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February is one of the quietest months for tourism in Ireland. While people often try to avoid some of the unpredictable weather this time of year, if you prepare properly, you will be fine. Visiting Ireland in February will help you avoid the crowds and get a much more authentic experience, usually for cheaper!
When I guide in Ireland in February, I often have a much easier time than later in the year. There are fewer people and those that arrive are usually pleasantly surprised by what is on offer. If you visit Ireland in February, you will get a better chance to see Ireland the way the locals do.
Pros and Cons of Visiting Ireland in February
There are plenty of reasons to visit Ireland during the month of February, but there are also plenty of challenges. In this section, I want to talk about some of the main things to consider when planning your trip. While its always worth travelling to Ireland, its good to know what you’re getting into.
|Limited Access to Attractions
The Pros of Visiting Ireland in February
- Fewer tourists: There are so many benefits to travelling in quieter places. The lines are shorter, you will be better able to talk to the locals and people in the hospitality industry will have more time for you! As a guide, I have to say, I am much better able to give individual travelers more attention this time of year.
- Cheaper prices: This really goes without saying. But if you choose to travel off-season, you will get much more out of your money. In larger cities, like Dublin, almost all of the attractions remain open year-round. So if you want to see things like the Guinness Storehouse, this is the perfect time.
- Festive atmosphere: Traditionally, February is the fist month of spring in Ireland. This is the time of year when the first flowers start to bloom. There are plenty of local festivals and events to celebrate the end of winter.
The Cons of Visiting Ireland in February
- Unpredictable weather: The weather in Ireland is famously damp and dreary. While February generally doesn’t have the most rain, it does have some. If you visit during this month, expect cold days, lots of wind and be prepared for the occasional storm.
- Shorter days: Even though the days start to lengthen this time of year, you will still experience the tail end of the long winter nights in February. If you plan on doing many outdoor activities or visiting scenic parts of the countryside, plan accordingly.
- Limited access to attractions: In bigger cities, like Dublin and Belfast, most of the major attractions should stay open year-round. But if you plan on leaving the beaten tourist-trail, your options might be limited during this time of year.
Weather in Ireland in February
February is when the Irish weather starts to get a little unpredictable. During the winter months, things will be cold, windy yet occasionally sunny during the day. February is when you will start to see more overcast days and the odd rain shower creep in.
While you will likely not see the extreme variations in weather that you will get in March or April, you should still prepare for them, just in case. The temperature in Ireland in February will range from about 4.5°C – 7.5°C (40°F – 45°F). You can expect some rainfall too.
If you want more detailed information on the weather in Ireland, I have the Ultimate Guide to the Irish Weather, linked here.
What to pack for Ireland in February
I know that many people can find packing for Ireland a little intimidating. I meet plenty of travelers who tell me that they agonized over what to pack for their Ireland trip. Here are a few things that I think you should consider bringing for a trip to Ireland in February:
- Layers: If you are out and about all day, you are going to need to bring layers with you. It doesn’t matter if the sun is shining when you leave your hotel, it might be nowhere to be seen an hour later. Always layer up when in Ireland!
- Waterproof Outer Layer: I always try to include this when I’m out and about myself. During the winter months, I’ll have a heavier raincoat and there are loads of excellent light options for summer. I have talked about this in more detail here.
- Good Shoes: I cannot stress enough how important good shoes are for traveling in general, but particularly somewhere with weather as changeable as Ireland. Always make sure to have comfortable and waterproof shoes with you.
- Sunglasses and Sunscreen: While you might not think that you’ll need it when you’re in Ireland. The winter sun here is stronger than many people think. I have seen plenty of people get sunburn when traveling to Ireland in winter.
Events in Ireland in February
February was traditionally the beginning of spring in Ireland. This was in the old Celtic calendar, where the seasons were divided into 3-month periods. The first flowers generally start to bloom during February and this really marks the end of winter in Ireland.
This is usually the time of year when you will start to see people’s moods improving after the winter period. Most locals tend to spend the month of January recovering from Christmas, so February is the time of year when people feel they can start going out again!
- St. Brigid’s Day Festival: The 1st of February is St. Brigid’s Day. This day has been celebrated since pagan times in Ireland and the roots of this tradition run very deep in Irish culture. In 2023, the Irish government made this day the newest public holiday in the country.
- Valentine’s Day: Of course this day is celebrated here in Ireland. You will find plenty of great options for romantic getaways to different parts of Ireland this time of year. If you want to go glamping or to a fancy restaurant, there will be options for everyone.
- Pancake Tuesday: Also known as Shrove Tuesday, this day is still celebrated in Ireland. While the country is not nearly as catholic as it was in previous generations, some of the traditions still survive. Many Irish people will use the final day before lent to indulge in the bad habits they want to get out of before Easter.
What to Do in Ireland in February
You won’t be stuck for something to do if you choose to visit Ireland in February. As mentioned above, in the bigger cities, most of the main attractions will stay open year-round. While you might need to plan a little more for certain activities this time of year, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to activities.
In fact, if you have always wanted to visit Ireland, but found that the prices of things might have been a little too high, or things a little to busy, then February might just be the perfect time to visit.
If you want more detailed itineraries for different parts of Ireland, I have already created them for the following locations:
Here are some of my favorite things to do in Ireland this time of year. I have divided these activities into indoor and outdoor sections.
Outdoor Activities in Ireland in February
Exploring the outdoors in Ireland is one of the best things you can do in the country. From the heart of the city of Dublin to the extremes of the most rural areas, there are some amazing places to explore here.
Take a Walking Tour
Most cities in Ireland will offer excellent walking tours. On these tours, you will be able to learn about far more than you could possibly find out yourself by just walking around. The guides will also, usually, know the best places to eat and drink and will be able to help you plan the rest of your trip.
I usually give these tours myself in Dublin. In fact this is still my main job in tourism at the time of writing this article. But I always recommend people take the tips-based free walking tours whenever they first arrive in Ireland.
Plan a Day-Trip to Another Part of Ireland
The vast majority of people who visit Ireland tend to go to one location, usually Dublin, for a weekend. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and you will be able to have a great time doing so. But if you are here for a few days, then you should at least consider visiting another part of the country.
There are plenty of amazing places that you can visit from Dublin as a day trip. I have a full guide to my favorite of these locations linked here.
See The Irish Countryside Like the Locals
If you want to just get out of the city for a half-day and see the gorgeous Irish scenery the way the locals do, there are plenty of options for you. Public transport in major cities, like Dublin, is improving all the time in Ireland, even though the locals love to complain about it.
There are plenty of amazing locations within easy access of Dublin city center that you can spend a couple of hours. This is definitely one of the best things about living in Ireland in general and if you choose to come out to nature, even in February, you will find plenty of locals about.
Indoor Activities in Ireland in February
If the sun ever does shine this time of year, most Irish people will come to the conclusion that they will have to be outside. This is your holiday, don’t feel like you have to stay outside just because other people told you to.
Enjoy Irish Pub Culture
Visiting Ireland, purely to go to a cozy pub and warm yourself up is perfectly valid. If this is something that you want to do, then there are plenty of places to do it! I have already gone into a lot of detail on the best pubs in Dublin, including ones where you can get cozy with some live traditional music.
Visiting Irish pubs can be a great way to explore the Irish culture. This time of year, you will find fewer tourists and it can be much easier to meet the locals when going to a pub, especially after 5pm. Even if you don’t want to drink any alcohol, enjoying Irish pubs can be a great way to spend your time here.
Getting Out of the Rain In Museums
Galway is one of the rainiest cities in Ireland. Even compared with Dublin, the west coast of Ireland gets a lot of rain and you may find yourself wanting to get out of it, especially if you are travelling with your family. I have gone into detail on some of the best ways to get out of the rain in Galway in this article.
FAQs About Ireland in February
What is the average temperature in Ireland in February? The average temperature in Ireland in February ranges from 4-9°C, but it can feel colder due to the wind and rain.
What are the best clothes to wear in Ireland in February? It’s best to dress in layers and bring warm, waterproof clothing, sturdy shoes and an umbrella to stay dry and comfortable.
Are there any outdoor activities to do in Ireland in February? Yes, there are still plenty of outdoor activities to do in Ireland in February, such as hiking, scenic drives and visiting historic sites and landmarks. However, it’s important to be prepared for the weather and check for any closures or limited access to attractions.