Autumn in Ireland is a captivating season that showcases the country's natural beauty. The fall is also one of the best times to visit Ireland if you're on a budget but want to avoid the cold and rainy winter weather.
I traveled to Ireland between late September and early October and enjoyed the pleasant weather. As a bonus, there were fewer tourists around than in the summer.
I'll go over what you need to know about autumn in Ireland and share some of the best activities and landmarks to enjoy in Ireland during the fall. Before diving into what makes the Irish autumn so special, check out this guide to planning a trip to Ireland. This will help you determine when, how, and which parts of Ireland to visit.
When is Autumn in Ireland?
As with most of Europe, the Irish autumn typically lasts from September to November. These months are ideal for taking in the country's breathtaking fall foliage and stunning landscapes.
The official start of autumn in Ireland is the autumn equinox, which falls on September 22nd or 23rd. But from early September, you'll feel the weather getting cooler and days shorter. So autumn in Ireland begins in early September.
What is Autumn Like in Ireland?
Fall in Ireland is a feast for the senses. As the season unfolds, the landscapes transform. Colors change from vibrant greens to orange, red, and yellow.
Autumn in Ireland is known for its mild weather. It's the ideal time for outdoor activities such as hiking, wildlife watching, and strolls through parks and gardens.
At the same time, Irish cities provide plenty of opportunities to escape the frequent rain as autumn turns into winter. With plenty of cozy cafés and characterful pubs, it's easy to find the perfect hiding spot when the rain comes down!
The Best Autumn Month to Visit Ireland
If you're considering visiting Ireland in autumn, you may wonder which month is best. Late September to late October is the ideal time to enjoy the fall in Ireland.
The weather in October is usually mild, with average temperatures around 50-57°F. And by visiting in October, you'll likely avoid the crowds and enjoy popular attractions with fewer visitors. While rainfall is possible, don't let that deter you from enjoying the great outdoors!
Things to Do in Ireland in Autumn
Ireland in the fall offers so many opportunities to make unforgettable memories. From lively city adventures to tranquil moments, you'll find it here.
Explore Dublin Without the Crowds
Autumn in Ireland provides the perfect opportunity to explore the vibrant city of Dublin without the massive summer crowds. The Irish capital offers many attractions and activities to discover its rich history and stunning art.
Stroll around the vibrant Temple Bar area, wander through St Stephen's Green, and visit iconic landmarks such as Trinity College and Dublin Castle. And with the warm autumn colors, the city is even more lovely.
Go On a Whale-Watching Trip
Autumn is an ideal time for whale-watching in Ireland. These majestic creatures, along with other species like dolphins and sharks, can be spotted on the west coast of Ireland from spring until late autumn.
Many places are great for whale-watching in Ireland, the most popular being the West Cork area. Other great spots are West Kerry, Donegal, Galway, and Clare County. You could spot minke whales, common and bottlenose dolphins, basking sharks, harbor porpoises, and sunfish!
Hike the Kerry Mountains
County Kerry is one of the most scenic areas in Ireland. Rugged coastline, awe-inspiring landscapes, and many hiking trails make for an incredible visit. Early autumn offers the perfect weather for hiking in this beautiful region.
The Kerry Mountains are a popular hiking area. The Kerry Way is one of Ireland's most popular long-distance trails. The circular trail begins and ends in Killarney. You'll pass through Killarney National Park and famous places like Lough Leane, the Black Valley, and Dingle Bay.
If you're up for a shorter but more challenging hike, conquer Carrauntoohil, Ireland's highest mountain, and enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.
Check Out the Walking Festivals
If hiking alone isn't your thing, check out one of Ireland's walking festivals. Events taking place in autumn include the Wee Binnian Walking Festival in September and the Wicklow Walking Festival in late October.
These festivals are great for discovering stunning autumn landscapes across Ireland. You'll also meet plenty of new people. The walks are guided, providing an organized and safe experience. You may need to sign up for these in advance, so check them out when planning your trip to Ireland.
Be Awestruck by the Cliffs of Moher
If spending time in nature sounds like your kind of holiday, head to the Cliffs of Moher. This natural wonder is worth visiting any time of the year. But in autumn, the spectacular cliffs are even more breathtaking. The vibrant autumn colors contrast with the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean in a truly stunning way.
Rent a car and make it a multi-day trip, or join one of the many available guided tours. You could try this intense but spectacular Cliffs of Moher, Kilmacduagh Abbey & Galway Day Tour from Dublin. Or go for the slightly shorter Cliffs of Moher & The Burren Day Tour from Galway.
Visit the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin
A trip to Ireland wouldn't be complete without experiencing the world-famous Guinness Storehouse. If you're visiting Dublin, this must be on your to-do list!
Take a self-guided tour of the home of Guinness. Learn about the brewing process, sample the traditional Irish stout, and enjoy panoramic views of Dublin from the Gravity Bar. This is the perfect activity when the weather isn't ideal for outdoor activities.
Cozy Up in a Café With an Irish Coffee
On a cold and grey Irish autumn afternoon, embrace the warmth and comfort of authentic Irish coffee. You'll find this delicious beverage served in cafés and pubs across Ireland. Made with whiskey, coffee, and sugar and topped with cream, it's the indulgent treat you need on a wet and windy day!
If you want to try an Irish coffee in its birthplace, head to Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum in County Limerick. Chef Joe Sheridan first came up with the beverage in this location in 1943.
Back then, Foynes Port was one of the leading civilian airports in Europe. Hollywood stars could often be seen jetting in and out of the area. Now, it's a cool aviation and maritime museum. Try the Irish coffee at the on-site restaurant.
Visit Game of Thrones Filming Locations
For fans of the popular TV series Game of Thrones, autumn is an excellent time to visit the filming locations scattered across Ireland. Explore sites such as:
- Inch Abbey (Riverrun)
- Castle Ward (Winterfell)
- Dunluce Castle (Pyke Castle)
- Downhill Beach (Dragonstone)
- The Dark Hedges (King's Landing).
If you want to check out all GoT locations, your best bet is to rent a car and go on a road trip. Or you could try a guided day tour like this Giants Causeway, Dark Hedges, Dunluce & Belfast Tour departing from Dublin.
Visit Ireland's Famous Castles
Autumn is the perfect time to explore Ireland's rich history by visiting famous castles. The country is known for its thousands of castles and castle ruins—an estimated 30,000!
Visit the majestic Blarney Castle in County Cork, check out the stunning Malahide Castle just north of Dublin, or spend a night at the enchanting Ashford Castle in County Mayo. These castles become even more captivating in the warm autumn light.
So, is Ireland Worth Visiting in Autumn?
Autumn in Ireland is a magical season. The fall showcases the country's natural beauty in all its splendor. Whether you want to enjoy the stunning fall landscapes, escape the summer crowds, or stick to cozy indoor activities, Ireland offers all this and more.
Explore the historical sites of Dublin, venture into the breathtaking countryside, or enjoy the warmth of a cozy café. One thing is for sure, Autumn in Ireland promises unforgettable moments!
Plan Your Autumn Trip to Ireland With Pilot!
Now that you're ready to embrace the beauty of Ireland in the fall, you can start to craft your ideal travel experience for you, your family, and your friends.