Does It Snow in Ireland? 🌨️

Maybe you’re asking, “Does it snow in Ireland?”. You’re in the right place!

Snowfall in Ireland is relatively rare, typically occurring during the winter months from December to February. The likelihood and amount of snow vary across the country.

Inland and elevated areas, such as the mountains in the west and north, are more likely to experience snowfall, while coastal regions, especially in the south and east, tend to see less snow.

Snowfall can be quite unpredictable and sporadic, with the heaviest snowfalls usually limited to a few days each year.

When snow does arrive, it often transforms the Irish landscape into a picturesque winter wonderland, bringing both delight and logistical challenges to the country.

So, if you want to experience a white wintery holiday and discover simple facts about the Irish winter, in this guide you’ll find everything you need to know. So let’s dive in. 🌨️

Woods covered in snow in Northern Ireland
Woods covered in snow in Northern Ireland

Table of Contents

Does It Snow in Ireland in November?

Usually, Ireland in November is the beginning of wintery weather and ambiance. The temperatures drop to as low as 7 degrees Celsius, and precipitation is as high as 130mm.

So, with this shift in weather, it might be possible for snowfall, especially as the month progresses.

However, you might witness snow only in elevated areas, such as the Wicklow Mountains. 

Does It Snow in Ireland in December?

December brings lower temperatures and less sunlight, meaning the winter season officially starts.

Rainfall is similar to November, with almost 23 rainy days, so you should certainly pack waterproof clothing!

As for snowfall, it is definitely possible across the country, but especially in higher altitudes.

In cities like Dublin, you might witness only light dusting for a couple of days.

Rainbow on a road in Ireland
Rainbow in Ireland

Does It Snow in Ireland in January?

Frankly, snowfall in Ireland is not as high as in other parts of Europe. Still, January is the best month to experience snow in Ireland.

Specifically, as January is the coldest month, with temperatures as low as 3 degrees Celsius, you might witness snow accumulation of up to 2.5 cm for four to five days.

However, for snowy landscapes, it’s best to visit mountainous areas like County Donegal.

Does It Snow in Ireland in February?

Much like in January, February is one of the coldest and wettest periods in Ireland, with many chilly and rainy days throughout the month.

But as already mentioned, snowfall is not as common as you may think.

You might experience some light dusting in low altitudes and cities like Dublin and Cork and snow accumulation in mountainous areas. Usually, it snows for a maximum of five days. 

Lake snow scene along a river in country Kerry
Snow scene in County Kerry by a river

Does It Snow in Ireland in March?

Snow in March is not uncommon, but the total days with snowfall are less than four, while snow cover may last only for about a day.

Furthermore, snowfall usually occurs only at the beginning of the month since it is also the beginning of spring.

So, as the temperatures increase, it is unlikely to experience a white wintery March. 

Wicklow County in Ireland
Wicklow County in Ireland

Does It Snow in Ireland at Christmas?

Snowfall in December is not uncommon, but generally, the weather in Ireland is very unpredictable.

So, even though December usually has an average of snowfall for four days, it’s not certain that you’ll witness a white Christmas.

Furthermore, snow cover is more common in higher altitudes, while in cities, there are only light showers.

Where Does It Snow in Ireland?

πŸ’‘ Does It Snow in Dublin

Generally, the weather on Ireland’s east coast is quite mild, so although snowfall in Dublin is possible, it’s not a common occurrence.

Still, usually, there might be light dusting for several days throughout the months of December and February rather than heavy snowfall.

In fact, the last time Dublin experienced a white wintery ambiance was more than a decade ago.

So, instead of snowfall, expect wintery weather with cold and rainy days with an average of 5 degrees Celsius. So, explore the vibrant city of Dublin because it’s a great destination for a mild winter holiday.

Mountain covered with snow near Dublin
Mountain covered with snow near Dublin

πŸ’‘ Does It Snow in Galway

Similarly to Dublin, Galway experiences snow, but it’s very minimal. The city has a maritime climate, too, meaning it has mostly rainy days and light dusting rather than heavy snowfall.

However, Galways’ surrounding areas, such as Twelve Bens Mountain, have higher altitudes, which receive more snowfall for those looking for a more wintery experience.

πŸ’‘ Does It Snow in Cork

Cork is on the south coast of Ireland, and generally, it has a more humid climate with a high precipitation percentage. So, winter in Cork is pretty similar to Dublin. 

Furthermore, just like in Dublin and Galway, snowfall is possible but not common, so it’s unlikely to experience a winter wonderland in Cork. 

Instead, expect light dusting or frequent showers with an average temperature of 6 degrees Celsius. 

Cork

πŸ’‘ Does It Snow in Southern Ireland

Although snow in Southern Ireland occurs, it is quite rare. 

Generally, cities like Cork and Waterford in winter experience a mild coastal climate with temperatures between 5 and 8 degrees Celsius. Therefore, even though it’s common for some light dusting, it is usually a fleeting experience since it often melts quickly. 

However, if you visit higher elevation areas within Southern Ireland, you might be able to witness beautiful, snowy landscapes.

πŸ’‘Does It Snow in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is your best bet if you want to experience beautiful white landscapes and a winter wonderland-like holiday. Snowfall can reach up to 20 cm and lasts for a couple of days. 

However, it’s worth noting that, just like the rest of Ireland, there’s limited snow. So, it’s best to check the snowfall forecast before arriving in the area. 

The best area to immerse in beautiful snowy scenery is the Causeway Coast, where you can get magical winter views.

Woodland covered in snow in Norther Ireland

πŸ’‘ Does It Snow in Western Ireland

The western part of Ireland can definitely experience snow, but it is less common compared to other parts of the country. 

Regions like Galway, Mayo, and Clare feature milder and wetter weather influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the western coast of Ireland is the wettest, so even if snow occurs during periods of cold temperatures, the winter storms usually melt it right away.

Carrick-A-rede rope bridge overview
Carrick-a-Rede in Norther Ireland

πŸ’‘ Does It Snow in Eastern Ireland

Eastern Ireland has mild winter weather, with its lowest temperatures at around 4 degrees Celsius. Therefore, although snowfall is possible, it is rare. 

However, unlike in the western part of the country, snow can accumulate more easily since the coast is more sheltered. 

For instance, Dublin often experiences snow for a couple of days, while the Wicklow Mountain range is probably the best and most magical spot for a snowy winter holiday.

πŸ’‘ Does It Snow in Central Ireland

Generally, snow in the central part of Ireland is not as frequent and significant as other parts due to the lower altitudes of the areas like Offaly and Longford. 

However, when the country experiences colder temperatures and climate because of the area’s inland position, it’s possible for some snow accumulation.

How Often Does It Snow in Ireland?

Generally, Ireland is not the first country that comes to mind when thinking of heavy snowfall and beautiful snowy landscapes.

Instead, it is known for its unpredictable weather and rainfall.

In fact, rain is a frequent occurrence all year round with fluctuating temperatures, with the lowest average at 5 degrees Celsius and the highest average at 20 degrees Celsius. 

Still, snowfall happens in the winter months, between December and February, and rarely in November and March if the country experiences a cold wave. 

However, as already indicated, snowfall and snow accumulation vary greatly between the country’s different areas.

For instance, even though the average snowfall for Ireland is 10 to 15 days per year, with a 1 to 2 cm accumulation, in the mountainous areas, it’s possible to have snow for up to 50 days.

So, Ireland can also experience stunning white landscapes where you can participate in fun activities like snowshoeing.

Furthermore, sometimes, the country experiences cold snaps that bring forth heavy snowfall and winter storms.

For instance, in the winter season of 2010 and 2011, heavy snowfall literally brought chaos to the country.

But the last time Ireland had intense snowfall and experienced a marvelous, as well as a dangerous white wintery season, was between December 1962 and March 1963.

Specifically, even though Ireland usually experiences temperatures just above the freezing point, during the 1962 winter wave, the temperature was as low as -12 degrees Celsius with a maximum of 45 cm of snow. 

So, unfortunately, heavy snow in Ireland is very rare compared to other European countries, meaning it’s quite unlikely for travelers to experience a white Christmas and winter holiday unless they venture towards more mountainous and hilly areas such as Mount Carrauntoohil, the highest mountain in Ireland, Mount Beenkeragh or Mount Cashel.

Gap of Dunleo
I am posing for a selfie in the gap of Dunloe

How Cold Does Ireland Get in Winter?

Average Temperature in Ireland in Winter.
Average Temperature in Ireland in Winter – Photo Β© Weatherspark

Ireland may not reach freezing temperatures like other European countries, but it can still experience cold winters. Specifically, Ireland’s winters tend to be wet, cloudy, and cold.

Usually, Ireland’s temperatures are between 5 and 8 degrees Celsius, with heavy rainfall throughout the winter months due to the island’s moderate climate and position in the Atlantic Ocean.

However, in some areas, particularly the higher elevations and exposed coastlines, temperatures can drop a bit lower.

For instance, the average temperatures on Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohil, stand between -1 and 5 degrees Celsius.

So, Ireland’s winter weather is perfect for people who love wintery ambiance but are not fond of extreme cold temperatures. 

Is Ireland Worth Visiting During Winter?

Despite Ireland’s reputation for rainy weather, during winter, it has a unique allure worth experiencing. 

First of all, winter is the best time to visit Ireland if you want to travel on a budget.

This is because, during this period, flights tend to be a lot cheaper, while accommodations can have half the prices of summer rates. 

Furthermore, many parts of Ireland, like Dublin, Belfast, Cork, and Galway, have fantastic Christmas and other winter festivals that can rival other famous European destinations with extraordinary Christmas markets. 

Specifically, the cities’ streets and squares are decorated with vibrant and colorful bright lights, featuring food stalls with traditional delicacies, beer stations, ice skating rinks, carnival rides, and a lot of fun performances with music and dancing. 

But if you prefer something quieter away from the city’s hustle and bustle, as well as immersing yourself in beautiful winter landscapes, the Irish countryside is a fantastic destination worth visiting. 

For instance, County Kerry is a magical destination with stunning landscapes to explore, stunning historical and cultural sites, cozy pubs to taste delicious, traditional hearty meals, and beautiful waterfront cottages to stay in. 

All in all, Ireland has everything you might be looking for in a winter holiday, from vibrant Christmas events and lively nightlife in cozy pubs to beautiful snowy landscapes, gorgeous castles covered with a blanket of snow, and other fascinating ancient sites to discover.

Best Things to Do When It Snows in Ireland

As indicated already, Ireland indeed experiences snowfall and is definitely a fantastic destination for an unforgettable winter holiday.

So, let’s see some of the best things you can do when it snows in Ireland.

πŸ‘πŸΌ Go on a Winter Hike

 Ireland’s highest mountain stands tall at 1,038 meters, meaning that compared to other winter destinations like the Alps, Irish mountains and hills are quite small.

However, that doesn’t mean they are not magical and stunning, with gorgeous winter views.

In fact, plenty of Ireland’s famous hiking trails are renowned for breathtaking scenery that, in winter, turns into snow-covered paths, offering a whole new perspective.

From the rolling hills of the Wicklow Mountains to the dramatic cliffs of the Wild Atlantic Way, there are endless trails to explore.

So, if you want to experience extraordinary winter views away from the cities, put on your warmest clothes, strap on some sturdy boots, and venture into the winter wonderland.

However, hiking in winter around Ireland requires preparation and caution.

As you reach the peak, you’ll notice more and more snow.

But Ireland is also known for its frequent rainfall, so the ground is often very slippery and the atmosphere foggy. 

Therefore, going for a hike means preparing for different weather conditions.

But don’t worry! Irish hikers are well prepared for everything. So, if you’re not an experienced hiker, it’s best to find a suitable hiking or walking tour to immerse in snowy Ireland safely.

πŸ‘πŸΌ Enjoy Ice Skating

Every year during the Christmas festivities across Ireland, you’ll find plenty of ice rinks to spend a fun outing with friends and families. 

If you’re in Dublin, various ice rinks open during the festive months. Specifically, they tend to open at the beginning of November and last until the end of January.

The rinks are suitable for all levels of skaters, with skating aids and children’s rinks on offer to make it a fun activity for the whole family.

Some of the most popular ice rinks in Dublin are Dundrum on Ice at Pembroke Square in the Dundrum Town Centre, Swords on Ice at Swords Pavilions, Ice Skating Blanchardstown right next to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, and Ice Skating DΓΊn Laoghaire is Ireland’s newest and biggest ice rink.

Other ice rinks you can venture to while in Ireland are the Eco Ice Skating at Wicklow Christmas Market, the Alpine Skate Trail in Cork, the Winterval On Ice at Waterford’s Winterval Festival, the Wexford on Ice, the Galway Skates, and the Mullingar On Ice at Winterfest Mullingar.

Portmagee overview
Portmagee Overview

πŸ‘πŸΌ Visit Christmas Markets

Various Christmas markets run across Ireland throughout the festive period, starting from early to mid-November until mid-January. 

The three most significant are the Galway Christmas Market, the Belfast Christmas Market, and the Waterford Winterval.

The Galway Christmas Market has been running for 13 years now and is set on the Eyre Square. It features colorful and bright decorations, turning the streets lively and vibrant.

Furthermore, the square is adorned with over 50 wooden chalets selling arts and crafts, hand-made gifts, food, and plenty of other local products.

Other fun activities you can join with family and friends are a Santa’s Express Train, a Carousel, and a Ferris wheel.

At Belfast Christmas Market, you can experience a German-like Christmas market with a food court featuring cuisines from more than thirty nationalities.

Additionally, you can enjoy many family activities and attractions, like the Santa Train, an Olaf ride, beer tents, GlΓΌhwein, and stalls selling festive gifts and crafts.

The Waterford Winterval is definitely one of the most popular Christmas markets in Ireland due to its fascinating and festive program.

It features a massive traditional market with handcrafted wooden chalets selling crafts, food stalls, an ice skating rink, the vibrant and luminous Winterval Train, the now-iconic 32-meter-high Waterford Eye, and more.

Other significant Christmas markets you should consider visiting are the Cork Christmas Market, the Dublin and Dublin Castle Christmas Markets, the Kilkenny Christmas Market, and the Wicklow Christmas Market.

πŸ‘πŸΌ Enjoy the Festive Pubs

Ireland’s pub culture is undoubtedly a must when visiting. But in winter, local pubs turn into the perfect festive celebration spot.

So, there’s no better place than the cozy traditional pubs to seek warmth and merriment during the Christmas season.

Additionally, no matter where you venture to, a bustling city like Dublin or a small village, you’ll find a cozy, inviting pub filled with laughter and music and adorned with festive decorations.

Furthermore, with a crackling fireplace, the aroma of hearty stews, and the comforting warmth of hot whiskey, pubs will surely warm your skin and heart from the winter’s cold. 

So, if you find yourself in Ireland when it snows, be sure to venture towards a local pub to sip on a pint of Guinness, indulge in a steaming Irish meal, immerse in a live music serenade and impromptu dances, and engage in lively conversations with friendly locals to experience the true essence of Irish hospitality.

Multiple kegs with labels stacked up.

πŸ‘πŸΌ Join a Winter Festival

When talking about winter festivals, most people immediately think of Christmas markets, festivals, and events.

But Ireland has plenty of other winter festivals to indulge in and experience the country’s fascinating heritage and culture. 

A great example that you definitely shouldn’t miss is the Winter Solstice, an astronomical phenomenon marking the shortest day and longest night of the year. 

This fascinating phenomenon is best seen and experienced at the Newgrange monument, where at sunrise for 17 minutes, direct sunlight can enter it, not through the doorway, but through a small opening above the entrance known as the “roof box,” illuminating the Chamber.

Just the thought that people more than 5000 years ago built this construction just for this purpose makes it even more fascinating. 

Before this phenomenon occurs, visitors can experience Irish cultural heritage through shamanic trance dancing, drumming, toning, and even meditation.

Doolin at sunset
Doolin at Sunset

πŸ‘πŸΌ Visit Museums

When pristine snow blankets the streets of Ireland, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore the rich history and culture of the country by visiting its fascinating museums. 

Museums can undoubtedly be a warm shelter filled with intriguing cultural and historical exhibits, taking you on a journey through time and space.

From ancient artifacts to modern art, Ireland’s museums offer a diverse range of exhibits catering to all interests. 

Let’s see 5 great museums you can visit on a winter day.

πŸ‘πŸΌ National Museum of Ireland

The National Museum of Ireland in Dublin is a fantastic museum to explore Irish history, culture, art, and natural history.

It houses extensive collections of artifacts, including the Treasury, displaying items of great historical and artistic significance, such as the Tara Brooch and the Ardagh Chalice. 

Dublin Pub
Dublin Pub

πŸ‘πŸΌ Guinness Storehouse

If you’re interested in Ireland’s beer culture, the Guinness Storehouse is a museum providing an immersive experience into the history of the country’s most famous beer brand.

Here, you can learn about the brewing process. Explore the fascinating heritage of the Guinness family and enjoy panoramic wintery views of the city from the Gravity Bar.

πŸ‘πŸΌ Titanic Belfast

Situated in Belfast, this museum is dedicated to the story of the RMS Titanic.

It offers interactive exhibits, recreates the ship’s interior, and explores the history of Belfast, where the Titanic was built.

The museum also provides a comprehensive and emotional experience, retracing the tragic voyage from its inception to the aftermath.

πŸ‘πŸΌ Cliffs of Moher Experience

The Cliffs of Moher in winter bring a different, alluring image you’ll certainly love.

Furthermore, the visitor center provides an educational and awe-inspiring experience of the iconic cliffs.

The exhibition showcases the unique geology, wildlife, and cultural heritage of the cliffs, considering their significance in folklore, literature, and film.

Aerial view of Cliffs of Moher.
Cliffs of Moher

πŸ‘πŸΌ Cork City Gaol

Situated in Cork, this former prison provides a unique insight into 19th-century Irish penal history.

The Cork City Gaol museum offers guided tours, allowing you to explore the atmospheric cells and learn about the conditions experienced by prisoners during this time.

It also delves into the social history of Cork City and the role of the gaol within the community.

Cork Cafe on the river
Cork Cafe by the river

What to Pack for a Winter Trip to Ireland?

When packing for a winter trip to Ireland, it’s important to prioritize warmth and weather-proof essentials. 

Start by packing warm layers like sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, thermals, and a thick coat.

However, don’t forget waterproof outerwear such as a jacket, pants, and rubber rain boots, as rain is common in Ireland.

Also, be sure to pack hats, scarves, and gloves to protect yourself from the cold winds.

Comfortable walking shoes are a must for exploring beautiful landscapes, and an umbrella is a handy addition for unexpected rain showers.

If you plan to visit mountainous areas where snow is more common, bring appropriate hiking or other sturdy boots.

Bring along swimwear for the possibility of hotel swimming pools or hot tubs, and flip-flops if you’re staying and showering in a hostel. 

Lastly, travel insurance, guidebooks, maps, and a camera are essential for a smooth and memorable trip.

Tips For Traveling to Ireland When It Snows 

Traveling to Ireland when it snows can be a beautiful and unique experience.

However, it can also be a bit challenging due to the weather’s unpredictability. So, here are some essential tips to follow:

πŸ“Œ Check the Road Conditions if Driving

Snowy conditions can make roads and walking paths slippery, so take extra caution and wear appropriate footwear with good grip.

Also, allow more time to travel since there could be traffic and delays due to low visibility, or consider using public transportation or taxis in Ireland when necessary. 

Still, if you do plan to drive, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with winter driving techniques, especially if you’re not used to driving in snowy conditions.

Furthermore, before embarking on a road trip, check road closures or disruptions for a smooth journey.

πŸ“Œ Dress Properly

Bring appropriate winter clothing such as warm jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, and boots. Layers are key for adjusting to changing temperatures throughout the day.

πŸ“Œ Public Transport 

Public transportation may be more reliable during snow conditions. However, always stay flexible and patient since snow can disrupt travel plans.

Be sure to have a backup option or alternative routes in mind, and be prepared for potential changes in your Ireland itinerary.

πŸ“Œ Fun Snow Activities

If you are visiting Ireland when it snows, then embrace the weather by engaging in winter activities like ice skating, skiing, or snowboarding.

Some areas, like the Dublin Mountains or the Wicklow Mountains, offer opportunities for winter sports and beautiful snowy landscapes that you can explore through hiking.

wicklow park road
Wicklow

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Winters Like in Ireland?

Winters in Ireland are generally mild but can also be quite wet and windy.

Usually, the temperatures range from 4 to 8 degrees Celsius but can drop below the freezing point during cold waves.

Snowfall is not very common, but the country is known for its frequent rainfall and strong winds along its coastal regions.

Furthermore, during winter, Ireland experiences shorter days.

What Month Does it Usually Snow in Ireland?

Snowfall in Ireland typically occurs between December and February but is relatively rare.

That’s why the frequency and amount of snowfall can vary greatly from year to year.Β 

Aaran island Inisheer cemetery
Aaran island Inisheer cemetery

When Did Ireland Last Get Snow?

Almost every year, Ireland experiences light snow.

But the last time it had blizzard-like snow in Ireland was in 2018 during Emma Storm, which brought intense wind storms and heavy snow.Β 

Is Ireland Colder Than England?

On average, Ireland tends to have slightly more moderate temperatures compared to England.

So, generally, it has milder winters and cooler summers.

However, some parts of Ireland can be cloudier and wetter than most of the UK.

Scotland

Is Ireland Colder Than Scotland?

Ireland is usually warmer than Scotland throughout the year due to the country’s lower latitude.

So, Scottish winters can be colder, with significantly higher rainfall and snowfall than Ireland.

Why is Snow Rare in Ireland?

Ireland has relatively low snowfall rates due to the influence of the Gulf Stream that prevents extreme cold temperatures, the country’s low-lying geography, as well as the sea’s warm waters that keep the temperatures higher, and the moist air from the Atlantic Ocean that results in rainfall rather than snowfall.

Panoramic view of the Kerry cliffs
Kerry Cliffs

Does it Rain a Lot in Ireland?

It rains frequently in Ireland throughout the year, with no distinct dry season.

On average, there are around 150 to 225 rainy days per year, which means that it rains quite often.

Usually, the western and northern coastal regions receive the highest amount of rainfall.

Dublin Bridge
Samuel Beckett Bridge Dublin Ireland

Wrapping Up: Does It Snow in Ireland?

While Ireland is not renowned for its heavy snowfall, it still enjoys a wintry environment.

So, even though with its mild and humid climate, snow is a rare occurrence in most parts of the country when it does happen, it creates a beautiful and magical landscape that will surely capture your heart. 

Therefore, Ireland is definitely a fantastic destination for a white Christmas holiday, a magical trip along snowy countryside landscapes, or an immersive cultural experience in stunning wintry ambiance.