13 Best Things to Do in Ireland in the Fall for Autumn Adventurers (2024)

ireland in the fall
This post may contain affiliate links, including ones for the Amazon affiliate program, which means I may make a small commission at no expense to you.

You may have heard that the summer is the best time to visit Ireland because of all the exciting festivals and bright, warm days, but the truth is that Ireland in the fall is truly magical. Picture this: a crisp breeze blows as the leaves change from green to a stunning tapestry of reds, yellows, and oranges. Autumn in Ireland is gorgeous and the best time to visit the country.

In fact, the last time I was in the country was in late September, and it was one of the best visits I’ve had. I experienced only one day of rain, but otherwise, the fall weather was perfect for going on a road trip. I loved seeing picturesque villages, rolling hills, and ancient castles that looked like they had come to life with the arrival of fall in Ireland.

Without the crowds of tourists that visit in the summer, Ireland in autumn is the perfect time to take in the country’s breathtaking scenery and vibrant culture. You can explore Dublin’s literary past, the Wild Atlantic Way, and historic castles full of history and legends at a leisurely pace with the beautiful Ireland fall foliage in the background. If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, you should take advantage of the spectacle of the country decked out in its autumn finery, so let’s get into this article to find the best things to do in Ireland in the fall.

13 Fun Things to Do in Ireland in the Fall

Whether you’re immersing yourself in Dublin’s cultural heritage, embracing the bohemian atmosphere of Galway, or taking the road less traveled, the fall season in Ireland makes for a great getaway. Here are some of the best fall experiences awaiting you during your visit to Ireland.

1. Get Spooked at the Bram Stoker Festival

Bram Stoker Festival
Image Credit: Bram Stoker Festival

Location: Dublin

Dates: October 27th to 30th, 2023

If you’re a fan of all things dark and mysterious, mark your calendar for the Bram Stoker Festival in Dublin. This annual four-day event celebrates the life and works of the legendary author behind “Dracula,” Bram Stoker himself.

Born in north Dublin and educated at Trinity College, Bram Stoker left a lasting mark on the world of horror literature. What better way to honor his legacy than with a festival that embraces the Gothic, the supernatural, and the after-dark?

During the festival, you’ll encounter a bewitching array of events and experiences throughout the city. From literary gatherings to Gothic-inspired concerts and theatrical spectacles to ghostly walking tours, the festival offers something for every creature of the night. This is fun to add to a 3-day Dublin itinerary if you’re already in the city.

2. Join a Fall Walking Festival

Ireland Fall Leaves

Fall walking festivals in Ireland are a must if you are a nature enthusiast or adventure seeker. It’s the perfect time to hike through Ireland’s picturesque landscapes. Away from the bustling towns and roads, you’ll discover hidden gems nestled in the rural beauty of forests, glens, and coastlines. You’ll especially enjoy these during September in Ireland before the rain starts.

You can join organized trails run by rambling clubs and neighborhood walkers eager to impart their knowledge and stories. It’s not just about the scenic beauty; the sense of camaraderie and exploration makes these events special. With somewhere between 30 and 40 walking festivals spread across the Emerald Isle during Ireland in fall, there’s something for everyone, regardless of fitness level.

If you want to experience the country’s original and biggest walking festival, head to the Ballyhoura International Festival (October 6th–8th, 2023) in Kilfinane, Limerick. It’s the oldest of them all and offers a fantastic mix of stunning trails, friendly locals, and unforgettable pub nights in Ireland in the fall.

3. Find Love at the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival

Location: Lisdoonvarna

Dates: September 1st to 30th, 2023

The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is one of Europe’s biggest celebrations of love, attracting 40,000 lovebirds and hopeful romantics throughout September. If you are looking for an Irish lad or lass, it’s time to ditch those dating apps and step into a tradition that’s been going strong for over 165 years.

Lisdoonvarna is a small, charming town with fewer than 1,000 residents. After the harvest, young farmers from all over Ireland flocked to the village and looked for their ideal match under the direction of the infamous “basadoiri,” or matchmakers. Over time, the tradition blossomed into a month-long festival.

This lively event celebrates Irish culture and features music, dancing, horse racing, and speed dating. There’s music and dancing in every bar from noon until the wee hours of the night. 

If you’re looking for love, you can meet Ireland’s only traditional matchmaker, Willie Daly, in his “office” at the Matchmaker Bar. Legend has it that you’ll be hitched within six months if you touch his ‘lucky book’ with both hands.

4. Gaze Up at the Northern Lights

Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve Ireland

Fall is a magical time to witness the Northern Lights. While commonly associated with countries closer to the Arctic Circle, Ireland offers its own enchanting displays of this natural phenomenon.

Ireland is blessed with clear and unpolluted dark skies, making it an ideal destination for witnessing this awe-inspiring phenomenon. The country boasts two internationally recognized dark sky locations: the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve and Mayo International Dark Sky Park. These designated areas offer optimal conditions for stargazing and Northern Lights viewing.

If you’re eager to catch a glimpse of the mesmerizing Northern Lights, another great destination is the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal. From late autumn to spring (it’s a popular thing to do in Ireland in the winter as well), this breathtaking peninsula draws in all the Aurora chasers who are keen to witness the mesmerizing dance of those otherworldly lights.

Make sure to book your car rental in advance! I love using Discover Cars when I travel.

5. Immerse Yourself in the Dublin Theatre Festival

Location: Dublin

Dates: September 28th to October 15th, 2023

The Dublin Theatre Festival is a celebration of the city’s rich literary history and is one of the best things to do in Ireland in October if you love the theater. It pays homage to renowned playwrights who once called Dublin home, including Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, WB Yeats, and George Bernard Shaw. Their influential works have left an indelible mark on the vibrant theater scene that thrives in the city to this day.

Since its inception in 1957, the Dublin Theatre Festival has become one of Europe’s top theater events, drawing huge crowds from both locals and international visitors. It showcases the city’s cultural richness with over 350 performances spread across more than 20 venues.

The festival has everything from captivating theatrical shows to mesmerizing music, dance, and family events. Additionally, there are artist talks, public discussions, and programs for artist development. It prides itself on showcasing top-notch international theater productions while highlighting the best Irish talent.

Make sure to book your bed and breakfast in Dublin in advance, as this can be popular.

6. Witness the Bird Migration

Bird Migration Ireland

With over 450 recorded bird species, including a significant number of rare and elusive birds, Ireland is a birdwatcher’s paradise. The country’s diverse habitats, including lush forests, wetlands, and breathtaking coastal cliffs, provide an ideal sanctuary for various birds.

During the fall, you can witness the fascinating phenomenon of bird migration. As some birds embark on long-distance journeys to warmer climates, others arrive from the Arctic regions, seeking refuge and milder weather. Keep your eyes peeled for the likes of Eurasian golden orioles, rare warblers, and captivating birds of prey.

To enhance your bird-watching experience, consider visiting Ireland’s renowned nature reserves and bird sanctuaries. Places like the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, the Burren National Park, and the Shannon Estuary offer tranquil settings to spot a wide range of resident and visiting bird species. These are all great spots to add to your Ireland road trip itinerary.

7. Get a Fright on Halloween

haunted house in ireland

Location: Derry-Londonderry

Dates: October 28th to 31st, 2023

October in Ireland is a time of enchantment, ancient Irish Halloween traditions, and spine-tingling festivities. Known as Samhain in Irish mythology, Halloween has deep roots in the country’s history and is celebrated with great enthusiasm.

One of the most iconic places to experience Halloween is in Derry-Londonderry, where the world-famous Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival takes place. This multi-day spectacle features captivating parades, fireworks displays, and an immersive Halloween village that will transport you to a realm of ghosts and ghouls.

The spirit of Halloween is not limited to Derry-Londonderry, and there are many haunted places around Ireland. You’ll find ghost tours, haunted house experiences, and thrilling storytelling sessions all across the country that delve into Ireland’s rich folklore and legends. The Irish love to dress up for Halloween, and costume parties and masquerade balls are also popular events during this time.

Ready for more spookiness? You’ll love these Irish haunted castles that you can visit.

8. See the Wexford Festival Opera

Location: Wexford

Dates: October 24th to November 5th, 2023

If you’re a fan of opera or looking to broaden your musical horizons, mark your calendar for the Wexford Festival Opera. With its rich history spanning over six decades, the festival has earned its reputation as one of the leading opera events in the world and is one of the best things to do in Ireland in November.

From thrilling dramas to enchanting comedies, the festival promises extraordinary performances, stunning stage designs, and exceptional musical talent. It showcases lesser-known and rarely performed operas, offering an opportunity for opera enthusiasts to discover hidden gems and experience works seldom seen on other stages.

Beyond the captivating performances, the festival’s setting in the charming town of Wexford adds to its allure. The cozy streets come alive during the festival, with a vibrant atmosphere of music, art, and culture filling the air. You can immerse yourself in the local hospitality, enjoy the town’s delightful culinary scene, and explore the historical sites that make Wexford an attractive destination in its own right.

9. Have a Pint at a Traditional Irish Pub

Guinness

There’s no better way to warm up on a chilly fall day than visiting a cozy Irish pub. Order a pint of Guinness and let the ambiance envelop you, from the crackling open fires to the genuine hospitality that has made them legendary.

From its humble beginnings as a meeting place in the 10th century, the pub has evolved into an institution that has played multiple roles in Irish life. It has been a hub for everything from celebrations to deep conversations, where people from all walks of life come together as equals. You’ll love the variety of traditional Irish drinks you’ll find, and just ask your bartender if you don’t know what to order.

Catch a traditional music session to immerse yourself in the Irish pub experience. The lively tunes of fiddles, flutes, and bodhráns will have you tapping your feet in no time. These sessions bring people together, fostering a sense of community and uniquely Irish camaraderie.

Speaking of Irish drink and food, you’ll be curious to see what to do in Ireland during Thanksgiving.

10. Groove at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival

Location: Cork

Dates: October 26th to 30th, 2023

The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival is a weekend jam-packed with toe-tapping tunes, unforgettable performances, and an electric atmosphere that’ll have you dancing in the streets. Whether you’re a jazz fan or a curious listener, this festival is your ticket to a good time.

Since its inauguration in 1978, the festival has been an annual sensation, drawing in music lovers from all walks of life. The city comes alive with the sounds of jazz, attracting top-notch musicians from near and far. There’s no shortage of excitement and involvement at this electrifying event.

The festival has free performances throughout the city, a buzzing Festival Club where the party never stops, and street entertainment that’ll leave you tapping your feet to the rhythm. You can also engage in workshops, attend enlightening lectures, join a jazz choir, or even participate in the Jazz Camp for aspiring student musicians.

You can find where to stay in Cork before you go, so you’ll be all set, and you’ll want to see the best things to do in West Cork as well.

11. Celebrate Harvest Season

Ireland Fall Harvest

Fall in Ireland is a feast for the senses, where the taste of fresh-from-the-farm produce and the vibrant colors of autumn leaves fill the air. Step into the world of farmers’ markets, both big and small, where you can indulge in the delectable flavors of the season.

Make sure to visit the iconic St. George’s Market in Belfast and the historic English Market in Cork, where organic goods have been delighting taste buds for centuries.

During the fall months in Ireland, harvest festivals and fairs are hosted across the country and offer a delightful blend of music, dance, and traditional arts and crafts. From lively parades to captivating storytelling sessions, these events showcase the best of Irish culture and provide an opportunity to connect with local communities.

The Waterford Harvest Festival is also worth a mention. This annual celebration of traditional Irish food and culture features markets, special dining events, panel discussions, and much more. You can discover the finest local produce, indulge in mouth-watering delicacies, and engage in lively discussions about food, sustainability, and community.

12. Go on a Whale-Watching Excursion

Ireland Whale Watching

If you happen to be exploring Ireland’s picturesque west coast in the fall, you’re in for an unforgettable experience. The waters surrounding this region teem with marine life, making it an ideal whale-watching destination. As you embark on a whale-watching excursion along the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland in the fall, you’ll be greeted by a stunning backdrop of rugged beauty and dramatic cliffs.

To enhance your whale-watching adventure, consider booking a whale and dolphin-watching tour. It provides knowledgeable guides who can offer insights into marine life and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Be sure to keep a watchful eye, as you may encounter playful dolphins, graceful minke whales, and, if you’re lucky, even catch a glimpse of the majestic humpback whale. Every moment on the water holds the promise of encountering Ireland’s rich marine biodiversity.

13. View the Vibrant Fall Foliage

Ervey Woods Derry Ireland

During the fall season, the foliage in Ireland takes on a range of beautiful hues, including fiery reds, vibrant oranges, and golden yellows. Various tree species contribute to this visual spectacle, including oak, beech, maple, birch, and ash.

The best time for viewing can vary from year to year due to weather conditions, but mid-October is often considered the peak time for witnessing stunning colors. Don’t forget your camera for some absolutely gorgeous Instagram-worthy shots.

When it comes to scenic spots, County Kerry is a paradise for fall foliage seekers. Places like Killarney National Park, the Gap of Dunloe, and the Dingle Peninsula (which has plenty of beautiful places to stay in Dingle) offer breathtaking vistas and fantastic hiking opportunities. You can explore the trails against the backdrop of beautiful natural wonders like Muckross Lake and Torc Waterfall.

Connemara, situated in County Galway, is known for its untamed beauty and dramatic landscapes. In the fall, the rugged mountains, pristine lakes, and vast blanket bogs are adorned with rich gold and copper tones. Connemara National Park provides numerous walking trails where you can immerse yourself in the captivating scenery and witness the fall foliage up close.

Tips for Visiting Ireland in Autumn

While spring in Ireland often steals the spotlight, fall offers its own charm and allure. The moderate temperatures, picturesque landscapes, and various activities make it an underrated time to visit. Here is everything you need to know to make the most of your trip.

Weather in Ireland in the Fall

Daytime temperatures range from a comfortable 51-64°F (11-18°C) with a pleasant average of 57°F (14°C). Despite the rainy weather during the fall season, there’s no need to let it dampen your spirits.

Fall offers many exciting indoor activities, cultural events, festivals, and delectable culinary experiences, and there is an abundance of enjoyable things to do. You’ll find plenty of options to keep yourself entertained and make the most of your time in Ireland, regardless of the weather.

With an average of 8-12 hours of daylight, you’ll have enough time to explore everything this gorgeous country offers. During fall time in Ireland, you’ll also find fewer crowds and budget-friendly prices, making it an ideal time to visit.

Average Temperatures During Autumn in Ireland

Fall in Ireland, spanning from September to November, offers moderately chilly yet manageable temperatures. Although this season is known for its abundant rainfall, there are also pleasant and sunny days to be enjoyed. Let’s delve into the weather conditions you can expect in major cities during this time.

Fall in Dublin

River Liffey Dublin Ireland

Fall in Dublin offers mild weather (by Irish standards), with average high temperatures hovering around 57°F (14°C) and lows around 46°F (8°C). Rainfall is a common feature of fall in Dublin, particularly in the western and coastal areas. While it’s not as chilly as winter, you’ll still want to layer up to stay comfortable during your explorations.

As November progresses, you’ll notice a change in the weather. While the days become brighter, they also become colder, so keep that in mind when looking for things to do in Ireland in the fall. Sunnier days can bring temperatures ranging from 37°F (3°C) to 50°F (10°C), creating a crisp atmosphere that signals the transition into winter.

Despite the cooler temperatures and possibility of rain, fall in Dublin offers a unique ambiance. The city’s parks and gardens display vibrant autumn colors, and you can enjoy leisurely strolls along the River Liffey or explore the historic streets lined with charming architecture.

Fall in Cork

Countryside In Cork

During the fall season in Cork, you can expect cooler temperatures and a higher frequency of rainfall. With October being the rainiest month of the year in Cork, you can expect around 5.5 inches (140 mm) of rainfall. Also, hold onto your hat because the city can get quite windy.

The average daytime temperature in September is around 61°F (16°C), providing a mild and comfortable atmosphere. However, as the season progresses, temperatures gradually decrease. By November, the average daytime temperature drops to around 50°F (10°C), bringing a cooler ambiance.

Regardless of the cooler temperatures, rainy days, and windy conditions, fall in Cork offers a unique charm. Embrace the season by exploring cozy pubs and cafes, visiting museums and galleries, or attending cultural events indoors.

Fall in Galway

Connemara National Park Galway Ireland

In Galway, fall ushers in cooler temperatures and a notable amount of rainfall. The average maximum daytime temperature lingers around 57°F (14°C), providing a pleasant but slightly cool climate for outdoor activities. As the sun sets, temperatures dip, and the average minimum temperature drops to around 44°F (7°C).

October is a particularly wet month in Galway, with an average rainfall of about 4.4 inches (112 mm) spread throughout the month. With approximately 20 rainy days during the month, it’s essential to come prepared with waterproof clothing and an umbrella to stay dry while exploring the city.

Despite the occasional rain, fall in Galway offers a unique experience with its rich heritage, lively atmosphere, and the breathtaking landscapes of Connemara and the Wild Atlantic Way nearby.

Fall in Belfast

Belfast Ireland Autumn Forest

Fall in Belfast presents a typical Irish climate of overcast skies, cloudy conditions, and frequent rainfall. As the season unfolds, the weather gradually transitions into colder temperatures, requiring extra layers to stay warm.

In September, Belfast experiences daytime temperatures of around 63°F (17°C) and nighttime temperatures of 50°F (10°C). As November arrives, the average daytime temperature decreases to approximately 52°F (11°C), while the nighttime temperature drops to 41°F (5°C).

Rainfall is a regular occurrence throughout the season, with an average of 11 to 13 rainy days per month.

While the weather may be damp, fall in Belfast still offers a range of activities and attractions to enjoy. You can immerse yourself in the city’s rich history by visiting museums and landmarks, enjoying the vibrant culinary scene, and participating in cultural events and festivals showcasing the city’s artistic talents.

What to Pack for Fall in Ireland

When getting ready for your fall trip to Ireland, it’s important to pack strategically, considering the unique characteristics of the season. Here’s a breakdown of some essential items:

  • Bring a cozy, warm windbreaker jacket to shield yourself from the chilly winds and changing temperatures accompanying fall in Ireland.
  • As the weather can be unpredictable, layering is key to staying comfortable. Pack warm wool jerseys, long-sleeved tops, and simple plain tees that can be easily mixed and matched.
  • Pack a pair of sturdy rain boots if you plan on exploring the great outdoors. They will keep your feet dry and comfortable, especially when encountering muddy terrain or occasional showers.

Where to Stay in Ireland During the Fall

There’s no bad place to stay, but here are some that are near beautiful fall foilage in Ireland:

  • Phoenix Park Hotel – If you’re visiting Dublin, you’ll love staying right next to this gorgeous park that will be bursting with color. (rates start at $147 per night)
  • The Lake Hotel – This Killarney hotel is right on a gorgeous lake and near several castles – you won’t even want to leave the area. (rates start at $250 per night)
  • The Parkview Hotel – You’ll love this swanky but affordable Wicklow hotel that puts you close to exploring the stunning Wicklow Mountains. (rates start at $198 per night)

Which of these things to do in Ireland in the fall are you looking forward to most? Let me know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *