The Gulf Stream gives Ireland a temperate climate, though given the lush countryside, there is lots of rain (categorised as soft rain, spitting, showers, or lashing and pelting). Summer is typically dry and warm with long sunny days (it's light from 6am-10pm) and average temperatures in the 20s. Spring and autumn temperatures are in the teens and winter is rainy and below 10 degrees. It's generally coldest in January and February and this is the best time to find cheap flights to Ireland. Ireland's weather is notoriously changeable, so dress in layers.
When to fly to Ireland
Peak season for flights to Ireland via the UK is during the summer, when festivals are in full swing, days are long and tourist attractions are open. Dublin is bustling year-round and is almost always in high season. Competition on UK-Ireland routes means you can always score a cheap flight with the likes of Ryanair or Aer Lingus.
Spring and autumn are ideal times to visit, as the weather is normally still reasonably good and the bulk of the crowds have gone.
Outside Dublin, it is cheapest to travel around Ireland in winter, however as tourism in many areas is seasonal, many hotels, restaurants and attractions close from early or mid-November until mid-March or Easter.
Getting around Ireland
Using public transport (buses and trains) is fine for major routes such as Dublin to Cork or Galway, but trickier if you are travelling within counties.
National bus operator Bus Eireann and many private coach companies offer well-connected services between the cities and buses are generally cheaper than trains. Renting a car is the easiest way to explore the Irish countryside.
Ireland insider information
Things to do around Ireland
- With free admission to Dublin's art galleries, there are plenty of places to spend a rainy day, including the National Gallery in Merrion Square, the Hugh Lane Gallery in Parnell Square and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, housed in the old Royal Hospital at Kilmainham.
- No trip to Ireland would be complete without sampling a pint of Guinness, the country's famous stout. You can get the full history, including drinking lessons, at the home of Guinness in Dublin, the historic Guinness Store House facility in the heart of the St James' Gate Brewery where Guinness was born more than 250 years ago.
- Take the steep hill up to ring the bells at St Anne's Church in Cork. You can then climb the stone steps to a parapet enjoying 360-degree city views.
- For a glimpse of life on Europe's furthest edges, take a boat trip to the Aran Islands, off the coast of Galway, or to Great Blasket, a short trip from Dunquin Pier on Kerry's Dingle peninsula. The islands have small tourist industries, breathtaking views and lots and lots of sea birds.
- You can take a range of tours dedicated to the Belfast-born creator of The Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis, who spent some of his childhood in Ulster, returning for holidays as an adult.
- Favoured by artists, students and bohemians, Galway's thriving art galleries and performing arts scene includes traditional music, street theatre and festivals — including the popular summer Galway Arts Festival. The city is also known for its vibrant nightlife. Galway is a departure point for the Aran Islands.
- You'll find picture-perfect Irish countryside in County Kerry. You can quicky escape the touristy areas and reach the pristine beauty of Ireland’s two highest mountains, endless moors, spectacular coastline and fascinating prehistoric and early Christian sites. While Killarney and the Ring of Kerry are the most popular destinations, the Dingle Peninsula is arguably the most beautiful.
- Some of the most stunning landscapes can be found in the tiny Shannon region (spanning about 130km end to end), from the cliffs of Moher, Burren’s limestone, the stalactites, stalagmites and relics of Aillwee Cave to Lough Derg, Shannon River, the Atlantic coastline and the Slieve Blooms mountains. History buffs can visit the Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, a sixth-century monastery, Celtic exhibits and several museums.