Savvy Traveling with Penny Zibula: Ireland in Fall and Winter

St. Stephen’s Green

Photo credit: Simon Lock of Statue within the grounds of St. Stephen’s Green

Why You Should Go and What You Should Know

Ireland is the “Land of 100,000 Welcomes” and paying her a visit in late fall through early spring will make those welcomes less crowded, more economical and just as satisfying. Here’s a small sampling of what Ireland has to offer, as well as a few tips to help you make the most of your visit.

Getting There

We have visited Ireland twice within six months. Both air fares were less than $500 per person, so keep your eyes open for bargain fares. Skyscanner is a good place to start. It’s expensive to fly from New Bern but if you are prepared to do one-way car rentals your opportunities for a reasonably priced fare increase exponentially. Also, once there, you can find insane bargains to other countries in Europe on budget carriers such as Ryan Air and Easy Jet.

Be Aware

  • Pack layers. The weather is changeable, and don’t forget a waterproof jacket and an umbrella.
  • Check out hotels and attractions ahead of time. Some may be closed or have limited hours during the off-season.
  • Leave your British pounds at home. Ireland is a member of the EU and uses the Euro as its currency. If you travel to Northern Ireland – which I heartily recommend – bring those pounds along.
  • Leave your travel angst at home. Ireland‘s crime rate is low, and the people are exceptionally friendly, helpful, generous and chatty.

What to Do in Dublin When It Rains

  • The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is a must during the off-season when lines are short. Make your way from the bottom of a giant pint glass to the top, while learning the beer’s history, how it’s made and the correct way to draw a pint.
  • Epic Ireland is an interactive museum that details Irish emigration over several centuries. The exhibits offer powerful and poignant accounts representing the experiences of millions who left their homes in Ireland for foreign lands and uncertain futures.
  • The Marsh Library houses one of the most comprehensive collections of rare books in the world. You can see the table where famous writers like James Joyce and Samuel Becket once sat and read.
  • The Little Museum of Dublin houses items donated by the people of Dublin. Everything from furniture to a bust of Bram Stoker has been donated by individuals and families wanting to share pieces of daily life.
  • The Brazen Head is Dublin’s oldest pub. Once inside, you can spend the entire evening in an upstairs dining-room sampling beers, selecting your dinner from a set menu of traditional Irish food, enjoying live music and listening to some expertly told tales of fairies and leprechauns. Reservations are required, even in the dead of winter.

What to Do When It Doesn’t Rain

  • Dublin is a walkable city with good public transportation. Simply strolling the streets will make you smile. But if you need a dose of retail therapy, head for Grafton Street.
  • St. Stephen’s Green is an oasis in the heart of Dublin. This Victorian public park features 22 acres of meticulously maintained trees, shrubs and colorful seasonal plantings, as well as over 2.1 miles of wheelchair accessible pathways, an ornamental lake, a waterfall and a children’s playground.
  • Rent an electric or standard bicycle, and tour Dublin on two wheels. The city will be your oyster as you navigate to well-known sites such as Trinity College, Dublin Castle and the statue of the much sung-about Molly Malone.

And that’s just a small smattering of what you’ll find in Dublin year round. Now consider Waterford, Galway, Tralee – whether the rose is in bloom or not – the Atlantic Wild Way, plus much more, and you have an unforgettable off-season holiday.

Useful Links


Visit Ireland:

Visit Dublin:

Fáilte Ireland:

The Guinness Storehouse:

Epic Ireland:

Marsh’s Library:

The Little Museum of Dublin:

The Brazen Head Pub:

Penny Zibula is a freelance travel writer and blogger based in New Bern. Visit her blog at

By Contributing Author, Penny Zibula

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