When preparing for your trip to Ireland, you might not know exactly what to bring. I have seen countless visitors to the country fail to anticipate the weather here and be totally unprepared. Remember, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear!
As the weather in Ireland can change quickly, it is recommended that visitors prioritize raincoats over umbrellas in Ireland. This will be better prepare you for any sudden rain. Umbrellas are mostly used as a last resort or for short periods, due to the high winds that often accompany Irish rain.
Having worked outside in the Irish weather for years all over the country, I have gone through plenty of umbrellas and raincoats. Here, I want to talk about why I prefer the latter, but not in every situation.
The Weather in Ireland
The weather in Ireland is notoriously unpredictable and famously damp and dour. Having said that, I rarely hear visitors complain about the weather here. If we did not have all of this rain, Ireland would not have the beautiful and green scenery that we are famous for.
While storms in Ireland have increased a lot in the last decade or so, they are still not nearly as bad as in other parts of the world. Ireland has a mild and temperate climate. It will rarely snow here and it will rarely get too hot here either.
Having said this, the rain can often be hard for some people to deal with and it is not for everyone. Especially, if you are travelling from a warmer part of the world or are with children, you might want to know a little bit more about what you are getting yourself in for.
When I am exploring the streets of Dublin after particularly heavy rain or a storm, I will always see small umbrellas in public rubbish bins. When I see this, I know that someone has had a really bad day.
People will arrive in Ireland and not be ready for the climate. Then, when it rains, they will run into the first shop they can find that sells any umbrella. You will often find umbrellas for sale in hostels, convenience stores or souvenir shops. I would only recommend these as a last resort.
These umbrellas might seem very cheap, only costing around €5, but they are usually a false economy.
They will generally be small and flimsy and will break at the first sign of really bad weather. In Ireland, when the rain lasts more than a few minutes, it will usually be accompanied by winds that can tear through these cheap umbrellas!
If you want to get something like this, just be aware that it might not last for longer than your trip. Also, it might not even last for the length of a storm.
When to Use Umbrellas in Ireland
Of course these umbrellas are sold for a reason and I have even gotten some myself over the years. But, I have also had countless conversations with tourists in Dublin who have regretted purchasing the first cheap umbrella they found, even though they were caught out in the rain!
Umbrellas are more useful in Ireland during the summer months and the “shoulder months” on either side of the tourist season. At these times of the year, the weather will be a little milder and you won’t have to worry too much about the rain.
You could also use umbrellas in combination with other rain gear. This might be more effective if you plan on staying outside for a longer time during the winter months especially.
If you are bringing an umbrella to Ireland, make sure that its well-made. Golf umbrellas are particularly good for the Irish climate and are more reinforced than the cheaper ones that you will find in most convenience stores in the country.
Decathlon Ireland has a great one currently for sale at a reasonable price. If you want to check it out you can find it linked here. You should also be able to find umbrellas like this for a similar price (€15-20) in most sporting/ outdoors stores in big cities like Dublin.
A raincoat is the best way to deal with the Irish weather. A good raincoat allows you to layer your outfit to better accommodate the ever shifting temperatures in Ireland. Wearing a raincoat will also allow you to better move between indoor and outdoor environments if you are exploring cities especially.
When picking a good raincoat there are a couple of things that I look for, depending on the time of year. In the winter months, obviously I will wear warmer clothes, but I also want my rain gear to cover more of my body.
Having worked outside in Ireland for years, I have found that longer raincoats are a must in the Irish winter. The more water they keep off you the better.
In winter months, make sure to wear multiple warm layers of clothes in Ireland.
While the temperatures might not get very high on the thermometer, when it gets warm here, you will feel it. The summer of 2022 was notoriously high all over Europe and I nearly had heatstroke a couple of times giving walking tours myself.
There will be the occasional weekend with rain and heat in Irish summers. Having a waterproof, yet breathable raincoat is important for traveling to Ireland in the summer.
There are a couple of raincoats that I have found work really well for the Irish weather. Below are my recommendations for a winter and summer raincoat. Please use these as a guideline on what will work best when here.
Winter Raincoat: I have found that a longer coat like this works really well. This German company has multiple coats made in a similar style, all of which are made from the same waterproof material. I have been caught out in heavy rain for long periods of time and have been kept dry by these coats.
Summer Rain Jacket: Rab is an English company that has lots of great stuff on offer. The jackets, like those I have linked to, worked really well for me in the summer rain. You can simply fold the corners in, roll it up from the bottom into the hood and keep this lightweight jacket in your bag, taking it out when necessary.