If visiting Ireland is something you have had on your bucket list, you are probably wondering when is the best time to go to get the very best weather. Having a rough idea of the Irish climate can help you decide whether you want to experience the beauty of the Emerald Isle during the winter months or the summer months.
Because, quite honestly, each season has something stunning and unique to offer its visitors.
One big weather question we hear is whether Ireland has snow and if it does, when is the best time to visit Ireland if you want to see snowy mountains.
So, let’s get to it.
Does It Snow In Ireland?
Yes, Ireland does see snow but not as much as you might expect. Honestly, if you are looking for a snow-laden holiday, Ireland can’t guarantee a single flake, regardless of what month you go.
But it is not out of the realm of possibility.
Ireland is a small island located smack bang in the Atlantic Ocean. Its position along the North Atlantic drift and gulf stream influence Ireland’s average temperatures. The size of this luscious place also has a massive effect on the potential for snowfall and it sticking around long enough to snow angel your way over the hills.
Ireland is surrounded by water, and if you didn’t know already, snow likes to fall heavier in more inland parts of the world. Coastal areas naturally have Milder climates which is not the best weather for snow.
However, some parts of Ireland are more likely to have snow. Our less than favourable snow conditions mean that, when we do see the white stuff, it rarely causes any disruptions or safety issues.
The Climate In Ireland
Although Ireland doesn’t see a massive amount of snow, this little Island does show off some varied climate conditions that can make every time of the year special for your travels.
It is far cheaper to visit Ireland during the winter months, so it can be helpful to know what to expect if you choose to see our beautiful Island outside of the usual high season.
How Cold Does Ireland Get?
Ireland’s positioning in the north Atlantic ocean gives us the pleasure of a temperate oceanic climate. This means we experience damp, humid weather that rarely gets far below freezing temperatures, even in the depths of winter.
On average, winter temperatures fall somewhere around 7-8c (45-46f) in more inland counties, and around 8-10c (46/50f) along the Irish coast.
It is not tropical, although our regular mixture of prevailing winds and abundant rainfall can make it feel like a tropical rainy season during the late summer months and early fall.
What Are Winters Like In Ireland?
The normal winters in Ireland are hard to pin down but it’s generally considered that December, January, and February are their winter months.
Ireland sees between 3 and 4 inches of monthly rainfall and an average temperature during the day of 7-14c. Ireland is lucky to experience such mild winter weather, even if there is a lot of wet weather, and even if a cold snap does cover the country, it does not usually last too long thanks to the western winds.
Although snow is unlikely in most places, many of Ireland’s beautiful mountains, like the Mourne mountains, will be covered in snow during the winter. Even if it can be difficult to get to, it is still beautiful to see.
February tends to be one of the coldest months in Ireland. You may even find visiting in December still blesses you with some mild and even temperatures. The further north you travel on the emerald isle, the colder it will get as you travel further away from the equator.
What Months Does It Snow In Ireland?
You are likelier to see snowfall in Ireland from January to April. However, there have been reports of snowfall right into the summer months.
However, on rare occasions such as Ireland’s biggest snowfall of December 2010 when Ireland saw an extended cold snap that reached as low as -15c (5f) in the western outskirts of Dublin and -7c (195f) in County Cork, Ireland can find itself covered in a blanket of snow.
If Ireland does see real snow, it is most likely to happen in either January or February, with an average of 5 days of snow in the South west and anywhere up to a cracking 24 days of snow in the Midlands.
How Often Does It Snow In Ireland?
Snow in Ireland doesn’t happen very often, the whole Island on average only sees around 30 days of snow every year and most of this snowfall happens in the mountainous regions. Even then, a lot of snowfall doesn’t last very long. Up to a day or two at most.
That being said there are many winters where snow doesn’t fall at all or may just fall and not actually set on the ground.
How Much Snow Does Ireland Get?
Although Ireland’s snowfall level varies from year to year, it can be good to get an idea of how much snow they get on average so you can plan the perfect winter trip to Ireland.
Average Snow In Ireland
Ireland is a rarity. Many of the other countries that share the same latitude as this country experience a lot more snowfall. However, you’ve had a good snow day in Ireland if you’ve reached just 1-2cm of lying snow. The higher up you go into more mountainous regions the deeper the snow will be.
Lower land levels will see anywhere from 4 days of snowfall to 20 days, with the east coast experiencing more heavy snowfall. However, if you want to know about actual snow cover, you know the snow that lies on the ground begging to be built into a snowman, the numbers reduce dramatically.
Snow cover in Ireland on average, has only been recorded from as little as 0 days to a maximum of 6.
Yet, Ireland has had its fair share of unexpected blizzards. As recent as 2018, they saw the arrival of Storm Emma which brought a cold front from Siberia. This storm covered Ireland in a thick blanket of snow from the 28th of February to early march and garnered the nickname ‘the beast from the east’ as it caused major disruptions with much of the East and Dublin having to shut down.
Where Does It Snow In Ireland?
It might seem a bit of a lost cause when it comes to experiencing a snowy white Ireland but there are some places around the country where your chances of a snow-filled trip are a little higher.
Does All Of Ireland Get Snow?
Not really. The further you reach Ireland’s northern coast, the likelier it is that snow will fall and even stick around for a day or two. Most low-lying areas also experience snowfall a lot less.
Places like the North Midlands, the Eastern coast, especially County Wicklow, and the very north of County Donegal see more snowfall than other areas of Ireland.
If you have your heart set on seeing snow in Ireland we suggest hitting the Mourne mountains in mid-January to late February. Not only are the Wicklow mountains one of the most beautiful places in Ireland but the smaller summit of Slieveanlogh is easier to scale and gives you the perfect view of these mountains.
In the small town of Clones, County Monaghan there is a weather station that has been dubbed the snowiest weather station in Ireland. This quiet rural town sits right on the western border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and sees around 30 days of snow or sleet every single year. So, quite the rarity in Ireland.
On the opposite end of the snowy in Ireland spectrum is Valentia Island, which sees the least amount of snow in Ireland. Located in County Kerry, this sailed that is connected to the mainland by a bridge sees a maximum of 5.6 days of snow or sleet every year.
Does It Snow In Dublin?
Dublin is one area of Ireland that is more likely to experience snowfall. Falling along one of the most upland regions of Ireland, including the Wicklow mountains, Dublin is more prone to snow during the winter months.
The temperate oceanic climate of the area may dampen the chances of snow a little but the low-lying mountains of this area are more welcoming to snowy climates.
Five Best Things In Ireland To Do When It Snows
It comes as no surprise that when the Irish people are lucky enough to get a decent amount of snow they make the most of it and so should you. Here are five things you should do if it snows in Ireland.
See The Aurora Borealis
When you think of the northern lights, Ireland might be one of the last countries that come to mind. However, County Donegal is the place to be to enjoy this night sky spectacle during the winter months.
Of course, you’ll want to be as far away from excess light pollution to experience this beauty of nature and Donegal has all the remote places you need to really see the northern lights properly.
Here are some areas in Donegal where you can see the aurora borealis in all its glory.
- Malin Head
- Dunree Head
- Fanad Head
- The Sliabh Liag Cliffs
- The Rosguil Peninsula
Not sure when the lights will be visible. We have got you covered. This website gives live updates for optimal light viewing so you won’t miss an opportunity while you visit Ireland.
However, watch out for Irelands abundant rain and prevailing winds. Make sure you are wrapped up warm with plenty of good-quality raincoats and maybe even somewhere to run to if the rain gets too heavy.
Visit The Newgrange Passage Tomb
The jewel of Ireland, the passage tomb at Newgrange is the place to be during the winter solstice. This 5,200-year-old tomb perfectly aligns with the rising winter solstice sun giving the lucky few who get to be inside the tomb for this event, a first-hand view of how it illuminates the entire tomb.
It is a complete mystery as to why or how stone age farmers built the Newgrange tomb. However, if you are lucky to be there on a clear winter night the view and experience are worth their weight in gold.
Go Mountain Hiking
Even though Ireland’s winter days are short, this time of year is perfect to hike the mountains and enjoy the snowy scenery. Mountainous locations like the Mourne mountains and MacGillyscuddy Reeks are some of the most awe-inspiring locations in Ireland. It’s said they even inspired C.S Lewis as he wrote Narnia.
However, air temperatures can drop fast in the mountains as the sun sets, and it sets fast during the winter. So, you will want to ensure you are properly prepared in case of any unexpected circumstances and have someone with you who has a decent amount of hiking experience.
Enjoy A Cosy Pub
If climbing mountains isn’t your thing, then going for a chilly walk in the snow, followed by a cozy drink or two in a traditional Irish pub, might be just what you’re after.
There’s nothing quite like warming your frosty fingers by an open peat fire in a quaint and cosy pub. Perhaps you’ll even stumble across one that has traditional musicians playing to give you the true Irish pub experience.
Snow Angels And Snowmen
Snow is a rare occurrence in many parts of Ireland so it’s hard not to join in the delight when it does fall and stay put.
Get in touch with your inner child, head to the center of wherever you are and build a snowman, complete with a carrot nose and coal eyes, and create a snow angel or two.
At the very least, you’ll give a passing child an absolute thrill seeing a rarely seen Irish snowman.
I am a British-born copywriter who moved to Ireland over a decade ago and have been captivated by Irish culture, landscape and folklore. I enjoy sharing my passion for Ireland through my writing as a freelancer.