When is the best time to visit Ireland?
Ireland is a land full of extraordinary landscapes from the Ring of Kerry in Southern Ireland to the historic and electric hub that is Dublin, and because of this, the best time to explore them is when the weather is at its warmest and driest. This usually means that the months of summer (June, July, and August) are considered the best time to travel to Ireland. While you might enjoy nice weather, summer is also recognised as the peak season so you can expect crowds of travellers at popular destinations and increased accommodation/activity prices.
If you want to avoid the crowds, try travelling in 'shoulder' seasons such as spring (March, May, and April) or autumn (September, October, and November). Yes, the weather might not be as good (you should always be prepared for rainfall) but at least there won't be as many travellers exploring the same landscapes and cities as you are.
Winter in Ireland
Best for: Christmas markets, wandering through cities, stargazing, and watching the Northern Lights
While winter doesn't experience the best weather, it's still a really magical and breathtaking time to travel to the Emerald Isle. From the festive Christmas markets full of decorative trinkets in December and wandering through snowy landscapes throughout January and February to staring up at the star-filled sky and catching a glimpse of the coloured curtains of light known as Aurora borealis, there's no shortage of incredible things to do and spectacular things to see.
Even though the days are shorter, the longer nights mean magnificent sunrises and sunsets, as well as the best chance to see the Northern Lights if you're visiting the northern end of Ireland. Clear skies in winter also make for perfect stargazing conditions but make sure you rug up because temperatures can drop to 4°C. You'll also experience fewer crowds in winter and more reasonable accommodation and activity prices.
Spring in Ireland
Best for: St Patrick's Day Celebrations, hiking, cycling, and exploring natural landscapes
Spring in Ireland is one of the more magical seasons to visit as the rolling, green fields and scenic valleys come alive with the light showers and warm sunshine that spring brings. Every colour is heightened during this season so expect lots of emerald greens and vibrant reds, blues, and yellows as wildflowers bloom and wilderness areas soak up the rain. You'll even get the chance to spot lambs and baby cows as they frolic in the fields to make your journey through the Irish countryside that much more special.
As summer is considered to be the peak season, spring sees a lesser number of travellers, meaning popular cities and natural landmarks remain quiet until the month of June. But, the weather is similar to that experienced in summer with slightly cooler temperatures and long daylight hours so it's still a perfect time to travel to Ireland if you plan on spending the majority of your time outdoors.
Summer in Ireland
Best for: enjoying traditional Irish meals, exploring World Heritage-listed sites, going to the beach, and general sightseeing
Summer is recognised as the peak season to travel to Ireland for one main reason; the weather during the months of June, July, and August is the best it's going to be all year. With around 16 - 18 hours of sunlight every day, as well as temperatures that hover around 20°C, there is no better season for exploring all the natural beauty Ireland has to offer. If you're travelling to Ireland in summer the only downside is that thousands of travellers from all over the world are doing the exact same so you can expect crowds in popular cities and queues at famous landmarks. During this time, accommodation prices will increase and activities will start to book out so make sure you plan in advance to avoid disappointment.
Whether you feel like digging into a heaping bowl of hearty lamb stew, visiting unbelievable sites such as the Cliffs of Moher and Wicklow Way, or trying to catch as much sun as you can by laying out on a beach in Brittas Bay, summer in Ireland has a little something for everyone.
Autumn in Ireland
Best for: whale watching, Halloween celebrations, harvest festivals, and going on countryside walks
Similar to spring, autumn is considered to be one of the best seasons to visit Ireland (after summer) because it's relatively crowd-free and enjoys reasonably pleasant and mild weather. There are also a lot of festivities happening during this time with the celebration of Halloween, as well as various harvest, food and other entertainment festivals. Autumn also brings the ability to change the countryside's colour with leaves turning an array of reds, oranges, and browns, making for some pretty stunning walks through national parks, forests, and other wilderness areas.
You will need to rug up though (think thermal clothing) as temperatures can lower to 5°C but generally sit at around 12°C. However, November is generally the wettest month out of the year so be sure to pack waterproof or resistant clothing and even a collapsible, travel-sized umbrella.
Average temperatures in Ireland
March to May
June to August
September to November
December to February