Ireland in Summer: Tips  + Things to Do (2024)

Planning a trip to Ireland in the summer and looking for tips and tricks? Keep scrolling for my list of the best things to do in Ireland in summer worth adding to your Ireland itinerary!
This list of things to do in Ireland in summer was co-written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Guest post by Kristin Danks

Heading to Ireland in the summer and looking for the best things to do? You’re in the right place.

Ireland, which is nicknamed The Emerald Ilse, is known for its serene green scenery, dramatic landscapes, and fairy tales and folklore. If you’re planning to visit Ireland in summer then you’re in for a treat.

Summer is the best time of year to enjoy Ireland because most of the best things to do in Ireland involve the outdoors.

Whether you’re taking a road trip, marveling at unique rock formations, enjoying the gardens in a castle courtyard, or strolling through the cobbled streets of Dublin, it’s much more enjoyable to explore Ireland with good weather conditions.

The rest of the year in Ireland can be quite chilly, so visiting Ireland during the summer is ideal. Summer in Ireland does not get as hot as other countries at this time of year and heatwaves are uncommon. You will most certainly need some warm layers of clothes, even in the summer.

Let’s chat about everything you need to know about visiting Ireland during the summer months, the best things to do in Ireland in summer that should be on everyone’s Ireland summer itinerary, and other useful tidbits.

Summer in Ireland By Month

If you’re visiting Ireland during any of the summer months, you should expect some rain. June and July are some of the driest months of the year in Ireland, with an average rainfall of around 80 mm per month.

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August and September become a bit rainier, with the average rainfall rising to 100mm per month.

I visited Ireland in July, and it rained quite a bit during our trip – so much in fact, that we ended up buying a raincoat for my daughter.

Besides rainfall, here’s what else you need to need to know about each of the summer months in Ireland:

Ireland in June

Average temperature: 10-17°C (50-63°F)

June in Ireland is when tourist season starts to ramp up.

If you’re planning to head to Ireland early in the month, you should know that the first Monday in June is a civic holiday. Its traditional name is Lá Saoire i mí an Mheithimh in Irish and is known simply as “First Monday in June” in English. There will be business closures on that day.

Otherwise, June is a good time to visit Ireland. It is less busy than July and August, flowers are in full bloom and is a bit less busy than July.

Ireland in July

Average temperature: 10-17°C (50-63°F).

July is the most popular month to visit Ireland, so you can expect to see crowds of other tourists at many of the popular attractions and destinations.

Even though July is normally one of the hottest months of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, be sure to bring some warm clothing to Ireland in July. In Ireland, even the warmest months are still chilly by many of our standards.

It’s easy to underestimate how much rainfall and chilly weather can still occur in Ireland, even during July. A pair of rainboots, waterproof hiking boots, and some warm clothing would be important to have at any time of the year – but don’t leave it off your packing list if you’re coming in July.

Ireland in August

Average temperature: 10°C to 19°C.

August is one of the best times to visit Ireland. It’s slightly warmer on average than in June and July, however, the rainfall in August is a bit higher too.

While it can still be cloudy and rainy in August, you should see the sun peaking through most days.

It is good to know that the first Monday in August (known as Lá Saoire i mí Lúnasa in Irish) is a bank holiday, so expect many businesses to be closed. This Monday corresponds with the traditional Gaelic festival called Lúnasa.

Ireland in September

Average temperature: 9°C- 15°C (48°- 59°F)

Early September is still quite busy for tourism in Ireland, but there are fewer and fewer tourists as the month goes on, and the weather gets gradually chillier.

One bonus about visiting Ireland in September is that it is getting close to Northern Light season. (The best time to see the Northern Lights in Ireland in the fall is between September and October.)

One thing to note for North American visitors is that Ireland does not have a Labor Day weekend. There are no civic holidays in Ireland in September, so you don’t have to worry about any business closures.

Best Things to Do in Ireland in Summer

Regardless of which month your summer trip to Ireland falls, there are a lot of amazing outdoor things to do.

Marvel at the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most breathtaking sights in Ireland. The cliffs are 702 feet (114 m) tall and face out to the Atlantic Ocean.

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This dramatic scenery of the cliffs is so stunning, that it has been used in some scenes for popular movies. A Harry Potter scene was filmed here, as well as a scene from The Princess Bride.

The Cliffs of Moher are roughly a 3.5-hour drive from Dublin and 90 minutes south of Galway.

Many tours bring you to the cliffs from almost all major cities. However, there are also lots of places to stay near the Cliffs of Moher, which gives you a chance to see them at less busy times, such as at sunset.

While you’re at the Cliffs of Moher, be sure to step into the small O’Brian’s Tower, which elevates you further, giving you impressive views from the top.

Take a Scenic Road Trip

While Ireland has many beautiful and quaint cities and towns, you can’t leave the country without seeing the countryside properly.

One of the best ways to experience the Irish scenery is to go on a road trip. The most scenic drives in Ireland are all on the west coast.

Here are the three most popular road trips in Ireland:

The Wild Atlantic Way

Distance: 2600 km (1600 miles)

The Wild Atlantic Way is what it sounds like – a road that runs along the entire west coast of Ireland, on the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean.

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Aside from the Cliffs of Moher which I mentioned above, there are several hidden gems and places to stop at along the way – the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney Harbour, the Skelligs which are a UNESCO Heritage sight and many more.

Pro Tip: Most people take 3-5 days to drive the entire Wild Atlantic Way, but in my opinion, this might be a bit rushed. It’s important to know that you don’t have to drive the whole Wild Atlantic Way. You can add as much or as little to it to your itinerary as what suits your trip and the amount of time you have.

The Ring of Kerry

Distance: 179 km (111 miles)

The Ring of Kerry, in the southwestern tip of Ireland, has some of the tallest mountains in Ireland, and very dramatic, otherworldly-looking scenery.

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You could drive the entire ring in about 3.5 hours, but some people choose to stay somewhere nearby so that they can take part in lots of outdoor summer activities, such as hiking, swimming at the beach, fishing, etc

The Dingle Peninsula

Distance: 47 km (30 miles)

The Dingle Peninsula (also known as the Slead Head) has similar views as the Ring of Kerry but is known for having over 2,000 historical stone monuments that date back to the bronze age.

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Because of how remote the Dingle Peninsula is, the area is relatively unchanged from how it looked centuries ago.

You can drive around the Dingle Peninsula in about 3 hours, but be sure to allow for extra time for all the scenic stops you’ll want to make to take pictures!

Pro Tip: Of course, taking a road trip in Ireland involves driving ‘on the other side of the road.’ If you don’t feel comfortable doing the driving, there are many tours that bring you on some of these routes. Taking a tour from any of the major cities allows you to relax while enjoying the scenery

Enjoy a Cold Pint (or Two) at the Original Guinness Storehouse

A cold beer is appreciated by many on a summer’s day. Although Guiness beer is popular abroad, it has been said that Guiness tastes better in Ireland.

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Guinness goes way back in Ireland, having been invented in the 1700s. Visiting the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, where Guinness was invented, allows you to do a self-guided tour, learn about the history of Ireland’s most popular export, and even get some great Guinness-themed souvenirs in the gift shop.

In addition, there’s a bar called Gravity Bar at the end of your tour, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Dublin with drinks and snacks.

Visiting the Guinness Storehouse is a great way to experience an age-old Irish tradition, learn about the brewing process, and enjoy the view of Dublin on a sunny day.

Visit Castles

Castles in the summertime are beautiful because you can enjoy the courtyard and the landscaped gardens which often have beautiful flower gardens. The views from the towers are often clear in the summer, giving you great views of the rolling greens.

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Ireland has thousands of castles, so it will be impossible to visit them all when you visit. However, I would recommend visiting at least 2-3 of them, depending on your itinerary and how much time you have.

If you’re looking to have a once-in-a-lifetime epic experience in Ireland, you could consider staying in a castle hotel. There are dozens of castle hotels in Ireland that provide a fairy-tale-like, luxury experience.

Here are some of the most popular castles to visit as a tourist in Ireland.

  • Blarney Castle, outside Cork
  • Dunguaire Castle, near Galway
  • Dublin Castle in Dublin City Centre

Go Swimming at a Beach

Ireland may not be known for its beaches, but being an island, there are countless coastlines to enjoy. There are many areas with sandy beaches and water where you can swim in the ocean.

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A huge bonus about visiting Ireland in summer is that it’s the only time of year when you can swim in the ocean. It’s usually much too chilly in both the spring and the fall to even consider it.

Here are some of Ireland’s best sandy beaches where you can swim:

  • Waterville Beach in the Ring of Kerry
  • Dollymount Strand and Claremount Beach near Dublin
  • Salthill beaches just outside Galway

Pro Tip: If you decide to do any indoor swimming in Ireland, be aware that you need a swim cap as per Irish hygiene regulations. Usually, they are sold at the venue that you’ll be swimming in the indoor pool at – but bring one from home if you don’t want to have to buy an extra.

Enjoy Fresh Seasonal Food on an Irish Food Tour

Summer is the perfect time to do the Irish Food Walking Trail in Dublin.

Irish food is hearty and comforting, and it is also seasonal because the food ingredients are the product of local family-owned farming practices. Fish is particularly a focus in Irish cuisine in the summer, so if you enjoy seafood then you’ll be in heaven.

The Irish Food Walking Trail introduces you to some of the best craft beers and eats around the old town of Dublin, and comes with a professional local guide who can share some interesting tidbits about the different dishes you will try. Be sure to come hungry!

Walk on a Fairy Trail

Whether or not you’re in Ireland with kids, there are many places in Ireland where you might find yourself stumbling across a walking path with fairy doors.

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Fairies have deep roots in Irish folklore, and fairy trails are very popular for children. The unique designs and construction of these adorable houses.

In the summer months, you can find fairy trails at castles, parks, or as a part of a regular walking trail.

Pro Tip: You can bring some of the magic of Ireland’s folklore home with you. The special ‘fairy doors’ that you find on fairy trails are sold in some Irish souvenir shops, or online.

Take a Summer Boat Cruise to the Aran Islands

The Aran Islands are three different islands off the coast of western Ireland, near Galway City. They are known for their breathtaking scenery, Celtic stone buildings, and for being one of the few places in Ireland where the Irish language is still spoken.

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Some of the ferries to get to the Aran Islands are seasonal, and some attractions on the islands are open during the summer. So, if you’re in Ireland in the summer, then it’s a particularly good time to explore the Aran Islands.

It’s important to note that you can only go to one island at a time (you can’t move between islands once you’re there.) However, for first-timers, Inis Mor is the best of the three Aran Islands to visit for first-time visitors, because it has many things to see, and is more set up for tourism.

Pro Tip: Aran Islands knitwear products are family-owned and locally made with water-resistant wool, and are perfect for rainy days in Ireland. They also make a special gift or souvenir from Ireland.

Go on a Hike

Ireland has many spectacular hiking trails, especially along the west coast with its rugged scenery and views of the ocean.

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Another great thing about hiking in Ireland in summer is that it doesn’t get too hot. (There’s nothing worse than overheating during a hike.)

Heatwaves, luckily, even during the summer in Ireland – are pretty uncommon. Hiking in Ireland allows you to stay mostly cool during the hike while you admire the amazing scenery.

Here are some of the most common places to go hiking in Ireland:

  • Connemara National Park in west Ireland, which covers 2,000 acres of mountains
  • Killarney National Park (Ireland’s first national park) in South Ireland
  • The Burren in southwest Ireland, is known for its limestone-covered grounds, fossils, caves and unique rock formations

Pro Tip: The most popular hiking trail in Ireland is called the Coumshingaun Lough and Kilclooney Loop, and it can be found in south Ireland. It’s 8.2 km (5 miles) long and takes you through stunning scenery of cliffs, mountains and views of the ocean.

Try Glamping

Glamping has become a popular activity in Ireland, for both locals and tourists. It allows you to enjoy the outdoors, and ‘camp’ in comfort and even sometimes luxury.

Glamping sites are available year-round in Ireland, but summer is undoubtedly the best time to do it.

There are dozens of places to go glamping in Ireland. I recommend choosing a place that is close to attractions or places that you’re already going to be visiting.

Here are some of the best places for a short glamping vacation in Ireland:

Attend a Festival

Ireland is a country of festivals and most of them run during the summer months. The Irish people are fun and celebrate a variety of fun, silly and creative things.

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Galway is known as the Irish capital of festivals, but there are several held in other towns and cities too. In the summer, you can find a lot of film and music festivals, but also comedy, art and more.

Here are a few of the many festivals in Ireland that happen during the summer months.

June: Cat Laughs Festival in Kilkenny (comedy) and the Dublin Pride Festival

July: Longitude Festival in Dublin (music), and the Galway International Arts Festival

August: Kilkenny Art Festival, Puck Fair in Killorglin, Rose of Tralee Festival (beauty pageant) in the town of Tralee, and the Dublin Horse Festival

September: Galway International Oyster Festival, and the Waterford Harvest Festival

These are a few of the festivals in Ireland in summer, but there are many more. Be sure to look up the tourism website of the places you’ll be visiting to see what festivals and events might be on at that time.

Frequent Small Villages

Ireland’s cities are fascinating, but it’s often the small villages in Ireland that make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale.

Small towns in Ireland are so picturesque with the stone wall gardens with blooming flowers, thatched rooves, and colorful painted buildings.

Here are some of the best small towns in Ireland to stop through on a tour or an Irish road trip.

  • Adare in County Limerick, known for its colorful storefronts and traditional houses with thatched roofs
  • Cong, in County Mayo, is known for the Cong Abbey Ruins which date back to the 1100s.
  • Doolin in County Galway, a small fishing village near the Cliffs of Moher.
  • Kinsale in County Cork, known for its colourful historic buildings and cozy pubs
  • Cobh in County Cork, a fantastic place to visit – especially in summer. Its harbour and marina, and colourful buildings will remind you of a mini San Francisco

Surf on the Waves of the Atlantic Ocean

Many people don’t realize that Ireland is a great place to learn how to surf. It may not be as hot and sunny as California, but the Atlantic Ocean waves along the west coast are a great place to learn this fun sport.

There are a few different surf schools located on the West Coast; all of which cater to beginners to advanced surfers of all ages. Surfing on Ireland’s beaches allows you to ride the waves in a different setting from what you might be used to in a hotter climate.

Is Ireland Worth Visiting in the Summer?

Ireland is definitely worth visiting in summer. Summer is the peak season for tourism in Ireland, but that’s for a good reason.

Summer is the best time to take advantage of the landmarks and gorgeous scenery with decent weather, and take part in activities like hiking, swimming, surfing, biking and horseback riding.

What to Bring to Ireland in Summer

Here’s what to remember to pack for a summer trip to Ireland

  • Layers. The days can get chillier than you expect, and you will almost certainly need a sweater in the evenings
  • Waterproof hiking boots, so that your feet don’t get wet
  • Swimsuit, in case you want to go swimming at a beach
  • A swim cap (in case you decide to swim in an indoor pool)
  • A rain jacket or poncho
  • Sunscreen and sunhat
  • A fold-up umbrella

Visiting Ireland in Summer FAQs

Here are the most commonly asked questions about visiting Ireland in the summertime.

What is the best month to visit Ireland?

June and September are the best months to visit Ireland because the weather is warm and you can enjoy many outdoor activities. It is also less busy with tourism than in July and August.

How many days should you spend in Ireland?

Most people spend between 1-2 weeks in Ireland. I recommend spending as close to the 2 weeks if you have time. Ireland is a decently sized country, and there is so much to see, especially if you’re visiting in the summer months.

What shouldn’t I miss in Ireland?

While in Ireland, you shouldn’t miss a scenic drive in the countryside, visiting ruins of medieval castles, or enjoying traditional food in a cozy pub. No trip to Ireland is complete without these experiences.

Is Ireland cheap or expensive?

Ireland isn’t necessarily cheap or expensive; it’s in the mid-range level for tourism costs. There are many luxury experiences, but it is also very possible to travel through Ireland on a budget.

Things to Do in Ireland Wrap-Up

By now you know the extent of the possibilities of all the amazing things to do in Ireland in summer.

Summer may be the busiest time to visit Ireland, but also the most rewarding time because of the warmest possible weather. And trust me, when you’re in Ireland, you’re going to want nice weather so that you can truly take advantage of the outdoor beauty.

It is hard to describe how beautiful Ireland is. Even though it is famous for its beauty, visiting there truly exceeded my expectations.

About Kristin

Kristin is a travel blogger at Tiny Footsteps Travel with two children. When she isn’t glued to a book or hiking, then she’s probably off traveling with her husband and kids.

Looking for more Ireland travel resources? Check out 21 Most Spectacular Hidden Gems in Ireland, 12 Best Day Trips From Dublin by Train, and 10 Best Dublin Hotels for Families Worth Booking!

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Ireland in Summer: Tips  + Things to Do (2024)
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