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    Why Visit Ireland in October?

    By Dawn Rainbolt, Marketing Executive
    More by Dawn

    Ireland's October Days

    Crisp, autumnal air laced with the scent of chimney smoke from turf fires. Decadent autumn cuisine exploding in flavours such as squash and root veggies, apples and game. Empty beaches and wind-blown hills abound, far from the bustle of the busy season. The Irish landscape during October turns into a vibrant display of colour. Heathery hills are dyed a sunburnt gold and Ireland’s lush forests erupt in a fiery display of orange and red. Mist drapes around the trees like cobwebs, creating a surreal and folkloric landscape.

    And of course, it’s Halloween, the time of year when everything is that bit more magical and spooky. Did you know that the origins of Halloween can be traced to a small cave within an ancient coronation site of bygone kings at the heart of Ireland?

    Autumn, and October in particular, is a magical – and spooky – time to discover Ireland. Keep reading to find out more on why you should choose to visit Ireland in October.

    Ireland is the Origin of Halloween

    Ireland Halloween Pumpkin

    Offerings such as these are often left at ancient sites with connections to pagan festivals like Samhain (Halloween).

    Halloween is often thought of as an American holiday – or at least we think about it from the Hollywood-ised point of view. Its origins though are very, very old.

    Halloween’s dark roots trace back to a cave lost in the middle of Ireland amidst a sacred site of Kings. Rathcroagan is a man-made souterrain (underground stone chamber) attached to a 40-meter-long cave now translated as the “Gateway to Hell” (though in pagan times, it was called the “gateway to the otherworld,” or the “world of the fairies”). Halloween, or Samhain as the Irish festival is called, marks the start of winter and is the night in which the walls between our world and the others are thinnest. According to Irish legend, it is this time of year in which spirits are most in danger of slipping through. Read more about Irish folklore.

    Many of the aspects we associate with modern-day Halloween see their darker roots here in Ireland. For example, the practice of dressing in a Halloween costume has evolved from an earlier attempt intended to confuse malevolent spirits. Common methods involved trading clothes with a sister or brother, wearing clothes inside out, fashioning basic masks out of old bed linens, or other similar methods of obscuring identity. Turnips, not pumpkins, were carved with grotesque faces, designed to scare the spirits away.

    And if none of that worked, food was left out in a final attempt to appease or bribe the spirits and fairies to leave you be.

    Ireland is proud of its Halloween roots. Multiple festivals, fairs and parades dedicated to Halloween and related genres are hosted across the country each October. These events cater to both the modern and the older versions of Samhain. This all makes October certainly one of the spookiest times a year to visit – but also possibly one of the coolest.

    Halloween in Ireland

    Wild October Skies

    Irish autumn sunset

    October is one of the best times a year to turn your eyes skywards. October skies are some of the most incredible of the whole year. Though there can be some cloud cover, even rainy days often end in bright sunsets, with skies streaked with cloud forms and warm colours.

    It’s also a great time to go stargazing. With the longer nights and fewer visitors, October’s amazing dark skies stargazing and great moonscapes will delight anyone with even a passing interest in astronomy.

    It’ll be no surprise that the weather isn’t always great in Ireland in October. But the spooky mists and dramatic cloud cover can be simply breathtaking, and with the mild temperatures, it’s easy to explore the wilds of Ireland in October.

    Though most people mainly associate rainbows with spring, autumn conditions are equally ideal for rainbows. The right sun and rain recipe needed to brew stunning rainbows is often just right in October. Chances are you’ll spot at least one while you’re visiting Ireland in October.

    Storm Season Means Surf Season

    Surfing Ireland

    It’s October so… time to get your wetsuit on? Ireland is actually well-known within the worldwide surfing community for its incredible waves. As the winter season creeps in, so do the waves. The really big waves. In fact, some of the record-high waves ever surfed have been done so in places like Sligo and Donegal on the northwest coast.

    Even if you’re not ready to get in the water yourself, if you’re on the northwest coast during winter, it’s worth a few chilly hours watching the dedicated and experienced surfers. Breathe in the invigorating Atlantic air – reputed to be some of the freshest air in Europe – and drink up the salty sea spray. A

    Afterwards, why not try a comforting and therapeutic seaweed bath, a little known restorative tradition in Ireland.

    Autumn Foodie Season

    Food is seeing a revolution here in Ireland. Organic, farm to fork, family-owned, you name it. Each season offers different tasting opportunities. In summer, you might enjoy fresh fruits and just-caught fish. In autumn, sink your teeth into Ireland’s delicious vegetable larder – squash, potatoes, and other root vegetables.

    Imagine steaming savoury pies, perfect for warming you up after your outdoor adventures. It’s also the season for game – duck and venison offer delicious seasonal alternatives to the traditional lamb, beef and pork dishes that are year-round in Ireland.

    Then of course there are the apple orchards of Ireland. Of course, you can find apples year-round in Ireland and many other places. But there’s something about biting into a fresh, juicy apple grown locally in places like Armagh, Waterford or Tipperary that adds extra zest to the culinary experience. Pair it all with local cider or perhaps a ‘hot toddy’ (a delicious warm drink made with whiskey, lemon, cloves and sugar) and you’ll go dreaming of Irish food for a long time to come.

    Ireland All to Yourself

    Donegal Beaches

    Wander empty expanses of beaches in October.

    It’s also worth noting that October is a quiet time of year. You’ll likely get the strands of beaches and hillsides to yourself. If you are wanting to visit Irish landmarks but don’t want to share the views, October is an ideal time to come.

    Walk the Cliffs of Moher and watch the waves swirling far below (if weather permits), step in the footsteps of giants along the Giant’s Causeway (perhaps visiting at sunset when the stones are extra special) or visit heritage sites like the Rock of Cashel without other tourists.

    If you have specific hotel preferences or room types you want, October is a great time to visit. Off-peak rates help make your Ireland October trip good value for money, and Ireland’s great castle and manor hotels often have fun fall festivities for guests to enjoy.

    Irish Seasons

    Visit Ireland in October

    Meet the Author: Dawn Rainbolt

    “American by birth but European in spirit, Dawn has called the US, Costa Rica, Spain, England, Poland, France and now Ireland home over the years. While she has travelled to more than 30 countries, she has fallen in love with the rich Irish culture and sweeping landscapes of Ireland. Armed with a Masters Degree in Tourism Marketing and a love of writing and photography, she is Wilderness Ireland's Marketing Executive since 2017.”

    View profileMore by Dawn

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