Continued rainy, windy weather this month means that by now the Irish are likely heartily sick of winter. Perhaps this is why February is full of brilliant festivals everywhere from Dublin to Kerry. Indoor attractions will still be what occupy your time on a visit to Ireland this month, with a deep, varied and colorful legacy of historic sights to explore. But in the slowly increasing spells of sunshine, perhaps consider a wild walk along Ireland's iconic coastline, with its cliffs, sandy bays, and delightful fishing villages.

Weather

Ireland is not a large enough country to have distinct regional weather patterns. Generally, February provides Ireland with some of the coldest, wettest and windiest weather of the year, although rainfall is on average down on January and indeed any month since last September. Even in this coldest weather of the year, snow is rare.

Killarney & Southwest Ireland

It's more excessively wet weather this month in Southwest Ireland, although the good news is that while rainfall is still mighty high at 4.05 inches/ 103mm average for the month, it is lower than any of the preceding four months, and marginally more sun than in January at least hints at the approach of spring and fairer weather.

Temperatures overall are slightly up on January, too, and are Ireland's warmest right now: average lows of 41°F/5°C and average highs of 50°F/10°C. However, high winds and driving rain can make this feel much colder, and the coastline much wilder.

Dublin & Eastern Ireland

Ireland's famously unpredictable weather sees Dublin oddly fare quite well for rain this month, with a comparatively slight 2.36 inches/ 60mm falling in the city this month. Air temperatures remain the same as last month and remain low: highs of 7°C and lows of 3°C; however water temperatures (just 9 °C on average) are decreasing towards their annual low next month. See here for a classic week-long tour of Ireland beginning in Dublin and including many of the country's highlights.

Belfast & Northern Ireland

It's surprisingly dry by Ireland's standards in Northern Ireland, with just 2.36 inches/ 60mm falling in Belfast this month on average. But there is very little sun around (an average of two hours daily!) and air temperatures are pretty bitter: expect highs of 42.8°F/6°C and lows of 35.6°F/2°C in Belfast, for example.

Crowds & Costs

February is another extremely quiet month in Ireland, with much of the country (especially the countryside) in a long hibernation until the better weather comes around in spring. The majority of attractions (unless they are big, blockbuster attractions, like the Rock of Cashel) and many of the places to sleep and eat will be closed outside of the bigger cities, while wild weather keeps the crowds (and almost everyone) away from the coast, mountains and hiking trails.

At the places that do remain open, you might easily be able to negotiate a discounted rate and you might well be offered one up front. Travel to Ireland at this time of year will see you spending less money on things to do (because many are closed) but perhaps more on eating and drinking in restaurants and pubs, as a refuge from the weather!

Where to Go

Killarney & Southwest Ireland

As with other winter months, the best places to spend time at this time of the year are bigger towns such as Galway, Killarney, Cork, and Tralee.

Galway is a vibrant city full of colorful independent shops, pubs, and restaurants. Killarney too is another lively town made livelier this month by The Gathering festival. Here, get cozy in front of a traditional pub fire, wander the coast-hugging grounds around the ruin of Ross Castle or make the trip out to Killarney National Park, Ireland's oldest national park. This can still be enjoyed at this time of year courtesy of splendid stately home Muckross House & Gardens in the middle of the park.

Also venture out to Inveragh peninsula towns and villages from Killarney this month, where Éigse na Brídeoige cultural events are taking place. Meanwhile, do not miss a visit to one of Ireland's most important ancient sites, the Rock of Cashel: a fortress and one-time seat of power of Irish royalty, and happily open year-round! In that slightly sunnier and less wet weather, the 700-foot+ Cliffs of Moher in Galway make for an invigorating coastal walk. 

Dublin & Eastern Ireland

Dublin, the big city in this region, is for the second month running probably the best place to be in Ireland. On top of numerous city attractions, such as touring the famous Jameson Whiskey Distillery, finding out about the poignant history of Irish Emigration at the Irish Emigration Museum or exploring historic sights like the grand Trinity College, there are more big cultural festivals, Dublin Chinese New Year and Dublin International Film Festival, hitting the streets. Kildare, a day trip from Dublin, is an interesting town brightened by St Brigid's Day events this month.

Belfast & Northern Ireland

Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland, and a fascinating city full of raw, recent history, sophisticated museums and great restaurants, should be your first port of call in this region this month. There are blockbuster historic sights like Belfast Castle to check out and museums that remember everything from an overview of Irish history (all 9,000 years of it) at the Ulster Museum to the fated ship Titanic.

The city has three Michelin starred restaurants to dine at, plus an absorbing Victorian covered market, St George's Market, full of food and regional handicrafts. If you want to venture out, the Causeway Coast has a wild feel at this time of year, with huge waves that could make the experience memorably dramatic. See this article for more on what to do in Northern Ireland.

What to Do

Killarney & Southwestern Ireland

Hit Galway or Cork's lively pub and restaurant scene, where traditional live music still plays in pubs on weekend evenings even at this chilly, wet time of year. Cork even has a traditional music festival happening this month. Festivals are a great activity generally in Southwestern Ireland this month, with Killarney's The Gathering another big traditional music festivity. Here, you could also spend time finding out about Killarney's mystery-steeped historic buildings such as St Mary's Cathedral, Ross Castle or Muckross House and Gardens.

Or, take a trip out of a part of Southwestern Ireland's dramatic coast, fittingly called the Wild Atlantic Way. Full of craggy cliffs and empty bays, it might not be a place to linger in bitterly cold February but the majesty of the tempestuous wind-whipped coastline will certainly make a journey here worthwhile. Huge swells make surfing in the Donegal and Sligo area great around now.

Dublin & Eastern Ireland

Dublin has tons of indoor activities for this month's inclement weather. History-lovers will want to take the chance to see the city's famous cathedral, castle and other iconic buildings, while you can also arrange a tour of the Guinness Brewery or Jameson's Whiskey Distillery or simply take refuge in one of the city's magical and lively pubs.

In the spots of fair weather, try kayaking on the River Liffey or taking a walk in huge Phoenix Park, an enclosed 1750-acre parkland and one of the largest urban green spaces in Europe. Festival-going is popular this month in Dublin: choose from Dublin Chinese New Year or Dublin International Film Festival.

Belfast & Northern Ireland

Get a cultural fix of Belfast, where foul weather will not stop you enjoying world-class restaurants, moving historic museums, lively markets, and atmospheric pubs. Or try an invigorating coastal walk, such as a stretch of the Causeway Coast, particularly dramatic and wild at this time of year.  

February Events

St Brigid's Day For a week beginning on St Brigid's Day, February 1, the town of Kildare near Dublin celebrates one of Ireland's most important female saints with a week-long series of events starting with a gathering at St Brigid's Well.

Éigse na Brídeoige Readings, lectures, and cultural events enliven different locations in Southern Co. Kerry during early February.

Valentine's Day Worth a mention as this romantic day has an extra twist in Dublin because the relics of the saint are buried here.

The Gathering Big traditional live music and dance festival taking place at the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney at the tail end of February.

Dublin Chinese New Year Famous celebration of Chinese New Year in Dublin, with events spanning a fortnight in February. 

Dublin International Film Festival Ireland's major film festival, held in late February or early March.

Traveling in Ireland in February? Check out this great itinerary. 

Ireland Self-Driving Tour: Dublin, Killarney & Dingle (5 days). Explore the magic of Ireland on this week-long self-drive adventure. Start with a pint of Guinness in Dublin, dive into the Emerald Isle’s past at the Rock of Cashel, spend two nights in the famous heritage village of Killarney, and journey along the Wild Atlantic Way to tour the Dingle Peninsula.

More Information

Ireland in January
Ireland in March
Best Time to Visit Ireland
Getting Around Ireland