The West Coast of Ireland is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world (don’t quote me on that, I may have just made that up, but it could be true!). Regardless of facts, most tourists visit the west coast during the summer months. This is because in winter it can get pretty bad weather. It is usually pretty cold and has a lot more rain over winter. Since we have never been a couple that follows the crowd, so we decided to go in winter and see for ourselves. Although some of the days we were there had pretty bad weather, the days when we had blue skies and zero rain made up for it. I decided to share the other benefits to bucking the rules and exploring the west coast of Ireland in cooler temperatures.
One of the most obvious reasons, is that there are fewer people, less crowds and it is a lot more quiet. We also went when schools were still open – which means less kids. If you are a kid-less couple looking for peace and quiet – this is the time you want to go travelling!
With cooler weather means you can drink all the wine, so you can happily find a warm pub and settle in – guilt free. This is my most favourite reason to visit in winter. Sitting by the fire, glass of red in hand, it is absolute bliss.
I do also find that with cooler weather, you can walk for longer without overheating. I love a long winter walk – and so does Jack. Not to mention that the weather looks deceptively warm in photos with that crisp blue winter sky you tend to see during the middle of the day.
You will need to be mindful that some tourist spots may be closed over winter. But the plus side is that the tourist spots at are open throughout winter will be quieter to visit. If they are open in the winter month, they might have shorter opening hours – so check their website before getting your heart set on visiting a place only to find out it is closed when you arrive.
The good spots to stay are generally available, and if you are lucky, you will pay off-peak rates to book them. We managed to find an airbnb that we loved (but it is generally booked out most of summer).
Car rentals were quite affordable during off-peak winter season. The price for the week we did our road trip versus the week after (one week before Christmas) was less than half the usual rate. So you can really keep your budget down by traveling in off-peak season.
Christmas markets are not too big in Dublin, although this past year was a lot better than our first year here so perhaps it is getting better. However, the best Irish Christmas Market we have been to, has to be the one in Galway. The lights, the rides, all the little wooden huts… It reminded me of a smaller version of Edinburgh Christmas Market. Even in the rain, the christmas market in Galway was beautiful – if you are visiting in winter, then you have to check it out!
One of the biggest learnings we have discovered through our time here in Ireland is that you can’t let the weather stop you from making plans. Don’t let the cooler months stop you from exploring this beautiful country. My favourite reason for travelling to the west coast over winter has got to be the most selfish reason of them all, it means I get to share it with fewer people.
HAVE YOU VISITED THE WEST COAST OF IRELAND? WHEN DID YOU TRAVEL THERE – SUMMER OR WINTER?
Live Simply & Travel Slow,
p.s. If social media is your thing (snap! It’s my fave too!), you should totally follow me on Instagram.
p.p.s. I try post varied content once or twice a month, to be sure you don’t miss out on the new post you should sign up and get all the news straight in your inbox – Sign up now!
PIN THIS AND READ LATER:
Orla ní hAodha says
I really need to see more of the west coast! Being all the way down South, I’m missing out it seems!
The west coast is amazing – actually all of Ireland has been great!