TradFest Temple Bar, Dublin
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
You're spoiled for things to do on a trip to Ireland in January. Relax and rejuvenate in beautiful and exclusive spas hidden in the most peaceful corners of the island. Or enjoy a busy weekend of sightseeing in Ireland's culture-fuelled cities like Dublin, Belfast and Galway, where most things are within easy walking distance and where the coast and pretty towns and villages are just a short hop away. And who could resist the allure of Dublin's TradFest Temple Bar, where lively music sessions are sure to lift those winter blues!
Did you know St Brigid's Day (February 1) marks the first day of Celtic spring in Ireland? And spring isn't the only thing in the air here... There are lots of romantic ways to celebrate Valentine's Day, too. Who could resist a sunset at the iconic Cliffs of Moher in County Clare? Or the incredible love story and stunning scenery at Kylemore Abbey in County Galway? It's the perfect month to cosy up in unique places to stay, enjoy a festival or two and embrace rugby fever as the Six Nations Championship kicks into gear.
St Patrick's Festival, Dublin
Irish National Stud and Gardens, County Kildare
If you dream of soaking up the festivities of St Patrick’s Day, March is the perfect time to visit the island of Ireland. Enjoy colourful parades, raise a toast to Ireland's patron saint in a traditional pub and soak up the atmosphere at live music sessions and festivals across the island. You can even follow in St Patrick's footsteps! March is also a great month to witness the island's gorgeous gardens in bloom, or to visit a working sheep farm at the start of lambing season.
Bluebells, daffodils and gorse dot the landscape in April as spring continues to flourish in Ireland. Indulge your sweet tooth at Easter in Ireland, experience foaling season at the Irish National Stud and Gardens or take in a festival celebrating the arts and music. April 15 marks the anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic. You can pay homage to the Ship of Dreams in Belfast, the city where it was built, by visiting Titanic Belfast, an award-winning interactive museum.
Great Western Greenway, County Mayo
Statue of James Joyce, Dublin
May in Ireland is the time when road trips beckon, gardens flourish and Star Wars celebrations ensue. And thanks to the warmer weather and longer days, it's an ideal month to take to two wheels and enjoy the scenery along Ireland's many cycling routes. Uncover the cinematic splendour of Star Wars locations along the Wild Atlantic Way, discover local produce at bustling farmers' markets and enjoy a touch of tranquillity in one of Ireland's many stunning sustainable places to stay.
Literary fans will love a trip to Ireland in June as Bloomsday celebrations (June 16) enliven Dublin, paying homage to James Joyce's iconic novel, Ulysses. Expect readings, costumed fans, live music and delicious food across the city and beyond. The long sunny days make for the perfect time to head off the beaten track and visit Ireland's islands or get your adrenaline pumping by hitting the waves along the Wild Atlantic Way in surfing hotspots like Mullaghmore Head in County Sligo and Bundoran in County Donegal.
Boat near Clonmacnoise, County Offaly
Cloughoughter Castle, County Cavan
Festival season is at its peak in Ireland in July. From the Galway International Arts Festival to Derry~Londonderry's Foyle Maritime Festival, there really is something for everyone to enjoy! Immerse yourself in watersports, sail the River Shannon on a houseboat or rent a barge and journey along one of Ireland's tranquil canals. If you prefer keeping your feet firmly on the ground, get out into nature on a walking or hiking trail and take in incredible scenery in the Mourne Mountains in County Down, the gorgeous Copper Coast in County Waterford or the tranquil Slieve Bloom Mountains in counties Laois and Offaly.
The long, warm days of August mean it's an ideal time to embark on an epic road trip across Ireland. Visit the real-life world of Westeros in Northern Ireland, explore the coastal beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way or embark on a journey into the past in Ireland's Ancient East. Fancy escaping into the wilderness? Connemara in County Galway, Castlewellan Forest Park in County Down and the Wicklow Mountains all offer up incredible varied scenery to enjoy. Or try Ireland's Hidden Heartlands for historic sites, wonderful waterways and quaint towns.
Oysters, County Clare
Derry Halloween, Derry~Londonderry
As the busy summer season comes to a close, September allows for a quieter exploration of Ireland’s attractions and landscapes. Head to what feels like the edge of the world at the Slieve League Cliffs and the stunning coastlines of the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal. Or explore Yeats County in Sligo where gorgeous mountains such as the mighty Benbulben will take your breath away. Feeling peckish? Foodies will love the culinary delights of the Galway International Oyster Festival and the Armagh Food & Cider Festival.
In October, the air is crisp, the landscapes explode in a kaleidoscope of autumn colours and the festival fun continues with the Dublin Theatre Festival, Belfast International Arts Festival and Dingle Food Festival all in store. And did you know that Halloween originated in Ireland some 2,000 years ago? Don't miss the fabulously colourful festival of Derry Halloween in Derry~Londonderry, and Puca Halloween Festival in County Meath, which offers up dazzling spectacles, music and haunting characters.
Lough Gill, County Sligo
Belfast City Hall, Belfast
Chilly November days bring their own charm, and nature still manages to put on a show in Ireland. November is the perfect time to go whale watching on the west coast, and stargazers will delight in the twinkling skies of OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory in County Tyrone and the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve. And don't miss the gorgeous autumnal shades of Killarney National Park in County Kerry or the stunning Glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland, both of which are famed for their natural beauty.
Cosy pubs filled with live music, festive delights and picturesque castles are just some of the highlights of December in Ireland. The winter solstice is marked with a spectacular natural light show in Newgrange, County Meath. And who could resist Ireland’s Christmas markets? With handmade gifts, mulled wine, hot chocolate and a great atmosphere, they're a real treat and are sure to get you into the festive spirit. Top it all off by ringing in the New Year in Dublin and you’re sure to have a trip you’ll never forget.