CLIMATE OF IRELAND
Mostly mild and moist
is situated on the eastern edge of the North Atlantic Ocean
between 51deg.N and 56deg.N latitude and comes strongly
under the influence of the westerly windflow of these middle
latitudes. The warm waters of the Gulf Stream cause sea
temperatures around Ireland to be a good deal higher than
the average in this latitude band, and the prevailing westerly
winds carry air from over these waters across the country
and thereby cause Ireland to miss the extremes of temperature
of continental climates and gives the Irish climate its
temperate, changerable character. While Atlantic weather
systems are the dominant influence on Irish weather, there
are times when the winds blow from the continent of Europe,
which in Summer usually gives warmer weather, and in Winter,
Rain - little snow
Average annual rainfall varies between 750 and 1000 millimetres
(30 to 40 inches) in the drier eastern part of the country,
while most other parts have average yearly totals of between
1000 and 1350mm (40 to 54 inches). The intensity of the
rainfall is generally low: Dublin Airportís 750mm per year
falls in about 550 hours. In continental areas with comparable
annual averages the rain usually falls in shorter, heavier
rainfall is well distributed throughout the year: the months
from February to July form the drier half of the year, but
even so they still account for about 40% of the annual total.
Months without rainfall are rare. Dry spells can occur at
any time of the year but, fortunately, are most frequent
in the Spring and Summer months between April and August.
Winters are usually free from widespread, significant snowfalls.
In the 1980s there were only two years - 1982 and 1987 -
when snow persisted for some days and disrupted the normal
pattern of life. January and February are the months when
snow is most likely.
The relatively warm seas around Irelandís coasts exert a
moderating influence on both Winter and Summer temperatures.
Air temperatures in excess of 25deg.C (77deg.F) have occurred
only in the months April to October and 30deg.C (86deg.F)
has been exceeded only in June July and August. Daily minimum
values of -5deg.C (23deg.F) or lower have been recorded
only in the months of October to May; if the threshold is
lowered to -10deg.C (14deg.F) the period reduces from November
to March. The extreme temperatures reached in over a hundred
years of recording range from 19.4deg.C (- 2.9deg.F) to
33.4deg.C (92deg.F) which by continental standards is a
modest temperature range.
and February are the coldest months with mean air temperatures
between 4deg.C (39deg.F) and 7deg.C (45deg.F). July and
August are the warmest, with mean temperatures of 14deg.C
(57deg.F) to 15deg.C (61deg.F). It is unusual for the mean
maximum temperature in a Summer month to exceed 20deg.C
(68deg.F) and for a Winter month to have a mean minimum
temperature below -2deg.C (28deg.F).
the air reaching Ireland often has had a long passage over
the ocean, relative humidity is generally high. Throughout
the year relative humidity averages about 90% late at night
and in the early morning. Typical mid-afternoon values range
65% to 70% between April and August and 75% to 85% during
the months from October to February. However Ireland rarely
if ever gets that combination of heat and humidity which
causes indices of heat stress well known in some continental
cities; high temperatures here usually occur with low relative
humidity. The damp Winters are countered by widespread use
of central heating but air conditioning in private dwellings
to ensure comfort in summer is practically unknown (and
hardly required!) Outdoor sports are played all year round
but a fair degree of hardihood may be required to play golf
or tennis in Winter.
Cloud manages to cover three quarters of sky on average
and, generally speaking Ireland is not a destination for
sun-worshippers. The length of day varies between 16 to
17 hours in late June and 7 hours in late December. The
average duration of sunshine is 15% to 25% of the length
of the day in December and 30% to 45% in late Spring and
early Summer; the higher values in the northwest.
Situated in the zone of the mid-latitude westerlies, mean
annual windspeeds range from 7 miles per hour in inland
areas of the southeast to over 15 miles per hour near the
northwest coast which averages about 40 days per year with
gales compared with just 2 in some sheltered inland areas.
Mean speeds are highest in the winter months, December to
February, and lowest in July and August.
is the best time to visit Ireland?
The outstanding characteristics of Irelandís climate is
variability and averages can be misleading on specific occasions.
that caveat in mind, we can say in general that July and
August, the warmest months, are best overall but they are
not the months of the lowest rainfall or highest sunshine.
The brightest months are May and June when temperatures
are also reasonably high. Indeed, spells of very pleasant
weather can occur at any time between April and October.
conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit:
by 9, Divide by 5 and add 32
For example: 25deg. C = 25 x 9 = 225 / 5 =
45 + 32 = 77deg.F
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