and anyone that tells you otherwise is talking out of their hole (Irish slang for they’re full of sh…)!

It’s worth taking a bit of time to compare what it’s like here during the other months, as when you visit affects everything from your experience to the cost of a trip to Ireland:

FAQs about spending January in Ireland

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are the best things to do in Dublin in January?’ to ‘Is the weather really that unpredictable?’.

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.

What can you expect from the weather in Ireland in January?

The weather in Ireland in January can be very unpredictable. It rains an average of fourteen days out of the month’s thirty-one and the average temperature in Ireland in January hovers around 7°C/44.6°F.

Are there many things to do in Ireland in January?

Of course. You everything from hikes and walks to museums and castles. However, you need to plan your time accordingly, as days are shorter sun rises at around 08:29 and sets at around 16:38 each day.

What is the average temperature in Ireland in January?

The average temperature in Ireland in January varies. In 2021 it was 4.0°C/39.2°F, in 2020 it was 6.1°C/42.98°F and in 2019 it was 5.1°C/41.18°F.

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Friday 20th of December 2019

Going to be staying in Dublin for 5 days in January. Staying in Temple Bar, any suggestions on things to see within walking distance? Also, we only have 5 days so we will probably be jam packing the day seeing the most that we can, what are the top sights for people going for a short amount of time? Thanks!!


Tuesday 17th of December 2019

Well I'm very much Irish living in Ireland. I have set myself a challenge for 2020. Each month starting from January I will visit a county in Ireland for two day at a time each month. I'm looking for an Irish lifestyle. I love our traditional Irish music. I love out Irish food. And I love photography. I'm an amateur photographer but I reckon I'm quite good. All tips welcome.


Monday 9th of December 2019

Hi Keith

First time visitors from South Africa. My wife and I, together with out two kids (7 & 4) will arrive on 23 Jan 2020. Any suggestions for lovely family (indoor if necessary) where we can visit around Dublin?

Thanks David


Tuesday 10th of December 2019

Hi David,

Sorry for the delay - been battling a vomiting bug! If you meant to type 'Lovely family attractions' around Dublin, sure.

If you hop into our guide on what to do in Dublin , you'll find a section on things to do with kids.

Some other suggestions would be the Dead Zoo in the National Museum of Ireland or Dublin Zoo. If you'd like to explore some towns and villages, take them out to Howth for a ramble. Grab them some hot chocolates from one of the cafes and head for a ramble along the harbour.

There's also a little playground there. I hope this helps!



Colleen Adams

Thursday 5th of December 2019

Hello Keith- I just booked plane tickets from MN to Dublin for the end of January (22-31). Of course, being from MN, the temps you mentioned sound positively balmy, so that's not a problem. We first came to Ireland in September of 2000 and were rained on plenty, so even the rain would be no surprise (and I like the fog and photos a lovely quality!). That said, what worries us is how to get from Dublin to the west coast. It looks like trains go, but is it possible to NOT rent a car for the 3 days we'll have away from Dublin? We'd like to go back to the Cliffs of Moher, possibly go north from there and hit Glencolumbkille and then circle back to Dublin all in 4 days. Itinerary so far is arrive Dublin the 23rd, wander the pubs and take in TradFest, leave the 26th to explore a bit of the west then back to Dublin to fly out the 31st. My husband is a tad nervous about driving in Ireland. Our first time there was on a tour with Mick Moloney...Irish folklore and historic sights by day, Irish music by night (it was fantastic), and it seemed calm and easy enough out on the country roads...but getting out of Dublin via car makes us both nervous! We're tentatively thinking train to the Cliffs and rental car to explore that side of Ireland. Also, are we able to just enter and leave Northern Ireland if our route takes us through there back to Dublin? Of course, we will have our passports with us at all times. Hiking various points on the coast is our main interest once we leave Dublin. Any hints you can give us on travelling without car if at all possible would be wonderful. If we do need a car, I will direct the husband to your page on what to do if you're driving in Ireland and are from the states!


Tuesday 10th of December 2019

Hi Colleen - I sent you on an email about the above. Let me know if you didn't receive it (check your spam folder). Cheers - Keith

Jesus Tapia

Thursday 21st of November 2019

Well I’ve already booked the trip to Ireland. Gonna be there for one week and really excited. It is my first time, but it really doesn’t matter cause 1. I don’t really care for the weather since it just never bothered me anywhere i went, and 2. My cousin went there 1-2 years ago and they loved it. Yea the drawbacks may be a bit worrying, but I feel like i can still have a good time either way.


Saturday 23rd of November 2019

If the weather doesn't bother you then you'll be grand. Plenty of indoor activities in many of the bigger towns and cities also! If you're looking for things to do while you're here, have a look at our guide to where to go in Ireland - it's packed with 100+ worthwhile things to do and places to visit.

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