Are we gonna freeze our tails off?
February 5, 2009 3:41 AM   Subscribe

What's the weather like in Ireland and Scotland in late October?

Thinking about going there for our honeymoon next year, but worried about the weather. Spread the knowledge!
posted by Glendale to Travel & Transportation around Ireland (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ireland and southern Scotland are very similar in climate to the UK. Northern Scotland tends to be a degree or two colder a lot of the time. Here are some figures from 2008.

It's pretty rare for temperatures in October to fall below freezing, unless you're up on a mountain. It won't be t-shirt and shorts weather, but neither will you need to dress for winter. Make sure you've got a light rainproof coat and a sweater for the evenings and you're about set.

Of course it's all relative to where you're from.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:53 AM on February 5, 2009

One word: Variable.

I see by your profile that you're in New Hampshire, so I think you'll be fine with it. Generally, around that time of year the weather tends towards a bit colder than the mean, and quite often very wet. But it's pretty unpredictable. It could be a blazing Indian summer of a month. I've seen snow in the Scottish Highlands in May, and drizzle and low cloud in August.

So, basically, pack a reasonable range of clothing, make sure you bring something waterproof, and get into the Celtic habit of repairing to the nearest pub or cafe when it rains to get a pint or a cuppa. You won't freeze, but you might get damp occasionally.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:57 AM on February 5, 2009

It'a rainy, windy and fairly dark, but in general you won't see snow and it won't be freezing (although this depends exactly where you are going.) You may get the odd bright, mild day but you won't get near a day for shorts or t shirts. October is nice though, if you're thinking of getting outside for hiking or just sightseeing it should be fine. Just make sure you're fully armed for any weather eventuality - jumpers, raincoats, umbrellas, and backup plans which involve being indoors. You'll be fine.
posted by fire&wings at 4:08 AM on February 5, 2009

As the others have said, it'll be changeable.

Probably wet, but just rain so if you no what to wear when it rains then you'll be grand.

If you're off to the wesht of Ireland and plan to be doing outdoorsy stuff then deffo pack something more substantial, same goes for northern Scotland and the isles too.

Edinburgh and Glasgow probably plenty of drizzle or as they say "spittin' "

but of course, who cares what the weather like, being newlyweds, it'll be hot in places....(gwarr, hubba hubba, awwoooo!)
posted by MarvinJ at 4:58 AM on February 5, 2009

It's not exactly a "weather" phenomenon, but the Irish and Scots talk about the "evening closing in". The sun sets around 6:50PM on October 1, with the day being almost 11:30 long, but towards the end of the month it's as early as 5:55PM, and then daylight savings hits so by October 31 the sun is setting at 4:40PM with only 9:15 of daylight.

What this means is that aside from it being slightly cooler and wetter than you're probably used to, the temperature starts falling towards its nightly low relatively early.
posted by valkyryn at 5:27 AM on February 5, 2009

You won't freeze your tails off. It's likely to be somewhat warmer than New Hampshire, I should think.
posted by Phanx at 5:30 AM on February 5, 2009

le morte de bea arthur: I think you'll find that southern Scotland (and indeed the rest of that fine country) is a part of the UK, as is Northern Ireland (though not the rest of that fine country).

OP: Wet, for the most part. Lots of damp, quite a bit of drizzle, occasional rain, and perhaps the odd pleasant day as well. Shouldn't be cold, exactly, but not warm either, for the most part. In both cases, however, a decent dram works best when you're cold and wet and have just reached a warm pub with a fireplace. A scottish heavy goes down a treat in this situation as well, and an Irish stout wouldn't be terribly amiss, either.
posted by Dysk at 5:37 AM on February 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

I normally advise people to come and Scotland visit in April/May or September/October. You benefit from fewer crowds and cheaper prices. Weather-wise these are the best months for being "pleasantly surprised" by fine conditions: in theory the weather ought to be marginal but it is quite common to get extended periods of sun. By contrast in the middle of summer many visitors are unpleasantly surprised to encounter a week of rain.

The far west and north of the country often enjoys a climate quite different from the rest of the UK - for better or worse.
posted by rongorongo at 6:11 AM on February 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Brother Dysk, I know, I know. I started by typing 'the rest of the UK', but then realised that that wasn't right either (because of Ireland). Clicked 'Post' while I was still deciding how to phrase it correctly.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:17 AM on February 5, 2009

Speaking from personal experience, Irish weather at that time of the year can be deceptive. To a North American, it's milder than you expect, but more damp. The rain doesn't come beating down in heavy sheets, but the wind can be high.

Let me put it to you this way: do what you can to *stay dry*. Even that light, mild-temperature drizzle will leave you with a bad cold if you let it. As others have noted above, repair to a pub if it starts raining while you're out and about, and if you get soaked on your way home to your hotel/B&B, take a hot bath when you get in. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
posted by LN at 7:57 AM on February 5, 2009

I went to N. Ireland in November (long time ago) and didn't find it terribly cold but I had the winter parka I was wearing when I left Canada. I think dressing warm is important because peoples houses don't seem to be insulated/heated to quite the same standard as N. America. Also, they don't seem to pamper themselves with high pressure, piping hot water either, though this may just have been my relatives. The only place I remember being truly warm was was in their automobiles, where they crank the heat and fan up as high as they will go.

My first afternoon there, the sun seemed to set so early and suddenly, I thought there was an eclipse going on.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:24 AM on February 5, 2009

I went to Scotland in Sept-October of 2000 and ended up buying a sweater to wear under my jacket. Variable is indeed a good description of the weather - it was a bit raw with occasional fierce rains. I have fond memories of the lot of us standing by the fire in a pub with water steaming out of our jeans. Dress for wet and damp and chilly and you'll be fine. It was a fantastic trip (solo after layoff).

I loved it so much that I went back there (and on to Ireland) five years later in April-May with my wife for our honeymoon. Feel free to mefimail me if you want ideas.
posted by canine epigram at 10:35 AM on February 5, 2009

It'll be windy, cold and wet. Except for two days of your trip, when it'll be bright, sunny and not too cold. I wouldn't be worried about the weather per se; as this week has shown we are completely unused to proper weather: snow that the rest of the world sniggers at causes trauma in us.

We don't really ever have worrisome weather; it's just either dreich and miserable or mildly warm for a bit before returning to dreich.
posted by bonaldi at 11:18 AM on February 5, 2009

Changeable/Varied is the best description I've seen so far.

There'll be clear sunny days, dry cloudy days, wet cloudy days, wet sunny days, and everything in between. I imagine it will range from "a wee bit chilly" to "mild". Bring a good warm jumper (sweater) or two, and a waterproof coat.

Irish weather (not so sure about Scotland) varies fairly significantly depending on where you are. The west coast (i.e. from Cork to Donegal) and the north coast (Donegal to Antrim) are liable to be fairly 'exposed' in the case of bad weather. This is less of a problem on the east coast, though there is still the occasional storm which comes clattering up the Irish Sea.

You're going to be able to enjoy yourself in most weather conditions anyway. If the weather's good, long walks on the beaches or in the mountains/countryside, seeing the sights in the cities, nice pubs in the evening... if the weather's bad - and I don't mean just raining, if it's just raining do everything you'd normally do but wear your coat! - go check out the raging seas, find a nice pub with a fire and good company, check out a museum or local indoor attraction, or if all else fails, curl up in your accommodation and enjoy a nice evening together.

If you're thinking of Ireland and have any more specific thoughts on which part then feel free to MeMail me with any questions.
posted by knapah at 4:45 PM on February 5, 2009

Rather than "not so sure about Scotland" I meant that I don't know specifics about Scotland. If anywhere has regional weather....
posted by knapah at 4:46 PM on February 5, 2009

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