It can be challenging to know what to pack for a trip to Ireland because the damp weather and mild temperatures can throw off even experienced world travelers. In this post, I’ll cover all of the things you’ll want to pack for your trip to Ireland for different times of the year to stay as warm and dry as possible.
Before I moved to Ireland in August of 2020, I had visited the country twice – once in the summer, and again in the winter. I’ve helped many groups of friends and family pack for their trips to Ireland, and now I want to share that advice with you.
About Ireland and its climate
Ireland is known for its stunning landscapes, friendly locals, and the iconic drinks you can order in pubs throughout the country, among other things. It is also, aptly, known for being rainy and dreary for large parts of the year. The days are long and sunny during the summer months, due to its far northern latitude (Ireland is at roughly the same latitude as southern Alaska). Winter days are short, with the sun rising around 9am and setting around 4pm.
Areas near the coast are particularly chilly, with sometimes strong winds coming off of the Atlantic. If you’re planning to stay in a coastal area, be prepared with additional warm layers and rain gear.
In the summer months of June through August, you’ll tend to see highs between 15°C and 20°C (59° – 68°F). During the winter months from November to February, expect lows between 5°C and 8°C (41° – 46°F). Here’s how I think about Irish weather: it’s warm enough that palm trees are able to grow outdoors throughout the country, but cool enough that I only left my house without pants and a long sleeved shirt about 10 times in the last year.
Does it rain all of the time in Ireland?
You might guess from the almost impossibly deep greens you see around Ireland that it rains every day of the year here. Although it can be rainy and dreary on many days, especially during the winter, we do have plenty of days of sunshine and nice weather. To catch the best Irish weather, visit between June and early September, when the days are long and the temperatures are warmer.
You could see a torrential downpour anytime of the year, but they’re most common in the spring and fall. Most likely, you’ll experience a mist of rain with or without wind, depending on where you go.
Irish rain + mist
Don’t be fooled, though – the mist can absolutely drench you. You’ll want water wicking clothing, and you’ll want to be sure you have enough clothes to stay warm. The downside of the misty rain is that umbrellas don’t do much here because of the wind, which can easily drench your legs even with an umbrella. Unless you happen to know that it’s going to be rainy, I would leave the umbrella at home and plan to buy one here if it looks like you’ll need it.
Expect cooler temperatures indoors
Compared to the United States and other areas, the indoor heating might seem sparse while you’re in Ireland. Many houses and some hotels are poorly insulated, especially the windows, and the energy prices are much higher in Europe. As such, you’ll want to plan to wear warm pajamas while indoors in most areas to stay comfortably warm.
If you plan to stay anywhere that bills itself as “rustic” I would recommend wearing wool or insulated clothes while in the house. People in Ireland also tend to leave doors and windows open even in chilly temperatures, preferring the fresh air. (As an example: I’m writing this post on chilly January day and the door to this cafe has been propped open for over an hour.)
What do you need to pack to go to Ireland?
Unless you come during the couple of weeks where Ireland is rather warm (late July, early August), Ireland will likely feel very cold to you. I was cold for almost the entire first year I spent in Ireland, and it will feel even colder coming from a warmer climate.
Concern yourself, first and foremost, with staying warm. Even in the summer months, Ireland is likely to feel chilly because of the high levels of humidity, strong winds, and ocean breezes. Loosely fitting clothes will feel warmer than tightly fitting clothes.
Additionally, you’ll need to bring essentials like a power adapter, comfortable walking shoes, a daypack, and a credit card with decent exchange rate.
Items you’ll want to pack for anytime of year
Here’s a list of items you’ll want to pack for anytime of the year in Ireland. Consider this your base list, and I’ll add on specifics for each time of year in a later section.
✔️ Sunglasses (it can get sunny any time of year, but you’ll especially want glasses if you plan to do any sort of boat trip)
✔️ Prescription glasses, if needed
✔️ Power adapter for the UK
✔️ Comfortable shoes, like these water-repellant Allbirds
✔️ Long pants (I prefer black leggings)
✔️ Warm jacket, preferably with a waterproof or water-resistant shell
✔️ Sweater (wool or synthetic)
✔️ Warm hat
✔️ Wool socks
✔️ Long underwear
✔️ Rain jacket (if your warm jacket is not waterproof)
✔️ Hiking boots or hiking shoes (waterproof or water-resistant)
✔️ Day pack
✔️ Reusable water bottle
✔️ Book, Kindle, or other reading materials
✔️ Toiletries (or you can always buy toiletries in Ireland)
✔️ Water purification system if you’ll be camping or staying in rural Ireland (alternatively, you can purchase bottled water)
✔️ Letter from your credit card stating that you have rental car insurance coverage in Ireland. *If you’re planning to rent a car and waive the rental car company’s insurance.
Packing guidance for Ireland by month
For this post, I wanted to share my best packing guidance for Ireland for all times of year. Here are my overviews of the weather and packing needs for each season, as well as some general tips and tricks you might find helpful.
What should I pack for Ireland in March, April, and May?
The months of March, April, and May in Ireland are when you’ll find our spring weather, with flowers starting to blossom and the occasional rainstorm. The average temperatures will range from about 8-15°C (46° to 59°F), starting off on the cooler end in March and warming up as summer approaches. The days will also start to get longer following the switch to Daylight Savings Time in March (note that Ireland and the US do not change their clocks the same week).
When packing for the springtime in Ireland, plan to bring plenty of layers so that you can stay warm while you’re stationary and shed layers while you’re active. Walking through an urban center like Dublin will probably feel quite chilly, so be extra prepared with long underwear, waterproof shoes, and a warm jacket.
Unlike the wintertime, it’s very unlikely that you will encounter any snow, so plan mostly for very chilly rain. The rain can sometimes feel ice cold, so gloves and a hat will help to protect you, especially if you venture into the mountains or coastal areas.
What should I pack for Ireland in June, July, and August?
In Ireland, the months of June, July, and August are considered the summertime, when the days are the longest and the temperatures are warm. People in Ireland love to flock to the beach or go hiking during warm weather, so there will be plenty of activities to enjoy during the summer months.
The average temperature ranges from 10 and 19°C (50-66°F), with a few days that reach 21-22°C (70-73° in F). You’ll start to hear locals complaining of “heatwaves” as the temperature approaches 20°C (low 70s), so the temperatures usually don’t climb much above 22°C/72°F.
During the summer months, you’ll want to pack a pair of shorts or a dress, but mostly long pants, short sleeved shirts, and a light jacket. The temperature and humidity make the Irish summer feel like the early to mid-Spring in other places, so you will likely need a jacket during your trip. If you plan to swim, bring a swimsuit for a sea or river dip.
What should I pack for Ireland in September, October, and November?
Autumn in Ireland is usually a mild time to visit Ireland, and early autumn is an especially nice season. By late November, it will start to feel like wintertime temperatures, with correspondingly short days. Be prepared to bundle up on chilly days, but you shouldn’t experience ice or freezing rain during the autumn months.
October temperatures in Ireland range from 50°F to 57°F (10°C to 14°C), with about 5 inches of rainfall on average. Remember, the weather will be humid, so it will feel colder than a day with similar weather in a drier climate.
You’ll want to bring warm layers for the fall in Ireland. I’d bring warm boots, like Blundstones, a thick wool scarf, and a warm jacket to stay warm. Pack gloves if you’ll be hiking or spending time outside, and a warm hat for wandering through town. It may get warm enough during the daytime for you to lose a few layers, but it will depend on the weather and how close you are to the coast.
What should I pack for Ireland in December, January, February?
If you visit Ireland during the wintertime, be prepared to dress warmly both outdoors and indoors. The weather is quite chilly, and there can be cold rains or sometimes snow during these months.
Although the highs hover around 47°F (8°C) and lows are 38°F (3°C), the weather can feel quite cold because of the humidity and wind. The weather rarely dips below freezing, but when it does the sidewalks can get icy. It is possible, but not particularly likely, that you will see snow during the winter months.
Pack a warm jacket, long underwear, gloves, a warm hat, and a scarf. If you’ll be hiking or spending lots of time outdoors, be sure to bring wool socks and insulated boots, as your feet may get cold. Loose clothing will be warmer than tight fitting clothing, and you’ll want to protect yourself from both rain and wind as best you can.
Irish Packing List: FAQs
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about what to pack for Ireland, what to wear to stay comfortable, and what’s acceptable. Overall, Irish fashion is relatively laid back, so focus on being comfortable and staying warm for most itineraries. If you plan to go out to a nicer pub or restaurant, a nice dress or a sweater and trousers would be appropriate for most occasions.
Do people wear jeans in Ireland?
Yes, you’ll see plenty of people wandering around in jeans in Ireland, including both locals and tourists. If you’re going to a formal event or an upscale restaurant, skip the blue jeans and instead choose black jeans or trousers to better fit in.
Do I need an adapter for Ireland?
Yes, you’ll need a UK adapter for Ireland. If you’ll be going on to mainland Europe after Ireland, or if you just want a multipurpose adapter, I have and love this style. An adapter made for mainland Europe (Germany, France, Italy, etc.) will not work in Ireland, the plugs are completely different. You can purchase an adapter after you arrive, I would strongly advise that you buy one online before you travel to have the best options and access to reviews.
Can you pack for a week in a carry on?
Yes, you can pack for a week in a carry on, but be sure to bring enough warm clothing. Be sure that your bag contains a jacket, sweater, warm socks, and long pants – at a minimum – for a trip to Ireland. If needed, you can wear your clothes on the plane to free up a little bit of space in your bag.
What should I wear in Dublin at night?
The nightlife in Dublin, especially around Temple Bar, is not overly formal. Wear long pants, a sweater, comfortable walking shoes, and a seasonally appropriate jacket. You’re likely to feel quite cold except on the warmest of nights, so be sure to bundle up.
If you’re going to a theater performance, fine dining event, or otherwise a more formal event, opt for a nice dress or a sweater and trousers. When I’m in a pinch, I’ll usually grab a simple dress, stockings, and shoes from H&M – maybe not the most exciting outfit, but it’s unoffensive. Alternatively, a black turtleneck, black trousers, and a cheap, trendy pair of shoes would also work for most settings.
Are leggings OK in Ireland?
It’s perfectly acceptable to wear leggings in Ireland while sightseeing, visiting a pub, or for most any other casual activity. People wear them very similarly to the US, meaning as part of an athleisure outfit or slightly more dressed up. If you plan to visit a nightclub or formal venue, leggings may not be appropriate, so pack at least one other pair of pants or plan to wear a dress.
What do Irish women wear?
You’ll often see Irish women wearing white sneakers, white socks, jeans or cloth pants, a cotton t-shirt or simple blouse, and an oversized sweater. Unless they’re dressed to go out on the town, clothing and accessories tend to be modest – probably due in part to the chilly temperatures.
When women are going out on the town, especially women in their early 20s, you’ll see mostly short dresses and tight clothing. If you have an event and want to see some of the latest fashions, check H&M for lower key/younger events, and Marks and Spencers for more formal events. The mannequins and clientele will offer some clues into what is fashionable at the moment, and you can easily find this information online.
What should you not wear in Ireland?
As a country, Ireland doesn’t tend to have strict dress codes or expectations for visitors’ apparel. However, there are a few things that it would be unwise to wear in Ireland. I’ll elaborate below:
I really can’t think of an occasion where you would want to need flip flops in Ireland, aside from possibly going to the beach. The weather is generally too chilly for open-toed shoes, and you’d never want to try to hike in shoes without proper coverage.
I don’t think that anyone would judge you for choosing to sport some flip flops, but you’d quickly find that they’re impractical for the climate. Instead, opt for closed-toed shoes that are water resistant, like tennis shoes and boots.
Unless your goal is to attract a tremendous amount of attention to yourself, I would avoid western attire (think: anything you might wear to the Stock Show). In Ireland, fashion choices are typically modest, so a cowboy hat or cowboy boots would be far outside of the norm here.
American sports jerseys
You’ll see sports jerseys while in Ireland, but rarely for American sports teams. It’s unlikely that the locals would treat you differently or feel offended by a jersey from an American team, but you’ll definitely stand out as a tourist. Interestingly, t-shirts with American sports teams on them are popular among locals, so you may see them around.
Final Thoughts: Ireland Packing List
I know I’ve said this many times already, but Ireland will probably feel cold to you if you’re coming from the US. The indoors are not as warm as Americans are accustomed to, and the coastal areas often experience frigid ocean breezes. Although the temperatures rarely drop below freezing, the cold has a way of chilling you to your bones.
I have a photo of a friend sitting on my patio in late June with a large blanket, a warm hat, wool socks, and a jacket on!
If you’re prepared for the weather to feel chilly, you’ll probably have an easier and more comfortable trip. It took me a few years, but I think I’ve finally acclimated to the Irish weather and have the appropriate clothes to boot.
For more ideas of places to see in Ireland, things to do, or general information, check out the Ireland section of my blog. Happy travels!