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Ireland In January 2023/2024: Is There Any Point In Visiting? (A Locals Guide)

Ireland In January 2023/2024: Is There Any Point In Visiting? (A Locals Guide)

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 some websites (and a lot of people!) make it out to be.

OK, it isn’t the best time to visit Ireland, but it has plenty of advantages that are worth weighing up.

In the guide below, you’ll find info on everything from the weather in Ireland in January to things to know before you book. Dive on in!

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

weather in ireland in january

Photos via Shutterstock

So, the weather in Ireland 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 with an average temperature of 7° C. More info on what the weather has been likes in years past below.

2. The days are short

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, giving you less time to explore. However, if you plan your Ireland itinerary properly, this shouldn’t hinder you too much.

3. 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. More on this below.

4. There’s plenty to do

So, unpredictable weather and short days aside, there’s still plenty of things to do in Ireland in Janaury, from hikes and walks to historical sites, areas of outstanding natural beauty and more, as you’ll discover below.

5. Make an informed decision

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, when you have a moment:

The pros and cons of spending January in Ireland

spending january in ireland

Photo by mark_gusev (Shutterstock)

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, and it’s a fair question.

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 31 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. Keep in mind 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 may 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

What to expect from the weather in Ireland in January

things to do in ireland in january

Photo by A Adam (Shutterstock)

The weather in Ireland in January is very unpredictable. In years past, we’ve had storms, flooding and the type of weather that can render a road trip pointless. In fact, it rains an average of fourteen days out of the month’s thirty-one, but don’t let that worry you.

However, we can also have mild sunny weather – as I type, from my home in Dublin in January 2023, it’s sunny and mild. Here’s what the weathers been like during previous years.

January 2021

  • The weather in Ireland in January 2021 was very mixed
  • It was dry and cool, but we recorded above average rainfall in most places
  • Some parts of the country (parts of Cork) recorded 15 days of rain while others (parts of Mayo) recorded 29
  • The temperature for the month was below average and ranged from -1.6 °C to 13.3 °C

January 2020

  • The weather in Ireland in January 2020 was reasonably mild and dry
  • Storm Brendan hit in the 2nd week bringing strong winds
  • Rainfall was below average in most places. Some places (Dublin Airport) recorded 13 days with rain while others (Newport in Mayo) recorded 23 wet days
  • The temperature was above average and ranged from 0.4 °C to 14.4 °C

Average temperature in Ireland in January

average temperature in ireland in january

Photo by Ray Elliott (Shutterstock)

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

Those from colder temperate climates should 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.

The average temperature in previous years

  • 2021: 4.0°C
  • 2020: 6.1 °C
  • 2019: 5.1 °C

Things to do in Ireland in January

things to do in dublin in january

Photo by Nataliia Pushkareva (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

walks on the beach

Photos via Shutterstock

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

The easiest way to do this is to follow a guide, like our 5 days in Ireland or our 7 days in Ireland guides (you can adjust the days if you’re visiting for less time).

2. Keep an eye out for indoor attractions

indoor attractions

Photo left by Lukas Fendek (Shutterstock). Photo right via Dublinia on Facebook

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

winter hikes

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 pub

Photos by The Irish Road Trip

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.

If you can, try and aim for the more traditional ones, as many of these tend to be like stepping back in time (see above).

5. Visiting Dublin in January

phoenix park walks

Photos via Shutterstock

There’s plenty of things to do in Dublin in January if you’re visiting the capital. 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 pack / what to wear in Ireland in January

glendalough walks

Photos via Shutterstock

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 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

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.

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?

It varies. In 2021 it was 4.0°C, in 2020 it was 6.1 °C and in 2019 it was 5.1 °C.

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Friday 22nd of October 2021

Hey Keith, I am heading to Dublin in January. It's on my 'things to do before I die' list. Never been there, have no plans, 8 days, have no idea where to stay, or what to do. Traveling from Atlanta. I am thinking of AB&B and getting a planned tour - any suggestions? I am excited and looking forward to my first visit. Cheers. From: 'A Caribbean chick to Ireland'


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

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