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There are captivating things to see and do in Ireland during the winters and summers alike. However, visiting Ireland in Winter is even more exciting. If you are looking for the best ways to spend a holiday in Ireland during the winters, the list is huge.

Know before you go to Ireland

We overlook one important essential: travel insurance, while we adore ensuring that our winter clothing and passport are all set in a lot of time. The very first thing to do is buy insurance cover for you and your family when you make plane and hotel bookings. It is not hard to check on the internet to obtain the best travel insurance Ireland cover that matches your requirements and find lots of alternatives according to your budget. So, you can relax with peace of mind and just enjoy your winter holiday.

Whilst you might be excited to rush off and start looking for bookings, there are a few things to consider before you pay:

  • The days are really short. In January, you’re only going to get around 7 hours of daylight. That’s not perfect for trips, so if you’re going to book anything, make sure that you’re booking it at the correct time and you’re going to be able to catch everything you want to.
  • Snow isn’t frequent, but when it comes, everything stops. It’s a consequence of the country being so rural and sleepy. When it comes down, the world freezes, so have a plan just in case that happens.
  • As we said earlier, the country is seasonal. Don’t expect the full range of seasonal trips to be available, but as long as you’re smart with bookings, there’s no reason you won’t be able to fill your time with far more than you could possibly do.

Why visit Ireland in Winter?

Ireland in Winter

You get far more for your money

Winter is the off-season for most places, and Ireland is no exception. Whilst this does mean some of the local businesses shut down, especially in smaller coastal towns that run more heavily on tourism, for most places it simply means lower rates and more availability.

Whatever you’re looking at, whether it’s a cozy bed and breakfast or a luxury 5-star hotel, you’re far more likely to get great rates in winter. In fact, websites like can hook you up with incredible high-end tours for a great price, winter or otherwise. 

But you’re not just saving money on your stay. You’re also going to save on airfare. Anywhere near as much as 50%, which is, put simply, absurd. Whilst you might not have the same flexibility in route and time, the amount of money you save can easily compensate for this fact, especially once you’ve landed and you’re taking it easy.

Winter is also known as the perfect time for a city break, which is why you should seriously consider Dublin in winter. Dublin is one of the busiest cities in Europe during the prime season, so winter is the perfect opportunity to explore and head to many Irish bucket list destinations, without the crowds. On that note.

You’re going to beat the crowds

There is a huge Dublin bucket list of attractions you will want to see but visiting in the warmer months limits the number of sights you will have time for. However, because there are far fewer tourists in Ireland during winter, you’re not going to face crowds anywhere you go. This means no queues into attractions, no packed bars, no chattering crowds heaving along sidewalks or ruining picturesque tourist destinations, and no waiting for dinner reservations.

You’ll be able to do far more, and see so much more of the country. As long as you wrap up, it’s probably the best way to experience the culture.

Ireland in Winter

You’re not going to get that cold

First things first, it’s still winter, so don’t expect sunny days and shorts. Balance out your expectations, people.

But for many people, especially those across the ocean in America, Ireland is actually warmer than where they’ve come from.

You’re also not likely to face snow, (though there will be a lot of rain) so if you’re looking to escape the drifts, Ireland is a great destination for that.

Although, if it does snow, you can look forward to some gorgeous vistas. It’s … kind of win-win, really.

Plus, there are plenty of indoor attractions in Ireland as well such as the Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol Museum, or Irish Whiskey Museum. You can enjoy a hot Irish drink to keep you warm and visit the great bars during your evenings in Ireland.

You’re going to get a warmer welcome

The Irish are known for their warm, welcome and gregarious nature, but everyone has their limits.

So when you’re dealing with hundreds of tourists every day in summer, it’s normal to get a little burned out.

But once it all calms down again and the locals get their city back, they start to relax and open up again. Heading out to Ireland in winter means that, no matter where you go, you can start conversations and probably leave with a bunch of new friends.

Ireland in Winter

You can join in with all the celebrations

Like a lot of countries, Ireland’s major cities burst into life in the winter, festooned with decorations over markets and celebrations.

Both Dublin and Belfast have famous winter markets, which are perfect for a nice, easy day. Waterford has the Winterval, which is the largest Christmas festival in all of Ireland. Like a lot of Europe, Ireland loves New Year’s Eve, and spending it in Ireland guarantees a great night.

Lastly, if you’re still in Dublin past the holiday season, January is host to the Temple Bar Tradfest.

You’re guaranteed cozy, comfortable nights

One of the best feelings in winter is snuggling up around a crackling fire, a cup of hot cocoa in your hands, wrapped up warm in blankets and scarves and jumpers.

You can get all this and more, pretty much everywhere you go in Ireland. Pubs will be warm and welcoming, Irish woolen products are snuggly and well made, and even Irish food is hearty and homely, perfect fare for settling down after a busy day.

Northern lights in Canada

You might even see the Northern Lights

Yeah, it’s true that the Nordic countries are known for it, because of their more northern proximity, but there’s a chance you can catch them in Ireland as well.

Whilst technically there’s a chance you could see them from anywhere, you’re far more likely to see them if you’re out in the countryside. The reason is simple. Big cities have a huge amount of light pollution. Ever realized that you can see a whole lot more stars when you’re out in the wilderness. That’s why.

Your best chance is to get to the coastline, apparently, Malin’s Head near Donegal is the place where they’re most frequently visible so if you’re looking for the lights, you know where to go.

What you need to pack for Winter in Ireland: 

Like any winter country, staying dry and layering up is the best way to stay warm in Ireland. Here’s a quick reference list of what you need to know:

  • Solid boots: Whilst you’re not going to need heavy-duty climbing boots, because you’re not going up Everest, a good set of waterproof boots is essential, especially if you’re venturing outside of urban climes. Makes sure they’re waterproof, warm, and broken in before you go.
  • Something for the hands: Mittens or gloves are what we’re talking about. It’s true that you could keep your hands in your pockets all day, but that’s inconvenient for using phones, etc, plus you’ll look like a maniac.
  • A way to keep the head warm: You’re gonna want a hat, is what we’re saying. A good winter hat should cover the head, to stop you from losing all that heat, as well as to keep your ears warm.
  • Warm socks: Thick, woolly walking socks are perfect. If you don’t have any, you can buy them from outdoor stores. Or get them once you land. Irish wool is excellent.
  • Hand warmers: Again, this is only if you’re planning on braving it outside the city, but if that’s the case, some hand warmers that you can crack and slip into your pockets are a perfect little touch many wouldn’t think about.

Ireland in Winter might not leap out to you as a prime holiday destination, but there’s a whole lot to love, and a whole lot more to see and do. If you don’t mind a little wind and rain, and you love exploring new places, Ireland is absolutely the perfect place to visit this winter!

Helpful resources

Travel essentials:

What to pack

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