Ireland in December can be daunting but it can be as fun as the summer season. As long as you know where to go, what to pack and what to do, your dream vacation in Ireland on winter season can be amazing as any season.
Things you'll find in this article
- Is December a good time to visit Ireland?
- What is the weather in Ireland in December?
- What should you pack for Ireland in December?
- What to do in Ireland in December?
- 1. Go back in time with Brú na Bóinne ( Boyne Valley Tombs)
- 2. Check out the museums in Dublin
- 3. Be amazed at the Cliffs of Moher
- 4. Admire the castle of Kylemore
- 5. Find the perfect pint at Guinness
- 6. Explore the charming town of Doolin
- 7. Visit Galway City
- 8. Explore the castle in Killarney
- 9. Attend a winter concert in a castle
- 10. Explore King John’s Castle
- Practical Tips for Ireland in December
Is December a good time to visit Ireland?
So should you travel to Ireland in December? I’d say yes. There will be less crowd and it will be cheaper. So, if you don’t know where to start yet, this Ireland travel guide for December should be able to help you.
What is the weather in Ireland in December?
What is the average temperature in Ireland in December?
The climate of Ireland is influenced mainly by the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, Ireland doesn’t experience the same extreme temperatures that other countries have from the same latitudes.
As the winter begins, Ireland in December will have an average of 5°C(41°F) to 7°C (46°F) temperature.
Rain in Ireland in December
The average precipitation in December is 23 days with around 80 mm of rain. So make sure to always prepare for rain just in case. December and January are the wettest months as the winter slowly set in the country.
Wind in Ireland in December
The average hourly wind speed in Ireland increases during the month of December, from 15.8 miles per hour to 17.1 miles per hour over the course of the month.
Sun in Ireland in December
Days are shorter for Ireland in December. Sunrise will start at around 8 AM and set at around 4 PM. It gets shorter towards the end of the month so plan your activities accordingly.
What should you pack for Ireland in December?
December is undeniably a cold month in Ireland plus you’ll be battling with rain shower and wind too. Be prepared by packing thermal and thick fabric clothes for layering.
Fleece inner wear- this will serve as your base clothing for layering. If you don’t have a fleece innerwear, a hoodie will do the trick.
Winter coat – Do not forget your winter coat in your “winter” packing list, okay? This Denim shorts is a great addition to your list.
Chapstick – Also one of the most essential items for winter. The cold temperature will eventually make your lips crack so to prepare for this unpleasant feeling, pack with you a piece of chapstick.
Flannel – A flannel like this will work wonders if you want extra warmth. You can use it to layer underneath your coat and voila!
Winter boots – Make sure you do not leave your winter boots behind. Make sure that it is durable for the cold and rainy season.
What to do in Ireland in December?
Although it’s colder and the days are shorter, there are still many things to do in Ireland in December. Some attractions might close earlier though so always make sure to check the opening hours and plan accordingly.
1. Go back in time with Brú na Bóinne ( Boyne Valley Tombs)
Brú na Bóinne or Palace of the Boyne is valley tombs located near River Boyne, 8 km west of Drogheda. It contains one of the most important pre-historic landscapes in the world dating back from the Neolithic period. Brú na Bóinne is famous for its Megalithic passage tombs called Knowth, Newgrange, and Dowth.
Archaeologists classified Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth as passage tombs, however, these tombs are now recognized to be much more than passage tombs. Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, which is a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance.
If you are in the area, this is one of the best places to visit in Drogheda, Ireland.
February – April: Daily 09.30 – 17.30
May: Daily 09.00 – 18.30
Mid – End September: Daily 09.00 – 18.30
October: Daily 09.30 – 17.30
November – January: Daily 09.00 – 17.00
For the Exhibition and Newgrange and Knowth:
Location: Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, Donore, Meath
Phone: +353 41 9880300
For more information about Brú na Bóinne, click here.
2. Check out the museums in Dublin
If the weather is too cold to stay outdoor, Dublin has lots of interesting museums that you can go to. The capital is full of art galleries and museums which are more than enough to quench an art and history lover’s thirst for exploration.
You can check out Kilmainham Gaol, National Museum of Ireland of Archaeology, EPIC the Irish Emigration Museum, Little Museum of Dublin and the Irish Potato Famine Exhibition.
All these museums have an interesting story that will help you learn more about Irish culture and history.
To learn more, check out our best museums in Dublin guide.
3. Be amazed at the Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are sea cliffs located in County Clare, Ireland. It is one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights and one of the most visited attractions in Ireland with 1.5 million visitors annually.
Standing 702ft above the ground at their highest point and 8km long, the Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. In a good day, you can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay.
8 am to 7 pm although, during winter, the cliffs are closed by 5 pm.
Senior Citizens €4
Children under 16
Free Group rates available on request
Location: Lislorkan North, Liscannor, Co. Clare, Ireland
Email: +353 65 708 6145
4. Admire the castle of Kylemore
Kylemore Castle was built by Mitchell Henry, a wealthy doctor from England, as a gift to his wife Margaret in 1871. It was sold to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester in 1903 and was then purchased by the Irish Benedictine nuns in 1920. Kylemore Abbey, a Benedictine monastery was then founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle, in Connemara. Since the 1970s, the estate has been opened to the public.
Nestled at the base of Druchruach Mountain and along the shore of Lough Pollacappul in Connemara, the Abbey is one of the most iconic attractions in Galway, Ireland. It is also one of the most beautiful castles in Ireland. And no visit to Ireland is complete without spending a half day to the castle ground.
9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Last admission is at 4 pm.
€13 for adult, €9 for a student, €10 for senior, and €26.00 for a family of 4.
Location: Kylemore Abbey, Pollacappul, Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland
5. Find the perfect pint at Guinness
If you have an eye for the perfect pint, the Guinness Storehouse is an experience of a lifetime. This seven-story building stands proudly as the home of the most famous beer in the whole world. Today, tourists can now learn its history and enjoy one of the best Irish drinks. Every floor holds exciting surprises for everyone and it’s a good company in cold December in Ireland.
Guinness Storehouse is also the most visited attraction in Ireland.
6. Explore the charming town of Doolin
Doolin is known as the base for Cliffs of Moher tours. But Cliffs of Moher is not the only thing you can do here. From quaint farms, caves to interesting landscapes, Doolin can be a good place to visit in Ireland in Winter.
To learn more about Doolin, check our things to do in Doolin guide.
7. Visit Galway City
Galway City and nothing else comes in mind if we speak about Ireland’s top destination for arts, music, and urban culture. This city on the west coast of Ireland never fails to exceed expectations- from its medieval walls down to the breathtaking view of the River Corrib. So whether you’re coming over for a quick visit or longer, there’s just so much to enjoy in this harbor city.
8. Explore the castle in Killarney
Ross Castle is also one of the best places to visit in Killarney and one of the must-see castles in Ireland. The castle is 15th-century tower house built by O’Donoghues Mor, a local ruling clan on the edge of Lough Leane.
The castle has a long history of rebellions and wars and it is said to be the last castle to surrender during the Irish Confederate Wars. And despite the cold weather in December, you can still enjoy this attraction in Ireland.
9.30 am to 5:45 pm
Adult: €5.00, Group/Senior: €4.00, Child/Student: €3.00 , Family: €13.00
Location: Ross Island, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Phone: +353 64 663 5851
9. Attend a winter concert in a castle
Slane Castle is located within the Boyne Valley and is set in the middle of a 1,500-acre estate and it’s only 11km from the charming town of Navan. The castle was built in 18th-century and has been a family seat for the Conyngham family. Today, the castle is a famous concert venue which held concerts for world music icons such as The Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, Guns N’ Roses, Bob Dylan, Queens, Bruce Springsteen to name a few.
The guided tours to the castle are seasonal and only if there’s no event. To check for the latest tour schedule, click here.
Adults: €12.00, Children: €7.20, Students, O.A.P.’s & Groups: €10.80, Children under 5 years are free
Location: Navan Road, Slane Meath
Phone: +353 41 9820643
10. Explore King John’s Castle
The stunning new exhibition brings to life over 800 years of King John’s Castle and Limerick City’s dramatic history all through Touch-screen technology which will connect visitors to tales of siege and warfare. And if you are staying in neighboring cities, it is one of the best day trips that you can do from Dublin, Cork or Galway.
09.30 am – 5 pm
€10 for adult, €5 for children and €22 for family (2 adults + 2 children)
Address: Nicholas St, Limerick, Ireland
Practical Tips for Ireland in December
1. As it can be windy, make sure to be careful when visiting the cliffs and the islands. The cliffs can be dangerous during the windy season so always walk with caution around the area especially if there’s no barrier on the edge.
2. Also, always verify first from the ferry companies before booking any of your tours or trips if they are operating during the winter season to avoid getting stuck.
3. Always bring a raincoat with you. Ireland in December is the wettest month of the year.
4. Always double check the opening hours of the tourist attractions as they normally close earlier from November to February.
5. As the winter slowly sets in, make sure to pack accordingly. Here’s our complete guide for packing list on Ireland for all season to help you plan your next trip to Ireland.