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Is December a good time to visit Ireland?
Ireland in December is a fabulous time to experience Irish culture and hospitality at its best. The cities and towns throughout the country are decorated with festive cheer and the entire atmosphere is highly enjoyable. Whether it is your first time to Ireland in winter or your tenth, there will be plenty of things for you to do and magical experiences to have.
What’s the weather like in Ireland in December?
The weather in Ireland in December is cool with the average temperature fluctuating around 6°C (43 °F). As with all of the winter months, you should expect rain and also some wind, so good waterproof layers are essential for any pack list.
Snow is a rare occurrence, so although it is possible to encounter a white Christmas in Ireland, the chances are pretty limited.
Things to do in Ireland in December
If you are looking for some inspiration for an Ireland travel itinerary for December, then make sure to visit some of the bigger cities. Many of these, including Dublin, Galway and Belfast in Northern Ireland have their own Christmas Markets where you can stock up on unique crafts and souvenirs, as well as delicious food.
One of Ireland’s national treasures is the Brú na Bóinne Burial Complex in the Boyne Valley, County Meath. This UNESCO Heritage Site is older than the Pyramids and is well worth visiting.
For a few days a year only around the winter solstice, the light from sunrise creeps in the prehistoric burial chamber of the Newgrange through a specially designed portal box at the entrance.
Due to limited amounts of space, you are unlikely to view the actual solstice event from inside the chamber, but you can watch a reenactment which gives you a realistic impression of the amazing feats of engineering and architectural design that were required to build these monuments more than 5,000 years ago.
While on the east coast, check out some of Ireland’s other historical wonders that are easy to find along Ireland’s Ancient East trail.
Kilkenny city, with its impressive castle, is a great destination for learning all about Ireland’s medieval history and as the heart of Irish design, it is a great place to find unique Irish products and crafts.
During the winter months, your chances of seeing the Northern Lights is at its highest. One of the best locations for spotting this natural phenomenon is Malin Head, County Donegal which is at the start of the Wild Atlantic Way coastal drive.
Road trips and day tour excursions are generally better suited to the late spring and summer months. If you are feeling brave and don’t mind the mixed weather and shorter days, then head to the west coast, where you are likely to enjoy the attractions like the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands without the crowds associated with the summer.
There is no guarantee with the weather and during winter in particular, the view of the cliffs and other scenic areas might be reduced due to poor weather conditions.
Places to visit in Dublin in December
Dublin in December takes on its own festive feeling. Apart from the must-see attractions, such as the Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College Dublin and the Book of Kells, you will also be able to soak up the festive atmosphere on the streets (such as Grafton Street) and in the pubs as well.
Hiking in Ireland in December
Hiking trips during December are possible, but you should carefully plan your route, have all the necessary equipment and be prepared for shorter daylight hours.
One of my favourite ways to start the New Year is in Connemara National Park with a hike up Diamond Hill on New Year’s Day. If you are lucky, the visibility will be clear and the views are really amazing.
Travelling to Ireland in December?
Flights and hotels become more expensive in the run up to Christmas and New Year. If you travel early in December, you might still be able to avail of some good offers.
If you are still wondering when the best time to visit Ireland for you is, then read our longer post here.
We also have detailed information about what kind of weather you should expect in Ireland in December. Click here to read about weather in Ireland in December.