6 Reasons to Love Ireland in Spring

While Ireland’s peak tourist season coincides with summer’s longer days and sunniest months, there are many benefits to visiting Ireland during the Spring shoulder season. Some advantages of Spring travel in Ireland may seem obvious, while others may come as a surprise. Yet another reason why we love the Emerald Isle – there’s more than meets the eye and always something new to discover!

Here, we explore six reasons to visit Ireland in the Spring, March 1 through May 31.

#1 Fewer Crowds

Probably the most obvious benefit to visiting Ireland in the Spring is fewer tourists. Particularly in April and May, popular sites like the Cliffs of Moher, Giant’s Causeway, and outdoor recreation paradises like Kerry and Dingle Peninsulas, are less populated compared to the summer months.

Fewer visitors means less competition for lodging and special excursions, such as boat trips to the Skellig Islands. Have your eye on a certain castle stay, island retreat or spa hotel? Not only will you have a nice selection of accommodations and room types to choose from, you won’t have to plan your itinerary around hotel availability. During off-season, there’s more flexibility to select or design an itinerary that includes your must-haves and preferences.

Keep in mind a couple exceptions: The week of Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17) is generally very busy, so be sure to plan and book well in advance.

#2 Less Expensive

If you’re one to watch airfares to and from Europe, you know how much they fluctuate. While you can always find good deals with luck or timing, flights during Spring tend to be less expensive compared to summer fares. Similarly, ferries are often lower as well. 

#3 Least Rainy Season

Perhaps a lesser known fact about Ireland is that springtime is the least rainy season of the year, with April typically being one of the driest months. Keep in mind, you will still encounter rain and should pack accordingly, but you can expect less overall rainfall. Average Spring temperatures run lower than summer months, ranging from 50 to 60.8°F (10-16°C). Evenings and nights cool off; sweaters, hats and gloves are a necessity in March. Of course, you’ll want to leave room in your luggage for some newly acquired Irish woolens as well!

As they say in Ireland, “There’s no bad weather in Ireland, only bad clothes and gear!” As a transitional season, Spring is generally cooler earlier in the season and starts to warm up closer to the start of summer. But, layers are the name of the game to adjust to unpredictable weather changes, and a waterproof jacket is a must! 

#4 Wildflowers

Ireland’s wildflowers are in full bloom in the Spring, offering a profusion of color and beautifully fragrant air. Though wildflowers can be found throughout the country, we recommend the following areas for a particularly epic Irish wildflower experience.

The Burren, County Clare
Over 70% of Ireland’s native flower species grow in the Burren, a region known for its unusual and fascinating Glacio-Karst landscape and thousands of iconic archaeological sites. Despite the lack of soil here, rainwater filled cracks in the limestone give rise to some of Ireland’s most rare and spectacular flowers. Remarkably, both Arctic-Alpine and Mediterranean flora coexist and thrive here. Among the many varied and beautiful flowers found here in the Spring are Mountain Avens, the infamous Spring Gentian, Primrose, Wood Sorrel, the deep magenta Crobh Dearg and a vast array of delicate orchids, including the Early-Purple, Dense-flowered, Bird’s nest, Bee, Butterfly orchids.

For a more interactive experience, check out The Burren In Bloom Festival (19 – 22 May 2023) and enjoy guided tours to learn about the unique flowers and cultural heritage of the area.

Related Tours:
Self-Guided Burren Way Hike
Northern Ireland Self-Drive 8-Day Adventure
8-Day Guided Burren, Aran Islands & Connemara Hike

Connemara, County Galway
North of Galway lies Connemara, ideally explored by car and on foot. Enjoy day hikes in Connemara National Park, one of Ireland’s six national parks, and encounter a medley of color at your feet, from Bluebells to Celandines. A few of our favorite day hikes include Diamond Hill Loop, The Errisbeg Trail, The Maumeen Mountain Pass and Mount Gable Walk.

Related Tours:
Northern Ireland Self-Drive 8-Day Adventure
Northern Ireland Self-Drive 10-Day Adventure
8-Day Guided Hike Burren, Aran Islands, Connemara

Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are breathtakingly stunning at any time of year, but the tufts of soft Sea Pink (Thrift) blooms and bright yellow Gorse in April-May along the cliff edge add an extra layer of beauty, not to mention some dynamite composition for photography.

Related Tours:
8-Day Guided Hike Burren, Aran Islands, Connemara
Self-Guided Burren Way Hike
South Ireland Self Drive 8 Day Adventure
South Ireland 10 Day Self Drive Adventure
South Ireland 8 Day Self Drive & Hiking Adventure
South Ireland 10 Day Self Drive & Hiking Adventure

Wicklow Mountains, County Wicklow
Hiking through the Wicklow Mountains National Park, discover forested blankets of Lesser celandine, Wood Sorrel, Wood Anemone, Bluebells, Cuckoo Flowers and Common Dog Violet, among others.

Powerscourt Estate & Gardens
Whether passing through or spending time in the Wicklow Mountains, the collection of flora at Powerscourt Gardens is well worth a visit. Designed in the 1700s, and location for films like The Count of Monte Cristo and King Arthur, this 47-acre garden collection was voted No. 3 in the World’s Top 10 Gardens by National Geographic. During the months of March and April, these landscaped gardens are abloom with Golden Bells, Camellias, Rhododendrons, Lilacs, Chinese redbuds, Lily of the Valley, Lenten rose, Wisteria, Cherry blossoms, Azaleas, Tulips, Daffodil, African Lily and many others.

Related Tours:
Self-Guided Wicklow Way Hike
South Ireland Self-Drive 10-Day Adventure
South Ireland Self-Drive & Hiking 8-Day Adventure
South Ireland Self-Drive & Hiking 10-Day Adventure

Garnish Island, County Cork
A short passenger ferry from Glengarriff on the Beara Peninsula will take you to the lush gardens of the world-renowned and enchanting Garnish Island. Open daily from April 1st, the magnificent walled garden and Italian garden offer an ideal springtime excursion for horticulturists and photographers alike.

Related Tours: 
Self-Guided Beara Way Hike
Self-Guided Beara Peninsula Cycling Tour
South Ireland Self-Drive & Hiking 10-Day Adventure

#5 Peak Wildlife Season

Ireland’s lovely verdant farmland is home to cows and sheep numbering in the millions. Spring is lambing season, when fields and paddocks are abounding with bouncing baby lambs and adorable calves.

From baby seals along the coastline to migratory birds returning home to nest, there’s no better time to encounter the island’s wildlife than in April.

Rathlin Island, off the coast of Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route, is a haven for birdwatchers and home to Northern Ireland’s largest seabird colony. From the Rathlin Seabird Centre, observe a ruckus of Puffins, Razorbills, Kittiwakes from the viewing platform (Centre opens late April).

Related Tours:
Self-Guided Antrim Coast & Causeway Coast Hike

Visiting the Great Blasket Island in Spring, encounter thousands of Puffins nesting and hundreds of seals basking along the pristine, sandy coastline. Take the early morning ferry out as soon as the spring season starts (in April) and you’ll likely have the island all to yourself! Add a visit to Great Blasket Island to any Dingle Way or Kingdom of Kerry tour.

Related Tours:
8-Day Guided “Kingdom of Kerry” Hike
Self-Guided Dingle Way Hike
Self-Guided 8-Day Dingle Peninsula Cycle
South Ireland Self Drive 8 Day Adventure
South Ireland 10 Day Self Drive Adventure

Situated 8 miles off the West Kerry coast, Skellig Islands are an extraordinary sight to behold and serve as a refuge for thousands of breeding seabirds, including nearly 27,000 pairs of gannets – one of the largest gannet colonies in the world! May through June is prime time to view thousands of Puffins that gather here to breed. Day tours to the Skellig Islands start in late April and can be added to any Kerry Way tour. The Eco Boat Tour (no landings) starts in late April; Landing tours start mid-May. Note, all Skellig Islands tours must be booked directly with the boat operators.

Related Tours:
Self-Guided Dingle Way Hike
Self-Guided Kerry Way Hike
South Ireland Self Drive 8 Day Adventure
South Ireland 10 Day Self Drive Adventure
South Ireland 8 Day Self Drive & Hiking Adventure
South Ireland 10 Day Self Drive & Hiking Adventure

Every year, we celebrate the patron Saint of Ireland who banished snakes from our lands with stunning displays of parades, festivals and fireworks. A global celebration of Irish culture, Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland never disappoints.

Dublin – If you’re up for a huge party, celebrate the holiday in Dublin, complete with a morning parade, Beer Village, street performances, walking tours, fairs and a 5K road race. Book your accommodations as far in advance as possible.

Dingle – Head over to the Dingle Peninsula on Ireland’s west coast for a more local and picturesque backdrop of white-washed cottages, turquoise seas and rolling green pastures. You’ll find a traditional parade and an abundance of live Irish tunes playing well into the night.

Kilkenny City – One of Ireland’s most beautiful historical cities, Kilkenny hosts TradFest as part of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, featuring an impressive parade, traditional music, song and dance, workshops and a variety of family activities.

Cork – We have yet to meet anyone who didn’t enjoy their time in charming Cork! Ireland’s “other capital city,” Cork’s Saint Patrick’s weekend rivals that of Dublin with a parade, food and crafts market, music, street performers and children’s workshops. Cork’s population is just over 225K, however, so if you’re more in the mood for small town Ireland, this may not be your cup of tea.

Killarney – Situated in County Kerry and surrounded by the world-famous mountain scenery of McGillycuddy Reeks and Lakes of Killarney, this scenic town puts on a colorful parade and festival street performers and live music.

Clifden – Similarly, this County Galway coastal village hosts a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, live music and other festivities. One of the gateways to the wild and rugged Connemara region, Clifden provides a great base from which to explore the nearby white sandy beaches, waterways, medieval ruins, and you’ll find exceptional hiking in Connemara National Park.

Self-Guided Kerry Way Hike
South Ireland Self Drive 8 Day Adventure
South Ireland 10 Day Self Drive Adventure

Beyond Saint Patrick’s Day, there are a number of festivals occurring throughout the Spring. Remember to book as early as possible, as accommodations will fill up quickly on and around festival dates.

Dublin International Film Festival
Dublin, 23 February – 4 March 2023

The International Pan Celtic Festival
Carlow, 11 – 16 April 2023

Kilkenny Roots Festival
Kilkenny, 28 April – 1 May 2023

Cat Laughs Comedy Festival
Kilkenny, Early June

The Cork International Choral Festival
Cork, 26 – 30 April 2023

Wild West Music Fest
Galway, 28 – 30 April 2023

Galway Theatre Festival
Galway, Late April / Early May 2023

Fleadh na gCuach Festival (Festival of Traditional Music Literature & Arts)
Kinvara, 28 Apr – 1 May, 2023

Inishbofin Arts Festival
Inishbofin, Apr 28 – May 1, 2023


“We booked a self-guided hike of the Dingle Peninsula. We greatly enjoyed the hikes and the accommodations. The materials provided before and during the trip were extremely helpful. The phone app was excellent. We stayed in Ireland for a week after our hike ended. Our hike was the absolute highlight of an all-around wonderful trip.” CAROLE M.