Ireland's climate is dominated by the Atlantic Ocean. Mild damp summers and cool wet winters are the normal fare but the weather patterns are ever changing and never totally predictable.
Winter months are generally the wettest and June and July the driest. Annual rainfall reaches 2000mm on the highest summits but can be less than half of that total at the coast. Wicklow's position near the south east corner of Ireland gives it a relatively high incidence of bright sunshine, averaging about 4 hours a day over the entire year. Snow cover in winter increases with altitude and can reach an average of 30 days a year on some of the highest peaks.
Wind is an important feature, especially on the higher hills where tree growth is often limited. Dominant wind directions are from the south and west, however there are times each year when an easterly airflow brings both snow and ice from the European continent. This unending drama of weather is a factor that makes any day in Wicklow a 'unique' day.
Weather in the mountains is always likely to change suddenly. It really is possible to experience all four seasons on any given day throughout the year. Moist air that is forced to rise over mountains will generate rain or snow depending on the temperatures. A mountain top that seems clear can quickly become enshrouded in cloud.
Irish people are used to constant change, and dress accordingly – no matter how clear it looks, always bring a jacket.
Winters generally are wet and windy, with some cold clear days and some cold spells often during January and February. Unless it is a particularly cold winter, the temperatures rarely dip below zero during the day. Frosty or icy conditions are usually associated with high pressure systems stabilising over the country, but normally we experience a series of low pressures systems sweeping in from the Atlantic Ocean bringing the familiar wet and windy weather.
Summer can vary dramatically from year to year, from day to day, and even within the duration of a single day you may experience a wide range in temperatures and conditions. Nothing is certain, except that you should never trust any forecast beyond the next 24 hours. Even that may let you down! It’s important to check the forecast and to bring some extra layers. Normally, summer weather can happen anytime May – September.
Good Summer weather: 20-25°C, with little or no wind or rain.
Most likely Summer weather: 15-20°C (5-10 deg C cooler in the mountains) with frequent showers and a fresh breeze.
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic on the edge of Europe. We experience warm temperatures for our latitude (53° N) due to the influence of the Gulf Stream warm water current flowing from the Mexican Gulf. The prevailing wind also comes from this direction, so the combination of warm, wet air brings lots of precipitation (2 days out of 3 are rainy on the west of Ireland, and 1 day out of 3 is rainy on the east coast of Ireland).
Highest Temperature: 33°C in Kilkenny in 1887
Lowest Temperature: Minus 19°C in Sligo in 1881
Strongest Wind (sea level): 124 mph (198 km/h) in Kilkeel, Co Down 1974
Sunshine: Ireland gets from 1,400 to 1,700 hours per year of sunshine (compared to 4,300 in the Sahara). May and June are the sunniest months with 5-6.5 hrs per day, and December is the dullest with between 1-2 hours per day.
www.met.ie/forecasts - Weather supplied by Met Eireann, the Irish Meteorological Office. The site includes average temperature and rainfall information.
www.wicklowweather.com - Weather conditions near Ashford, Co Wicklow
www.dogwoodweather.com - Weather conditions near Oldbridge, Co Wicklow
www.brayweather.com - Weather conditions near Bray, Co Wicklow
www.irelandsweather.com - National coverage of online weather stations and current conditions