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Is December A Good Time To Visit Ireland?

Absolutely! Even with no Vagabond tours on the road, there is still plenty to keep you busy if you travel to Ireland in December.

December in Ireland At A Glance


By Danielle

👋 Hi. I’m Danielle, Sales and Reservations Specialist at Vagabond Tours.

Ireland sometimes flies under the radar as a winter destination. However, at this time of year, the Christmas festivities, twinkling lights and parties galore bring the country to life!

Across Ireland in December, there are Christmas markets to explore, fewer people at the major sights and a host of festive events in the smallest towns and villages to enjoy.

As you might imagine, the craic in the pubs is at an all-time high at this time of year. Friends, families and visitors from far and wide come together to make December one of the most special times of the year in Ireland.

And one of my personal favourites too! 🥳

Things To Do In Ireland In December 🎄

Opportunities for exploring the outdoors might be more limited yet there is no shortage of things to do in Ireland in December.

At Vagabond HQ during December, our office team are busy helping guests for the coming season, we’re maintaining our cool tour vehicles and our Vagaguides are taking a much-needed break.

Ireland in December


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A Few Things To Remember…

To truly maximise your time in Ireland in December, it’s important to keep a few key things in mind.

Short Days, Long Nights ⌚

In the beginning of December, sunrise is around 08:20 and sets again at 16:20 meaning that there is less daylight for you to take advantage of.

As we near the end of the year, there will be less than 8 hours of daylight. Be sure to plan your days in advance to make the most of them.

On the plus side the nights are longer. This means more time to get out into the pubs, listen to live music and meet the locals.

Wintery Weather ❄️

There’s no point in sugar-coating it… the weather in Ireland in December is variable.

The weather is typically cold, wet and wintery. Expect average highs of 10°C/50°F and average lows of 3°C/37°F. And while we don’t get much heavy snow, there is often a decent dusting on higher ground.

With all that said, we do get bright, cold, crisp days too that are fantastic for getting out and about and exploring the country. Keep an eye on the forecast and plan your days accordingly.

Sugarloaf Mountain Covered In Snow

Expensive Flights ✈️

There are an estimated 1.5 million Irish citizens living outside of the country. Add that to the 70 million or so people globally that claim Irish ancestry and you have a lot of demand for flights back to the motherland during the festive season!

Flights can be expensive at this time of year. So be sure to book well in advance to get the best value possible.

We have a very helpful blog with tips on how to book cheap flights to help you out.

Places to Visit in Ireland in December ☘️

Whether you’re returning to visit family for Christmas or you’re travelling to Ireland in December for the very first time, there’s loads to do!

Festivities will start around mid-November. By December Christmas markets, craft fairs and office parties will all be in full swing.

Ireland’s Christmas Markets 🎁

Ireland’s Christmas markets are as good as anywhere else in Europe. We might be biased but we’ll let you in on a little secret… they’re better!

From Cork to Belfast, Galway to Dublin and everywhere in between, there are countless Christmas markets worth checking out.

We asked our Vagaguides for their favourites and these were the big hitters:

Local Festivals 🥳

Every one-street village, small town and big city in Ireland will have lots of festive fun in December.

Local shows, plays, and musical performances take place all over the country. Ask the locals what’s on and you’ll be able to fill up your itinerary in no time!

You don’t have to go to an event. Twinkling lights decorate the streets and squares of every town and village in Ireland during December. These glitzy decorations add some contrast to the often dreary weather. Even when the rain is blowing sideways, you can’t help but smile when you see the towns lit up with that welcoming festive glow.

Northern Lights 👀

Scandinavia might be better known for the Northern lights. Many visitors are surprised to hear you can see them from Irish shores too.

The incredible natural phenomenon, known as the Aurora Borealis, truly is a sight to behold.

Although technically visible from anywhere in Ireland, the further north you go, the better chance you will have of seeing them.

Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point is one of our favourite places to witness this natural wonder in all its glory.

Beautiful Wintery Landscapes 🏔️

The Irish countryside is beautiful year-round. It takes on a different look and feel depending on the season. And winter can be one of the most magical.

Light dusting of snow on the hilltops, crisp frosty mornings and bright morning sunsets make for beautiful vistas in December in Ireland

For photographers, this is the ideal time to visit with beautiful lighting and breath-taking winter landscapes.

Settle Into the Cosy Pubs 🍺

There’s no denying that the Irish people love socialising over the festive period.

Christmas parties, family get-togethers and nights out with friends mean guaranteed fun in pubs throughout the country.

When the weather outside is less than ideal, there’s nowhere better to be than in a nice cosy pub. A roaring fire and good company is the perfect medicine when it’s cold, wet and windy out.

Warm your bones with a hot whiskey, hot port, or just a hot ‘cuppa tea’ and get chatting with the locals.

What’s The Weather Like in Ireland in December? 🤔

The Irish weather in December is changeable to say the least. Having a flexible itinerary is key to ensure you make the most of those bright crisp days and duck out of the rain at the right moments.

Our advice is to prepare for the worst weather but hope for the best. Always have a backup plan and keep a close eye on the forecast to see what is expected.

Although the weather in Ireland is quite localised, generally speaking, you can expect average highs of 10°C/50°F and average lows of 3°C/37°F. There tends to be quite a bit of rain and there is the possibility of Atlantic storms rolling in.

Being aware of what the weather is expected to do, will help you to make the most of your time.

Does it Snow in Ireland in December? ⛄

Because of our proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, we don’t experience a huge amount of snowfall over the winter months.

However, it does snow from time to time in Ireland with the heaviest snow on higher ground. Donegal, Monaghan, Wicklow and some of the midland counties generally get a little more snowfall than the rest of the country.

Don’t bank on a white Christmas if you’re visiting Ireland in December. But if it does happen, look forward to some spectacular scenes.

Snow At The Rock Of Cashel

What to Wear in Ireland in December 💚

Packing for a trip to Ireland is all about wrapping up against the weather. You’ll also want to make sure you have some comfortable pub attire for the evening festivities.

Whatever you put in your bag, be sure to include the following items.

  • 🧥 A warm, waterproof jacket
  • 👟 Comfortable walking shoes
  • 🧦 Warm socks
  • 🔥 Plenty of warm layers
  • 🧣 Hats, gloves and scarves

What We Love About Ireland In December

Michael, VagaGuide:

"I really look forward to the crisp evenings and dark skies. Spending time with family and friends is always special around Christmas."

Deirdre, Sales & Marketing Specialist:

"One of my favourite things about December is wandering through the Christmas markets and soaking up the festive vibes."

 

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