As Joel watched the sun set at half-past-eight on his second week in Dublin, he realised that he had much more to learn about Irish weather than he had anticipated.
Yes, the 25-year-old postgraduate student from India packed the rain jackets and umbrella that his university had instructed international students to, but hearing the radio announce that the country was experiencing a heatwave in September while he was struggling to keep himself warm made it clear that all the blogs in the world could not have prepared him for the real deal.
For people from countries where the weather remains largely the same year-round, the intermittent spells of rain and changing sunsets can be a lot of change to take in. So we collected some realistic advice from long-term residents on what to keep in mind.
Does it always rain in Ireland?
Although the internet seems to be convinced of it, it doesn’t always rain in Ireland. In fact, the rain itself can be quite mild. Brought in by the North Atlantic ocean’s gulf stream, the region receives drizzle that actually help keep the winters mild and the summers pleasant.
Even in the thick of winter, the temperature rarely drops below 5 degrees celsius. Locals recommend the Met Éireann app, offered by the Irish National Meteorological Service for anyone worried about major changes in the temperature over a day.
What should you not wear in winter?
Don’t forget your LAYERS! While most people are aware of basic essentials like rain-resistant jackets and waterproof boots, they overlook simple everyday winter wear which can make life easier.
If you are not used to colder winters, make sure you buy a jacket with enough layers inside for you to last the season. And don’t pack your run-of-the-mill umbrellas, some of those gale force winds (which can measure up to 102 km per hour) can get particularly stubborn and calls for a more sturdy alternative.
What you can expect in October
As we approach the end of October, changes in the weather become more pronounced. Parts of the country closer to the coast will see very mild changes while inland portions of Ireland typically experience colder nights. This is thanks to the currents coming in from the Gulf Stream that blows warm air to nearby cities.
As the cold sets in, make sure you keep a trusted moisturiser around at all times. Transitioning to the cold takes a toll on your skin. Before dry skin starts making life difficult, use it generously. To make sure your lips don’t dry and crack either, a lip balm will be your best friend.
What is Winter Solstice?
Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year. Usually falling on December 21, it marks the time when the Earth’s North pole tilts farthest away from the sun.
If you come from a country closer to the equator and thought the sun setting at a particular time all-year round was going to be as constant as it was back home, think again. After summer, the days grow shorter until it culminates in a day where the night falls at 4pm.
That’s not all. As winter takes its course, the days begin to grow longer once again. And thus, we experience Summer Solstice in June, when the sun does not set as late as 10pm, leading to the longest days of the year.
What is the hottest month in Ireland?
It gets warmest in the country from June to August when temperatures rise up to 20 degrees celsius, and sometimes even more. The occasional rains help keep the temperatures cool, so while in Ireland, you never really have to worry about hiding from the sun.
Another detail to look forward to are summer festivals in a number of pockets across the Emerald Isle. While residents recommend not planning too far ahead, they swear by a trusted bottle of sunscreen and again, keeping an umbrella handy!