World ? Europe ? Republic of Ireland

Republic of Ireland: When to Go


In Ireland you will often hear the phrase, "Today we can expect showers, followed by periods of rain." In fact, rain is the one constant in Irish weather, although a bit of sunshine is usually just around the corner. The best of times and the worst of times are often only hours, or minutes, apart. It can be quite chilly when it rains, even in the summer, so think layers when you dress to travel.

Winters can be brutal, as the wind blows in off the Atlantic with numbing constancy, and gales are common. But deep snow is rare, and temperatures rarely drop much below freezing. In fact, Ireland is a fairly temperate place: January and February bring frosts but seldom snow, and July and August are very warm, but rarely hot. The Irish consider any temperature over 68ŶF (20ŶC) to be "roasting," and below 34ŶF (1ŶC) as bone-chilling. For a complete online guide to Irish weather, consult

High & Low Seasons

A visit to Ireland in the summer, and in the winter, are two different things. Apart from climatic considerations, there are the issues of cost, closures, and crowds.

Generally speaking, in summer, transatlantic airfares, car-rental rates, and hotel prices are highest and crowds at their most intense. But the days are long (6am sunrises and 10pm sunsets), the weather is warm, and every sightseeing attraction and B&B is open.

In winter, you can get rock-bottom prices on airfare and hotels, especially if you book a package through a good travel agent or Aer Lingus. But it will rain and the wind will blow, and many rural sights and a fair proportion of the rural B&Bs and restaurants will be closed.

All things considered, the best time to visit is in spring and fall, when weather falls in between bad and good, but you get lower-than-high-season prices and the crowds have yet to descend.


The Republic observes the following national holidays: New Year's Day (Jan 1), St. Patrick's Day (Mar 17), Easter Monday (variable), May Day (May 1), first Mondays in June and August (Summer Bank Holidays), last Monday in October (Autumn Bank Holiday), Christmas (Dec 25), and St. Stephen's Day (Dec 26). Good Friday (the Fri before Easter) is mostly observed, but not statutory.

In the North, the schedule of holidays is the same as in the Republic, with some exceptions: the North's Summer Bank Holidays fall on the last Mondays of May and August; the Battle of the Boyne is celebrated on Orangeman's Day (July 12); and Boxing Day (Dec 26) follows Christmas.

In both Ireland and Northern Ireland, holidays that fall on weekends are celebrated the following Monday.

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