“Rain is…very difficult to film, particularly in Ireland because it’s quite fine, so fine that the Irish don’t even acknowledge that it exists.”
- Alan Parker, director of “The Commitments”
Poor old Ireland, continually painted as the rainy isle where you’ll get drenched running from car to door. Always keen to bust a myth or two, we tracked down Brian Delaney, a meteorological officer for Met Eireann, for his expert opinion:
‘Rain in the East Coast is generally limited to 150 days a year. So to say it rains a lot would be incorrect. The West Coast gets a little more, but not much.’
For all our fine-weather frolicking, we also took the time to cover our bases, erect some roofs and put some seriously distracting things to do underneath and, of course, there are so many different ‘types of rain’ in Ireland, too:
rain (r n) n.
- Wet substance with various degrees of ‘wetting’ ability
- Dry Rain, a phenomenon common to the island of Ireland: Come on, sure it’s only dry rain!
- Wet Rain, also specifically common to the island of Ireland: Put your boots on, that’s wet rain out there!
- See also – Grand Soft Day – Excessive falls of rain: Ah, how’s it goin’, Tony? Isn’t it a grand soft day!
Without naming literally everything you could do (that would take far more than just one blog), what we did was ask a few locals for their favourite mid-shower activities, then we picked out a few all-weather ideas ourselves that are worth noting!
Whatever the weather in Ireland…
We know the hardest people of all to please are the young ones: enter places like the Lambert Puppet Theatre in Dublin, where stories like Jack and the Beanstalk and Hansel and Gretel have delighted kids for generations. You can also give them free reign at W5 in Belfast – an interactive playhouse that offers bucketloads of physical and mental stimulation.
“I bring the kids to the Natural History Museum. My son loves the grand scale of it all; how big the animals are. My daughter goes for the butterflies. I actually used to be taken there as a child myself, so it’s nice to be able to bring my own children, and I quite like the Victorian feel and design of the place. It usually keeps them occupied for an hour or so, and then it’s next door to the National Gallery” Emily, mother of two under-fives, Dublin
Teenagers, those of notoriously delicate tastes, can’t deny the coolness of Dublin’s Wax Museum: spotting the frozen celebrities and posing for photos with Bono so they can tell their mates they ‘just happened to bump into him’. For an altogether different type of star gazing, the Armagh Planetarium has an amazing digital theatre playing 3D tours of the universe, plus you can fire your own rockets – how cool is that?
“I found the Play at Height climbing wall in Dingle really great, particularly for [grumpy] teenagers. It made such a difference to have something physical to do when the weather was wet.” Catriona, mother of two, Kerry
More traditional tastes might fancy whiling away the hours in a library. Trinity College Dublin has over five million printed volumes, including our most famous: the Book of Kells. And around the corner you’ll find the cracking Science Gallery, with revolving exhibitions and a chance to be part of a student’s scientific study.
If you arrive on Wexford’s lovely beaches and find it, well, a little soggy, a nicely historical morning awaits at the Dunbrody Famine Ship moored at New Ross, with all the interactive trimmings describing the lives of emigrants facing their journey to America.
And a little something for the grown-ups
Ireland’s cultural heritage is one of the richest in the world, and you can literally spend weeks in our Museums and Galleries. The National Gallery in Dublin, for example, is wall to wall masters, from homegrown Jack B Yeats, to Goya and Caravaggio. The Blascaod Centre on the Kerry coastline is a touching tribute to the culture and tradition of the Blasket Islanders. If it gets a bit chilly out, we have a museum for that, too: seek a hot whiskey at the Bushmills Distillery and Museum in Antrim.
“Sitting in a hot tub in the rain is something that must be experienced at least once. The outdoor tub at Galgorm Resort & Spa in Antrim is a really magical way to enjoy the countryside and nature. The backdrop is the tranquil woodland setting by the River Maine. That’s followed by holing up somewhere cosy like the bar!” Colette, Coleraine
Keeping your culture hat on, we pride ourselves on our abundance of theatres so you’re rarely far away from a rip-roaring matinee. Curling up in a chair in a cosy theatre like Dublin’s Abbey or Belfast’s Grand Opera House you won’t give a thought to the weather outside.
And then there’s that good old faithful, retail therapy: Shopping meccas like Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin and Victoria Square in Belfast are dripping with affordable glamour. Cork’s English Market (prettily housed in an airy church-like space) meanwhile, is a foodie’s delight, but you’ll need to appoint a minder so you don’t overindulge.
And so the list goes on. But we’ll just leave you with this one little nugget as you go to purchase your raingear: whenever it rains in Ireland, a rainbow will surely follow…
Fancy letting a little culture into your life?
Children – they always like their entertainment
There’s an app for this! We’ve got apps designed for sniffing out the nearest attractions and entertainment wherever you are in Ireland.