What to do in Ireland in Winter: Ireland Vacations and Holidays

If you’re wondering what to do in Ireland in winter, these suggestions will help you plan your itinerary and ensure you get the most out of your holiday. Visiting Western Europe in the winter is a smart idea for those looking to travel on a budget – cheap Ireland tours in particular are relatively easy to come by, and accommodation can cost half what it does in the high season. Discover Ireland is a good place to start researching Ireland vacation deals.<br />
Travel Ireland in the Winter: What to Pack<br />
You can enjoy your visit to Ireland in the winter with a little planning. Ireland’s climate is generally mild year-round, but you will likely experience chilly temperatures and rain if you visit in December or January. While it isn’t too difficult to come up with indoor things to do in Ireland in the winter, you will probably wish to step outside once in a while and should arrive prepared for the weather. Make sure you bring along the following items:<br />
All-weather (waterproof) jacket<br />
Umbrella<br />
Rain boots<br />
Sturdy walking shoes<br />
“Layer” pieces, such as sweaters and a scarf<br />
Extra socks<br />
A sense of adventure<br />
Castles and Palaces in Ireland: Vacation Deals<br />
Even when it’s cold outside, you can still enjoy the rich history of Ireland. You may even wish to consider a tour package that focuses on historic sites, museums and other cultural centres around Ireland. Vacation deals are plentiful in the off season, so take advantage of them. This list of castles and palaces will help you decide what to do in Ireland on winter days when you’d rather not be trekking through the countryside or visiting such blustery attractions as the Cliffs of Moher. The list is far from exhaustive; it’s only meant to give you a taste of what Ireland has to offer in terms of historic sites.<br />
Carrickfergus Castle, Belfast – the most complete early medieval castle in all of Ireland<br />
Castle Enniskillen, County Fermanagh – rebuilt in 1611 from a medieval fortress<br />
Birr Castle, County Offaly – includes a tree garden and a science centre<br />
Dunsany Castle, County Meath – a large castle with towers dating back to 1180<br />
Rosserrilly Abbey, County Galway – an extremely well-preserved 14th century Franciscan abbey<br />
A variety of tour companies offer castle tours, including IrishTourism.com. As with accommodation, museum entrance fees and airfare, bus tours are often available at substantial discounts during the off-season in Ireland. Vacation deals, as one would expect, are easy to find (or negotiate) when tour operators are eager to fill spaces that would otherwise remain empty.<br />
Visit Ireland in the Winter for the Pubs and Culture<br />
Ireland is a country of pubs – in many cities and towns, there seems to be one on every street corner (sometimes more than one!). Travellers who visit Ireland in the winter should take advantage of their cozy, friendly atmosphere on rainy days or after a cool hike in the countryside, when a pub becomes all the more welcoming. Look for pubs that feature local musicians – they may not be big names, but they’ll give you an authentic taste of Irish culture in a relaxed atmosphere.<br />
Ireland’s many museums and heritage centres offer ideal rainy-day winter entertainment. There are also a variety of cultural festivals and events to enjoy, including Christmas in Killarney.<br />
Movie Locations: A Cheap Ireland Tour<br />
Another fun, and cost-efficient, thing to do in Ireland in the winter is a self-guided film locations tour. Ireland is not exactly well-known as a movie destination, but a surprising number of famous films have been shot here, including parts of Saving Private Ryan (Curracloe Beach, County Wexford) and Excalibur (numerous outdoor locations). The following are a few former film sets that can be enjoyed in any weather.<br />
Dublin Castle – The Blue Max, 1966<br />
Bray Head Hotel (Bray, near Dublin); Darndale estate (Dublin) – The Commitments, 1991<br />
Trinity College, Dublin – Educating Rita, 1983<br />
Kilmainham Gaol (Dublin); Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital (Dublin) – In the Name of the Father, 1993<br />
Limerick, numerous locations – Angela’s Ashes, 1999<br />
With foresight and a little creativity, deciding what to do in Ireland in winter isn’t difficult. The country’s rich history and culture means that even on gloomy days there is sure to be a museum, pub, or musical event to enjoy nearby.<br />
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