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Best time to visit Ireland

Celebrate arts, food and culture with good weather and low prices on the Emerald Isle.

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The best time to visit Ireland is in the spring or fall, because the weather is moderate and tourist attractions aren’t overcrowded. If you visit during the summer, the weather will be warmer, but you’ll run into peak tourist season, which means flights, hotels and attractions will be at their priciest. Plan your trip to Ireland in April, May, September or October and you’ll hit the sweet spot.

That said, weather and price aren’t the only factors you should consider. Check out our month-by-month guide to festivals, holidays and events in Ireland to see if there’s a special occasion you want to be around for. Celebrating art, music, food and whiskey with the Irish one of the best ways to experience the essence of Ireland.


Overview

June to August is Ireland’s peak tourist season, with plenty of crowds and the highest prices. Rural B&Bs and restaurants are open and the country is busy with festivals.

The fall season in September and October has fewer crowds and lower prices, but still sees its fair share of festivals. You’re bound to have some rain, but showers typically move on quickly.

If you’re traveling during winter, remember to bring a thick jacket, as temperatures might drop to freezing. Winter also experiences the most rainfall and the fewest crowds, so you can score a deal if you’re willing to sacrifice on weather — though some might say the shorter days and darker atmosphere feels cozy. Be careful if you’re planning to travel through the countryside as some rural B&Bs and restaurants close over winter.

Spring brings spells of sunshine and fewer crowds, plus fuchsia blooms through the valleys as the island comes alive. Showers are notorious, but generally short-lived.


Weather

Summer has the warmest weather and the least amount of rainfall. Days are longest overall, with 16 hours of daylight on average in July — compare that to about 7 1/2 in December.

Dublin

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
High46° F47° F51° F55° F60° F 65° F68° F 67° F63° F57° F51° F47° F
Low35° F36° F37° F39° F43° F48° F 52° F52° F48° F44° F39° F37° F

Belfast

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
High45° F46° F49° F53° F58° F 63° F 66° F 65° F61° F55° F50° F46° F
Low38° F38° F40° F43° F47° F 52° F 55° F55° F51° F47° F42° F39° F

Cork

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
High49° F49° F51° F55° F60° F 65° F68° F67° F63° F58° F53° F50° F
Low40° F39° F40° F42° F46° F 51° F55° F54° F51° F47° F43° F41° F

Average yearly temperatures sourced from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in February 2021.

When is the cheapest time of year to visit Ireland?

Winter is the cheapest time of year to visit Ireland — but you’ll be dealing with rain and chilly temps, and some attractions in the highlands and countryside may be closed. Still, you’ll find the cheapest rates on flights, car rentals and accommodation if you book a trip in January or February.

  • February is the cheapest time to book flights to Ireland, with a 3% drop in prices compared to other months, according to data from Kayak.com

Festivals, holidays and events in Ireland

Join in the festivities and celebrate special occasions with the Irish — here’s our month by month guide:

January

  • Tradfest music festival. Celebrate traditional Irish music at some of the most iconic venues in Dublin, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

February

  • Valentine’s Day. Pay your respects to the relics of St. Valentine at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin.

March

  • St. Patrick’s Day. March 17th is a national holiday in Ireland, in honor of the country’s patron saint. There’ll be live music, dancing and revelers dressed up in green.

April

April is a wonderful month tp drive along the west coast of Ireland, where bright fuchsias bloom in hedges lining the road, especially near Kerry.

May

  • Fleadh Nua. This music festival, which showcases traditional Irish music and dance, takes place north of Limerick in Country Clare, in a town called Ennis.
  • May 1 is Labor Day in Ireland, a public holidays that most people have off — so this may not be the best time to visit if you want to avoid crowds.

June

  • Bloomsday. This is a cultural festival in Dublin for literature enthusiasts, marking the day when James Joyce completed Ulysses. Bloomsday features readings, performances and more.
  • AVA Festival. In Belfast, this festival celebrates electronic music and digital visual arts.
  • Body&Soul Festival. A summer solstice party with hot tubs, woodland discos and “unparalleled gastronomic experiences.” It takes place in Westmeath.
  • Forbidden Fruit Festival. A multistage, electronic music festival in Dublin.
  • Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival — Westport. Intimate festival that celebrates classic tunes in charming venues.
  • Sea Sessions. Music, camping, beach frisbee, yoga and more in Bundoran.

July

  • Galway International Arts Festival. See comedy, theater, visual art and more from artists around the world.
  • Castlepalooza. Parktake in magic, merriment and madness in and around Charleville castle, located in Tullamore.
  • Longitude Festival. This music festival in Dublin features headliners like Cardi B and Chance the Rapper.

August

  • Indiependence Music and Arts Festival. This is a quirky independent music festival at Deer Farm in Cork, which is on the southern tip of Ireland.
  • Fleadh Cheoil — Location varies each year. An Irish music competition with contestants in a variety of categories.

September

  • Galway Oyster Festival. Indulge in fresh-caught oysters during the last long days of the year.

October

  • International Jazz Festival. This huge jazz festival is held in Cork, and is known for hosting big names like Ella Fitzgerald and Herbie Hancock in the past.
  • Kinsale Gourmet Festival. Head to Kinsale for a feast of seafood from local vendors and restaurants.

November

  • Allingham Festival. This is another festival for artists, writers and lovers of literature. Allingham Festival is named for the poet William Allingham and hosts song contests, writing workshops, poetry readings and other creative classes.
  • Kilkenomics Festival. Held in Kilkenny, this unique festival brings together economics and comedy with a panel of speakers and shows.

December

There are Christmas markets, plays, concerts and other events to celebrate the holiday season. Towns and cities decorate with pretty lights and evergreens.

Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC advises postponing travel to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading COVID-19. If you plan to travel during the pandemic, monitor the risk assessment levels for your destination when planning your trip, before departure and on arrival. Follow safety measures that include wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands. If you are diagnosed with, have symptoms of or are waiting for test results for COVID-19 — or are otherwise at risk of illness — do not attend gatherings or travel for 14 days.

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Bottom line

To choose the best time to visit Ireland, first decide whether you’re hoping for long sunny days or cozy winter nights — we promise, there’ll be brews and pubs aplenty regardless. Next, find the cheapest passage across the Atlantic by scouring our best flights to Ireland.

Frequently asked questions

Does it get below 0°F in Ireland during winter?

No, not usually. Sub-zero temperatures in Ireland are extremely rare, as the average hovers between 40-43°F.

Does it snow a lot in Ireland during the winter?

No. During winter, most regions in Ireland only get about four to six days of snow per month. And when it does snow, the white stuff hardly ever lasts on the ground for longer than a day.

However, in the Midlands and mountains, it snows more frequently and ground cover lasts for longer.

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