Ireland In January 2022: Is There Any Point In Visiting? (A Locals Guide)

Honest advice

road into the shandon

If you told your friends that you’re planning on visiting Ireland in January and they fell over laughing, don’t mind them.

It’s not as mad of an idea as it may seem.

Ireland’s an amazing place to visit any time of the year and if anyone tells you differently, it’s probably because they’ve never been.

I.e. they’re “talking out of their hole” (Irish slang for they’re full of sh*t).

Gleniff Horseshoe Drive in Sligo
The Gleniff Horseshoe Drive in Sligo

There’s no best time to visit Ireland – it’s going to vary based on:

  • The person / the type of traveller you are
  • Your budget
  • Your travel plans
  • How phased you are by bad weather

That being said, there are quite a few drawbacks to visiting Ireland in January.

But there are also LOTS of pros.

What you’ll get from the guide below

  • An honest answer on whether Ireland’s worth visiting at this time of the year
  • All the pros and cons
  • An insight into the average temperature along with the weather in Ireland in January
  • What to pack and wear

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

Visiting Ireland In January 2022 – Is there any point?

Strandhill ireland
Photo by mark_gusev (Shutterstock)

OK, I’m going to give you an honest answer. Yes and no…

There’s a lot of drawbacks to visiting at the start of the year (there are some positives, also!):

The pros 

  • If you’re on a tight budget, it’s likely that January will suit your pocket best
    • Flights and accommodation should be at their lowest
  • Ireland’s usually busy attractions will be less crowded.
    • At the start of the year, many will be deserted (although the Storehouse, the Giants Causeway, Moher, etc. will still get plenty of visitors, just nowhere near what they would in other months)
  • Accommodation will be as low as you’ll get it
    • Expect to still pay top prices in Dublin, Galway and the other big cities

The cons

  • 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
  • The weather will be wintery
    • While we may not get snow and ice, expect rain and wind
  • Bad weather can make certain places almost pointless to visit
    • E.g. heavy fog or mist can make some attractions almost invisible
    • Look at the photo of the Gleniff Horseshoe at the top of this guide to see what I mean

The Weather in Ireland in January: What to Expect

hazelwood forest lough gill
Photo by Dave Plunkett (Shutterstock)

The weather in Ireland in January can be absolutely crap. Yes, it’s going to be chilly – winter in Ireland has a tendency to be cold, wet, and windy,  and January is one of the coldest months of the year.

It’ll probably rain too. In fact, it rains an average of fourteen days out of the month’s thirty-one, but don’t let that worry you.

The inclement – and no, we’re not averse to using fancy words to describe the Irish climate – weather in Ireland gives you a good excuse to slip into a cosy pub after a day of adventure.

The freezing temperatures in Ireland in January means there’ll be a welcoming fire blazing in the hearth and you can defrost your toes while sipping on a glass of whiskey.  

The weather in Ireland in January 2020

Predicting what the weather will be like in 2020 is near impossible. It’d be easy for me to give you average temperatures and rainfall levels, but I think it’d be more useful for you if I told you what the weather here has been like over the past 2 years:

2019 was actually pretty good

  • The first two weeks of the month (like the final weeks of December) were pretty good
  • The weather was mostly dry, although there was some patchy rain and drizzle in places
  • It was also fairly mild and we saw little-to-no frost
  • There were a few chilly and frosty nights towards the end of the month

2018 was a different story…

  • The weather in Ireland in January 2018 was a little bit mad, thanks to Storm Eleanor
  • An orange weather warning was issued in the first few days of the year
  • We experienced strong winds and many coastal towns and villages were flooded in places 
  • Galway, in particular, was hit hard

Average Temperature in Ireland in January

The average temperature in January hovers around 7° C. Average high temperatures can rise to a chilly 8°C, while the average lows tend to fall to around 3°C (again, this can change drastically).

Those from colder temperate climates will find the weather in Ireland in January fairly OK to handle.

Those who come from more tropical regions may find Ireland’s January climate quite cold.

what to wear in Ireland in January
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

What To Pack / What to Wear in Ireland in January

There’s one simple answer to the question of what to wear in Ireland in January – as many clothes as you can squeeze into your suitcase all at once. 

OK, we’re exaggerating a tad.

You need to pack smartly, though, and layers are your friend, i.e. if you get too hot, happy days – you can strip off a layer. Too cold – bang it back on.

Here’s a rough guide of what to pack for 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.
*Note: 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.

Things to do in Ireland in January 2022

  1. Plan your itinerary based on the weather 
  2. Spend dry chilly days walking and hiking
  3. And wet and windy ones exploring indoor attractions
  4. Kick back in cosy pubs on cold evenings
  5. Or spend the night eating away in a top-notch restaurant
  6. Admire views from the warmth of your car on rainy days
  7. Or join an organised tour and let someone do the driving for you

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:

Hikes and walks

getting from dublin to cuilcagh
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

You can still do hikes like the Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail in County Fermanagh.

This five-mile-long trail up Cuilcagh Mountain is finely decked out with a mile-long wooden boardwalk to stop you sinking into the bog when you cross.

You could also give one of the many walks in Dublin that take you up the hills and mountains a bash.

Personally, I love Ticknock! You can’t bate it!

Waterfalls… no sh*t, I know!

powerscourt waterfall wicklow
Photo by Chris Hill

It’s a well-known fact that waterfalls gush when it rains.

In fact, the Devil’s Chimney on the Sligo-Leitrim border only runs after rainfall.

January in Ireland is a good month for having a gander at some of the islands magnificent falls.

  • The Devil’s Chimney is well worth checking out
  • As is Powerscourt Waterfall in County Wicklow
  • Torc Waterfall in Killarney is also excellent
  • As is Assaranca Waterfall in Donegal

Dodging the wind and rain with indoor activities 

If you find the temperature in Ireland in January a touch too chilly for outdoor activities, or if you arrive and it’s lashing rain, don’t worry.

You can still visit a tonne of different indoor attractions. You can also explore the island by car.

Windows closed and heater turned up full blast, obviously.  If you’re the type of traveller that likes to let their belly lead the way, then you’re in luck.

There are some fantastic food festivals in Ireland in January where you can gorge to your heart’s content. Events like:

  • The Cork Burger Festival
  • The Vegan Foodie Festival in Dublin 

Here are some more Dublin based activities if you’re planning a trip to the capital (here’s a full guide of 90+ places to go in Dublin).

Things to do in Dublin in January 2020

  1. Visit Kilmainham Gaol
  2. Spend an afternoon at the EPIC Museum
  3. Head for a wander around the Guinness Storehouse
  4. Spend a dry day doing the Howth Cliff Walk
  5. Visit Malahide Castle
  6. Rent a bike and cycle around the Phoenix Park
  7. Go for a hike at Ticknock
  8. Wander around Dublin’s Museums

Wrapping it up: Should you visit Ireland in January?

I’m the type of traveller that isn’t really bothered by the weather.

Obviously, the rain is a pain in the arse, but I’m happy enough to switch out an outdoor activity for an indoor one if needs be.

If you’re phased by the weather, then you should possibly rethink visiting in January. If you’re visiting Ireland for the first time, I wouldn’t recommend visiting in January, either.

Or in February, for that matter.

While it’s fine if it’s the most suitable time to visit with the budget you have, you’re far more likely to get good weather for exploring in the autumn or spring.

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!

13 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you. After reading this, I think I am going to book a trip in January. I like the idea of less crowds and it’s not my first time to Ireland. I just want to hit the pubs mostly anyway.

  2. I am visiting Ireland for 2 weeks in the beginning of January!! This will be my 2nd trip. My gf and I visited last year in Oct/Nov for 1 week. We had such an absolutely wonderful time that we decided to come back and for an extra week too!!

    I dont think ANY weather could possibly bring us down. There is just something magical about Ireland’s charm.

  3. My grandson and I will be visiting Ireland January 6-12. This was very helpful but it will be the first visit for both of us.

    • Ah, cheers Becky. Glad it was useful. I hope you and your grandson have a lovely time here. Let me know if there’s anything that you need help with!

  4. 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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 mist…gives 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!

    • 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

  6. 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

    • 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!

      Cheers,

      Keith

  7. 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.

  8. 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!!

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