The best time to visit Ireland is a question oft asked and answered. Here, we present you with some facts and (subjective) thoughts. Hopefully, it’ll help you decide the best time for your Ireland vacation. Let’s take a bit of licence with the calendar and use the old Celtic way of Spring being February to April, Summer – May to July and Fall (Autumn) – August to October
Irish people will naturally say anytime is good – but let’s introduce a sense of realism. For visitors to Ireland there are some constrictions – not least of which is that we are an island. You can’t impulsively scream ‘ROADTRIP’ and jump in your car. With that in mind, we’ve broken down the pros and cons under Travel to Ireland, Cost of an Ireland Vacation, Weather in Ireland, Scenery and Nature in Ireland and whether Ireland is Crowded and Busy. Finally, we take a reluctant peek from under the duvet (comforter) at Winter.
Flights to Ireland
Spring -Most airlines start ramping up the frequency of flights around February. Seat sales are commonly advertised in January giving great bargains for travel up to the end of March and sometimes into April. March is also when we hit the road with our small group tours.
Summer – Flights may be somewhat more expensive, but the upside is that airlines ramp up routes and capacity. For visitors to Ireland this may reduce cost, as there may be a departure airport closer to you. There are also more direct flights to Ireland from North American and European airports. And, you may have acculumated air miles that you can cash in!
Autumn (Fall) – Similar to Spring in that more bargains are to be had, but towards the end of the season capacity may be reduced and seasonal routes start to wind down.
Top tips– booking early will always get you better value. Try Skyscanner to source airlines and routes and then check out the airline websites.
Cost of an Ireland Vacation
Spring – Generally cheaper – but times like Easter school holidays, can occasionally negate that. We have a standing 10% discount for our March and April tours.
Good rates abound for hotels in Dublin and other popular cities – but watch out for major sporting or entertainment events coinciding with your visit. These will always see price hikes.
Summer – Peak season, but as with flights – early booking can grab you a bargain Ireland vacation. This gives you up to 10% off your Ireland summer tour. A deposit of just 10% secures your booking and takes the pressure off upfront payments.
Fall (Autumn) – Airfare and hotel prices start reducing and we’re back to our 10% discount prices for October.
Weather in Ireland
Spring -Temps – average 9-10°c/50°F in March/April but can go to 15°/55° in April. Daylight increases to 14 hours. You get to watch Atlantic sunsets before dinner in March with after dinner sunset strolls in April. The light can be perfect for getting scenery shots as the cooler air is clearer.
Summer – May and June are the sunniest months in Ireland. Average temps are 18-20°c/64-68°f – though we do hit the odd day of late 20s/low 80s. But hey, chill out! Our luxury Mercedes mini-coach is fully air-conditioned. Daylight is from before 5am to after 10pm. Irish summer sunsets are truly stunning- lasting close to an hour.
Fall (Autumn) – Temps from 12-17°c/53-63°f. The curtain is drawing on the long days but still more than enough daylight to illuminate our day. Romantic after dinner sunsets are replaced by star filled nights.
Irish Scenery and Nature
Spring – The countryside is a blaze of yellow as daffodils and gorse (furze) burst into flower.
It’s lambing season and it’s truly a joy to watch as they gambol around the fields with their almost 4 million brethren! We see them up close and cuddly when we visit a working sheep farm on tour.
Summer – Areas like Killarney National Park and the Ring of Kerry are bursting with colourful (yet invasive) Rhododendron. Hedgerows come alive with wild Fuchsia and Purple Loosestrife, while Ireland’s coastline wears a garland of Sea Thrift. Those lambs are a-growing and it’s getting to shearing time for their mammies. The scent of April showers/slurry being spread on fields fades, to be replaced by that of freshly cut grass.
Fall (Autumn) – Mid-August/September into October is stunningly beautiful in Ireland. The verdant patchwork vista gradually yields to a kaleidoscope of colour. It begins when heather and montbretia start blooming in August. In the likes of Killarney (Six day south west tour ) and Glenveagh National Parks (7 Day Northern Ireland and best of the West), you’ll see stags at their most magnificent as they battle for dominance. As we drive our coastal route along the Wild Atlantic Way, we may see dolphins or whales. Rain showers align with the sun to create the most fantastic rainbows as we trundle along the country roads. As we’d say in Ireland – “soft day thank God” (please, please don’t ever greet us with “top a the mornin”…!!).
Is Ireland Crowded and Busy?
Spring – No, that’s the beauty of it. But – spoiler alert- some visitor attractions don’t open until mid-late April. However, there are still plenty of ‘must-sees’ along with some hidden gems we take you to. Craicometer level: 8.5
Summer – Not as busy as you might expect. Like yourselves, many Irish people head overseas during June, July and August. Everything is in full swing with all visitor attractions open. We time our visits to big ticket places like the Cliffs of Moher, to avoid the crowds. More music and entertainment in more venues (free in the pubs) and on more evenings each week. It’s a ‘hoot’ really! Craicometer level: 9.5
Fall (Autumn) – Crowded – most certainly not! All the Irish kids are back in school in the last week of August. This means great photo ops with uncluttered background and more time and space to take it all in. August is a good time to consider our 12 day Ultimate All-Ireland Tour. Craicometer level: 8.5
Winter in Ireland
Maybe the bees, bats and hedgehogs are right as they hibernate for a while. As a sustainable tour operator, we partner with locally owned hotels and guesthouses. Many of these are family owned and staffed and our custom helps sustain local economies and social fabric.
Our business partners take good care of us from March to October as we tour Ireland. Winter is their time to relax and refresh (themselves and their premises). Many Irish visitor attractions also close for winter.
So it’s time to turn the wool donated by the sheepies into winter jumpers (sweaters).
Craicometer level: a simmering 7 (but 9.5 in the cities!).
So, do Anam Croí Ireland Tours hibernate? Nope. After a break to recharge the batteries, we use winter to work on improving and innovating the Anam Croí Ireland experience for future (and old) “friends”. As Irish Nobel Laureate W.B. Yeats is said to have said “there are no strangers here only friends who haven’t yet met”.
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