Ireland’s weather: what is it like?
There’s good reason why the phrase unsettled weather is one you will hear often. That’s not to say the weather, whatever the season, is not beautiful, just that it often changes quickly. You’ll have four seasons in one day is another common expression, and it can be very true.
All that said, here are a ideas on what to expect with Ireland’s weather.
It rains — a lot. There’s a reason fields are so green. That’s not to say you won’t have bright clear days in any season. Bring your rain gear in all seasons, though.
The warmest and driest months are June, July, and August. Coldest months are December, January, and February. Temperatures can and do vary quite a bit, depending on your location, and that four seasons in one day adage comes in to play as well. Most of the time, you’ll find a range of between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius (about 35 to 40 degrees F) at the coldest times of year, and 18 to 20 degrees (mid to upper 60s F) at the warmest times. These are common ranges only, though; check with the resources mentioned below for your specific plans.
The southwestern part of the island is most often the sunniest, and the warmest.
The northwest, and the mountains anywhere on the island, are likely to be colder.
Whatever time of year you are in Ireland, plan to dress in layers. The weather can change, and that quickly, in the course of a day. Hats, gloves, sunglasses, and scarves are your friends in any season. Those waterproofs mentioned above, too.
There’s more wind than you’d think, especially if you are on or near the coasts. This can make things feel colder than the actual temperature.
Because of Ireland’s geography, the landscape is in the way of a lot of moisture sweeping across the Atlantic. That accounts for a good bit of the rain, and in the colder months, sleet and snow.
It does snow, most often from around Christmastime up into late February (though 1 February, Saint Bridgid’s Day, is meant to be the first day of spring).
Snow often lingers on the mountains when it has melted or not fallen at all on lower ground. If you’re planning hillwalking, this is something to keep in mind, as is freezing mist (like fog only colder). Fog is something to be aware of in all seasons, too. It can come up quickly and be dense.
Ireland is about the same latitude as Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.
Climate change is a factor for all countries. For Ireland, sea level rise, increased rainfall, and stronger storms are beginning to be felt.
Another factor affecting weather and how you will experience it: in summer, daylight lingers for up to eighteen hours. In winter, the sun rises late and goes to bed early, so you may have about half that time for daylight. That makes winter an especially good time for exploring Ireland’s night skies, though.
How can you find out about the weather in Ireland as you are planning your trip, and as you travel? My favorite resource is the Met Eireann website, which is the official site of the Irish Meteorological Service. The Weather Channel covers international destinations, too, and is quite handy if you are wanting to switch between Celsius temperatures (the system used in Ireland) to Farenheit (which you’ll know best if you are from the US). Side note: to brush up on or learn Irish, you might want to check out Irish language broadcast network TG4’s weather site (you can also see it English). While you are in Ireland watching televised weather broadcasts in Irish is an interesting way to engage with the language. too.
Whatever sort of weather you find in Ireland, prepare for it, and enjoy it!
Photographs by Kerry Dexter. Thank you for respecting copyright.
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