... by Trip · Christmas in Ireland · Damp, Muddy & Happy · Ireland December 2012

Ireland … December Weather

The big question that most people had before I left … What will the weather be like in December? I had done my research and new that the average temperature was 47 degrees (Fahrenheit), along with rain and fog probable. The chance of snow … Very minor; although 2010 provided a white Christmas for most of the country.

County Tipperary Countryside
County Tipperary Countryside

To now answer that question in one word … damp. The temperature has been fluctuating from the mid-40’s to the mid-50’s. As I write this, the temperature is 53 degrees. It is one of the more milder days that I have had. And while the temperature does have an effect on the weather, I must say that the humidity has been providing the response: ‘It feels like ….’

The first day here, I was greeted with rain as I loaded my luggage in the car. Today, it is still raining. In fact, we have not had a day where it hasn’t rained within a 24 hour period. There has been a strong set of fronts that have been pulling moisture from the Atlantic to the southwest/south part of the county; then upward across the entire island. As I have monitored the weather sites, most days are showing 90% humidity or greater and that is without the rain.  With the low temperature … it can be the type of cold that ‘bites to the bone.’

But all is not lost. There have been days, like yesterday, that we have had sun. It was a beautiful day; very few clouds. Until, that is, sundown arrived and the rain moved in. By 8pm … raining. On average, there had been sunshine at least 60% of the time.

I have found it interesting that most places have a saying that if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes and it will change. Well in Ireland, it is true. After a week, I gave up on the weather forecast. I can check the forecast at this moment and it will say … Rain for the next 5 hours. In 30 minutes, I will see rain for an hour and then sunny skies for two. Check back again … Sunny for three; rain for two.

My two favorite forecasts … Checked one night before heading to bed and it was calling for dense fog until 11am. So, I adjusted my plans for the next day. As the sun was coming up … Yes, I said sun, I was greeted with a beautiful sunrise over the Knockmealdown Mountains. Readjusted and headed out the door. The other one was Christmas Eve … The forecast called for torrential rain all day. By noon, the sun was shining and stayed with us all afternoon.

The lesson learned … With a flexible schedule, I can change my plans with the weather to maximize the sunny periods. To keep an umbrella with me at all times has also been a good habit.

Wool Sweater

Wool Sweater

In the future, if I return this time of year … Or for anyone considering traveling to Ireland during December, here is my advice.Wool Sweater

  • Layers, specifically warm layers, such as turtlenecks and sweatshirts.
  • Leave the winter sweater vests at home.  Vests are a waste of luggage space; mine were never unpacked.
  • A heavy sweater or two. Or, if you don’t have one, once in Ireland, find a good wool sweater.
  • Winter coat … I almost brought a “three season” coat based on the temperature. At the last minute, I grabbed my winter coat. A winter coat will help with the dampness.
  • Wool socks, again … You can buy them when you get there.
  • Finally, if you are going to explore, it may mean fields. I brought along a good pair of lace up hiking boots, insulated and waterproof. If you want to go off the beaten path … Think mud and lots of it.
  • Note: you are beginning to think … One suitcase and this isn’t going to fit. I decided before my trip that I would budget in a second suitcase since airlines now charge for a second suitcase. With winter clothes, you need more space. Plus with a second suitcase, it will give you a little more room for any items that you purchase … Such as a wool sweater. Now you’re thinking about shipping items home? When we checked into shipping items this past summer … It was going to cast around $70 for 11 pounds. Second suitcase for $100 and 50 pounds … The better options the second suitcase. I simply budgeted for it.

While in Waterford the first week, I was talking to someone and the indicated that it would take a week to get use to the weather. They were right. The to-the-bone chill and dampness is still present, but I have managed to adapt. It might also have a lot to do my new wool sweater and socks, too!

I wouldn’t let the weather deter anyone … Just be prepared!