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Ireland in November: all you need to know to plan the perfect trip

by Mama Loves Ireland
Rock of cashel, ireland

All you need to know to plan a trip to Ireland in November: what to expect from the weather, the best things to do, packing and travel tips for November in Ireland.

November in Ireland is the start of the winter.

As October comes to an end, its crisp days and colorful foliage palette slowly fade, giving way to shorter daylight hours and a sky that tends towards shades of gray, with only the occasional splash of blue.

Despite its wintery aspect, however, November is not a bad time to visit Ireland.

During the first part of the month, you can enjoy Ireland’s autumnal colors and the occasional hike.

As the season progresses, Christmas time kicks in, bringing a cozy and joyful atmosphere (Ireland does Christmas amazingly well!).

I believe all it takes to enjoy Ireland in November is to know what to expect.

In this guide, I share my best tips for making the most of a November trip to Ireland. Safe travel planning!

Need to know! This is a seasonal guide to Ireland to help you pick the best time to visit. Please follow official travel guidelines and restrictions that may be in place at the time of your visit. The official travel advisory is here.

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What’s November like in Ireland? Weather overview

November is the start of the Irish winter.

Coming to Ireland at this time, you should expect short hours of daylight (5 pm already feels like the evening at this time!), some rainy days, and cold but not freezing temperatures.

While there are significant variations from one day to the next and from place to place, you are likely to want a warm coat, good walking shoes, a scarf, and rain gear.

You can find my recommended packing list for Ireland in November here.

LocationTemperature Max/MinRainy Days
Dublin10C/50 – 4C/39F11
Galway11C/52F – 5C/41F21

As you can see from the official weather data, the weather is hit and miss here at this time.

As I sit and write this article, the sky is constantly changing from grey to bright blue and the temperature is cold but rather pleasant, perfect for a brisk walk outside but too cold for a leisurely outdoor lunch.

Rain has been making more than one appearance this month already however, I recommend you don’t get too discouraged by potentially bad weather forecasts.

While days of solid rains and storms are possible and will impact your ability to go sightseeing, in many cases rain comes to Ireland in the form of showers.

You will have wet moments and dry ones, alternating every few hours… or every few minutes!

Need to know: while light rain will not cause significant problems for sightseeing, heavy rain and storms are dangerous. If exploring the country or coastal areas especially, make sure you check the weather forecast and abide by warnings and regulations. The weather can be serious here, do not underestimate it!

Why visit Ireland in November

There are several reasons why you may want to visit Ireland in November.

There are fewer tourists

I love seeing tourists enjoying the beauties of the country, however, there is no doubt that sharing the wild and subdued charm of Ireland with large groups pouring out of tour buses takes away a bit of the magic.

If you prefer a quiet time with fewer international visitors, November is the best time to visit Ireland.

The main people you will be competing with, for rooms, are locals however, you usually have fewer difficulties booking tours and attractions as the number of foreign visitors is lower.

This is a great time to visit Ireland especially if you have on your itinerary popular areas such as the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney, and Dublin.

Ireland’s indoor spaces come into their own

Ireland’s winter is a long and gloomy affair so the country has mastered the art of the cozy interior!

Hotels, restaurants and pubs in November are small heavens of warmth and cheer: this is a time for crackling fires, hot tea, warming whiskey and music sessions.

irish hotel interior
The stunning interior of Tinakilly Country House Hotel, Wicklow

Ireland’s beautiful foliage

The best month to see foliage in Ireland is October; however, you still can get some nice colors and autumnal landscapes at the start of November.

You see pretty colors everywhere: some of my favorite areas for foliage in Ireland are Dublin’s parks, the Japanese Gardens in County Kildare, Mount Usher Gardens in Wicklow and the always stunning Killarney National Park.

Foliage ireland

The early start of Christmas

Christmas is wonderful in Ireland and the second half of November is already a good time to get a taste of it!

While the exact day for the lighting of the Christmas decorations varies from town to town and from year to year, mid-November is usually the time you start seeing trees and lights going up and shop windows donning their seasonal decor.

This is also when Christmas markets start appearing in towns big and small!

You can find here >>> our list of the best Christmas markets in Ireland

Irish Christmas market in Kilkenny

Ireland’s castle hotels are magical at this time

One of my favorite things to do in Ireland in November is to explore (and stay!) in a castle.

Ireland has a large number of castle and castle hotels open all year round; however, during Christmas, the spring and the summer, finding rooms can be challenging, as you are competing with other visitors and with wedding parties.

In November, you are more likely to snatch up a room in an Irish castle and the price might even be attractive. Or at least, more attractive than in the high season!

Castle hotels in Ireland I love are:

Ashford Castle: a stunning, luxury property with a breathtaking estate, turrets and services fit for royalty

Dromoland Castle: one of the most beautiful and romantic hotels in Ireland, located in breathtaking County Clare, close to some of the most beautiful attractions of Ireland’s West Coast

Waterford Castle: an adorable castle on a private island, perfect for a relaxing weekend of walks and golf

Dromoland castle in the fall, Ireland

Why you should not visit Ireland in November: challenges and need to know

The main challenge you may face as a visitor to Ireland in November is the weather.

Depending on your exact plans, this may or may not be a problem.

The days are short

In November, the hours of daylight in Ireland are short.

In the morning, you do not get much light until 7.15am or so and, in the afternoon, 5 pm is already the evening.

This is not a problem if you are in a city. However, it is an issue if you are on the road: Irish roads can be dangerous, especially smaller country ones, and I highly recommend you do not drive in the dark.

Plan your day carefully, so you can be safe and away from the roads when darkness falls.

There may be storms

The last few years have brought very stormy weather.

The type of storms we get here come with strong wind and wild sea/ocean moods and they can be dangerous. While you don’t need to board up windows, you do not want to underestimate the wind either.

If there are weather warnings, respect them: cliffs and coastal areas can get very dangerous and it is possible to get stranded on mountain trails too.

If you are planning on a lot of outdoor time and activities, make sure you take into account the weather may have other plans!

Unless things get really bad, however, museums and towns are still pleasant to visit: just stay flexible with plans so you can adapt to the weather mood.

Islands may be unaccessible

The Irish sea and the ocean, in particular, get unpredictable and stormy in November and this may impact your ability to visit some islands such as Skellig Michael.

Anything that is served by a boar, may it be a destination or a boat trip, is subject to weather: in some cases, the services simply stop for the winter; in others, they only evaluate on the day if it is safe for them to go.

Flexibility is essential at this time.

The best places to visit in Ireland in November

My favorite places to visit in Ireland in November include:

Dublin City – especially in the second part of the month, when Christmas cheer and events kick in!

Galway – even more lovely than usual when the Christmas market is on. I like to plan a couple of days here so that, in case of good weather, I can stretch to the Cliffs of Moher too.

Kilkenny – home to a nice Christmas market in the shades of its beautiful castle

Birr Castle – one of my favorite places to see foliage in Ireland

Birr Castle in the fall

Blarney Castle – fantastic in the quiet season

Glendalough – great in the quiet season, when you can enjoy its pretty lakes and easy hikes without the crowds

November in Ireland with kids

November is not my favorite month for kids’ activities in Ireland.

While all of the above is easy to enjoy with kids in town, I find my kids enjoy the country a lot more when they can traipse around farms and beaches.

However, several nice kid-friendly things happen in Ireland in November that can be nice to experience as a family.

These include Irish Christmas markets, play centers (great to meet local kids too), living cribs and, if you are in Dublin, the stunning ‘Wild Lights‘ event at Dublin Zoo.

You can find here >>> our favorite things to do in Ireland with kids

I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of Ireland in November and this guide helped you plan your visit.

Safe travel planning!

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