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!)
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)
“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!)