Monthly weather forecast and climate
Ireland

Flag of Ireland
Flag of Ireland

The climate of Ireland

Ireland has an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb), with cool and damp conditions throughout the year. Summers are warm, and winters are cold. Ireland is an island nation in northwestern Europe in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Republic of Ireland occupies five-sixths of the portion of the island, while Northern Ireland occupies the rest. The Irish Sea and North Channel separate Ireland from Great Britain in the east. The Atlantic Ocean lies to the north and west, and the Celtic Sea is in the south. The Atlantic Ocean and the warm Gulf Stream current chiefly influence the climate.

Ireland, the Emerald Isle, lies in the high latitudes between 51°N and 56°N but is devoid of extreme temperatures. The mild climate and frequent rainfall produce lush green vegetation, and woodlands occupy a significant area of the island. Much of the terrain is low-lying, and even the mountains do not rise to great heights. The Shannon, Ireland’s longest river at 240 miles, rises in Ulster, bisects the island, and flows in the Atlantic Ocean south of Limerick. The southeastern region of Leinster has the most fertile land in the country. The western coasts are mountainous and rocky, with many islands, peninsulas, and bays. Coastal mountains bound the low plains that span the center of the island. The highest point in Ireland is Carrauntoohil at 1047 meters.

Moist winds from the Atlantic Ocean moderate the climate of Ireland to prevent extreme temperatures that are standard at similar latitudes in other parts of the world. Summers are mild, with high temperatures rarely above 25°C (77°F) at the peak of July. The inland areas are warmer than the coast, but temperature differences are low over the island. The Atlantic weather fronts result in unstable weather, with alternate periods of rain and shine. Extended periods of clear skies are rare, and running clouds are a common sight. Winters are cold, but temperatures below freezing do not last for many nights. The western coasts are milder than the interior in the winter, but the temperature difference is hardly -15°C (5°F). Cold waves are short-lived due to the influence of the westerlies. Snow and frost occur for a few days in the winter in a few places. Temperatures below freezing occur for an average of 20 days in the year in Dublin and 50 days in the inland regions. Spring is cold initially and becomes mild by May. The spring season is the driest and sunniest part of the year. Autumn is cloudy, rainy, and windy, with little sunshine.

The annual rainfall in Ireland is in the ample range of 762mm (30") to 1524mm (60"). The precipitation occurs throughout the year, with the maximum during late autumn and winter seasons. The slopes of the western hills receive the highest rainfall of over 2032mm (80") annually. Dublin, the capital on the east coast, registers only 762mm (30") of rain. Ireland receives moderate sunshine between 1000 to 1500 hours annually. The Ulster area in the north receives hardly 1200 hours, while the Munster area in the south registers 1400 hours of annual sunshine. Wexford and Waterford, in the southeast, are the sunniest places in Ireland with more than 1570 hours of annual sunshine. The northwestern shores are the windiest places between late autumn and early spring. The western coasts are prone to Atlantic storms, with destructive winds and heavy rainfall.

The highest recorded temperature in Ireland is 33.3°C (91.9°F), set on June 26, 1881, in Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny. The lowest recorded temperature of -19.1°C (-2.4°F) occurred on January 16, 1881, in Markree Castle, Sligo. Ballaghbeena Gap recorded the highest annual rainfall of 3964.9mm (156.1") in Ireland.

The best time to visit Ireland

The best time to visit Ireland is during the summer season from June to August. Temperatures are at the warmest of the year during the summer, with ample sunshine. The southeastern region is the sunniest, with long days and average highs above 20°C (68°F). The mild period sees moderate rainfall under partly cloudy skies. The days are occasionally cold in June, but July and August are pleasantly warm. Seawaters near Dublin are at their warmest of the year between 12.8°C (55°F) to 16.1°C (61°F). May and September have acceptable temperatures, but the skies are often cloudy, and the days are short. Irish summers need a jacket or sweater, raincoat or umbrella.

The worst time to visit Ireland

The worst time to visit Ireland is during the cold winter season from December to February. The sunshine hardly lasts for 2 to 3 hours, and the skies are mostly cloudy.
The northern regions are cold, with freezing nights and day temperatures in the 7.2°C (45°F) to 10°C (50°F) range. Frost is standard, but snow is rare. The winter is susceptible to low-pressure systems that bring windstorms in the north. The western region sees ample rainfall and little sunshine in the winter. Cold waves are rare, but the conditions are cloudy and wet most of the time. Stormy conditions occasionally occur in late autumn and winter seasons.

Weather hazards

Ireland has few natural weather hazards in the form of earthquakes, sinkholes, landslides, floods, and volcanic ash. Major landslides in Galway and Mayo in 2003 damaged roads and buildings, and were responsible for substantial financial losses. The eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland in 2010 affected the atmosphere of Ireland due to the spread of volcanic ash. Geohazards, such as sinkholes, cause engineering problems due to sudden collapse associated with subsurface voids. Moderate-intensity earthquakes mainly occur near Donegal and Wexford, in the southeast and northwest regions of Ireland. Floods occasionally occur in the western region. Atlantic depressions occasionally bring winds with speeds up to 160.9km/h (100mph) on the west coast.

Weather in January

January is usually the coldest month of the year in Ireland, with gray skies and damp conditions. Temperatures seldom drop below -5°C (23°F) in the winter. The average temperatures in Dublin, on the east coast, are in the cold zone of 2.2°C (36°F) to 7.8°C (46°F). Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is cold and damp in the winter of Ireland, with little sunshine amid mostly cloudy skies. Dublin is in the cold zone of 2.2°C (36°F) to 8.3°C (46.9°F), but calmer than the northern coast, with wind speeds below 24.1km/h (15mph). The east coast receives an average of 63.5mm (2.5") of precipitation and is less rainy than the west coast. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March begins with cold, damp weather in Ireland, with occasional freezing nights. The beginning of the spring season by the Spring Equinox ushers warm days with high temperatures over 10°C (50°F). The average temperatures in Dublin are in the cold to the mild zone of 2.8°C (37°F) to 10°C (50°F) range, with daily sunshine of 4 hours. Light rainfall frequently occurs, with cloud cover for 60% of the day. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April begins to show signs of warmth in Ireland, as the spring season advances rapidly. The striking feature is the increase in daylight from 13 to 15 hours by the end of the month. The average temperatures in Dublin are in the 5°C (41°F) to 12.2°C (54°F), with 5 hours of daily sunshine that promotes outdoor activities. Wind speeds remain between 19.3km/h (12mph) and 22.5km/h (14mph) on the eastern shores, but the Irish Sea is cold for swimming below 8.9°C (48°F). Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is mild to warm in Ireland amid a rapid increase in daylight and sunshine. The landscape is lush green as periodic light rainfall is standard, even during sunny days. The ordinarily wet west coast of Valentia records 94mm (3.7") as average temperatures warm in the 7.8°C (46°F) to 15°C (59°F) zone. Cork and Clones register temperatures between 6.7°C (44.1°F) to 15°C (59°F), with 63.5mm (2.5") to 76.2mm (3"), and slightly cold nights. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June begins the lovely summer season in Ireland, with long days and comfortable sunshine. June 21 is the longest day of the year, with an incredible 17 hours of daylight and sunset past 10 p.m. The skies are partly cloudy, and the warm sunshine hardly registers an ultraviolet index of 6. Bellmullet in County Mayo, registers average temperatures in the mild 10.6°C (51.1°F) to 16.1°C (61°F), with 71.1mm (2.8") of moderate rainfall in 8 to 10 wet days. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is warm and pleasant in the summer of Ireland. Temperatures reach yearly-highs but rarely go past 25°C (77°F) and seldom beyond 30°C (86°F). The average temperatures in Dublin are in the warm 12.2°C (54°F) to 20°C (68°F) range, with a 50% probability of cloudy skies and 5 hours of daily sunshine. Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is warm and beautiful in the summer season of Ireland, with frequent sunshine and light precipitation. Wexford and Galway register average temperatures in the comfortable zone of 12.2°C (54°F) and 18.9°C (66°F). The daylight decreases sharply to register below 14 hours at the end of the month. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September is cool in Ireland after the departure of the summer season. The daylight recedes gradually from 13 hours in the beginning to 11.5 hours at the end of the month. The average temperatures in Dublin are in the range of 10°C (50°F) to 17.2°C (63°F), with hardly 4 hours of sunshine. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is cold in the fall season of Ireland, with decreasing sunshine amid short days. The daylight drops below 10.5 hours in most regions by the end of the month. The average temperatures in Limerick and Kerry are in the cold range of 7.2°C (45°F) to 12.8°C (55°F), with only 3 hours of daily sunshine. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November is cold and wet, with the departure of the fall season in Ireland. The daylight fades quickly from 10.5 hours to 8.5 hours at the end of the month. Cloudy skies allow daily sunshine for less than 2 hours. The average temperatures in the Ulster region are in the 3.9°C (39°F) to 10.6°C (51.1°F), with occasional freezing nights. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is the beginning of the cold and wet winter season in Ireland. Snowfall occurs in the mountains but is rare in central lowlands. The average temperatures in Kilkenny are in the cold zone of 2.2°C (36°F) to 8.9°C (48°F), with 91.4mm (3.6") of rain that limits the daily sunshine to just 2 hours. Weather in December »
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