10 Things You Have to Do in Ireland in the Fall


Fall's the same everywhere, right? Wrong. Here’s how to celebrate the fall with an Ireland twist!

10. Head for a Traditional Music Session

Ah, the Irish pub, no better place to duck inside on a cold day! Blazing open fires, warm welcomes and old-world knick-knacks aside, make sure to catch a traditional music session to get the complete experience. Here, among wooden corner booths, snugs and pints of Guinness, friends old and new trade melodies and ancient songs on an assortment of native instruments.

9. Get Spooked

Did you know that Halloween was invented in Ireland? Which is why we celebrate it in style! Voted the world’s best Halloween spot in a poll by USA Today’s 10Best online poll, The Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival in Derry-Londonderry beat out ghoulish competition including witch trial capital Salem, Massachusettes, and even Transylvania! Want to be even more spooked? Take a paranormal tour around Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol and Wexford’s Loftus Hall. Boo!

8. Catch a Festival

The island goes into overdrive as it hosts some of the biggest events on the cultural calendar, with a fantastic line-up for the Autumn Festival Season. Check out the Dublin Theatre Festival, the Belfast International Arts Festival or the smooth sounds of the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Or head to the Wexford Festival Opera, delve into Dracula’s creator at Dublin’s Bram Stoker Festival, or tuck into delicious food and drink at Savour Kilkenny, the Kinsale Gourmet Festival and Oktoberfest. Decisions, decisions, decisions…

7. Castle stays

Who wouldn’t love to be king or queen of their own castle? Luxurious castles are something we know a thing or two about, here in Ireland. Treat yourself to opulent interiors, wonderful food, warm and welcoming hosts and centuries of history. Inside those ancient stone walls, expect staggering architecture, hidden rooms, incredible stories of battles, betrayals and unrequited love – oh, and perhaps a friendly ghost or two. Outdoors? Pull on your boots and try out some horse-riding, cracking golf courses and spectacular walks around immaculate gardens and estates.

6. Fabulous food

Fall in Ireland not only brings with it beautiful scenery, but also an abundance of fresh, local produce. The chefs who command the island’s kitchens – from gastro pubs and cafés to Michelin starred restaurants – create wonderful seasonal dishes in celebration, such as boxty (a kind of traditional potato pancake) or coddle (a stew of bacon, potatoes, onions and sausages). But our menus don’t stop there: Ireland’s innovative chefs are serving up a new strand of creative Irish cuisine, making the most of the ingredients to be found from sea to shore. 

5. Brilliant city breaks

Dublin and Belfast: Two cities, two distinctive styles, one fantastic experience. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering which one to ‘do’, the good news is you can do both, they’re only two hours apart! Start by exploring Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature, founded by Vikings, buzzing with traditional pubs and home to some of the friendliest locals on the planet. Then head for Belfast where you’ll discover cutting-edge restaurants, an incredible music scene and unforgettable Titanic sightseeing. Wherever your journey takes you, there's one thing for sure – you’ll be bowled over by the sights and sounds of our captivating capital cities.

4. Discover Westeros

Do you wish you could experience Westeros in all its glory? Then look no further! Northern Ireland is Game of Thrones® Territory and home to countless Seven Kingdoms filming locations. Bruised skies only add to the atmosphere whether you’re learning archery at Winterfell, meeting the direwolves or traveling the Kingsroad on horseback.

3. Warm Up in a Cozy Café

You can’t journey around Ireland in fall without stopping into a cozy café for a drop of tea or coffee. Preferably accompanied by some cake and pastry loveliness. Take an indulgent pitstop at Malahide’s Garden Café, Avoca’s Fern House in Wicklow or Established Coffee in Belfast to rest those weary bones.

2. Drink an Irish Coffee

“Is this Brazilian coffee?”, someone asked. “No," replied Joe, "that's Irish Coffee." It's one of the many tales you'll hear at the Flying Boat and Maritime Museum in County Limerick. Invented in 1942 by Chef Joe Sheridan at Foynes Port, where planes en route from Europe to America would stop to refuel, he whipped it up one chilly evening for passengers delayed due to bad weather! Wind blowing outside? Take a sip of this classic.

1. Celebrate Harvest Season

Fall is harvest time, and there’s nothing quite as tasty as heading to farmers markets – big and small – to pick up food fresh from the farm! Two special treats, though, have to be St George's Market in Belfast and the English Market in Cork, which have both been serving organic goods for centuries. Alternatively, head to the orchard county of Armagh, the home of the Bramley Apple, which has European Commission for PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), and learn how to make your own cider, jam and juice. Yum.