One of the best ways to experience Ireland's remote corners is with a multi-day walk through the heather-covered hills, stretches of unspoiled coast, and sheer cliffs that the Emerald Isle is famous for. Many routes are suitable for novices, and walkers spend their evenings getting a dose of culture (and a good night's sleep) in countryside towns and villages. Learn about the ten best multi-day walks in Ireland with this comprehensive guide.
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Ireland is full of kid-friendly outdoor adventures, fun ways to interact with ancient history, and cultural activities from falconry to farming. Chase the leprechaun legend in Carlingford, hang out with Ireland's favorite dolphin off the Dingle coast, or learn to surf on beginner-friendly beaches. The best part? Driving distances are short, with plenty of ways to keep little ones engaged along the way.
Ireland makes the ideal choice for a holiday with your true love: beautiful, mystery-steeped, constantly surprising and delighting, and one of the most warmly welcoming places on the planet. The enchanting Emerald Isle is country singer Johnny Cash's '40 Shades of Green', after all. Yes, you risk trading sunshine for far-wilder weather, but with some of the most dazzling coastline around, several millennia of poignant history and world-famous traditional music at its best when starting impromptu in a cosy traditional pub, this is a land highly charged with romance. Here are the best destinations for a honeymoon in Ireland.
When to visit Ireland
The coldest, windiest, and wettest weather of the year makes January in Ireland a month best spent in its bigger towns and cities, where cultural attractions from Dublin's beautiful Trinity College to Killarney's mystery-swathed ruins await. Great dining in Dublin, Belfast, Galway, and Cork further help pass time in the wild weather, while dramatic sea vistas greet those who brave the elements to visit coastal stretches like the Wild Atlantic Way.
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.
Spring may take a while to come to Ireland, as chilly, rainy weather is as slow to clear as the country is in coming back into action after a winter's break that has seen many hotels, restaurants, and attractions outside the big cities close completely. But two big festivities toward the end of the month, St Patrick's Day and Easter bring Ireland back into life with a bang, while the increasing appearance of the sun means visitors can enjoy at least a little of the outdoor activities now on offer.
Many rate April as one of the best months to visit Ireland, period. Everything is open after the winter closures of many hotels, restaurants, and attractions, and the weather is vastly improved: in fact, depending on where you are, it could just be sunnier and more settled than at almost any other time of year. The year's crowds are not yet here, though, making your explorations more enjoyable and stress-free.
May is when the weather, which has been warming for the last few months, shows the landscapes of Ireland in full color as average daily high temperatures of 59°F/15°C arrive and the countryside blooms with flowers and birdlife. Along with April, this is arguably the best month to enjoy Ireland, with the year's lowest rainfall to accompany the sun and with the crowds that arrive in the high season from June to August still absent in most places.
To announce the start of the summer high season, June has something going on almost every day in every region of the country. A lively atmosphere pervades in the villages, towns, and cities, and out in the countryside, be that up in the hills or along the coast, it is getting crowded. Some of the sunniest weather of the year makes June even easier to enjoy.
July is a sunny and comparatively dry month to visit Ireland. Water temperatures reach their annual maximum, increasing the temptation of activities like kayaking, while the warmest weather of the year makes hiking and cycling very popular now. This is the month when there are school holidays, and is accordingly one of Ireland's busiest periods.
August is the height of the summer season, with sunny, largely dry weather and the year's warmest sea temperatures. Clement conditions make the setting for some great outdoor festivals around Ireland, alongside a spate of outdoor activities that showcase the country at its absolute best, whether that is hiking the Wicklow Way in the east, diving off the coast of Connemara, or sea kayaking along Northern Ireland's stunning seaboard.
With a continuation of—and occasional improvement on—the weather of the summer high season, September overall could offer the perfect vacation in Ireland. Air and water temperatures are still some of the year's best, and yet crowds are minimal now as kids are back in school and families have returned home from their summer vacation.
The heavens open this month, as the highest rainfall of the year hits Ireland—but fall colors brighten the moors, hills, and forests and the sun still shines some of the time. When it does, the weather can be the most beautiful of any time of year, particularly with hardly any other travelers around. Beware of long hikes in the increasing mud, and be sure to have a 'plan B' available for the likely damp days: great music and arts festivals in Cork and Dublin this month are helpful options.
Ireland's great winter hibernation begins this month, as attractions and many hotels and restaurants close down from now until next Easter, temperatures drop back into the single digits and average daily hours of sunshine dwindle. The positives? The Irish combat the winter blues with some great art festivals, and you will have many parts of the country almost to yourself as you explore.
December is all about Christmas in Ireland, with the bigger towns and cities particularly erupting in festive events, markets, and elaborate decorations. The Christmas build-up is special, although the day itself is more of a family celebration. Things get going again for New Year, with Dublin throwing the biggest party of all. The bright lights and events compensate for the weather: it is some of the coldest and wettest weather of the entire year, in fact, and no time to be out exploring the countryside.