I am surprised every time how persistent the rumour keeps that Ireland is not a good destination in winter. Ireland is worth a trip at any time of the year. Also, or even especially in winter.
What is the weather like in Ireland in winter?
“What is the weather like in Ireland?”, is definitely the most asked question when it comes to going to Ireland. The correct answer is: ” Sometimes like this – sometimes like that! And this is true for all seasons! But while all four seasons can be found in spring, summer and autumn, often even on a single day, winter is limited to autumn, winter and spring. So you can leave your summer clothes at home in winter. When I speak of winter, I mean the Irish winter, which cannot really be compared to our winter here in Switzerland.
Ireland lies in the middle of the Gulf Stream, which is known for its moderate climate. Ice and snow are therefore very rare, despite the weather caprioles that global warming brings us.
The chance of snow is a little higher in the north than in the south of the island.
A rain coat and waterproof trousers are a must – every time of the year. A warm jacket, cap and gloves should be packed additionally in winter. Often the wind blows a whistle in winter.. The common mainland European likes to wear warmer clothes in this weather and will probably wonder about the Irish, who sometimes withstand the wintry wind in T-shirts and shorts. No kidding!
If necessary, you can buy hats and gloves on the island, of course made of Irish sheep’s wool – and an Aran sweater keeps you comfortably warm all year round.
What is so special about a trip to Ireland in winter?
Ireland in winter, is pure pleasure! Hardly any tourist finds his way to the green island at this time of year and you will have the friendly Irish, the stunning nature and all the sheep almost to yourself. The prices for the accommodation are usually far below the seasonal prices. So also bargain hunters will get good value for money in Ireland.
Some of the pubs, restaurants and tourist facilities are closed during the winter months, but there is always a cosy pub or restaurant around for a good meal. At this time of year you can also meet locals who are always happy to have a chat or provide you with a great excursion tip. With a little luck you will also find a pub where they play live music, because live sessions are not only played for the tourists.
Who needs tourist facilities? Nature offers many exciting discoveries!
Dream beaches, miles of hiking trails, thousands of year old dolmens: in winter you have it all to yourself. And when the weather is gracious, the heart of every amateur photographer beats faster. The Irish say that the light is particularly beautiful at this time of year. They are definitely right!
If you are lucky you can even see aurora borealis in cloudless nights in the north! During the day, the interaction of sun and clouds plunges the landscape into whiskey golden tones.
Apropos whiskey: In rainy weather there is a hot tea or a hot whiskey in front of the fireplace – and finally spend some time reading a book.
I also love to go for a stroll on the beach in hurly-burly weather, and warm up at the peat fire afterwards. The clear, cool air clears my head and my soul breathes deeply. Ireland is even more relaxed in winter than it is in summer!
And one more thing: those who know the narrow roads in the countryside can relax at this time of year. Oncoming traffic is very, very rare!
After a week in the northwest of the island in winter, in the small village Glencolumbkille, county Donegal, I come to the following conclusion:
Ireland in winter is my relaxed answer to overtourism! Overcrowded beaches and streets, masses of people and screaming party-goers are hard to find here. Instead, a lot of nature, relaxation and a huge portion of island love!
The only thing that bothers me about the Irish winter is the fact that the days are short. While the summer days on the island are never-ending, the sun rises late and sets early in winter. But that also has its positive sides. Late risers and pub-goers get their full enjoyment! Those who don’t like rough weather better stay at home, because you have to be weatherproof in Ireland in winter!