Ireland is an amazingly popular country and in recent years the tourism trade has boomed. There are around 9 million people a year that drive, fly, ferry or travel by whatever means available to visit this beautiful country with its famous and iconic landmarks.
Visitors come to see the wide array of historic buildings from Norman castles to modern-day manor houses, to view gorgeous botanical gardens or kiss the famous Blarney Stone.
Ireland has a long history of poets, writers and other literary great and the whole country is synonymous with fluid and eloquent speakers. Perhaps it is this romantic history that makes so many people feel that they have an affinity with the Emerald Isle. Or maybe it is the spectacular landscapes, with rugged cliffs and windswept scenery that stirs the soul. Either way, visitors come and keep coming to Ireland throughout the year.
But what is the best time to visit? Ireland has the 4 distinct seasons from Winter through to summer, so in what months can you expect to enjoy the best of the country and get the biggest bang for your buck?
Cheapest Flight Times
The traditional busy months for travel to Ireland are the peak summer month of July and August. This is when the summer weather is at its peak and a large number of tourists are traveling into the country. However, if you can go a few weeks either side of these months you may be able to bag yourself a bargain flight deal.
Especially if you can fly Tuesday to Tuesday for example rather than the traditional Saturday to Saturday flights. Booking your travel on weekdays can yield deep discounts. Also avoiding the traditional 3 day weekends or ‘bank holiday’ periods can help you keep prices low.
Best Months for Travel
So if you plan your trip to avoid the peak months, then what are the best times to go? The months either side of July and August still enjoy some relatively mild temperatures, smaller crowds, and cheaper accommodation and fares.
Take a look at traveling in May and June, or in September and October. These slightly off-peak times will offer you much better travel deals with hotel and B&B rates being lower or offering deals and reduced packages.
Best time to fly to Ireland from Different Countries
Depending on your country of residence there can be better or worse times of the year to bag a cheap deal to the Emerald Isle. Here are a few ideas for months to travel based on the country you will be flying from.
Cheapest time to fly to Ireland from Canada
While Canada and Ireland both experience cold temperatures in the winter months this can be an excellent time to get yourself a cheaper travel deal. Transatlantic flights run at a much higher cost than domestic travel so a little flexibility with dates could save you a packet.
Summer months in Ireland are highly popular so avoid June to August and check out months March or November to get a sweet deal.
If you can schedule your flight towards the beginning of March or end of November you will get a better deal still.
Cheapest time to fly to Ireland from Australia
If you are looking to visit Ireland from Australia some careful checking of flight schedules will reveal some pretty nice deals for you. It is worth bearing in mind that the influx of international visitors to Ireland takes a dip around mid-October.
So start your flight searches towards the end of October through to Christmas. Many travelers don’t mind flying on Christmas Day so if you are looking to spend the holiday season in Ireland and you don’t mind celebrating Christmas Day in the air you could get a great discount.
Cheapest time to fly to Ireland from the USA
The same principle applies to flights from the USA, as the international visits to Ireland drop off after the holiday season but remember, there is a large contingent of people with Irish ancestors in the USA. Especially around the Boston and New York areas.
If you live here the late season from October on will give decent deals but you may find that the Christmas season is not quite as cheap as from Australia. For really good deals see if you can get flights from January to mid-March from the USA.
Cheapest time to fly to Ireland from England
As England is really quite close in proximity to Ireland the flights are never overly expensive. There are a number of airports that are located just a hop, skip, and a jump from Irish shores.
Brits can take advantage of reasonably priced flights all year round, especially from local budget airlines like Ryanair. The high summer months in July and August will see a peak when the kids are out of school and popular holidays like St Patricks Day should be avoided but other than those days some nice deals can be dug up all year round.
Cheapest time to fly to Ireland from India
Depending on where you are in India the flight prices will vary quite a bit. As India is such a large landmass the origination airport can affect the prices greatly.
It will be premium prices around popular Indian holidays or religious festivals so these times should be avoided. Generally speaking, the cheaper flights will be found in the off-peak months of Jan – March or Oct – Nov.
Things To See And Do in Ireland During The Cheap Seasons
If you plan on going to Ireland during the off-peak seasons here is a quick list of things that you might want to check out:
Things to do in Ireland During Winter
If you are dead set on traveling to the Emerald Isle in the winter months be prepared for some cold and bad weather. November through March typically have much colder temperatures and not many tourists are looking to travel around this time.
While you may be able to get yourself a great deal you will also have to consider that many tourist attractions are only open through specific months of the year. However, if this poses no barrier to you then the winter months may work well.
Throughout the winter there are several events that you can experience that will still give you that authentic Irish experience. Not least of which is St Patrick’s Day in March. Prices will spike around this time as it is such a popular event but if you are in the country already then go and see one of the many St Patrick’s Day celebrations dotted around the country.
Major cities like Dublin and Belfast hold large St Patrick’s Day events but if you are staying in a smaller town or village, don’t worry, most areas do something to celebrate the Patron Saint of Ireland, so you will not miss out.
For the deep dark winter months, there are still a handful of festivals taking place around the country like the Winter Solstice and Darklight Film Festival in December, or the Cumann Merriman Festival in February.
If that’s not enough for you then you could also see the amazing northern lights. It is a myth that they are only visible from Scandinavia and similar countries. The Aurora Borealis is easily visible from Ireland’s northern shores during the wintertime.
Winter City Breaks, Dublin & Belfast
If the deep, dark winter is truly the only time that you can visit Ireland then think about doing a city break in one of the larger cities. Dublin and Belfast both have a thriving city scene and are a great choice for visiting during the colder months.
You can experience one of the many museums, or tour some of the local buildings and colleges. It’s also a good time to enjoy indoor pursuits such as visiting one of the many local breweries or visiting some of the local pubs for a pint by a warm fireplace and some traditional Irish music.
Things to do in Ireland During Spring
As the winter moves away and the prettier months of Spring arrive there is ample opportunity to see much of the Emerald Isle at reasonable rates. There will still be restrictions on certain tourist attractions and while it may be a bit chilly for boat tours or whale watching there will be plenty to choose from.
The weather at this time can still be cold and rainy but there should be some bright sunny days too. This may be the perfect time to explore the Wild Atlantic Way or explore the Ring of Kerry.
If the weather is mild enough then you can visit some of the iconic tourists’ attractions around the country such as the Cliffs of Moher or Giant’s Causeway. It is also a good time to visit one of the UNESCO or Heritage Sites.
Things to do in Ireland in Autumn (Fall)
Just past the warm summer months are the pleasant days of autumn, with mild temperatures and long hours of daylight. These are perfect months to see almost everything that Ireland has to offer from its natural parks and scenery to long expansive beaches and a whole host of sightseeing options.
The weather is still mild enough during this time to enjoy just about anything you wish and many of the heritage and tourist-driven sites still remain open to visitors during this time.
There are not as many events and festivals during this time of year as there is in the summer but there is still a good amount to pick from. From September to late October, there are several popular festivals such as the Galway International Oyster Festival, the Wexford Opera Festival, and the Cork Jazz Festival.
Autumn is also a great time to enjoy one of the many boat tours available from tours of Galway Bay to Whale Watching or island tours around the Dingle Peninsula. It’s also a beautiful time to visit one of the many beautiful lakes or Loughs with the autumn colors and changing leaves making for some stunning photo opportunities.
There is also a good number of food festivals and wild fruit picking events around this time and when the end of October rolls around you will not have to look far to enjoy a Halloween Festival with people dressing up as ghouls, ghosts and zombies in keeping with the annual celebration, and this is a nice time of the year to enjoy horse racing at the local track or wine tasting in one of Ireland’s vineyards.
As with most popular destinations, off-peak months will be cheaper for visitors travel to the Emerald Isle, though it will not afford the best in terms of summery days.
But don’t let the thought of a bit of inclement weather put you off. While Ireland is known for its stunning natural beauty there is also a wealth of options for indoor entertainment during the colder season. Don’t miss Dublin’s pubs, city museums, and winter and fall festivals.
Brewery tours and other tours abound and if you don’t mind getting wrapped up in your winter woollies then some of the iconic visitor’s sites can offer stunning views and a different landscape than normally seem during the warmer summer months.