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How’s the weather? Summer in Ireland


"If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes."
“If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes.” Swallows waiting out a cloudburst in Co. Donegal.

Just about the first thing people ask me after I’ve visited Ireland is “how was the weather?”

This question is usually followed by a nudge or a knowing look and the words “pretty rainy, right?”

Where hurricanes go to die

My husband often refers to Ireland as “The place where hurricanes go to die.” And he’s right.

If you follow the course of an Atlantic hurricane after it finishes wreaking havoc in the Caribbean or the east coast of North America, you’ll see that it will typically veer off to the right, cross the Atlantic, and dump what’s left of its rain in the general vicinity of the Emerald Isle.

(There’s a reason for all that green, you know!)

A spectacular rainbow seen from the parking lot at Oideas Gael. 2013, by Audrey Nickel
A spectacular rainbow seen from the parking lot at Oideas Gael, Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal. 2013, by Audrey Nickel

Expect the unexpected

Despite its (deserved) reputation of being rainy, weather in Ireland is far from being boring!

I have, in the course of a single summer day, experienced sun, mist, driving rain, and gale-force winds, followed by more sun and a breathtaking sunset.

When I was there this past July, I happened to arrive during a dry spell and heat wave that lasted a good two weeks after my arrival! In fact, it was so hot that I had to go shopping in Dublin for some summer clothes, as I hadn’t thought to bring any!

In fact, one of my more memorable afternoons was spent sitting playing my small lap harp on the beach (Donegal’s lovely “Silver Strand,” aka An Trá Bhán) in shorts and a breezy summer top, slathered in sun screen!

(By the way, in case you should ever need it, the Irish for “sun screen” is uachtar gréine)

Unusually warm temperatures caused this eerie, creeping mist, which reminded me of the fog coming through the Golden Gate in San Francisco! Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal, 2013, by Audrey Nickel
Unusually warm temperatures caused this eerie, creeping mist, which reminded me of the fog coming through the Golden Gate in San Francisco!
Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal, 2013, by Audrey Nickel

“Wet” doesn’t always mean “cold”

It pays to remember that, even through Ireland can be rainy, “wet” doesn’t always equal “cold.”

In fact, even rainy summer days in Ireland can be relatively warm, so if you arrive dressed for a polar expedition, you might find yourself more than a bit uncomfortable.

That said, there can be days when long sleeves are more comfortable than short and when lighting that turf fire after a long day of learning or sight-seeing seems like a good idea!

Flexibility is key

What this all comes down to is, if you visit Ireland in the summertime, come prepared for anything!

Wind- and water-resistant hiking trousers that convert to shorts are a great idea, as are lightweight, breathable tops that can layered under a warmer long-sleeved shirt if necessary. Raingear is vital but leave the fur parka at home.

If you’re like me and hate to carry an umbrella, a brimmed hat that will keep your head dry and the rain (or sun!) out of your eyes is also a good idea.

Most important, prepare to be flexible…and to have the time of your life! Whatever the weather, Ireland is beautiful, and the people are some of the nicest you’ll find anywhere.

(And, just in case, don’t forget the uachtar gréine!)

9 thoughts on “How’s the weather? Summer in Ireland”

  1. Audrey, a chara,

    Isn’t the original term in Irish for birthday something like
    ‘cothrom beirthe’ or “cortham bertha”?

    And ‘cothrom an lae’ for anniversary?

    How did Native Irish speakers wish a Happy Birthday incorporating these terms?

    Le meas,

    1. Gearóid,

      All the native speakers of Irish I know use “Lá Breithe” (literally “Day of Birth”). Some people in Ireland also use the compound “Breithlá.”

      I don’t know if by “native” you mean the people who spoke Old Irish…I can only speak for contemporary speakers. I would hazard a guess that the celebration of birthdays hasn’t always been a huge thing in Ireland.

      “Cothrom” actually means “anniversary,” though we usually pair it with “an lae” to make it clear that’s what we mean, as it has several other meanings as well. Its use isn’t limited to “wedding anniversary;” It can be used for anything that recurs annually. You could say “Cothrom an lae a rugadh tú” (“the anniversary of the day you were born”), but that’s a bit of a mouthful, especially when you tack “sona” onto it!

  2. Dia dhuit Eoin agus team at Bitesize Gaelic.
    Two questions for you: A’lainn ta’ amhrain…am I complimenting a friend saying his song/music is beautiful? and How do I wish him or/ and woman friend Happy Birthday?? Birthdays are later this week so , if possible soon??? Go raibh maith agaibh! Go raibh maith agaibh!

    Le meas,

    1. Lottie: Tá d’amhrán go hálainn = your song is beautiful, or Tá an amhrán sin go hálainn = That song is beautiful. That’s if you’re speaking of a specific song. If you mean his music in general, it might feel more natural to say “is breá liom do cheol” (I love your music).

      Happy birthday = Lá breithe sona duit

  3. loved your pictures!! and your weather story…sounds like Nebraska!! Guess an Irishman would be comfortable here 🙂 Hey, I really am enjoying your bite-size Irish…really…been without a computer ‘cuz mine got fried and thought I was going to go nuts without my “daily class”…..could you do me a favor, ledo thoil, and tell me how to say I love you in gaelic…..love as to a friend, and as to my spouse….love to my kids….and gee, I love that picture 🙂 are they one and the same like english or several different words like greek or hebrew? thanks..be waiting to hear from you and again…thanks I’m learning so much oh yeah…if dearg is red what is (and I am guessing at the spelling) doom…yu know DEARG DOOM THANK YOU…GO RAIBH MAITH AGAT, LE MEAS, lottie (I’m trying :))

    1. Hi Lottie,

      The most generic (i.e., can be used with everyone from a lover to your granny) way to say “I love you” is “tá grá agam duit.” We have a post on how to pronounced it here:


      Here’s another post we did a while back on endearments, which you might find useful:


      I’ve never heard of “dearg doom”…is it a place name? Normally in Irish the adjective follows the noun, so it would be kind of an odd construction.

  4. I’d love to visit some time soon; been just barely beginning to learn Irish now for a few weeks, and I’m enthralled!

  5. I forgot the ‘uachtar gréine’, when I walked from Port along the Cliffs to GCC,
    and ended up getting some sunburn on my face, neck, ears and back of the hands.

    I Need to remember to pack some, next time!

    Le meas mór,

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