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Autumn in Ireland

Why visit Ireland in Autumn? Autumn might not be you first choice, but travelling Ireland in autumn is lovely. Fewer travellers means less crowds and more availability, autumn weather is mild, the landscapes are stunning, and the food is delicious. Also, Ireland is the country from which Halloween originates – from the festival of Samhain.

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Avoid the Crowds
Beautiful Autumn Colours
The Origins of Halloween

Irish Autumn Explained

By the time that autumn rolls around, Ireland is a quieter place. School’s back in session, the days are getting shorter, and landscapes become alive with reds and golds.

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Autumn Tours

When Does Autumn Start in Ireland

Autumn in Ireland, like most seasons on the Emerald Isle, is hard to define. Traditionally speaking, autumn lasts through September, October and November. But Ireland’s Gaelic calendar is quite different than tradition.

On the Gaelic calendar, autumn or Fómhar which loosely translates as harvest, starts in August. Called lunasa in Irish Gaelic, August 1st marks the festival of Lughnasadh, celebrating the start of the harvest. And interestingly, the months September (Meán Fómhair) and October (Deireadh Fómhair) translate as “middle of harvest” and “end of harvest.” In Gaelic calendar, November is the start of winter.

Starts
Ends
Meteorological autumn in Ireland
1st of September 30th of November
Astronomical autumn in Ireland
September 21st 21st December
Traditional Gaelic Seasons
Early August 31st of October

Weather in Ireland During Autumn

Autumn is pretty settled weather wise in Ireland. Temperatures remain moderate in September and the days are still relatively long. September is a great month for photography, with the contrast of the remaining purple heather, summer greens and a hint of autumn colours making an appearance. October can be quite wet, but it’s the month with the most to see in terms of leaves changing and wildlife activity. November is drier and cooler than the previous two months. The clearer skies and longer nights make November the best autumn month for seeing the Northern lights, though this is still a rare occurrence in Ireland.

Sep
Oct
Nov
Average monthly rainfall 
60mm (2.4 in) 90 – 110mm (3.5-4.3 in) 80 – 100mm (3.1 – 3.9in)
Average wind
15 kph (9.3 mph) 16 kph (10 mph) 16 kph (10 mph)
Average daytime temperature (High)
17°C (62°F) 14°C (56°F) 10°C (50°F)
Average daytime temperature (Low)
10°C (50°F) 8°C (47°F) 5°C (40°F)
Average daylight hours 
12.5 hrs 10 hrs 8.5 hrs

Source: climateandweather.com and timeanddate.com | Based on an average of the whole country as location. Typically, the mildest regions of Ireland are found in the southeast and southwest regions.

Irish Autumn in Pictures

Irish Autumn Activities

Hiking

Enjoy Ireland’s autumn landscapes, seasonal colour and cosy pubs this autumn season by hiking in Ireland. Shorter days also mean you’ll get to enjoy Ireland’s stunning sunrises and sunsets – just as brilliant on the coasts as in the mountains. By hiking in Ireland, you’ll get to enjoy the vast autumnal landscapes far from the busy towns and roads.

Hiking trips

Biking & Cycling

Autumn is a lovely time to bike in Ireland – the weather is mild, the showers are scattered, the roads are less busy and the lighting is dramatic. Avoid sharing the road with other tourists while biking through amazing scenery alive with autumn flora and fauna to enjoy beautiful sunrises without waking at the break of dawn.

Bike Trips

Self Drive

Want a bit more flexibility without the stress of researching and booking your trip? Our self drive trips are designed to take in iconic sites as well as hidden gems on 5 week-long trips following Ireland’s coast. Available year-round, autumn is perhaps the best compromise between decent weather, cosy pubs and avoiding crowds.

Self Drive Trips

Tailor Made Trips

Perhaps you want a custom designed trip? Whether you want to book a cosy fairytale castle, explore beautiful red-gold leaves in Killarney, take part in autumn harvest festivals, or experience the ancient pagan celebration of Samhain – the original Halloween – in Ireland, our custom trip designers will create the trip of a lifetime.

Interactive Trip Builder

Where to See Autumn Colours in Ireland

Where is the best place to see autumn colours in Ireland? This is a hard question to answer as Ireland is beautiful throughout the island. It also depends on what you’re looking for – fiery old growth forests? Sweeping hills of gold-dipped heather? Beautiful, well-manicured estates? Dramatic coastal skies overhanging swirling waves? In any event, Ireland is full of beauty – and autumn may just be the best time to enjoy it.

Autumn Leaves
  • Killarney National Park
  • Powerscourt Estate & Gardens in Wicklow
  • The Glens of Antrim
Brilliant Bogs & Golden Heather
  • Connemara National Park
  • The 12 Bens mountain range
  • The mountains of Donegal
  • Wicklow Mountains
Coastal Landscapes
  • The Sligo Coast
  • Lough Swilly – Donegal
  • Killary Fjord
  • The Aran Islands

Want to See The Fall Colours?

We visit the below destinations on our walking tours during the autumn months.

Autumn Wildlife

Autumn is the time of year in Ireland when various wildlife spectacles take place. The rutting of the red deer means that autumn in certain parts of Ireland becomes an audible experience as stags try to impress the does with epic clashes of antlers and deep, throaty roars. Killarney and Wicklow are generally the best places to find the red deer. 

If you like baby seals, autumn is the best time of year to spot baby grey seals, who are born in the latter part of the year. Because they are covered in fluffy white fur when they are young to keep them warm, they have to stay out of the water. It’s possible to see these baby seals on the rocks, being protected and fed by mum. All of Ireland’s coasts are great places to spot grey seals, but the coastlines of Cork, Kerry, and the southeast are the best places. Baby common seals, Ireland’s other seal species, are already swimming by autumn.

Autumn is a good season to spot dolphins and whales off the coast as well. From August to December, spot common dolphins, harbour porpoises and fin whales off the coast of Ireland. West Cork is often regarded as a good place to see them, but really anywhere off the Atlantic coast of Ireland is a possibility. 

 

Scotland's Autumn Larder

Visiting in Ireland in autumn is more than just marvelling at beautiful landscapes. It also means you’ll have the chance to taste some of Ireland’s best and freshest foods from Ireland’s natural larder. Check out our overflowing selection of seasonal fruits, vegetables, seafood and game. (Do keep in mind that many of the below are available in other months as well). 

Sep
Oct
Nov
Vegetables & Fruits
Mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, raspberries & strawberries. Apples, strawberries, squash & most root vegetables. Broccoli, celery & most root veggies.
Meat & Game
Duck & lamb. Duck, goose & lamb. Venison & goose.
Fish & Seafood
Halibut, mackerel, & salmon. Mussels, oysters & crab. Mussels and Various shellfish.

 

Autumn FAQs

What are the seasons in Ireland? Read More

Ireland is home to ever-changing weather and 4 relatively mild seasons, and sometimes you get to experience them all in one day!

Spring is technically the months of March, April and May though the Gaelic calendar has spring staring in February. The Irish countryside comes to life again during spring, with rolling hills and crags bursting with wildflowers, and fields full of fluffy new lambs. April and May are actually some of the driest months, but beware that, as with anywhere and anytime in Ireland, the weather is quite changeable, and you’ll still need warm and rainproof gear. Spring temperatures are on average a a crisp 7-15°C.

Summer ranges across June, July and August, though the Gaelic Calendar starts summer in May. The earlier part of the season are typically the driest and warmest months and the most popular for visitors, but by August, the weather starts to turn, and rainfall tends to increase. Average temperature ranges between 12°C and 18°C.  June 21st is the longest day of the year, with some 17 hours of daylight! In fact, around the summer solstice, even at midnight, it’ll seem like twilight. You’ll still get rain though – though usually showers that blow over quickly – be sure to bring the rain gear!

Autumn technically starts in Ireland in September and goes on through to November, though as with the other seasons, the Gaelic Calendar starts autumn in August. Though perhaps less dramatically colourful than Scotland, Irish landscapes are still magical during autumn. The temperature during autumn is on generally between 5-12°C, though it can be up to 15-16 some days. Traditionally, Irish autumn – the harvest season – finishes on Samhain, the festival celebrated on 31st October, and the origin of what we today call Halloween.

Winter in Ireland takes place between December, January and February (with the Gaelic Calendar marking the start in November, and the end on 1 Feb.). Winter months are the darkest and shortest days of the year. Though possible, and varying across the country in amount, Ireland doesn’t get much snowfall, perhaps a couple of dustings with one or two bigger storms each year (though with no more than a few centimetres of accumulation). The daytime temperature during winter in Ireland is on average 3-9°C. Winter is perhaps home to some of Ireland’s most beautiful sunrises and sunsets though! 

What is the weather like in Ireland in September? Read More

September is often considered to be a mild month – possibly the most mild of all autumn and winter months. Daytime temperatures generally range between 11-18°C (51-64), with a mean of 14°C (57). September has one of the lowest precipitation levels with a mean of 45-50mm. The days are still relatively long, with an average of 12:30 of daylight. Photographers will love the Golden Hour during the beautiful September sunsets. 

*Info based on Shannon Airport on the west coast of Ireland.

What is the weather like in Ireland in October? Read More

October is generally a wetter month than September – Rainfall can be up to 80mm. October temperatures usually range between 8-14°C (46-57) with an average of 11°C (51). Until it is abolished in Europe, October is generally when we have Daylight Savings Time and the clock fall backwards. Days are shorter, with an average length of 10 hours of daylight. The nights are longer, making it appropriate that Oct 31st is generally considered the end of the harvest (October in Irish is “Deireadh Fómhair” actually translates to as “End of the Harvest”). In Irish tradition, October 31st is the last day of autumn, and the night when the door to the spirit or fairy world opens into ours. Hence, how modern Halloween came about! 

*Info based on Shannon Airport on the west coast of Ireland.

What is the weather like in Ireland in November? Read More

November can be quite dark. Expect an average of 8 hours of daylight with dark evenings. November temperatures range from 6-11°C (42-51) – average temperatures are about 9°C (so that’d be 48). Rainfall is similar to October, between 73-80mm. 

*Info based on Shannon Airport on the west coast of Ireland.

Does it snow in Ireland? Read More

No, it doesn’t snow much in Ireland, and very rarely in autumn. There may be the occasional winter snow, but it’s usually more of a dusting or just a few centimetres than major snows – though the infrequent snowfall in Ireland means that when we do get snow, it can be disruptive.

Coastal regions rarely see snow as the sea temperatures are warmer than the coast meaning coastal precipitation will be rain. Do keep in mind that during the same snowstorm, you’ll see snow just a few miles inland. The main areas of Ireland that get snow are generally inland (in the Irish Midlands), and on higher ground such as hills and mountains.

Does it rain much in Ireland? Read More

It does indeed rain in Ireland. The great thing about rain in Ireland is that it rarely rains all day – instead we get showers interspersed with dry periods of clouds, clear skies and sun. Good chance is that if it’s raining now, wait a bit and usually it’ll clear up! It does rain often here – with higher rainfall on the west coast, and even more so in the northwest – so it’s always good to come prepared with plenty of waterproofs.

Shannon’s annual rainfall is 732 mm while Dublin is 493mm and Belfast is 430mm. Compare this to other locations like London (565mm), Paris (590mm), Vancouver (797mm), Oslo (702mm), Chicago (430mm), and New York (620mm).

What should I wear in Ireland? Read More

Make sure that you wear lots of layers, as the weather can be quite changeable in Ireland. Avoid cottons at all cost. Be sure to bring a daypack in which to put extra layers in. Even in summer, you may need to have a hat or gloves while hiking, as mountaintops can be quite cold and windy. It’s important to have waterproofs (not water resistant materials), both waterproof jackets and waterproof pants/trousers. Good boots and wool socks are a must as well.

Read more:

Why should I visit Ireland in autumn? Read More

From gorgeous autumn colours to fewer tourists on the hills, dramatic lighting, and more availability for accommodations and guides, not to mention harvest and Halloween-related festivities, Ireland in autumn can be a lovely time of year to visit.

Our vacations reviewed
in your own words

A lovely trip. Even though weather intervened on some of the planned activities, our guide came up with alternatives that pleased us.

Richard de Beaudrap
Hiking and Island Hopping Cork and Kerry
Reviewed on 24/09/2018

Rated 4.94 out of 5 based on 170 reviews

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