“There’s no such thing as bad weather—only bad clothes.” This famous saying is a reliable guiding principle for anyone taking a trip to the Emerald Isle. Remember to pack a raincoat and some layers, and you should be all set for whatever nature throws your way. Ireland’s ever-mild temperatures are thanks to its location in the Atlantic Ocean and the warm North Atlantic Drift that flows next to the island. When planning a trip to Ireland, think through what you want to do, to see and to experience because you don’t ever want to be caught here without the proper gear or clothing. How well you pack your suitcase can truly be the difference between an amazing experience and a soggy trudge!
Weather in Ireland
Spring (February to April)
Spring weather in Ireland is famously unpredictable, with spotty rain showers just as likely as sun-drenched days. The average springtime temperature is between 46 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
Summer (May to July)
Summer in Ireland is the most pleasant time of year to visit. Temperatures sit in the mid-60s to upper 60s, and daylight stretches long past 10:00 p.m. As per usual, though, be prepared for the odd shower or gray day every now and then.
Fall (August to October)
An Irish fall typically consists of crisp temperatures in the high 50s or low 60s. A brief and balmy period, when temperatures can occasionally rise as high as the low 80s, sometimes occurs during September.
Winter (November to January)
Winter in Ireland means short days that see the sun set as early as 4:30 p.m. The temperature hardly ever drops below freezing, meaning snow and ice are rare occurrences, but rain is certainly probable. Be sure to pack a raincoat and some layers for those cooler temperatures.
Trip-worthy celebrations in Ireland run the gamut from thousand-year-old traditions to internationally acclaimed food festivals. Here are just some of Ireland’s most popular and unique annual celebrations:
St. Patrick’s Day
“Paddy’s Day,” as the locals call it, is celebrated on March 17. Though rooted in religious tradition, it has come to take on a more festive flair over the years, with plenty of pint raising, parades and traditional Irish music to get you in the spirit.
Bloomsday, celebrated on June 16 in Dublin, commemorates Irish writer James Joyce. The day is filled with readings and dramatic reenactments of Joyce’s most famous novel, Ulysses. Also expect pub crawls and Edwardian costumes.
Christmas and St. Stephen’s Day
Christmas is one of Ireland’s biggest holidays. The celebrating typically begins on December 8, when the decorations are hung and the Christmas markets open. The day after Christmas, St. Stephen’s Day, is also cause to celebrate in Ireland. Though less common than in the past, locals dress up in old clothes and straw hats and then sing and dance their way through town with the traditional wren in hand.
Galway International Oyster Festival
Ireland’s longest-running food festival takes place the last weekend of September in the West Ireland city of Galway. Over the course of the three-day festival, there are oyster opening competitions, street parties and, of course, gourmet oysters by the bucketful.
One of Ireland’s more unusual traditions, Puck Fair is also one the country’s oldest. Celebrated every August 10, 11 and 12, this three-day Kerry festival involves the wrangling and crowning of a wild goat by the Queen of the Puck, who is usually a young girl chosen from one of the local primary schools. What follows is three days of nearly round-the-clock street entertainment.
Ireland’s peak season is during July and August, when the weather is at its warmest. During this window, locals and foreigners alike descend upon Ireland’s most popular attractions, but because most of these sites are outdoors, the crowds shouldn’t impede your enjoyment of Ireland’s beauty. If you’re worried, time your trip for spring or autumn. That’s when the crowds are thin and the best attractions haven’t yet closed for the winter.
Beyond the peak season, St. Patrick’s Day can be a particularly crowded time to visit Ireland, especially in Dublin. The first weekend of December, when the holiday season kicks into gear, is another bustling time. It’s a good idea to have your accommodations and transportation booked in advance if you know you’ll be visiting during these times.
Kayaking and Canoeing
With 3,472 miles of coastline and plenty of lakes and rivers to explore, it should come as no surprise that kayaking and canoeing are popular year-round pastimes in Ireland. Kayak the coast’s caves, inlets and reefs, or canoe down the narrow, meandering river channels and glassy lakes that dot the country.
Ireland’s rolling green fields, rugged coast and sandy beaches make for a cyclist’s paradise. For longer days and warmer temperatures, time your biking holiday for spring through autumn. During this time, every month brings a new treat, be it hills in full bloom or daylight that stretches beyond 10:00 p.m.
Ireland’s craggy coastline is full of sheltered harbors and easy access to the emerald-toned Atlantic Ocean, making it a popular sailing destination. The best months to partake are June and July, when the weather’s at its most pleasant for sailing.
Ireland’s ocean-hugging, rugged mountain terrain and lake-dotted landscapes mean there are more than a few scenic hikes to explore here. The best months for good temperatures and even better visibility are April, May, September and October.
Surfers from all over the world have been flocking to Ireland’s uncrowded surf spots for years—despite the guaranteed cold water that awaits them! Suit up with a good wet suit, booties, gloves and hood, and you’ll be all set for the plentiful (but frigid) swells that roll in every September through May.
Travel to Ireland with Backroads
Backroads offers numerous ways to experience the very best of Ireland on our award-winning active travel adventures. Explore this country in the best and most genuine way possible—away from the crowds, buses and tourist hot spots. We hope you'll join us! Check out our full list of Ireland adventures here.
Want to learn more about Ireland, including its history, travel tips, highlights and insider info?
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