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Winter travel in Ireland - tips and suggestions much needed!

5 posts
Winter travel in Ireland - tips and suggestions much needed!

Hello everyone,

My boyfriend and I will be traveling in Ireland Dec 29th - Jan 5th (our flight leaves on the 6th). I have read a lot of things saying it's crazy to travel in Ireland during the winter due to the weather being miserable but this is the only time we have for the moment so it's happening.

We will be in Dublin the 29-1st, with plans for at least one day trip in a surrounding area. Any suggestions for New Year's Eve fun though?

The 1st-5th is up in the air. We are discussing using Galway City as a base for 3 nights and exploring some surrounding areas. We will be renting a car for this 5 day period. We then have been talking about venturing into Northern Ireland, especially Donegal area. We both love the outdoors and would love to see (and explore) Ireland's natural beauty but I'm trying to be realistic - could anyone give some tips/recommendations for winter travel in Ireland and in those areas I've stated? Is hiking a possibility in the winter anywhere in winter hiking boots and normal winter clothing?

Thanks for reading this babbling post!

14 replies to this topic
Western Ireland...
Level Contributor
284 posts
13 reviews
1. Re: Winter travel in Ireland - tips and suggestions much needed!

Donegal is in the Republic of Ireland , the Donegal folk wouldn’t thank you for calling it “Northern Ireland!” It’s an area that tends to get the worst of the frost and snow . Days will be short and while I love any time in Donegal, I’d be careful weather wise . Many b and bs may be closed at that time as well as a number of atttractions .

It might be better to spend your time in Galway and maybe venture to Clare for the few days .Sligo is also beautiful and doesn’t get the same amount of snow and ice as Donegal as a very broad generalisation.

Edited: 13 November 2018, 19:57
5 posts
2. Re: Winter travel in Ireland - tips and suggestions much needed!

Thanks for the suggestion and sorry for the mix up!

County Tipperary...
Level Contributor
6,892 posts
1 review
3. Re: Winter travel in Ireland - tips and suggestions much needed!

I agree, it may be that you get mild, damp weather when driving will not be a problem - apart from the very short days - but scenery will be somewhat hidden in the mist. Or you could get clear bright days when everything looks beautiful, but the roads are likely to be icy. Or it could snow. Or gales. Or pretty much anything. So don't get hung up on travelling anywhere. If you get nice enough days go for a drive, but not as far as Donegal, keep it local.

4. Re: Winter travel in Ireland - tips and suggestions much needed!

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Removed on: 14 November 2018, 06:52
 
Western Ireland...
Destination Expert
for Sligo, Charlottesville, Virginia, County Donegal, Western Ireland
Level Contributor
22,495 posts
293 reviews
5. Re: Winter travel in Ireland - tips and suggestions much needed!

County Donegal zgets more of the ice & snow, as does areas of County Sligo, especially the Bricklieve and Curlew mountains.

Consider a visit to County Mayo’s Belmullet Peninsula, there is the Erris Head Loop walk,.

mayowalks.ie/WalkingTrails/…

The Ballycroy National Park has stunning trails & views of Achill & the Nephin Range, do note the visitors centre closed Nov till the 4th of March.

https:/…

Mayo Walks link below.

http://www.mayowalks.ie/WalkingTrails/

Cork, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Cork
Level Contributor
4,209 posts
70 reviews
6. Re: Winter travel in Ireland - tips and suggestions much needed!

Morning ice is probably worst in the inland counties, but except during exceptional periods it tends to melt as the day continues.

My major concern at that time of year is the short daylight hours. It really restricts how much scenery you get to see.

From that perspective, Galway is an ideal base as there is plenty to do in the evenings. It’s also not a seasonal tourist spot. I’ve just come back from a weekend in Sneem and it’s staggering how shut down some of the tourist towns can get over the November to February period, so again Galway suits here.

County Cork, Ireland
Destination Expert
for County Cork
Level Contributor
3,081 posts
135 reviews
7. Re: Winter travel in Ireland - tips and suggestions much needed!

I'd stick with the cities or large towns and do day trips from there. Although the weather is mostly dreary and even sometimes nice, it's not uncommon for Ireland to be hit by storm after storm even hurricanes over the winter.

Saginaw, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Western Ireland
Level Contributor
9,488 posts
8. Re: Winter travel in Ireland - tips and suggestions much needed!

If you stick with city bases, you will be able to get to those by train, bus or coach and let the professionals do the driving.

Also, pertains to local organized Day Tours from those bases.

If the weather is not suitable for driving a rental car, you will still find lots of events and activities to occupy yourselves in cities and some larger towns:

https:/…pgalway-events-calendar.html

https://www.visitdublin.com/whats-on…

A recent topic on New Year's Eve 2018 in Dublin:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g18660…

Using public transport in Ireland is covered here:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g18659…

One caveat: You will have to wait another month before the specific Christmas and New Year Timetables (Schedules) for 2018/2019 are published for trains, buses and coaches.

On driving in winter conditions in Ireland:

rsa.ie/Documents/Road%20Safety/Weather/Downl…

rsa.ie/en/…

Western Ireland...
Level Contributor
284 posts
13 reviews
9. Re: Winter travel in Ireland - tips and suggestions much needed!

Belmullet will be very dead at that time of the year . You may struggle in finding places to stay , with the Broadhaven Hotel being the main chance you will have .

A lot of the roads in that area , particularly out towards Ballinacroy and Blacksod don’t get treated in frosty weather.

It’s also a good drive to the next big town and even the likes of Foxford , home of the famous woolen mills will be very quiet .

If it were a choice of between there and Sligo, I’d choose Sligo for a better choice of accommodation, places to eat and lively pubs .

Yes, the mountains get snow , but roads will treated more readily in this area rather than the Erris area due to the population density . The one exception to the road being treated may be the road to the controversial Shell facility .

10. Re: Winter travel in Ireland - tips and suggestions much needed!

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Removed on: 15 November 2018, 20:33
Edited: 15 November 2018, 20:33
 
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