Let’s be honest — January isn’t the best time to visit Ireland, according to most people. It’s winter so you could expect days to be cold, wet, windy, and dark. The busy Yuletide season has passed, and some of the attractions are closed. Even the picturesque landscapes the Emerald Isle is known for don’t look as vivid as they do during summer and spring.
But just because the weather doesn’t always play ball doesn’t mean winter is the perfect excuse to hibernate. Ireland in January has plenty of advantages that outweigh the bad, including beautiful winter attractions, cosy pubs, and a host of exciting activities. All you need are some bulky and waterproof clothing and a healthy sense of adventure.
In this guide, we’ll list down 6 reasons why you should visit Ireland this winter season.
1. See Ireland’s natural and historical wonders in a different light
Despite the unpredictable weather and short days, there are still a bunch of amazing things to do in Ireland in January. If you love outdoor adventures, winter is a great time for stretching your legs and feasting your eyes on Ireland’s wonderful attractions.
You can take scenic hikes and walks to historical sites and areas of impressive natural beauty. If you’re near the coasts, you can go fishing, surfing, paddleboarding, wildlife sighting, or even plunging in the icy waters.
Aside from visiting famous tourist attractions in your area, you may research other Irish destinations that look their best during winter including:
- Glenties, Ardara and Portnoo, Co Donegal
- Enniscrone, Co Sligo
- Carrauntoohil (Ireland’s highest peak) at Killarney, Co Kerry
- Sherkin Island, Co Cork
- Powerscourt Gardens and House
- Wicklow Mountains
2. Enjoy fewer crowds
Have you ever dreamed of visiting Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, like the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin or the Cliffs of Moher in Clare? If your idea of a perfect trip includes unobstructed views, fewer crowds, and zero queues, then January is the best time to go.
It’s a low travel season, so snag this perfect opportunity to head to attractions that usually receive large flocks of guests.
3. Score cheaper rates
Planning to travel on a budget after splurging a lot last holiday season? Next to encountering fewer crowds, you’ll also enjoy cheaper rates on everything when you travel in January. Score cheap rates and more availability in flights, accommodation, and tours. If you book direct, you can take advantage of attractive offers they’re more likely to give to those who’ve booked with them.
You can even spend your winter vacation in a usually expensive Irish destination, like Dublin. Get even cheaper deals by booking a budget hotel in Dublin during the midweek.
4. Catch the annual festivals and music events
Just because the Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities are over doesn’t mean Ireland is going to just sleep until March on St. Patrick’s Day. Sure, the first few months of the year would be quieter but Ireland’s events calendar will still be packed with a wide range of brilliant Irish festivals and events.
One of the most-anticipated events is the TradFest in Dublin, a spectacular traditional Irish-centric music festival in Ireland. Tradfest is set in Temple Bar, the liveliest quarter in Dublin, and takes place at the end of the month.
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5. Head North for Aurora Borealis
Have you been dreaming of gazing at the spectacular Aurora Borealis? No need to go to Iceland — you can head North of Ireland this winter and feast your eyes on this natural wonder.
Here are some of the destinations to include in your Ireland winter bucket list:
- Malin Head on the Wild Atlantic Way
- Tra na Rossan Beach in Co. Donegal
- Fanad Head
- Inishowen Peninsula
- Dooey Beach
- Dunree Head
- The Rosguil Peninsula
- Sliabh Liag
There are monitoring apps for checking the current KP index and how likely you are to see the Northern Lights in Ireland or the rest of the world. The rule of thumb is the skies should be clear and the KP index must be 4 or above.
6. Explore Ireland’s nightlife scene
Shorter days and longer nights? Not a problem, if you’re a night owl who loves drinking and socialising after dark. Luckily, Ireland doesn’t run out of amazing nightlife experiences, whether you’re in a big city like Dublin or in a small, rural town.
Most out of your winter vacation by making time for night activities. Visit traditional Irish pubs for tasty pints of local beer and delicious meals. Join pub crawls and other nighttime tours. Stay longer for live performances, featuring Ireland’s most talented local artists.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a foodie and travel buff who enjoys writing and sharing articles about travel and money-saving. You can count on her when it comes to hacks on accommodation, airfare, dining, and fun yet cheap ways to get around the city. To know more about budget travel and affordable hotel alternatives, visit DCU Rooms.