10 reasons to visit Ireland in the winter

Summer is, not surprisingly, the most popular time to visit Ireland. Spring and autumn see plenty of tourists too. But there are great reasons to visit Ireland in the winter—here are the top 10.

10 reasons to visit Ireland in the winter

The winter is upon us. Temperatures are dropping, the rain is falling, and the days are shortening. However, the lights are up, the festive period is booming, and the Christmas mood is roaring.

Ireland in winter is a truly unique spectacle. From its natural phenomenons to its memorable traditions and bustling cities, you will come away from your trip wanting more.

Here are 10 reasons to visit Ireland in the winter.

10. Off-season travel deals – for a cheap trip to Ireland

10 reasons to visit Ireland in the winter include travel deals

If you are thinking of travelling to the Emerald Isle this time of year, winter is your friend as the travel deals match the festive spirit that defines the winter months.

As long as you avoid the main holidays, flights can often be halved while accommodation prices drop significantly compared to usual, making a trip to Ireland essential.

9. Irish stew – for a taste of traditional Ireland

10 reasons to visit Ireland in the winter include Irish stew
Credit: @p_jiri / Instagram

Often, a season can dictate when is best to try or entertain a certain type of food, and there is no question that wintertime is the ultimate time to get a taste of traditional Irish stew.

Enjoy a taste of Ireland from the comfort of the country’s pubs and restaurants, as you watch football or listen to the traditional music soaked down with a pint of Guinness.

8. City life – where the country is always on the move

10 reasons to visit Ireland in the winter include city life
Dublin

One of the best reasons to travel to Ireland in the winter is so that you can visit its many lively, modern, and buzzing cities that come to life in winter.

From Belfast to Dublin, and from Derry to Limerick, Ireland’s cities differ in nature and size but all provide an unforgettable experience in the run-up to the festive period.

7. Watch the Winter Solstice at Newgrange – where nature and man meet

10 reasons to visit Ireland in the winter include the Solstice at Newgrange

During just one hour on one day of each year, one of Ireland’s most unique phenomenons takes place in this historic grounds of Newgrange in County Meath.

Not to be missed, a beam of sunlight stretches from the sky and meets with the narrow chamber that leads into the ancient tomb and gives the Neolithic monument a beautiful golden glow.

6. Christmas markets – for the Christmas culture

10 reasons to visit Ireland in the winter include Christmas markets
Belfast (Credit: Market Place Europe)

Ireland truly grasps the meaning of Christmas culture with its myriad of Christmas markets that populate its many towns and cities throughout the winter months.

In Belfast, Dublin, Galway, Cork, Waterford, and Wicklow, experience the unique mixture of international foods and customs with Irish traditions, all married as one in the spirit of Christmas. 

5. Shopping – to spend the day away  

10 reasons to visit Ireland in the winter include shopping
Dublin

One of the best reasons to visit Ireland in the winter is the shopping you can get done in the Emerald Isle’s bustling cities, with all of the town’s main streets and shopping centres catering for your needs.

Spend all of your hard-earned Christmas cash as you shop your day away in Dublin’s Henry Street, Belfast’s Victoria Square, Galway’s Eyre Square, or Cork’s St. Patrick Street.

4. The Northern Lights – for an awe-inspiring experience

The Northern Lights visit Ireland's northernmost shores
Co. Donegal

There are many great reasons to visit Ireland in the winter, but experiencing the Northern Lights is without doubt one of the best and most extraordinary reasons.

The Aurora Borealis visits Ireland’s northernmost shores in wintertime, as the Inishowen Peninsula and most of the northern coastline is greeted by the natural phenomenon. 

3. The Christmas Craic – for the best of Irish people

The Christmas Day swim in Dublin is a fun tradition

You will often hear that Irish people are the best and nicest people in the world, but this phrase turns from stereotype to truth in the wintertime.

With the Christmas period in full swing, Irish people become more jovial and carefree than they already are, making the most of the time of year, and are a joy to spend time with.

2. Stunning scenery – the beauty of Ireland

Mussenden Temple is beautiful in the winter
Mussenden Temple

Despite the weather and climate that takes over the country at this time of year, Ireland is still an incredible place to visit and well worth a trip for a proper winter experience.

Visit the famous mountain ranges of Croagh Patrick or Mount Errigal, or head north to the Mussenden Temple in Derry, or travel far south to the towns of Cobh or Killarney and gaze in wonder at the snow-soaked scenery.

1. The pubs – a proper Irish experience

Irish pubs are fun in the wintertime

Undoubtedly the best reason to visit Ireland in the winter is its many pubs and bars, high in demand with a surplus to supply.

There is no better place to be than Dublin’s Temple Bar area or Galway’s Quay Street as you immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit with live traditional Irish music, a pint of Guinness, and the company of Irish people next to a warming fire.

A trip to the Emerald Isle this winter will guarantee you any one of these ten incredible reasons to visit in winter. Don’t let the frosty weather put you off a truly unforgettable festive period in Ireland.

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Note: our travel articles should be used only to plan future trips. Please stay at home until the government has advised otherwise.

Dan O'Muirigh is a keen travel writer from Belfast, County Antrim. He is a passionate sports man who plays Gaelic football for Naomh Gall GAC. He recently graduated with a degree in Law but instead wants to pursue a career in writing. He loves Ireland and believes the island offers something for everyone. He has immersed himself into the country by playing Irish sports, taking part in the culture and learning the Irish language.