A look at the best times of year to cycle in Ireland… and months to avoid. Some tips might surprise you!
Here are the 7 top factors to consider:
Ireland is blessed with a mild climate. Extreme heat is not an issue, even in mid-summer. But winter is probably colder than you want for your vacation. The months from November to March are best avoided. Check the chart below for the time of year that’s most likely to match your preference.
Rainfall in Ireland is greatest during winter. Outside of winter, rain showers are common, leading to Ireland’s lush green landscape.
No matter what time of year, you should be prepared for occasional showers. Norwegians have a saying that there is no bad weather – only bad clothing! If you apply this to your Irish cycling holiday, you will be more that ready. Rain will probably only add to the sense of adventure, and without the showers we wouldn’t have those beautiful rainbows.
Oh! and another thing! It is easy to forget about sunscreen, but don’t be surprised if you end up needing it more than your rain gear.
3. Busy and Quiet Times + Prices
The peak tourist season runs from mid-June to late August. During these months, some parts of Ireland can be crowded, and accommodation is harder to find. If you can only travel in the peak Summer months, consider less-crowded alternatives like Donegal and Sligo.
Another bonus of booking outside peak times is that tours, accommodation, and flights are typically cheaper.
4. Wildflower Blooms
In Spring Whins (Gorse) Whitethorn (Hawthorn) create wonderful displays, and aromas. Bluebells carpet the ground underneath.
The Summer months see wildflowers in full bloom.
The famous Irish heather carpets the hills with its magnificent purple display in late summer.
5. Hours of Daylight
The good news here is that there is always plenty of daylight.
To really enjoy Ireland’s long, long Summer evenings aim to be here as close as possible to the Summer solstice (21 June). 6 weeks either side of this date will be perfect to experience the really long days.
6. Festivals and Cultural Events
The majority of Ireland’s festivals and cultural events take place during the summer months.
Festivals normally focus around a theme such as traditional music, literature, Irish dancing and a whole host of other art forms.
Enjoying an Irish cycling holiday followed by a visit to a festival can be a great way to experience the best of Ireland.
A very small sample of the larger Irish festivals include:
Listowel Writers Week : A week of workshops and events for aspiring and established writers. The festival takes place in Listowel, County Kerry at the end of May/Early June.
Dalkey Book Festival : An annual literature festival held in Dalkey, County Dublin, over four days in June.
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann : Fleadh Cheoil translates as music festival. Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is a huge event celebrating traditional music, singing and dance. It takes place annually over the August bank holiday weekend.
Féile na gCloch: (Festival of Stone) A festival celebrating Ireland’s rich history of traditional stone building. It takes place annually on Inisheer (Inis Oirr) island in September.
7. Young Lambs, Migrating Birds and Other Cute Creatures.
One of the most delightful sights Ireland is young lambs playing. Take the Donegal Coastal Treasures Bike Tour in May to encounter these cute little characters around virtually every turn.
Many migrating birds make Ireland their home during summer. To hear the Cuckoo sing visit Ireland between April and the 23 June (bonfire night). You will hear its distinctive call in almost all parts of rural Ireland at this time.
To see puffins on Rathlin Island take the Causeway Coast Tour before they depart in July.
They say that one swallow never makes a Summer, but in the Summer months in Ireland you will see plenty of them.
Dolphins are now frequently spotted off the coast of Ireland, particularly in the warmest summer months. The best way to see them is on a boat trip. The Backroads and Beyond Cycling and Hiking Tour allows the opportunity to take a boat trip from Teelin Pier. There is always an element of luck in spotting them as they are not always present.
More Local Insights
Ireland By Bike is a family-owned and locally operated cycling business. We believe that this give us the best local insights and knowledge to plan holidays that you will remember for a lifetime. The owners, Séamus and Nóra write a newsletter with great tips – useful whether you tour with Ireland by Bike or not.