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  • Writer's pictureGregory Besterman

10 Reasons To Visit Ireland In Winter

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

While the summer months are better suited to beach getaways (something Ireland also does very well), the winter is a special time for vacationers headed for Ireland. Here are just a few of our favourite reasons to encourage tourists over, even when the seasons have pulled us away from the summer sun.

1. There’s no better way to get cold (or warm)…

Very few of us relish in the idea of winter weather, but, when you’re in Ireland, there’s one upshot: the joy of coming back inside. Your blustery walk could end at Gortadrohid, a rustic pub, or a more indulgent restaurant, and the feeling is still the same – the ‘aah’ that comes from a roaring fire, a hot dinner, and the sort of welcome that makes you feel like family.

Trust us, it makes any jaunt into the great outdoors more than worth the effort. Our own holiday home in West Cork was designed to offer the warmest of welcomes. As a Passive house, it is exceptionally well insulated – a cosy retreat no matter what the weather is doing – so see it for yourself at a time when getting warm feels extra special.

2. You can’t beat the weather

We know how this sounds, but we’re going to stick to our principles and say that Ireland’s weather is the best way to welcome in the end of the year. While the seasonal changes are clear to see in the skies and the colours of the leaves on the trees, West Cork remains relatively wild. Hard frosts are in the minority, giving you all the beauty of the winter season without the numb extremities.

Our area of West Cork has a maritime climate and benefits from the Gulf Stream, which means milder and more temperate weather than other parts of the country – it’s even possible to grow subtropical plants here. If you’re coming to us from across the pond (or even across the Irish Sea) you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

It may not be high temps and bright sunshine when you arrive here, but do you really want it to be? This is the weather that has earned countless Irishmen and women their stripes, and that’s just the way we like it.

3. And it’s the place to be inspired

There are plenty of things to do whilst staying with us in West Cork, and checking out the local food scene is no exception. From the light lunches to the indulgent dinners, the spreads you put together with bits and pieces from gems like Manning’s Emporium or markets hosted in the local towns and villages each weekend or the whole-family pot roast you spend the better part of a day making together as the windows steam up and the light fades over the strand, Ireland has the way of bringing out the best in any cook, kitchen, or heap of ingredients.

It's not just the memories you take home with you – it’s the tastes, smells, lingering lunches and, most importantly, the recipes.

4. And the place to stock up for the holidays

Whether your pantry is located half a mile down the road from the farmer’s market or across the breadth of the Atlantic Ocean, there are no better places on earth to stock up a festive pantry than Cork’s markets, emporiums, farm shops and bakeries. True, some goodies may not make it the journey back, but that’s usually because they’ve proven too good to resist for more than ten minutes.

Wine, sundries, cheese, crackers and bread are just a few of the winter essentials that we couldn’t face December without. Just be prepared to miss Ireland’s top choices this time next year…

5. The Christmas Markets are Not to be Missed

Whether you celebrate or not, there’s nothing like being pressed into a merry crowd, jostling up one of the many historic streets in West Cork, surrounded by the smells of mulled wine smoking meat, the sound of Ireland’s musicians busking overlapping as you move beneath the twinkling lights.

Romantic enough?

Celebrating with the locals is a rite of passage for anyone brave enough to face Ireland’s weather in the wintry months. Don’t let this one pass you by.

6. The Views are Unforgettable

You could be born and raised in Ireland and still, on a frosty morning in mid-December, lose your breath over the sight of its unique landscape glistening under a pale sun. Or how about the first crack of light to break through after a night of storms?

While Ireland’s weather may not be known for its predictability, you’re still guaranteed to see something beautiful every time you crack open a window or step out the front door.

7. The Atmosphere is Perfect

Something special happens when everyone is forced indoors by colder snap – when tables are squeezed tightly together, and the entire pub is tuned into the same merry mood. Anyone who wants to experience Ireland and its people at their very best would do well to make the journey over here in the winter when spirits are high and evenings are very, very long.

8. You’ll find the best gifts when you visit Ireland in Winter

It’s not just the food that’s worth browsing during your winter visit to Ireland. Our villages and towns are home to plenty of hidden gems where artisans sell their unique pieces. From watercolours of the bays dotted along West Cork’s shorelines to homewares, jewellery, and other once-in-a-lifetime finds, any gift list is given the royal treatment in Ireland.

9. It’s the Best Time to Try Your First Guinness

There’s rarely a time when a well-poured Guinness isn’t the perfect way to end a busy day, but a cold December night is really up there with the best. The best way to drink a Guinness is occasionally up for debate, but you can’t go wrong with the classic: fresh from the tap and poured by an expert hand, served with a view over a dark, windswept street in some quiet part of West Cork…that’s how we take it.

10. You’ve Never Been Cosy Until You’ve Been Cosy in Ireland

We’re a nation of people who know how to work hard – and how to reap the rewards of a hard day’s work afterwards. Our ability to make a house a home and get cosy for those long-drawn-out evenings sheltering from the elements will rub off on you in no time, and we can’t wait to show you how we see through the dark and cold season.

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