It’s well-acknowledged that Ireland is known for having a lot of rainbows. But is this just a stereotype? Are rainbows actually very common in Ireland?
In Ireland, we have all of the necessary ingredients required to create rainbows: plenty of rain and low pressure. Mix these two ingredients together and toss in Ireland’s notoriously fast-changing climate (sun, then rain, then clouds, then sun, then hail, etc.), and you’ll end up with a seemingly endless supply of rainbows. While you won’t see rainbows every day you’re in Ireland, rainbows are not just a stereotype here. In fact, they are actually pretty common, and your chances of getting that stunning rainbow pic are fairly good.
Rainbows are a (somewhat) rare and unique weather phenomenon that is caused by sunlight being internally reflected on the backs of falling raindrops. Basically, a rainbow is composed of light reflecting and refracting off water particles that are floating in the air, notably rain or sometimes mist.
Rain being a key part of the eponymic rainbow, it’s not hard to imagine why Ireland has so many of these curious phenomena. In fact, rainbows are actually a fairly regular phenomenon on the Emerald Isle (our famed greenness is another benefit from all that rain!).
Short answer – everywhere. All rainbows arc at 84° across just opposite from the sun, no matter where you are in the world. But that doesn’t mean that these arcs of colour are visible all the time or in one particular place. Rainbows tend to be most present where the rain is, so it follows that the rainy regions of Ireland are good places to spot rainbows.
Northwest Ireland gets more rain than the norm, making it a good place to spot these beauties. The Wild Atlantic Way coastline is a good place too. But the simple fact is that rainbows are found all across Ireland.
The rainbow phenomenon is most common when there is an abundant supply of rain and low pressure. That combination happens most often in the “transition” seasons of spring and autumn. October and early November are particularly good times to spot rainbows in Ireland, as are April and May.
That said, though rainbows are fairly rare in most places, they are actually pretty common here, so it’s likely you’ll experience at least one rainbow while you’re here – and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a double rainbow. Keep your cameras ready!
You’ve probably heard tell of the famous legend about leprechauns (or the little folk, fairies or wee folk as they are more commonly referred to here) leaving pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. This is a perfect hiding place for valuable treasure belonging to supernatural beings, seeing as the viewer can never reach the end of the rainbow.
In order to see ta rainbow, you must be standing a certain distance away, with the sun behind you. So, I guess it’s safe to say that while we’ll never be able to say that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…we also can’t say that there isn’t a pot of gold there…
Take a look at our selection of rainbow photos taken throughout Ireland in this gallery of colour. Hopefully, you’ll get the chance to spot one or two on your next trip to Ireland.