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The best time to visit Ireland

Feb 10, 2016 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

Ireland is one of our favorite places to visit if you’re looking for green landscapes or legendary experiences like kissing the Blarney Stone. We’re often asked: When is the best time to visit Ireland? The truth is—there is no right answer.

The best time to plan your trip depends on your personal preference, so we asked our colleagues in the office about their travels to the Emerald Isle to help you make the most of your trip, no matter when you decide to go.

The best time to visit Ireland

Go in the fall for fewer crowds and changing leaves

“Hugely popular destinations, like the Cliffs of Moher, were basically deserted in November,” said Kyle, Project Manager. “Climbing to the top of Blarney Castle without waiting in line was something I don’t think many people get to do.”

“Ireland in October is very mild; neither hot nor cold. I would say the temperature rarely left the 50s,” said James, one of our Business Analysts. Just be aware that the combination of sudden rainstorms and colder weather warrants some extra bundling up—layering is key.

“Scarves, a rain jacket, jeans, and sneakers or boots worked well for me,” Senior Copywriter Courtney said of her tour of Ireland in October. “It was a great time to be outside exploring! It was a mix of bright, sunny days, some cooler, windier ones and a few showers here and there. The changes in weather added to the drama of the scenery throughout the whole experience.”

For many travelers, cooler weather is the best atmosphere for an authentic Irish experience and can be a great excuse to cozy up in a pub to chat with locals other travelers. “Hunkering down with a pint and a hearty meal is much better when it’s a little chilly and rainy outside,” Kyle said.

Of our team that has been to Ireland in the fall, everyone agreed that the changing leaves and still-green landscapes made it an incredible time to visit. “The leaves were changing, so among all the green there were beautiful reds and yellows, too,” said Tour Consultant Shannon.

St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, Ireland

Go in March for celebrations

The St. Patrick’s Day revelry in Dublin is legendary, so mid-March is the time to go if you want to celebrate with the locals. The festival parade is a can’t-miss event, and locals and visitors alike line the streets of Dublin from early in the morning to late at night.

“Everyone is really just in good spirits and having a good time,” said Jessica, Evaluation & Quality Specialist. Jessica recommends that travelers who want a good view should head to the parade route around 10am to secure a spot close the street. The parade begins at noon in Parnell Square and travels down O’Connell Street before crossing the River Liffey and winding to the west toward St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Afterward, locals and tourists alike continue the celebrations in the city’s many pubs and restaurants. Street performers are abundant, and it’s easy to make friends with the locals while out enjoying the day. “The Irish are very friendly!” Jessica added.

Read when to visit Ireland

Go in the spring to see flowers in bloom

Tour Consultant Kelsey highly recommends a visit to Ireland in the spring if you’re a fan of the country’s signature green landscapes. “Everything was in bloom,” she explained. “All of the flowers were out and the grass was so green. Seeing the grass against the blue skies and the gorgeous flowers made it an incredible time to travel!”

While Kelsey’s trip coincided with remarkably nice weather, she suggests bringing a rain jacket and boots. “I was glad to have a pair of sturdy boots and a light jacket with a hood,” agreed Jessie, Senior Copy Editor, who visited Ireland in May. “I layered up under my jacket on days that were a bit colder. The best decision I made was buying an Irish wool hat on my first day—it saved my hair from the wind.”

Glendalough in County Wicklow, Ireland

The bottom line: Be prepared for rain any time of the year

If you’re looking for a warm and sunny getaway, Ireland may not be the destination for you. No matter in which season you visit Ireland, you will encounter some wet weather. “The Irish consider a sunny day rare,” said James. “We caught an amazing stretch of good weather, but you should be prepared for rain.”

For travelers planning a trip to Ireland, we recommend packing a pair of comfortable waterproof boots that you don’t mind getting muddy. Consider packing a few extra pairs of socks to help keep your feet warm and dry.

“I didn’t mind the rain,” Jessie said. “Everything was so green and the clouds were beautiful. We were standing in some pretty heavy mud on the Dingle Peninsula but no one even noticed because we couldn’t look away from the sea and the cliffs and the green hills dotted with sheep. I think we spotted a few rainbows, too!”

Know when you want to go to the Emerald Isle? Check out our a Ireland tours here.

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