Ireland is called the Emerald isle for a reason. It’s something that we often take for granted here, but visitors always remind me how unique the landscape looks. The grass really can be greener in Ireland!
Why is Ireland so Green? A combination of the Mexican Gulf Stream and a large annual rainfall help to make Irish soil fertile and the resultant vegetation is what the Irish landscape is known for. The lack of much forest cover and the large number of farms adds to this visual effect.
The Irish landscape is something that people from all over the world come to see. No matter what month of the year you arrive, you should be able to experience some of this famous Irish scenery, you just have to know where to look!
The Irish Climate
Ireland has a temperate climate with mild winters and cool summers. People in a few other parts of the world like to say that they get all their seasons in a day, but in Ireland this might be true. The weather doesn’t change too much throughout the year, in the winter it gets to about 4-8 degrees Celsius, then in the summer the temperatures get about as high as 20-25 degrees. There is so little change in the weather through the year that we judge our seasons by the length of our days. In the winter months it gets dark at about 4pm, then in summer you will only see about 4 hours of night!
We see so much of a change in the length of our days because Ireland is a lot further north than most people realise. We are on roughly the same latitude as places like Canada and Russia, but we almost never see any rough winters and snow rarely sticks to the ground here in Ireland. We get to enjoy this temperate climate because of the Mexican Gulf Stream, which keeps the Irish weather mild throughout the year. This Gulf Stream also brings with it most of the weather that we get in Ireland, including our (in)famous rain.
It rains in Ireland about half of the days in the year, depending on where you are. The eastern side of the island has better weather than the west, with places like Dublin only getting about 150 days of rain in the year. The west coast of Ireland gets the brunt of all that Atlantic weather and so they have to deal with about 225 days of rain in the average year!
All this rain means that Ireland has some of the most fertile soil in the world and agriculture is a big part of the Irish economy. When you drive through the country you will be able to see countless rolling fields, full of farms that dot the Irish countryside. This climate also means that Ireland has about half of all the peat bogs in Europe. You need a lot of rain to make a peat bog and the west coast of Ireland gets more than enough!
I have a complete guide to the Irish weather and climate which goes over rainfall, hours of sunlight and temperature among other things.
What to pack for the Irish weather
The Irish weather is reliably unreliable. You never really know what you can expect from hour to hour, let alone day to day. This means that you should generally come prepared for anything. I will try to break down what I think you will need for your stay in Ireland based on the time of year. But you should consult the Irish weather service on their website HERE.
Winter (November to January)
These are the wettest months of the year. If you visit at this time, bring plenty of warm clothes and remember that most people who come to Ireland will find more difficulty with the wind than the rain. Pack warm clothes and good shoes. Umbrellas don’t do a whole lot of good in this climate and you might find that cheaper ones get broken in the Irish wind. I would advise bringing a rain jacket with a hood and warm clothes underneath. Layering is key. That way you will be better able to get warm when you find a cosy pub with a nice fire!
Spring (February to April)
The Irish spring starts on the first day of February. Around this time of year, the days start to get a little longer and you won’t have to worry as much about getting stuck in the rain. But be warned that in recent years springtime has seen some of the worst storms Ireland has seen for decades, with March of 2018 getting the worst snowstorm in 40 years. Pack roughly the same as for the winter months.
Summer (May to July)
This is the time of year when the sun will always be shining, probably even when it rains! These are great months if you want to explore the Irish countryside or head to any music festivals. This time of year, you shouldn’t need the heavier winter gear. You should pack for sun, you don’t want to be the person who gets a sunburn in Ireland! Having said that you should still pack raingear, just in case.
Autumn (August to October)
This is possibly the best time of the year to visit Ireland. All that sunshine has warmed the place up and it generally won’t be cold enough to warrant any winter clothes. You will still see a good bit of both the sun and rain, but there will also be fewer crowds of tourists this time of year, so it is worth visiting Ireland around now, if given the chance!
Where to visit
When people leave Ireland and they have really enjoyed their stay here, they will usually talk about a few things. They generally mention Irish pubs and the craic, but one of the highlights for many visitors to Ireland is the look of the countryside as you simply drive through it. There are many different places you can go to see great views and enjoy the results of this climate of ours. But in this article, I am only going to mention a couple of my favourite ones!
If you want to see some of the best scenery in Ireland, then one of the best places you can head to is county Kerry. Located on the very southwestern tip of the island of Ireland. This place gets the brunt of all that Atlantic Gulf stream weather. Sometimes you can even see the rainclouds as they roll in off the ocean and break over the coast! If you visit this part of Ireland you will be able to check out the Ring of Kerry, a stretch of road that circles the inner part of the county and has views of the tallest mountains in Ireland and the country’s oldest forests too.
If you don’t get the chance to venture all the way down to Co. Kerry, there are plenty of places that you can see right next to urban centres like Dublin. My favourite place to see the countryside from Dublin is a small peninsula called Howth. Located about 30 minutes away from the city centre by public transport, in Howth you will be ale to see some stunning cliffs, a medieval town, castles and many more besides. I always recommend people try and get to Howth when they are in Dublin and its one of the best ways of seeing the green Irish countryside cheaply.
I have a full guide to Howth, if you want to explore the area.
What is the Official Colour of Ireland? The Official colour of Ireland is St. Patrick’s Blue, not green. This was the colour chosen to represent the knightly Order of St. Patrick in the 1780’s and is still found in official emblems of state in Ireland.
Does it rain a lot in Ireland? Yes, but its not that bad. The wettest parts of Ireland get about 250 days of rain a year and they are mainly located on the west coast of the country.