Summer in Ireland? Yes, please. There are miles of beachy coastline, 10pm sunsets, and green as far as the eye can see (and it’s just as idyllic as it sounds!).
If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, check out some of traveler Kathy’s favorite memories from visiting Ireland in the summer on our Grand Tour of Ireland. Before you know it, your summer travel plans will be all about seeing sheep-dotted hills and sipping good pints and having the craic (which means fun) with locals from Dublin to Galway to Sligo.
^ Traveler Kathy and her husband Reno at the 12th-century Rock of Cashel
1. The landscapes (and the daily temps!) will be at their best
The Emerald Isle brings green, rolling hills to mind, and that’s not off the mark—it’s basically written into the country’s nickname, after all. Those lush landscapes are one of the top reasons why the best time to visit Ireland is the summer. But, it’s not only all the green that makes this destination sing… there are also sheer, flower-dotted cliffs and coastal views that will knock you right off your feet.
The best part? Seeing all those pristine summertime landscapes doesn’t mean sweltering in the heat. Ireland’s the place to be if you’re looking for all the sunshine of a summer day without all the, well… sweat. During the summer in Ireland, temperatures are moderate, daylight lasts longer, and the occasional drizzle is just an opportunity to swing by a pub for a cold one. Sláinte!
“During the summer in Ireland, all the greenery and landscapes are at their finest and prettiest,” said traveler Kathy. “The temperature is still relatively cool, but comfortable, as opposed to where I live in Texas. It’s just a great time of year to get away. Most of us live hectic lives and I don’t know anywhere better to decompress.”
Prettiest Irish landscapes to see during summer travel:
- The 2,000-foot-high Slieve League Cliffs, a truly spectacular stop along the Wild Atlantic Way
- The waterfalls and lakes and greenery (oh my!) of Killarney National Park, just one highlight of the Ring of Kerry
- The otherworldly basalt stones of Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland (which is technically part of the UK, but has the same wow factor as Ireland!)
2. You’ll see the icons against the prettiest backdrops ever
There’s really no wrong time to see historic castles, and time-worn churches, and countryside villages with thatched-roof cottages. That type of stuff will wow you all year round. But, there’s something to be said for seeing all those Irish icons while everything around them springs to life—and that’s where summer in Ireland comes in.
“The landscapes and the old castles settled against the ocean were awesome,” said traveler Kathy. “There were so many contrasts, and I never got tired of it. I loved the rawness of the land—it was as though it was preserved many years ago just for us to see. I was just so surprised on so many levels.”
Iconic sites to put on your list while planning a trip to Ireland:
- Kylemore Abbey, settled into the second-to-none landscape of Connemara National Park
- Blarney Castle in County Cork, where the gift of gab is said to be found
- The iconic Guinness Storehouse in Dublin—the 360° city views from the top-floor Gravity Bar are “class,” as the Irish would put it
- The historic Rock of Cashel, a marvel of medieval architecture in County Tipperary
^ Travelers Kathy and Reno raising a glass inside an ancient castle (yes, you read that right)
3. The Irish locals will be out and about
Up for a little hustle and bustle? Summer is the most popular time for people to visit Ireland, so you’ll have more chances to cross paths with visitors and locals compared to other times of year. (It’s all that sunshine we were telling you about!)
It’s safe to say that the people who call the Emerald Isle home are big fans of sunshine after cold winters, too. So, summer travel to Ireland is your chance to perfect the gift of gab with the locals who are out enjoying the beautiful weather—and no, you won’t ever get tired of that accent!
“Everyone was so friendly, courteous, and accommodating,” said traveler Kathy. “They were helpful and I always felt safe. It was as if I was with my neighbors—except for their accent! They were just the nicest. I felt like I met friends who I had something in common with, and it was really cool. We saw the real people in Ireland doing what they do. I will always remember the beauty of the country and the welcoming people.”
Top places to meet the locals while visiting Ireland in summer:
- Head to the local pub during your free time
- Take a trip down to the beach along the Wild Atlantic Way
- Add any excursion to get closer to Irish culture alongside your Tour Director (Think: whiskey tastings, live music, farm tours… you get the idea!)
4. You’ll experience daily life at working farms
Sheep farms, organic apple orchards, up-and-coming wine vineyards—the farming scene in Ireland is one of the most interesting things about the place. In fact, the country has an all-star farm-to-table and sea-to-table culinary scene, which makes for a delicious visit, indeed. Keep an eye out for farmers working their fields while exploring Ireland in the summer, and then get an up-close look alongside our experts.
“I still tell the story of going to Glen Keen Farm, which is a working sheep farm,” said traveler Kathy. “As a person who lives in a rural area of the U.S., I thought that a visit of this nature would be silly. But, I felt so differently once I was there—it was absolutely the most interesting, amazing several hours on the whole trip for me.”
“I guess it means you can’t know what something’s like until you experience it! There wasn’t anything hokey about it. It was very unique and well done, and showed the culture of the people in the area. The herding dogs’ training was unbelievable, and I loved seeing the craft of the locals who live and breath this kind of thing every day.”
Farms to pop by while visiting Ireland in summer:
- Glen Keen Farm in County Mayo, one of the largest sheep farms in Ireland
- Highbank Organic Farm in Kilkenny, which is both an apple orchard and cider distillery (best of both worlds!)
- An organic farm in West Cork, where you can take part in a seasonal activity like blueberry picking or jam making on our Ireland: A Feast of Culinary Flavors & Local Traditions tour
Explore Ireland tours
5. You can step out of the sun and into famed museums and factories
There’s culture and history to be found around every corner in Ireland, and amazing museums to commemorate it. (We’re gonna count distilleries and factories here, too, because seeing how experts create some of Ireland’s top products like whiskey and Waterford Crystal never gets old!)
“My husband keeps talking about the Titanic Belfast Museum—it really was amazing!” said traveler Kathy. “You can not ever run a tour without that stop on there. We’ve all heard about the Titanic, but there was so much I didn’t know, and it was unbelievable.”
“Also, we’d heard of Waterford Crystal. But, when we stopped at the Waterford Crystal Factory, we met people who have crafted this crystal their entire lives. My mouth was hanging open the whole time.”
Museums to visit in Ireland and Northern Ireland:
- The Titanic Belfast Museum for an up-close look at the Titanic’s infamous history in Belfast
- The Waterford Crystal Factory in Waterford, where world-famous crystal is crafted (talk about the perfect souvenir while visiting Ireland in the summer!)
- The Cobh Heritage Centre to learn the story of over three million Irish emigrants who passed through the port in Cobh
6. It will be one of the best trips you ever take
This may be subjective—we all have our own favorite, never-gonna-forget-it trips, after all!—but traveler Kathy fell head-over-heels for her summertime grand tour. “I’ve taken five tours of Europe and all were great in many ways,” said Kathy. “But, I think the thing that set the Grand Tour of Ireland apart was the sheer variety of sites and experiences.”
“The tour allowed us to see the entire country and Northern Ireland. There were always surprises and such variety—something for everyone! We saw the whole picture. Some days were long but we got flexible time throughout if we weren’t up to as much one day. Our Tour Director Sean did everything to make us feel comfortable. Plus, the June weather was perfect.”
Best Ireland tours to take in the summer:
- Are you a foodie? Then you can’t miss all the seasonal flavors on our new Small Group Tour, Ireland: A Feast of Culinary Flavors & Local Traditions
- If the beach is calling, then there are coastlines galore on our Ireland: The Wild Atlantic Way tour
- If hiking outdoors is up your alley, then our Ireland Walking Tour is just the ticket
7. Top-notch customer service makes planning a trip to Ireland a cinch
“When I call Go Ahead, each and every person makes me feel like I’m their only customer and that they have all the time in the world to tell me things to make me feel comfortable,” said traveler Kathy. “You line up awesome guides from beginning to end. The planning is perfect and so well-orchestrated, helping create a fuller experience. I like the fact that we stay in very nice places but that we get a lot of bang for our buck with the extra meals and excursions. Also, the customer and his or her safety is paramount and, in these days, that is critical.”
“Go Ahead creates quality trips—we get very nice hotels, and it’s a better deal. Most of us aren’t travel experts, and while a guided tour has a ‘scripted’ schedule, there are still choices. I find myself needing a break in the middle of a big tour, so if I want to sit at the bar or head back to the hotel for a nap, I do.”
“The trips themselves are so full, but you don’t have to use your brain or lift a suitcase. I’ve taken trips other ways, wondering if I’d rather do it independently—no, I don’t! I’d be lost and I’d lose precious time. That’s why these experts are there. You need a guide. Otherwise, you’re gonna be running around like a nut, trying to figure out where to go, what the lines are like, and how much it costs. On a guided Go Ahead Tour, you don’t have to think, and that’s part of a vacation.”
^ A drizzly (and green, and flowery!) summer scene, snapped by traveler Kathy
8. It will change you for the better
Well, to be exact, any trip you take will change you for the better—there’s no question that seeing the world will open your mind and heart, and make you feel like the best version of yourself. Whether you visit Ireland in the summer or opt for off-season travel, you’re sure to come home feeling inspired—and ready to book your next trip!
“When I travel, I learn so many things,” said traveler Kathy. “I try to have one or two trips lined up again before I even fly out for the current trip. I feel more well-rounded and confident, and realize that there is a big, wonderful world out there that I never knew about. I come back tired but invigorated and ready for a new journey.”