Dublin always has a lot to see and do. If you plan to travel there at the beginning of the year, you should know that the low season has its advantages. With less tourist influx you can enjoy the attractions of the city and the charm of the corners of its historic center without crowds. It's worth it!
Of course, you have to be prepared for the cold and rain. In this post I tell you everything you need to know to avoid unforeseen events and enjoy the opportunities of Dublin in January. Read on! There's music, exhibitions, light shows and city tours.
1. Toast with a pint at the Guinness Storehouse
Whenever you go to Dublin, a stop at the Guinness Storehouse is a visit you can't miss. The good thing about visiting this factory in January is that it can give you a break if your trip coincides with low temperature days, because there is no better place to take shelter from bad weather.
In addition, you will not have to be surrounded by a crowd of tourists and you can relax and enjoy one of the most famous visits in Dublin.
There are seven floors of history of Ireland's most famous beer where you can see the contract of the founder of the factory, Arthur Guinness, and learn about the fermentation processes. To finish you can enjoy a good pint of Guinness in the Gravity Bar, the top floor of the factory, where you can enjoy a unique view of the city.
- Where: St. James's Gate, Dublin 8.
- When: you can go all year round, but in January the visit is perfect for a cold day and you can enjoy the low season.
- Price: from 30€.
- Do you have to book: Yes, I recommend it.
2. Visit the Turner's watercolors at the National Gallery
The National Gallery has in its collection about thirty watercolors by William Turner. These works of art were donated to the museum on the condition that they would only be exhibited to the public during the month of January, to protect them from excessive light that could damage them.
Although today we have the technology to avoid this wear and tear, the Gallery has maintained the tradition of showing these works to the public only during the month of January. And always accompanies the occasion with a series of talks and events, or an exhibition of another artist influenced by Turner.
Before buying the ticket, I advise you to take a look at the Dublin Pass if the card includes a visit to the National Gallery in addition to other tourist attractions. This way, you can save a lot of money on your visit.
- Where: in the Print Gallery, inside the National Gallery of Ireland. The address is Merrion Square West.
- When: throughout the month of January.
- Price: free of charge. For other exhibitions, the National Gallery can offer discounts on presentation of the Dublin Pass.
- Reservations: Yes, reservations are required.
3. Welcome the New Year at the Dublin New Year's Festival
Dubliners traditionally gather around the city's Cathedral to listen to the bells as they ring in the New Year. It is an impressive concert, sometimes as many as 19 bells have been used.
This tradition has evolved into a real New Year's festival: it lasts 4 days. It includes an outdoor concert to wait in good company at the turn of the year and a procession through the streets of Dublin ending with the New Year's Big Breakfast in Meeting House Square.
It is also impressive for where it is celebrated, and is that the center of Dublin is in itself an experience. If listening to the bells makes you want to get to know the city better, I recommend that you take a day to tour it in one of the Dublin tourist buses. In addition, you can comfortably enjoy all the decorations and lights that are still standing.
- Where: in the center of Dublin, around the Cathedral and in the streets surrounding Meeting House Square.
- When: the first day of the year.
- Price: all activities are free except the concert to welcome the New Year. Prices vary every year, you can check and book your ticket directly with the city's events organization.
- Reservations: For the concert, yes. The rest you can enjoy for free.
4. Join the race in wellies at Castlecomer
Not every January day in Dublin is gray and rainy. This area and this time of year also have clear days of mild winter, and if they coincide with your travel dates you will see that it is a pleasure to do outdoor activities or encourage you to do some excursions from Dublin.
In the town of Castlecomer is held every January since 1978 a unique event in Ireland: the wellie race or wellierace. Wellies are not the most comfortable shoes to run in, but it is quite a sight to see the crowds wearing them for the race. Would you like to give it a try?
Plus there's music, food and drink. Quite a local event, and very close to the town of Kilkenny, which is well worth a visit on an excursion from Dublin. Many of these tours offer one-day tours, so you can improvise according to the weather.
Facts of interest
- Where: in Castlecomer, about 100 kilometers from Dublin. The most direct route by car is via the A78.
- When: in January, every year.
- Price: The race organizers accept donations.
- Booking is not necessary if you want to go and have a look, but I would advise you to contact them if you would like to attend.
5. Warm up with the best whisky in the area
Ireland has an exceptional whisky production, have you tried it? If not, I advise you to do so. Its artisanal production techniques give the whiskey a typical taste of the area. So if you travel to Dublin in January, I recommend you visit the Irish Whiskey Museum and enjoy a tasting tour.
During the tour, a guide tells you the secrets of the process while you learn about the process of distilling whiskey. It is a lot of fun and you learn to notice the different flavors that make Irish whiskey famous all over the world.
And if you want more, you can also visit some whiskey distilleries such as Jameson, where you will not only taste it but also learn about the whole process of making it.
- Where: at 119 Grafton Street.
- When: offers tasting tours all year round. The advantage of doing it in low season is that you can enjoy them without crowds of tourists. In addition, if you catch a day of bad weather in Dublin, a good whiskey tasting is much appreciated.
- Price: approximately 20 euros.
- Reservations: Yes, they are group tours with a guide.
6. Dance at the Temple Bar Tradfest Festival
The Temple Bar Tradfest Festival began in 2006 and since then has become a tradition: five days of the best traditional Irish music, with room in the program for folk and rock'n'roll, as well as for emerging groups and for the greats of the stage.
The music festival is completed with craft fairs, parades and a wide selection of activities for children, all focused on enjoying the best traditional music.
- Where: most concerts take place at Temple Bar, but some shows move to historic venues.
- When: every year at the end of January.
- Prices: vary according to the concert, but range from 10 euros to 30 euros.
- Do you have to book: Yes, I recommend it.
7. Be amazed by Bowie's Dublin Festival
I miss him, you miss him and I suspect the whole world misses him. That's why it's such a great idea to go to this festival that has become so much talked about around the figure and music of David Bowie: there are talks, merchandise, art, films, the best of drag culture and, of course, lots of live music.
The festival celebrates the anniversary of the release of the Ziggy Stardust album and offers a unique opportunity to relive the excitement of Bowie's music and figure. And to take home a unique experience and memory.
Facts and figures of interest
- Where: The concerts are held at various venues in Dublin's city center.
- When: it takes place in January, although I advise you to check their Facebook page to confirm the exact dates, because some years the celebration has been moved to spring.
- Price: some exhibitions and activities are free. Concerts and films are paid (between 10 and 15 euros) and the price of admission depends on the one you are interested in.
- Reservations are necessary: for activities with capacity (concerts and film screenings) yes.
8. Be amazed by the science to come
What began as a high school exhibition is today a date marked on the calendar of all those who are interested in science and research. This exhibition of experiments and achievements of young scientists brings together more than 500 projects since 1965 and attracts large crowds to the Royal Dublin Society.
Some projects are so original that they will leave you thinking for days. Even if you don't think science is your thing, give it a try. There are projects in so many fields, from mathematics and biology to social sciences and technology. I bet you anything it's a visit that will surprise you.
- Where: at the Royal Dublin Society in the center of Dublin, on Merrion Road.
- When: the competition is held every year during the month of January. You can check the exact dates on their website.
- Price: adults about 12 euros, and children about 7 euros.
- Do you have to book: Yes, I advise you to do so.
9. Hurry up to see the last part of the Dublin Winter Lights!
If you arrive in Dublin in January you can enjoy the end of the Dublin Winter Lights, a show that will remain etched in your memory.
It is a light show that adorns the capital of Ireland during the darkest days. There are two paths through which you can walk around the city admiring the light projections on the most emblematic buildings of Dublin.
The darkness of the Irish winter is welcoming and dazzling with the lights of the festival, and the organizers take care to make it as environmentally friendly as possible using LED lights.
- Where: through the historic center of Dublin.
- When: from the end of November to the beginning of January.
- Price: free of charge.
- Reservations required: Not necessary.
10. Enjoy the classics at the Classics Now festival.
With the theme The future of the Past, Dublin' s Classics Now festival brings you a program of events in the city to enjoy classical culture and discover how it is still present in our society today.
There are talks, debates, concerts and readings to celebrate and learn about the pillars of ancient Greek and Roman culture from the perspective of contemporary artists. If you are interested in culture, this is a perfect plan for a rainy day in Dublin.
- Where: at various venues in the city. Check the program to see where the activities you are interested in are taking place.
- When: over two days, during the second half of January.
- Price: varies depending on the event, but the average ticket costs around 12 euros.
- Reservations: Yes, reservations are required.
January temperatures in Dublin
January is the coldest month of the year in Dublin, but the capital of Ireland is not a city with extreme temperatures. Average temperatures hover between 4º and 8º, although with the humidity the wind chill is somewhat lower.
The winter days are short in this area and the probable rain tends to take away brightness. That is, although there is a little more than 8 hours of daylight a day, it is also possible that during those hours it is cloudy and rainy.
Does this mean that traveling to Dublin in January is a bad idea? Not at all! Dublin always has a lot to offer and the low season (autumn and winter) offers the advantage of being able to do so without crowds. It is also more likely to find accommodation at a lower price than in spring and summer.
What to pack for a visit to Dublin in January
Dublin in winter has a lot to offer, but if you are traveling in January you should be prepared:
- Pack warm clothing such as gloves, scarf and hat.
- A good raincoat if you like to do outdoor activities, preferably with windproof effect.
- A change of shoes and an extra pair of socks, as wet feet can spoil a day of sightseeing.
And if you feel like treating yourself, I recommend you take a look at the wool products typical of Ireland. They are great and warm enough to enjoy any plan you decide to do in January in Dublin.
Now that you know everything, I hope you enjoy your visit. And... have a good trip!