The Irish weather has had some bad press ... like the rumour that the usual way to tell the difference between winter and summer in Ireland being to measure the temperature of the rain ... or so the saying goes. While it is true that there are no major temperature differences between the seasons and that rain is likely every second day, the Irish weather is manageable.
Temperatures will rarely go below 32°F and only occasionally above 68°F - with June, July and August being the warmest months, January and February the coldest. Extremes are not unknown though. The summer of 2006 was the hottest on record for ages. On the other hand rare freezing spells tend to bring the country to a grinding halt and even a sprinkling of snow will have most drivers panicking.
If you need more detailed weather data why not use the following pages dedicated to the main geographic areas of Ireland?
- Weather in Donegal and Ireland's North - measured and recorded at Malin Head, the very extreme end of Ireland.
- Weather in Mayo and Ireland's West - measured and recorded in Belmullet.
- Weather on Valentia Island and in Ireland's Southwest - as this is measured and recorded on Valentia Island, temperatures and winds on the mainland may be milder.
- Weather in Dublin and on Ireland's East Coast - measured and recorded at Dublin Airport, temperatures in the city centre itself may be much higher, while those in the nearby Wicklow mountains may be far lower ...
The secret of coping with the Irish weather lies in taking the correct clothing. You should prepare for moderately mild weather at all time and be able to supplement basic dress with a warm sweater and/or rainproof top. A hat is a good idea, an umbrella is not. Be careful on sunny days especially on the beaches, the breeze can cool you while the sun still burns your skin. And take sensible footwear, most rural attractions and even some urban areas are best described as "rugged terrain" and the ground is bound to be wet occasionally.
Best Time to Travel
When should you go to Ireland then? It all depends on your interests. Outdoor fun is only for the hardiest from mid-November to February. Otherwise you could really pick any time for a holiday, with substantial savings to be had outside the tourist season.
The tourist season in Ireland generally runs from Easter to the October Bank Holiday, outside these times attractions as well as accommodations might be closed. Check carefully when planning your trip outside the tourist season - though the peace and quiet even at major attractions can be rewarding.
High Season - July and August
July and August are the traditional holiday months in Ireland and resorts are crowded and noisy. This is the only sensible time to enjoy a swim in the ocean (with jellyfish hitting the beaches at the same time). A time best avoided if at all possible. On the other hand seaside resorts off-season can be definitely depressing.
Winter - Mild or Not?
Up to a few years ago, the winters in Ireland were mild (and muddy) - then a cold spell hit. Whether this is due to global warming, a new ice age coming or a freak fluke, will only be known for sure in the long run. But it is now a sensible precaution to pack not only wet weather gear but also some really warm stuff between (roughly) November and February. And maybe read up on winter driving in Ireland if you are not quite used to it.
But in November ... you might also be lucky enough to experience Saint Martin's Summer - you simply never can tell with Ireland's weather ...