Autumn in Ireland has many and varied aspects.
There are places and times brilliant with changing colours of foliage.
There are places and times all across the island of Ireland in autumn where colour changes are present, but show themselves in more subtle ways.
There may be crisp, clear days.
There will be mist, rain, fog, sometimes ice, almost always wind, too.
There are the gifts of Ireland’s autumn harvests to be prepared, enjoyed, and shared.
This year, many of the classic festivals found in Ireland in autumn will take on different forms.
There is, however sure to be some celebration of Hallowe’en, and following that All Saints and All Souls Day.
Across the island of Ireland, autumn is a season inviting reflection, connection, myth legend, story, and music. Gathering by the fireside with a pint pr a cup of tea, with friend or on one’s own, in kitchen or in pub, is part of autumn in Ireland, too.
In these times, it might not be your year to explore autumn in Ireland in person.
The images, videos, and stories linked in this piece will give insight as to how you may explore Ireland in autumn from a distance.
So there are two parts to this story: ideas and images to help you dream of Ireland in autumn, and thoughts on travel to Ireland this autumn.
Can you travel to Ireland? Should you travel to Ireland? What about travel within Ireland? What about the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom?
Each of those situations has many moving and changing parts, which may have changed between when I write this and when you read it. To address each briefly with what is known now:
–> Update: Indeed, things are changing. As of 20 October, level 5 restrictions begin for six weeks. No visits at home, only essential businesses to remain open, food for take away or delivery only at restaurants, travel and exercise within 5km of one’s home, to mention a few things. There are further restrictions to cross border (to NI) travel also.
Can you travel to Ireland? Basically, yes, though what’s required of you differs depending on the origin of your trip. Look at the paragraph just above though. Now is not the time to visit. even though, at the moment, airports and ports remain open.
At this writing, the Common Travel Area or CTA ( Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, England, Isle of Man, Channel Islands), is still open to the Republic, though you may find a few more questions at times. For Northern Ireland arrivals from Great Britain must quarantine.
The Republic of Ireland has what’s called the Green List, which are those countries whose residents are not required to quarantine when arriving to the state.
Then there is everywhere else — generally, for a point of reference, these are countries which have higher rates of infection and transmission of the virus than Ireland does. As a bit more than one half of our readers here come from the United States, I will mention that yes, US residents are required to quarantine when arriving to the Republic of Ireland.
Generally, Northern Ireland aligns with these restrictions.
What does quarantine mean? Basically, traveling straight to where you will be staying, not going out except for essential needs, making other arrangements for those needs where possible (having food/groceries delivered, for example). providing the gardai (the police) with contact information. observing the conditions above, responding to gardai and health services who will check that you are keeping to the conditions of your quarantine. I’ll add: you must observe these conditions for your own safety, and our of respect for the safety of everyone you encounter. Also, be aware that people who live locally in the Republic and Northern Ireland are under their own restrictions about travel and visiting.
Should you travel to Ireland? I’d say wait, if you will be coming from the US or other countries with high rates of virus transmission, and think twice and maybe three times if you are from a country in those other two categories. The reason comes down to respect. Travel by its nature brings you into contact with many different people. This not the time for that. Yes, even if you have no symptoms. There will be those within and outwith Ireland who disagree on this point. Do good research on your own situation and plans, and think long about what you learn.
The autumn colours, the ancient sites, the historic places, the dramatic coast roads,. and the warm hospitality of welcome will be there when it is again safe to travel.
I’d add that if you’ve not yet been to Ireland, this is not your best time for a first trip, and this autumn, with its short days, cold nights, changing weather, and many places closed or closing early, is unlikely to be the best season for your first trip. Dream on the material about autumn in this piece for now instead.
About travel within Ireland: All that said, if you live in Ireland, you’ll know that one the one hand, people are being encouraged to take their holidays by exploring places on the island, in part to help those businesses which are open make up for the lack of income from overseas tourism. On the other hand there is strong advice to limit travel. This may be your time to explore subtle colours of Ireland in autumn, especially outdoors in Ireland’s local, regional and national parks. Exploring the night sky can work, too.
If you are traveling from outwith Ireland and have completed your quarantine, these could be suggestions for you to follow as well. Things usually begin closing down seasonally in Ireland this time of year in any case. Expect that to be even more true at this autumn.
About the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic: at this writing, the border is open. Recent developments in the politics at Westminster have unsettled parts of the Brexit agreement that were settled. That’s worth several stories on its own. Best advice for travelers: Pay attention to the news if you plan cross border travel.
After all that, here’s a lively look at Ireland in autumn, along with a few dogs having fun and a lively tune. May they encourage your dreams for travel when it is safe to do so.
Ireland is autumn has its own beauty and welcome.
Enjoy these windows into Ireland in autumn. Dream now, travel later.
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