Ireland Overview

Weather informs everything in Ireland. Atlantic storms have pummelled the coast into divine coves and cliffs. Rain feeds mountain lakes and streams that tumble into waterfalls and create magnificent emerald valleys. The winds blow in surfers and sailors seeking some of the world’s finest waves. The changes in the weather have inspired legions of Irish writers, painters and musicians. And when the sun does appear, Irish eyes go from smiling to seventh heaven. But no matter what the skies are doing, Irish people will always open their doors to welcome you in from the rain. Learn more in our Ireland travel guide.

Our top Ireland holidays

Ireland holiday by train

From £1125 to £1245
9 days ex flights
Discover contrasts of Dublin, Galway and Belfast, car-free.

Ireland holiday, small group

From £1790 to £2030
8 days ex flights
Encounter folklore and fairy tales as you explore Ireland
Small group2021: 19 Jun, 3 Jul, 17 Jul, 31 Jul, 14 Aug, 28 Aug, 4 Sep, 11 Sep, 18 Sep, 2022: 7 May, 21 May, 18 Jun, 2 Jul, 16 Jul, 30 Jul, 13 Aug, 27 Aug, 3 Sep, 10 Sep, 17 Sep

Dingle Way walking holiday in Ireland

From £980 to £1270
11 days ex flights
Self guided walk on The Dingle Way

Best time to go to Ireland

Everyone loves the Emerald Isle, but not everyone loves the reason why it is so remarkably green. The east coast averages 150 days of rain a year and the west 225. The heavens can open at any point, but the best time to avoid it is, statistically, either April or June. The secret is to not worry – Ireland is a ‘four seasons in a day’ country. In summer, when temperatures top 20°C, Kerry and the Antrim Coast are busy, but hiking routes are never crowded. St. Patrick’s Day is fun, but go rural rather than big city for traditional events. Read more about the best time to visit Ireland.
Ireland temperature and rainfall chart

Map & highlights

Walkers have a wealth of choice in Ireland, from the well-marked 215km-long Kerry Way taking you past lakes, waterfalls and beaches, to a nine-day trek along the Dingle Peninsula likely to be less busy. Sublime clifftop views can be had from the Causeway Coast Path in Northern Ireland, encompassing the Giant’s Causeway. Dublin is Ireland’s cultural heart and renowned for its nightlife, but for traditional Irish folk music, head instead for harbourside Galway on the west coast. And for a complete change of scenery, and atmosphere, make for the idyllic Aran Islands of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oirr.
Aran Islands

1. Aran Islands

Ireland has hundreds of offshore islands, but the Aran Islands of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oirr are three of the most accessible. They also have some of the finest archaeology, including world famous Dún Aonghasa fort on Inis Mór. Don’t just do the daytripper thing, but stay overnight. Trust us, you won’t want to leave these car free idylls where cycling and hiking trails transport you into laidback, lore-filled lands.
The Dingle Peninsula & the Dingle Way

2. The Dingle Peninsula & the Dingle Way

County Kerry can be packed with tourist filled coaches negotiating the Ring of Kerry. But Kerry is a place for walking. And the Dingle Peninsula, with long distance walking trail the Dingle Way, 162km of beaches, pubs, coves, pubs, cliffs, pubs and rural villages, with pubs, is hard to beat. Hike it all in nine days, depending on how many pub stops you make. And don’t miss a trip out to the Blasket Islands.
Giant’s Causeway & Antrim Coast

3. Giant’s Causeway & Antrim Coast

As well as visiting the rightly lauded basalt beauties that make up the UNESCO Site, Giant’s Causeway, escape the crowds and hike along the Causeway Coast Path. One beautiful headland beckons after another, dipping down to sumptuous strands such as White Park Bay, diverting around the magnificent ruins of Dunluce Castle, and diverting out to the bird watching haven of Rathlin Island.
Glens of Antrim

4. Glens of Antrim

The Antrim Coast attracts crowds, but if you turn your back on the sea for a minute, you can take in some of the nine verdant valleys sweeping down to the coast from the Antrim Plateau. These are the Glens of Antrim. Game of Thrones land for some. Hiking kingdoms for others. Made easier by the fact that the Ulster Way, a 1,000km Northern Irish trail, cuts through them. Nothing ‘stark’ here. Just stunning.
The Kerry Way

5. The Kerry Way

There’s the N70, a road that circumnavigates the Ring of Kerry, and then there is the Iveragh Peninsula’s Kerry Way National Walking Trail, 170km of not only emeralds, such as the luscious green Glencar Valley, but also Killarney’s sapphire blue lakes, diamond-like waterfalls, ruby red bog and brush of Macgillycuddy's Reeks at sunrise, and pearl-like sandy coves, one of the top ones being at Caherdaniel.
Tri-cities by train

6. Tri-cities by train

Forget car hires and take in both of the island’s capital cities, the west coast, plus an island or two, all by train (and quick ferry). Take a guided walking tour in Dublin, the city of literary greats, from Joyce to Wilde. Or in Belfast, to learn about its years of political divide. In contrast, Galway is about traditional music, Irish language, coastal walks and an escape to the nearby Aran Islands.

More holiday ideas

West Coast of Ireland photography holiday

From £2850
11 days ex flights
Connemara, Galway & County Mayo photography holiday
Small group2022: 29 Sep

Ireland 9 day tour

From US $3390
9 days ex flights
Luck of the Irish!
Small group2021: 7 Aug

Ring of Kerry walking holiday in Ireland

From £860
8 days ex flights
Discover the The Iveragh Peninsula
Tailor made

Wild Atlantic Way guided rail tour in Ireland

From £1895
8 days ex flights
A fully guided tour around Ireland's famous touring route
Small group2021: 26 Sep

Burren Way cycling tour in West Ireland

From €825 to €865
7 days ex flights
The Burren, Cliffs of Moher and Aran Islands
Tailor made

Kerry Way self guided walking holiday, Ireland

From £1179 to £1189
8 days ex flights
Walk through 10,000 years of dramatic Celtic history
Tailor made
Quote. The secret to a great holiday is that it's great for everyone - you, local communities and nature.
Tourist and Masai

More about Ireland

Walking

Avid walkers will find much to recommend hitting the trails in Ireland. The Ring of Kerry is crowded with tourist buses, but there is a walking path, the Kerry Way, broadly following the same route and allowing you to step into the scenery, not just admire it through a window. You can find stunning routes in the Aran Islands and the Dingle Way is another superb long-distance route in Kerry. Walking in Ireland does mean taking your chances with the weather, so aim for April to June for your best chance of dodging the rain as well as the crowds.

Cycling

Both the Wild Atlantic Way and the Irish Greenways repurposed railway lines have been immensely successful in promoting cycling in Ireland. Self guided holidays now take you along well-surfaced routes through magnificent countryside and coast, between welcoming B&Bs. The Greenways in particular has boosted incomes in rural communities with the opportunity to serve passing cyclists, and also to commute more easily on two wheels. Cycling is a way to not only explore the Emerald Isle’s dramatically beautiful landscapes up close and personal, but also to indulge in culture, cuisine and craic outside the big towns and cities.

Rail tours

Rail tours in Ireland allow you to see a lot of the country in just a short space of time, while travelling in comfort between pre-booked accommodations selected for their locations and the warmth of their welcomes. Dramatic views can be had on routes along the Wild Atlantic Way, but if you’d like to throw some culture in alongside the scenery, opt for a Tri-Cities rail tour. You’ll have plenty of time to explore Dublin and Galway as well as nipping over the border to Belfast, and even taking a short ferry out to the beautiful Aran Islands.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Ireland or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
[Walking: Gregory DALLEAU] [Cycling: jusuf111] [Rail tours: Conor Luddy]
Photo credits: [Page banner: Grace Smith] [Walking: Gregory DALLEAU] [Cycling: jusuf111] [Rail tours: Conor Luddy]