5 Reasons To Choose A Winter Break In Ireland
When is the best time to visit Ireland? It’s obviously a personal preference, as some from warmer climates may prefer the slightly warmer summer months, but for most – Ireland is a year-round destination. A winter break to Ireland during the winter period should be filling you with excitement and that’s why we’ve put together five compelling reasons why you shouldn’t wait for the peak summer months to enjoy Ireland. Go when the crowds are considerably thinner and the temperature is a few degrees colder and you’ll see Ireland in a whole different light. One considerable bonus is that the shorter nights mean more time in the local pubs warming up those chilly hands… Anyway, here’s five reasons why you should visit Ireland during winter!
1. Natural Beauty
Ireland is famed for being a place of rugged beauty, full of natural wonders and UNESCO world heritage sites. During the summer months, thousands upon thousands of worldwide tourists swarm here for just that reason but in winter, there’s a special difference. It’s quieter, it’s more peaceful, occasionally there are snow-capped mountains, and the towns and villages are dusted with sporadic snowfall creating a very pretty picture. Both the famous Cliffs of Moher and the stunning Glendalough Valley are covered in snow in the winter months, creating an incredibly unique experience that is missed by most during the summer!
2. Warm-Up In The Cosiest Pubs
Ireland isn’t that cold during the winter months. The average temperature during the winter ranges between 4 – 6°C (39 – 42°F). While the rain can make it feel colder, a warm fleece and a good waterproof jacket will make all the difference! After you’ve been out enjoying a day exploring, jump into your local pub and pull up a chair in front of the fire to enjoy a freshly pulled pint! But be sure to research the pubs, as more often than not there will be traditional live music on, the perfect end to a day of discovery.
3. Get the Best Deals and Beat the Crowds
Save some cash during the winter months! Most airlines, hotels and car rentals will slash their prices during January and February, after promoting deals in December. So shop around, and you’ll be able to find some great deals with a lot of places offering up to 30% off to attract tourists during the low season. This ties in lovely with the ‘beat the crowds’ reason. Peak season is during the summer months, with tours carting around busloads of tourists and hotels swelling at the seams, but during winter it’s much quieter. You’ll have a more personal and peaceful experience while exploring this wonderful country.
4. The Hearty Food
Tying in lovely with the cosy pubs are the traditionally wholesome and hearty dishes that Ireland is famous for. Starting with breakfast, a ‘full Irish’ is a fried breakfast consisting of bacon, egg and sausage, among other delicious items. The Scottish and the English also have their take on this famous breakfast dish, although each differs slightly and it’s always a great way to kick off the day!
Moving onto lunch and dinner dishes: there are a few must-tries that’ll warm you right through to your toes! The Irish stew, traditionally made with lamb, consists of potatoes and carrots (among other ingredients) and comes in a delicious broth. The taste will vary from place to place and it may be worthwhile doing a quick search for the best in your area! Bacon & cabbage is another winter warmer. Colcannon (mashed potatoes with either kale or cabbage) too, and boxty (a potato pancake which can be topped with smoked salmon & creme fraiche for example) among many more.
5. The Winter Solstice
The winter solstice, also known as mid-winter, is the day with the longest hours of darkness of the year, occurring when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere and for Ireland in the Northern Hemisphere, it occurs in December time. The solstice is celebrated in various locations throughout Ireland, the most famous being the megalithic Newgrange tomb in County Meath. Only 20 people who were lucky enough to win the ‘ticket lottery’ can gain access to the monument. To apply for tickets for next year’s winter solstice see newgrange.com/solstice-lottery.htm. But if you don’t win there, the Hill of Tara is another popular gathering place for people during the winter solstice.