If you’re wondering what to wear in Ireland in December, the guide below (based on 33 years of living here) will save you time.
Deciding what to pack for Ireland in December can be a pain in the backside, especially if this is your first visit.
However, it’s very straightforward once you know what December is like in Ireland.
Our Ireland packing list for December has no affiliate links – just good, solid advice.
Some quick need-to-knows about what to wear in Ireland in December
Before looking at what to wear in Ireland in December, it’s worth taking 10 seconds to get up-to-speed on what this month is like:
1. December is winter in Ireland
December is one of the coldest months in Ireland, and generally speaking, it’s cool, windy, and wet. During the month, there are average highs of 10°C/50°F and average lows of 3°C/37°F. The days are shorter than any other time of the year, with the sun rising at roughly 08:22 and setting at around 16:19 at the start of the month. If you’re following one of the itineraries from our Irish road trip library, make sure to take daylight into account!
2. Hope for the best and plan for the worst
The weather in Ireland can be all over the place right throughout the year… and December is no different. That’s why lots of layers are absolutely essential for your December packing list. Although you should pack with cold, wet, and windy weather in mind, it’s not unusual for the odd day of winter sunshine here and there or dry days. Take last year (2022) for example, the first half of the month was dry, but the second half was rainy.
3. Where you’re from plays a big part
Where you live will play a big part in what you need to pack. While we’re strong advocates of layers… If you’re visiting from somewhere with extremely cold weather you’ll probably be able to manage the cold a little better, whereas if you’re from a tropical climate, you might want to pack extra layers.
4. We can get four seasons in a day
Even though December in Ireland is usually cold, wet, and windy, you don’t want to be caught in an odd sunny spell with nothing but a thick winter jacket and a woolly jumper! A single day in Ireland can be sunny, rainy, windy, and even snowy, so it’s best to bring a variety of clothing for sudden temperature changes or sunny days. Once again, layers are key here as you can remove them and put them back on as you need to.
Ireland packing list for December
Right, now that we have the need-to-knows out of the way, it’s time to look at what to wear in Ireland in December and what to bring with you.
Below, you’ll find the type of plugs we use along with a mix of other essential items for your Ireland packing list for December.
1. The essentials
Step one of any successful packing list is the essentials. These will be different for everyone, but we’ll put some suggestions below of what we think most people might want to bring:
The first thing on every list should be a valid passport, so get that checked well in advance!. Ireland has type G plug sockets (three rectangular prongs), so don’t forget to buy an adaptor if you need one.
Another thing you don’t want to leave home without is any prescription medication you need. We normally also like to pack some OTC painkillers, but you can also easily buy them once you’re in the country.
A day bag is super handy if you’re planning on an active trip with lots of exploring or hiking, and we also recommend a thermos, toiletries, headphones, and a neck pillow.
2. The waterproofs
Since it’s December, you’ll probably have more than your fair share of wet days, so waterproofs are a must.
If you plan on visiting a lot of outdoor attractions or doing some hiking, then a decent pair of waterproof trousers, waterproof shoes, and a warm waterproof jacket are a good shout. We’d also recommend getting a rain cover for your day bag to keep your things nice and dry.
For city trips, you can probably swap out the not-so-fashionable waterproof trousers for a quality umbrella (you can easily find one once you’re here).
3. The cold-beaters
Given the cold December temperatures, you’ll want to leave plenty of space for warm clothes. On average, December has lows of 3°C/37°F, so make sure to bring a thick winter coat, a woolly hat and scarf, and some warm gloves and socks.
On top of these, it’s good to have a variety of clothes for wearing underneath (such as vests, t-shirts, long-sleeve t-shirts, and sweaters or hoodies).
If you don’t have room for a bulky coat, a light featherdown coat in between some layers and a waterproof jacket should be enough to keep you warm – if you’re already used to cold weather!
Women can also pack some thermal leggings or woolly tights (which are great for wearing under pants or jeans) for some added warmth.
4. The evening wear
Nights out in Ireland are quite casual, with men usually opting for a shirt or polo with jeans and women wearing jeans and a nice top or jumper. This kind of attire is perfectly acceptable for a pint at the pub or even a meal at a restaurant.
However, if you’re planning on treating yourself to some fine dining or want to visit a more upmarket bar, then we do recommend packing something a little more formal.
5. The activity-specific clothing
Many of the various attractions in Ireland don’t require any specialist gear.
The exception is if you plan on tackling one of the various hikes in Ireland.
Ireland is full of wonderful hikes, and some of them are spectacular (even in the bracing winter weather).
However, hiking in Ireland in December does take some pre-planning as you’ll need to bring sturdy winter boots, good quality waterproofs, and some extra thermal layers.
There are some bitingly cold winds along the coast, so we recommend good base layers for keeping the wind out on coastal walks. You may even want to pack a swimsuit in case you want to join one of the many Christmas day swims around the country!
If you plan on a lot of urban walking, then comfortable waterproof shoes are a lifesaver.
FAQs about what to wear in Ireland in December
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What Ireland packing list for December is the cheapest?’ to ‘Are pubs in December casual?’.
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 should I wear in Ireland in December?
With average highs of 10°C/50°F, average lows of 3°C/37°F and frequently chilly and wet weather, warm layers and a waterproof jacket, along with plenty of socks, are all essential.
How do people dress in Dublin in December?
You’ll find most people in winter clothing, like heavy coats, trousers/jeans and scarfs and gloves. Pubs and restaurants are mostly casual, so jeans and a nice top are more than acceptable.