Visiting Ireland in October 2020: A Locals Guide on The Weather, What To Pack + More

A no-BS guide

October in Ireland
Photo by Art Ward

If you’re debating visiting Ireland in October, but you’re feeling a little unsure about what Autumn brings, keep reading.

You’ll find all you need to know about October in Ireland below.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

October is hands-down my favourite month to do anything in Ireland.

Why? Well, there are LOADS of pros to exploring during this month and only a handful of cons!

What you’ll get from reading this guide

  • Honest no-BS advice on what it’s like to visit in October 
  • A guide to the weather and what you can expect
  • What to wear in Ireland in October
  • What to pack

Would I visit Ireland in October: A no-BS answer

What to do in Doolin Ireland
Photo by the brilliant Seán Haughton (@ wild_sky_photography)

I love October in Ireland.

Here’s why:

  • The weather is crisp (it’s cold, but not that cold)
  • There’s colour EVERYWHERE thanks to the tangy orange leaves that cover the trees and the ground around them
  • The air is fresh
  • Attractions that are usually busy tend to be quieter as we tip into the off-season

There’s also a festive buzz about the place, with Halloween en route and Christmas just around the corner.

Visiting Ireland in October
Photo by Brian Morrison

Is October a good time to go to Ireland?

October in Ireland, like every other month, has its pros and cons. Here’s a few things to consider:

  • The weather in Ireland during the autumn months can be crazy (more on this in a minute)
  • The days are shorter
  • SOME (but very few) of the off-the-beaten-path attractions will be closed

Let’s dive into more of the pros and cons of visiting during this month.

The pros 

  • Ireland’s usually busy attractions will be less crowded as we’re out of the peak months
  • Accommodation in the more off-the-beaten-track towns and villages will be cheaper than the busy season (you won’t notice a huge difference in the ‘hot-spots’ like Dublin and Galway)
  • Flights should be a little cheaper

The cons

  • The days are shorter – by mid-October in Ireland, the sun won’t rise until 08:00 and it sets at 18:40
  • The weather could be wintery
    • The weather in Ireland in October is unpredictable… as it is the case with most months

The weather in Ireland in October: What to expect

Autumn in Ireland
Photo by Emma McArdle

The weather in Ireland in October can be all over the place! 

Here’s a look at what it’s been like for the past two years.

2018 was cold

  • Coastal counties were hit with strong winds in the middle of the month, courtesy of Storm Callum
  • Temperatures in parts of Ireland dropped to -4°C at night
  • It got icy towards the end of the month

2017 saw the arrival of Storm Ophelia

  • Storm Ophelia arrived in Ireland in mid-October of 2017
  • It caused nearly €70 million worth of damage and resulted in 3 people losing their lives
Based on the above, we can be reasonably confident that there’ll be strong winds again in 2019 and 2020.

Average Temperature in Ireland in October

Average high temperatures can rise to a mild 13°C, while the average lows tend to hover around 6°C (again, this can change drastically).

Towards the end of October, however, the temperatures will begin to fall. 

Those from cooler temperate climates will find the weather in Ireland in early October fairly OK to handle.

What to Wear in Ireland in October

lough tay county wicklow ireland
Photo by Chris Hill

If you’re tearing your hair out trying to decide what to pack for Ireland in October, then the below should help.

If you looked at the weather for 2018 and 2017 in the weather section above, you know you’ll need to be prepped for:

  • Wind… lots of wind
  • Rain
  • Sun

The best advice that I can offer when it comes to packing is:

  • Keep an eye on the 10-day weather forecast 
    • This’ll give you a good sense of what’s en route
  • Pack for every type of weather
    • If it turns out to be warm and sunny, happy days – you can leave that big jacket in your room or tie it around your waist
Being well-prepared clothing-wise ensures that you avoid having to make any spur of the moment purchases that can often be costly, e.g. the purchase of a winter coat as you left yours at home…

What to pack for Ireland in October

the sally gap drive
Photo by Tourism Ireland

If you read our guide to Ireland in November, you’ll have heard me say this already.

What you pack for Ireland in October will depend on:

  1. The type of activities that you have planned
  2. Where you’ll be staying

Those on an active holiday

If you’re visiting Ireland for an active holiday, you’ll need:

  • Hiking boots/shoes
  • A warm, waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Warm socks, gloves, and hat
  • Appropriate layers

Those on a city break

If you’re going to spend the majority of your time wandering around a city, bring:

  • A warm jacket (ideally waterproof)
  • Woolly socks, woolly gloves, and, you guessed it, a woolly hat
  • Layers, e.g. a hoody, long-sleeved t-shirt, etc.
torc mountain kerry
Photo by Valerie O’Sullivan via EuroToque Ireland

Things to do in Ireland in October

  1. Cork Jazz Festival (22nd – 26th October 2020)
  2. Belfast International Arts Festival (Dates TBC)
  3. The Bram Stoker Festival (23rd-26th October 2020)
  4. The Kinsale Gourmet Festival (Dates TBC)
  5. Derry Halloween Festival (26th of October to 1st November 2020)
  6. The Savour Kilkenny Festival of Food (Dates TBC)
  7. There are also an endless number of road trips to head off on

There’s no end to the number of things to do in Ireland in October.

The temperatures won’t have hit winter levels at this stage, so those of you that aren’t comfortable with the cold shouldn’t be too put out.

Hikes, walks, and indoor attractions are all perfect options to add to your itinerary. Here are some more suggestions.

Lace-up your walking boots

climbing cuilcagh mountain
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

October is the perfect month for long walks and hikes.

Autumnal leaves make many parts of Ireland look like they’ve been whipped straight from an oil painting, which makes the island a joy to explore on foot.

I’ll probably sound a little mad here, but there’s almost a smell about the place in autumn.

Maybe it’s the cool air and the trees starting to shed their leaves, or maybe I’m just mental, but there’s something deadly (Irish slang for good) about getting outdoors in October.

Road trips

geokaun mountains kerry
Image © The Irish Road Trip

There’s no bad month to go on a road trip in Ireland.

The one thing that tends to get in the way a little is the shorter days.

October is the last month of the year where the days have a decent bit of length in them, so hit the road early to make the most of the daylight. 

Check out our self drive Ireland itinerary planner for LOADS of Irish road trips.

There are plenty more things to do

dogs bay galway
Photo by Big Smoke Studio via Tourism Ireland

If you’re visiting Ireland in October and are looking for things to do, nip into our counties of Ireland section.

Here, you’ll be able to browse through thousands of incredible things to do and places to visit.

Wrapping it up: Should you visit Ireland in October?

Rosses Point sligo
Photo by Alison Crummy via Failte Ireland

I’d have no reservations about recommending that you visit Ireland in October.

I’m not a big fan of exploring in Summer, so I tend to travel during in the autumn and winter months.

Yes, the weather could go against you, but that can be the case with any month in Ireland.

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!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hello I’m so glad I found your blog. I had wanted to go to Ireland since July but some things came up that just made it not possible and now we’re getting close to October and I’m hoping to at least be able to leave the end of September to meet up with ancestral family that are coming from various places in the beara peninsula. I have never been there but I did go to UK last year in August and it was unbearably hot so I was hoping to of been there the first week of September unfortunately that didn’t happen. But your description is making October not sound so bad I was concerned about the days being shorter and missing out on seeing gardens with flowers . I also saw your other article on the northern lights and will check that out also . Thank you for the info. ??

    • Ah, I genuinely do love October in Ireland.

      I’ve literally just planned a trip for the first weekend of the month with a friend – it’s a great time to visit.

      The shorter days are a pain, but once you make the most of the day you’re grand!

      Have a fantastic visit!

      Keith

  2. Oh when I last left my comment I didn’t mention I’m coming from Florida so cold weather is a little tough on me but have wool will travel. I also like AC, hard to find in summer so cold will be better. My plan is a road trip to see film locations. I like to make my own tours I don’t like groups . I want to see locations where the Tudors, Vikings and Game of Thrones was filmed. I will drive and have it mapped out. Then head south to Beara Peninsula. ?

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this information.

    I’ll be arriving in Ireland in about a week ( at the start of October ) & did not know about the events such as the Halloween one 🙂

    I’m escaping the ratty US & will be quarantining in lovely Killarney, then from there I plan to drive around ( hire car from Dublin airport )

    Can’t wait!

    I’ve been to Ireland three times. I always hire a car and stay with the wonderful people of Ireland in their air bnb’s – making new friends along the way.
    I’ll most likely be headed up north to Northern Ireland just to check out that Halloween festival!

    Thank you again for the information here.

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