Summer in Ireland? Yes, please. There are miles of beachy coastline, 10pm sunsets, and green as far as the eye can see (and it’s just as idyllic as it sounds!).
If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, check out some of traveler Kathy’s favorite memories from visiting Ireland in the summer on our Grand Tour of Ireland. Before you know it, your summer travel plans will be all about seeing sheep-dotted hills and sipping good pints and having the craic (which means fun) with locals from Dublin to Galway to Sligo.
^ Traveler Kathy and her husband Reno at the 12th-century Rock of Cashel
The Emerald Isle brings green, rolling hills to mind, and that’s not off the mark—it’s basically written into the country’s nickname, after all. Those lush landscapes are one of the top reasons why the best time to visit Ireland is the summer. But, it’s not only all the green that makes this destination sing… there are also sheer, flower-dotted cliffs and coastal views that will knock you right off your feet.
The best part? Seeing all those pristine summertime landscapes doesn’t mean sweltering in the heat. Ireland’s the place to be if you’re looking for all the sunshine of a summer day without all the, well… sweat. During the summer in Ireland, temperatures are moderate, daylight lasts longer, and the occasional drizzle is just an opportunity to swing by a pub for a cold one. Sláinte!
“During the summer in Ireland, all the greenery and landscapes are at their finest and prettiest,” said traveler Kathy. “The temperature is still relatively cool, but comfortable, as opposed to where I live in Texas. It’s just a great time of year to get away. Most of us live hectic lives and I don’t know anywhere better to decompress.”
There’s really no wrong time to see historic castles, and time-worn churches, and countryside villages with thatched-roof cottages. That type of stuff will wow you all year round. But, there’s something to be said for seeing all those Irish icons while everything around them springs to life—and that’s where summer in Ireland comes in.
“The landscapes and the old castles settled against the ocean were awesome,” said traveler Kathy. “There were so many contrasts, and I never got tired of it. I loved the rawness of the land—it was as though it was preserved many years ago just for us to see. I was just so surprised on so many levels.”
^ Travelers Kathy and Reno raising a glass inside an ancient castle (yes, you read that right)
Up for a little hustle and bustle? Summer is the most popular time for people to visit Ireland, so you’ll have more chances to cross paths with visitors and locals compared to other times of year. (It’s all that sunshine we were telling you about!)
It’s safe to say that the people who call the Emerald Isle home are big fans of sunshine after cold winters, too. So, summer travel to Ireland is your chance to perfect the gift of gab with the locals who are out enjoying the beautiful weather—and no, you won’t ever get tired of that accent!
“Everyone was so friendly, courteous, and accommodating,” said traveler Kathy. “They were helpful and I always felt safe. It was as if I was with my neighbors—except for their accent! They were just the nicest. I felt like I met friends who I had something in common with, and it was really cool. We saw the real people in Ireland doing what they do. I will always remember the beauty of the country and the welcoming people.”
Sheep farms, organic apple orchards, up-and-coming wine vineyards—the farming scene in Ireland is one of the most interesting things about the place. In fact, the country has an all-star farm-to-table and sea-to-table culinary scene, which makes for a delicious visit, indeed. Keep an eye out for farmers working their fields while exploring Ireland in the summer, and then get an up-close look alongside our experts.
“I still tell the story of going to Glen Keen Farm, which is a working sheep farm,” said traveler Kathy. “As a person who lives in a rural area of the U.S., I thought that a visit of this nature would be silly. But, I felt so differently once I was there—it was absolutely the most interesting, amazing several hours on the whole trip for me.”
“I guess it means you can’t know what something’s like until you experience it! There wasn’t anything hokey about it. It was very unique and well done, and showed the culture of the people in the area. The herding dogs’ training was unbelievable, and I loved seeing the craft of the locals who live and breath this kind of thing every day.”
There’s culture and history to be found around every corner in Ireland, and amazing museums to commemorate it. (We’re gonna count distilleries and factories here, too, because seeing how experts create some of Ireland’s top products like whiskey and Waterford Crystal never gets old!)
“My husband keeps talking about the Titanic Belfast Museum—it really was amazing!” said traveler Kathy. “You can not ever run a tour without that stop on there. We’ve all heard about the Titanic, but there was so much I didn’t know, and it was unbelievable.”
“Also, we’d heard of Waterford Crystal. But, when we stopped at the Waterford Crystal Factory, we met people who have crafted this crystal their entire lives. My mouth was hanging open the whole time.”
This may be subjective—we all have our own favorite, never-gonna-forget-it trips, after all!—but traveler Kathy fell head-over-heels for her summertime grand tour. “I’ve taken five tours of Europe and all were great in many ways,” said Kathy. “But, I think the thing that set the Grand Tour of Ireland apart was the sheer variety of sites and experiences.”
“The tour allowed us to see the entire country and Northern Ireland. There were always surprises and such variety—something for everyone! We saw the whole picture. Some days were long but we got flexible time throughout if we weren’t up to as much one day. Our Tour Director Sean did everything to make us feel comfortable. Plus, the June weather was perfect.”
“When I call Go Ahead, each and every person makes me feel like I’m their only customer and that they have all the time in the world to tell me things to make me feel comfortable,” said traveler Kathy. “You line up awesome guides from beginning to end. The planning is perfect and so well-orchestrated, helping create a fuller experience. I like the fact that we stay in very nice places but that we get a lot of bang for our buck with the extra meals and excursions. Also, the customer and his or her safety is paramount and, in these days, that is critical.”
“Go Ahead creates quality trips—we get very nice hotels, and it’s a better deal. Most of us aren’t travel experts, and while a guided tour has a ‘scripted’ schedule, there are still choices. I find myself needing a break in the middle of a big tour, so if I want to sit at the bar or head back to the hotel for a nap, I do.”
“The trips themselves are so full, but you don’t have to use your brain or lift a suitcase. I’ve taken trips other ways, wondering if I’d rather do it independently—no, I don’t! I’d be lost and I’d lose precious time. That’s why these experts are there. You need a guide. Otherwise, you’re gonna be running around like a nut, trying to figure out where to go, what the lines are like, and how much it costs. On a guided Go Ahead Tour, you don’t have to think, and that’s part of a vacation.”
^ A drizzly (and green, and flowery!) summer scene, snapped by traveler Kathy
Well, to be exact, any trip you take will change you for the better—there’s no question that seeing the world will open your mind and heart, and make you feel like the best version of yourself. Whether you visit Ireland in the summer or opt for off-season travel, you’re sure to come home feeling inspired—and ready to book your next trip!
“When I travel, I learn so many things,” said traveler Kathy. “I try to have one or two trips lined up again before I even fly out for the current trip. I feel more well-rounded and confident, and realize that there is a big, wonderful world out there that I never knew about. I come back tired but invigorated and ready for a new journey.”