Going to Ireland in winter? Many good reasons why this is a surprisingly good idea!

Last updated on February 6, 2024

Where to go in winter? To the south, of course, to the sun – or: to Ireland! We know Ireland in all seasons and I personally like all seasons in Ireland.

Why that is and why Ireland can be a good place for you in winter is what this article is about:

I took the cover picture in early April, while hiking. But it could have been November, December or February and it would have looked very similar.

Snow happens rarely in Dublin and is a big thing when it does! (photo by Tom Cleary on Unsplash)
Snow happens rarely in Dublin and is a big thing when it does! (photo by Tom Cleary on Unsplash)

Yes, but it’s green there, isn’t it? In Ireland, the grass grows all year round, unlike in Germany, I have to mow the lawn at the house here even in winter, even in January or February.

From the end of January, several million sheep are added to the millions that exist in Ireland, because that’s when the lambs are born. From February at the latest, you see them jumping all over the pastures.

Is there frost too? Well, we live on the edge of the Wicklow Mountains. The mountain peaks, which are close to the 1000 metre mark, are often covered with a cap of snow in January or February. We have palm trees in our garden and if there is a bit of rust during the night, it is usually thawed by the morning.

Every time is a good time when at the sea (photo by Mitch Hodge on Unsplash)
Every time is a good time when at the sea (photo by Mitch Hodge on Unsplash)

The coasts are practically frost-free and so golfers can enjoy the summer greens at coastal golf courses all year round; winter greens are usually non-existent there.

Every few decades there can be a few days of snow at a time, even at lower altitudes. Then traffic comes to a virtual standstill, because in Ireland there are hardly any snowploughs and no winter tyres. But these are rare events that will be talked about for years to come.

Breathing cloud in cool weather - no problem when wearing a warm coat! (photo by Tomas Malik on Unsplash)
Breathing cloud in cool weather – no problem when wearing a warm coat! (photo by Tomas Malik on Unsplash)

In general, however, daytime temperatures remain above freezing, usually around 5-12 degrees Celsius.

However, it can be stormy on the island, especially in autumn and spring. Then there are not only strong winds, but usually also persistent rain. Not nice – when you’re outside.

Fortunately, the Irish see it that way, too, and so there is always a cosy pub where the open fire crackles at lunchtime (or in the evening). With the hot soup, life and joy flow into the body again. Some think that this also works with Irish coffee…

Ad for our own business Easycruiser.tours
Ad for our own business Easycruiser.tours

If you like walking, as I do, then winter is a beautiful time of year in Ireland. The mountainsides are brown and no longer green from the ferns and purple from the heather as in summer, but you have the landscape almost to yourself. I like it when it’s a bit quieter. Do you?

However, the long-distance trails can become challenging now, because it can be cold or wet and then you might not want to walk all day to get to the next accommodation you have booked. In addition, you don’t have light for as long in winter and you shouldn’t walk into the dark if you misjudge the distance.

The better idea is star tours. Rent somewhere nice and do day hikes. You can adapt them if the weather is bad and have a city day or visit a castle (from the inside).

Moody but beautiful mountains in County Donegal (photo by Mateusz Delegacz on Unsplash)
Moody but beautiful mountains in County Donegal (photo by Mateusz Delegacz on Unsplash)

This brings me to the next tip: you should have a car, then you are completely flexible with your day tours.

We have also done round trips by car in winter. Depending on the weather, we flexibly adapted our daily programme.

Accommodation is less crowded in winter and you don’t have to book far in advance. However, many B&Bs are closed during the winter.

This tiny fishing harbour looks pretty all year round (photo by Conor Luddy on Unsplash)
This tiny fishing harbour looks pretty all year round (photo by Conor Luddy on Unsplash)

I always recommend booking a day in advance, then you are still flexible but don’t have the stress of having to find something the same day. I like to use the apps from www.booking.com or www.airbnb.com. Both work very well in Ireland. Our own accommodation is also listed on Airbnb.

Oh, I hadn’t mentioned that yet: My family and I are from Germany, but have been living in Ireland (second home) for a few years, have travelled the island a lot and really know it very well.

In summer we run our motorbike rental business here (south of Dublin, at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains) (www.easycruiser.tours) and also offer nice guest rooms (www.the-view-accommodation.ie), for example for hikers, golfers or other travellers.

Ad for our own business Easycruiser.tours
Ad for our own business Easycruiser.tours

By the way, there are also some nice festivals and Christmas markets in Ireland in the cool half of the year, especially in Dublin, Galway, Cork, Kilkenny and a few other cities and towns. You can find a nice little Youtube film by Discover Ireland here – just click here.

And while we’re on the subject of cities: You can visit Dublin all year round, there is no wrong season. The city is interesting and always worth a long weekend.

The best thing to do is to find a nice place to stay in the middle of the city and explore it on foot. Where is the city? On the River Liffey, between Trinity College and Christ Church Cathedral, near Templebar. You can also stay on the other side of the Liffey and walk across, no problem.

Mountains in County Waterford (photo by Colin Murphy on Unsplash)
Mountains in County Waterford (photo by Colin Murphy on Unsplash)

You can combine that with a few days in the surrounding area, for example the east coast and the Wicklow Mountains – if you rent a car for that, that’s enough, in Dublin City you don’t need one and it’s even rather a hindrance.

So, those were my completely unorganised thoughts and experiences on the subject of Ireland in winter.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas and hope you have fun planning your holiday!

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Photo credits cover photo: Mountains in autumn, photo by Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg (www.easycruiser.tourswww.the-view-accommodation.iewww.irland-insider.dewww.ireland-insider.com)

Uli Written by:

Hello and welcome to my blog. Originating from Germany, my family and I now live in Ireland (at least part time). We have travelled this amazing isle many times and know many parts of it very well. In this blog, I would like to share valuabe tips and information for your next trip to Ireland with you. Enjoy the content, yours, Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg