Get ready for some spooky fun because Ireland in October is a whole new world of enchantment! Autumn is a fun time of year to visit, so brace yourself for shivers down your spine and entertaining activities to keep the chill at bay. Rain or shine, there’s so much going on that you won’t have a moment to be bored.
The summer crowds are long gone, and fewer tourists mean more chances to mingle with the locals returning from their summer escapades (something I love doing when visiting Irish pubs). Soak up the rays and feel the warmth on your face one minute, but hold onto your umbrellas because a drizzle can start at any time, turning Ireland into a lush green paradise that’ll thrill any ghostly explorer.
That said, don’t let a little rain dampen your spirits! October’s got a treasure trove of thrilling activities to keep you spellbound. Get your heart pumping with Gaelic games, dance to hauntingly beautiful traditional music, and take in the breathtaking coastal scenery as you cruise along the coast.
Grab your raincoats and warm clothing (trust me, I learned the hard way!), because October in Ireland is an adventure that’ll make your heart race and your soul dance. Let’s dive into the wonders that await you in this captivating month!
Weather in October in Ireland
From frosty winters to the heavy swarm of tourists during the summer, Ireland in October is a top choice to experience this country at its finest.
With the mild weather and fewer crowds due to the off-season, the time of colorful fallen leaves is an excellent balance between budget-friendly and optimum weather conditions.
In the deep recesses of fall, October in Ireland brings a mix and match of weather states to pack for. Whether it’s stormy skies or temperate sunny days, you’ll be able to brave the kaleidoscope of this country’s weather and climate conditions in their entirety.
Fall, however, is a rainy period to prepare for in advance, which could be why this season falls under the off-season category. While wet weather is not everyone’s cup of tea, Ireland provides many indoor activities to enjoy when the outdoors seem grim.
It’s also important to note that the night’s temperature, throughout the year, tends to be much colder than during the day. To brave the cold nights of Ireland like a pro, your toes and positive attitude from a toasty night’s rest will thank you if you pack with care.
What to Pack for Ireland in October
Whether it’s a handy pair of rainboots or an essential list of emergency numbers, a well-stocked backpack and luggage can make or break a trip. While lugging any extra weight can be a burden during your travels, take a look at a few key components to add to your Ireland trip packing list:
- Various long-sleeved shirts
- Walking shoes
- Waterproof money belt (an essential item if you plan to keep your essential travel information on your person during rainy days).
Best Things to Do in Ireland in October
Ireland in the fall is wonderful to experience a sampling platter of this country during a time of great merry, as October is filled with an extensive range of events. While temperatures may drop, you’ll quickly feel your cheeks warm from excitement at social gatherings.
From national holidays to drinking traditions, you’ll be able to pick and choose your way through a variety of fun and unique things to do in Ireland in October:
Things to Do in Dublin in October
As the capital of Ireland, Dublin is a magical city filled with a buzzing atmosphere seemingly curated for your every need. Whether you’re craving a whiskey in solitude at a pub or looking to immerse yourself in the lively spirit of a celebratory event, Dublin in October has you covered:
Visit a Famous Haunted Place on Halloween
As Halloween (or Samhain) is widely celebrated in Ireland, what better way to celebrate than visiting an eerie place or two (there are many spooky Irish places to visit)? Dublin is sprinkled with a variety of haunted Irish castles and other places to choose from, which include:
- Malahide Castle – Nothing screams ‘spooky’ quite like the gothic grandeur of the haunted castles of Ireland. While Malahide Castle’s regal exterior might fool you, this attraction has had a few reports of eerie encounters.
- John Kavanagh The Gravediggers – Located in Glasnevin, this pub was established in 1833 and was a popular hub for gravediggers to frequent. This was because this drinking den was situated next to the famous Glasnevin Cemetery. If enjoying a drink next to a cemetery doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will.
- The Hellfire Club – If you find yourself on a Dublin hike near Montpelier Hill, you’ll likely see the remnants of The Hellfire Club. Many myths and legends surround this location, including a sighting of the Devil on the premises.
Date: October 31, 2023
Save up to 50% off attractions with the Go City Pass! It’s a great way to save money if you plan on visiting multiple sights in Dublin.
Catch a Show at Dublin Theatre Festival
With a heavy scoop of thrilling theatricals and a dash of local artistry excellence, this theater festival is the perfect recipe for an Irish culture-infused afternoon. The Dublin Theatre Festival aims to highlight the diverse voices that make up the unique tapestry of the city’s culture and communities.
As the festivals generally run from the end of September to mid-October, you’ll have plenty of time to find a gap in your busy itinerary to enjoy a show or two.
Dates: September 28 – October 15, 2023
Enjoy the Bram Stoker Festival
A celebration commemorating one of the most famous Gothic writers of Irish descent, the Bram Stoker Festival is a sight to behold for an epic spooky experience. As the author of the fang-fueled fiction work Dracula, you can expect a variety of vampire and horror-based activities.
This festival offers a unique experience each year, but past installations and events at this festival prelude to a wonderful and uncanny time at this happening. From eerie light projections to screenings of horror cult classics, there is something for every kind of fright fanatic.
If you cannot attend these spine-chilling spectacles when visiting Ireland in October, you can join in on the fun with a range of at-home experiences added to the program (such as themed podcasts).
Dates: October 27 – October 30
Go to the Dublin Annual Halloween Parade
Also known as the Celtic festivities of Samhain, the Dublin Halloween Parade is filled with ghouls, witches, and creatures that go bump into the night. The parade starts on Carnell Square, featuring a sea of monstrous figures and themed-based floats parading the streets.
Fireworks have also been known to line the skies to create a truly spectacular event in the year’s spookiest month.
Date: October 31
Things to Do in Belfast in October
Belfast is a blast to experience in the fall, with various cultural and indoor activities to attend and enjoy. This city is the perfect mix of the old and the new, which allows all types of travelers to find an activity they’ll enjoy in this urban space. If you’re short on time, you can compare Dublin and Belfast to see which one you prefer.
See a Show at Belfast International Arts Festival
This cultural event is known as the biggest Northern Ireland festival celebrating the contemporary arts and includes a local and international lineup. This festival has everything from riveting dance productions to melodic music shows, and it’s also one of the best things to do in Ireland in November if you extend your trip.
Dates: October 11 – November 5
Staying until November? Find out what to do in Ireland for Thanksgiving.
Attend a Belfast Autumn Event
While festivals are generally considered a main attraction in Ireland in October, smaller events are a great way to delve into the spirit of celebration without the great influx of ‘sardines in a can’ moments. There are a number of diverse and exciting events visitors can enjoy on their trip abroad, which include candlelight concerts and history of horror walking tours.
Things to Do in Cork in October
Most areas of Ireland have a wide variety of October and autumn activities to enjoy, but Cork takes the cake when it comes to providing diverse experiences during this time. Take a look at a few exciting activities in October to ensure a spectacular fall trip:
Visit The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival
Calling all jazz cats in the area, as Cork becomes drenched with jazzy tunes in October at this festival at one of the more lively things to do in Ireland in October. This annual music event has a vast repertoire of artists and performances that will be sure to satisfy every type of jazz lover.
The Guinness Cork Festival has been a part of Cork’s music scene for over 40 years, which makes this experience a must for travelers looking to jive with the locals. With an array of locations for shows to choose from, you’ll be sure to find and attend a performance close to your accommodation.
Dates: October 26 – 30
Enjoy the Halloween Spirit at Spike Island Spookfest
A real treat for young children and kids at heart on Halloween, the Spike Island Spookfest is a unique experience to make this ghostly holiday one to remember. Visitors will have to take a short ferry ride to arrive at the island, which has a wide range of themed activities and spaces.
From the wicked fun at Witches Hollow to the creepy crawlies at the spider sanctuary, you’ll surely get your heart racing at this eventful destination. As this island is known as the Alcatraz of Ireland, a trip to this floating area will also allow you to cross one of Ireland’s bucket list destinations off your list.
Dates: October 26 – 31
Eat at the Kinsale Gourmet Festival
A foodie festival held in Kinsale, within the bounds of County Cork, this cultural event is the ultimate way to sip and taste your way through luxury cuisine. A variety of hotels and local eateries in Kinsale partake in the festivities, which are sure to tickle your tastebuds like never before.
Famous cuisine and food at this festival include seafood, which can be attributed to Kinsale’s humble beginnings as a fishing port. One of the star attractions of this festival is The Mad Hatters Taste of Kinsale, a walking tour with various nibbles along the way.
Date: October 14
Things to Do in Derry in October
Another city in Northern Ireland, Derry, has an old-timey charm embedded in its atmosphere due to its various cobbled streets and historical buildings. With a variety of museums and street art in the city, you’ll be able to capture the art of Ireland in a unique way. October in Ireland is a fun time to take a drive around Northern Ireland to see more of the land.
This city is the only metropolis in Ireland with a walled structure that is completely intact, and was constructed in the 17th century. Take a look at a few jewels of a Derry fall you won’t want to miss:
Get Your Spook on at Derry Halloween
At a time when all the ghouls and goblins come out to play, Derry takes the Halloween celebration to an elevated level. Derry Halloween prides itself on being the biggest Halloween celebration in Europe; this experience will make any spooky lover swoon.
While many might see Halloween as an excuse to dress up and enjoy a feeding frenzy of sugary delights, Derry takes this holiday as a chance to celebrate the history of Samhain. This event includes food markets, fireworks, and a mystical parade for everyone of all ages to enjoy, and is one of the best places to visit in Ireland in October if you like a scare.
Dates: October 28 – 31
Go to the City of Derry International Choir Festival
This festival is a beautiful way to experience and listen to the phenomenal voices of Derry. From international competitions to vocal skill workshops, the City of Derry International Choir Festival has many experiences to partake in and enjoy.
Dates: October 18 – 22
Things to Do in Limerick in October
With a lovely mix of emerald green settings, enticing culture, and historical significance, Limerick is the perfect opportunity to absorb what makes Ireland great.
Take the Kids to Samhain Festival
The Lumen Street Theatre is hosting the enjoyable Samhain Festival, a family-friendly event that will make any trick-or-treating experience more enjoyable. From spooky storytelling to lantern-making workshops, this experience is perfect for entertaining your little critters.
Dates: October 27 – 29
Things to Do in Galway in October
With quaint countryside and a busy city in its vicinity, Galway is a great place to include a variety of atmospheres and settings to see on your trip. Take a look at a few October activities in Galway to make your Irish excursion a vacation to remember, and book your Galway hotel ahead of time.
Enjoy The Ballinasloe Fair
A horse fair to remember, the Ballinasloe Fair is a cultural event that found its roots around 300 years ago, which makes it one of the oldest practicing horse fairs in Europe. Spectators will be able to see the best of the best regarding the stallions, foals, and mares in the area.
While this fair might be famous for providing a glimpse into the equestrian excellence of the region, there is a wide range of activities to enjoy. This includes experiences such as a jiving competition, craft market, and dog shows during this fun event in Ireland in October.
Dates: September 30 – October 5
Get Arty at Baboró International Arts Festival for Children
If you want to get your traveling family’s creativity flowing, this art festival in Galway is the perfect opportunity to get your hands dirty (with paint, of course). With a program filled with an amazing collection of activities to experience, you’ll be able to enjoy a day filled with artistic pleasures.
This event includes programs dedicated to differently-abled children, which ensures fun for the entire family at this fun-filled festival. Past performances at this space included interactive kids’ shows, seashore treasure hunts, and upcycling design challenges for children.
Dates: October 13 – 21
What do you think – are you excited to visit Ireland in October yet?