Inside information & tips on what to see, do, eat, & special places to stay; Ireland, London & beyond!
Vibrant Ireland

All posts in Irish Weather

Did you see any Super Blood Moon Ireland photographs on Twitter?

We were so lucky in Ireland to have mostly clear skies for the SuperMoon and Blood Moon eclipse!

I’ve gathered up some ace photos from the night so you can see them all in one place. I’ve also a tiny video clip I made in the Storify section below, and if you’d like the see the whole video I’ve popped it in at the bottom of this supermoon photo post 🙂 NOTE: Will pop it in shortly– poor data connection not allowing upload at the minute.

Cows Dunbrody Abbey at sunset in Ireland Summer Solstice 2014

Cows graze along the ruins of Dunbrody Abbey, sunset in Ireland Summer Solstice

Midsummer’s Day in Ireland was spectacular.

The longest day rejoiced with sun; the Irish Summer Solstice was a beaut. Check out the photos!

walking on Baginbun beach Ireland seaweed forage on summer solstice

Not a Summer Solstice cloud as we foraged seaweed at Baginbun, Wexford

Ireland has some spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Due to its position high up in the Northern Hemisphere, Irish sunrises and sunsets are lingering; not blink and you’ll miss it affairs like near the equator. Of course we haven’t the equator’s heat and reliable sun, but we do have very long summer days. In fact on Midsummer’s Day Ireland’s day length was just 2 minutes shy of 17 hours: 16 hours and 58 minutes.

Love daylight? Well, if you factor in the hours when there is still light, (dawn & dusk, which are also known as ‘civil twilight’,) Ireland Summer Solstice sees only around 5 hours of darkness. Sunrise and Sunset has handy info, here’s Ireland 21 June 2014:


Morning civil twilight 04:07
Sunrise 04:58
Transit 13:28
Sunset 21:57
Evening civil twilight 22:49

calf last of summer solstice sunPhotographs of the Ireland Summer Solstice from sunrise to sunset tweeted by folks around the island are gathered in the Storify below.

First, though, are a few I took as we drove home from foraging seaweed on a Wexford beach.

If you enjoy sunrise/sunset photos, you may like these posts with Irish sunrise photos, here and here, and also here. They’re mostly from winter, when late sunrises make photographing them easier! There are some autumn sunrises here.

Here are some wonderful photos from people on Twitter who have more than camera phones to snap with! Enjoy, and have a happy rest-of-the-summer 😀

Does Santa fly along the Christmas Eve Northern Lights to Ireland

Does Santa fly along the Christmas Eve Northern Lights to Ireland

Christmas time is magical in Ireland, and in the wee hours of Christmas Eve Northern Lights lit up the sky in the North & northwest; here are photos.

Meanwhile in the southeast of Ireland, in county Kilkenny lambs were being born, and 3 Wise Women followed the light in the sky, hoping to see the gift of Peace unfold in a stable, even between the great hurling rivals of Kilkenny and Tipperary. See the video below 🙂

PS :  there is a giant gap before you will get to the video. Please just scroll down, as I can’t seem to fix that. Thank you! HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!


As well as the first lambs being born, county Kilkenny was an exciting place to be as filmed 3 Wise Women as they came to the end of their long journey… [youtube_sc url=”” title=”Kilkenny%20Christmas%20video%202014″]

A day being in Ireland is a day well spent; especially if it’s Kilkenny Ireland!

There is so much to do and enjoy in Kilkenny, City and county.

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You’ll find plenty of ideas for things to see and do here, and I’ve made a bit of a Kilkenny map to help you. Also look at the wee video to get a taster of what life in the charming Kilkenny countryside is like. Thanks so much to Suzanna at Zwartbles Ireland sheep farm for letting me visit & film!

US food writer Joanna Pruess loved her day in Kilkenny & Zwartbles Ireland! sheep

US food writer Joanna Pruess loved her day in Kilkenny & Zwartbles Ireland sheep!

Kilkenny Ireland: a perfect mix of city & rural culture.

Campagne Kilkenny Ireland- Michelin star desserts!

Campagne Kilkenny Ireland- Michelin star desserts!


You will truly get the best of ‘both worlds’ here; for example you can experience exquisite tastes at (not one, but 2!) Michelin star restaurants, and explore the rural countryside where several of the food products used in these & other Kilkenny restaurants are farmed. I’ve not yet been to the Lady Helen, but I’ve been to Campagne for special occasions several times. We always go for their Early Bird dinner menu or set lunch menu, as they are good value if you haven’t got the biggest budget. My top tip is to save room for dessert! Seriously have not ever tasted better, so if you are like me & go for 2 courses skip the starter not the sweet 😀

The Ireland you’ve dreamed of

Often when folk visit Ireland they want to experience some of the wonderful ‘cliches’ of Ireland; amazingly green countryside, an ‘Ireland traffic jam’ of sheep herded down a windy road, other-worldly megalithic stone circles and ancient monastic ruins, hospitality & craic of a traditional village pub which also doubles as a hardware shop, a friendly cupán tae in a handmade crafts shop. `

You may think that this is a tall order; perhaps you haven’t loads of time, and figure that in order to experience all this you’ll have to do a several hour trek across Ireland to Kerry, Galway, or Donegal. But you don’t! In under an hour and a half’s journey from Dublin you can be in a very special part of Ireland, a place that everyone, including outdoor adventurers, culture lovers, foodies, fun seekers, and family travellers will enjoy. Welcome to Kilkenny!

Kilkenny Ireland sheep traffic jam

Kilkenny Ireland sheep traffic jam

A world- class friendly city: Kilkenny, Ireland

Kilkenny City was voted the 9th friendliest city in the world by Conde Naste readers in 2013. It’s a compact medieval city home to Ireland’s Medieval Mile; this includes Kilkenny Castle, St Canice’s Cathedral with one of only two Irish round towers you can still climb, Rothe House and much more. There’s nearly always a festival of some sort happening! You should definitely go to Kilkenny City. But what you should also do is explore the Kilkenny countryside.

It is easy to get to Kilkenny City from Dublin. You can take the train from Heuston station, several bus companies go, or you can rent a car and drive. To get to several of the fantastic places in the Kilkenny countryside you’ll need a car. I’m afraid that is true for all of Ireland; many of the gems are tucked away from public transport routes. So, do seriously think about renting a car. If you just can’t get a car, you can still get to some of the towns by bus. There are two routes: Kilkenny City to Thomastown and Inistioge, and Kilkenny City to Graiguenamanagh.

There really is something for everyone in the Kilkenny countryside! What do you want to experience?

You want ancient ruins?

Knockroe passage tomb is second only to those in the Boyne valley when it comes to Irish Neolithic stone carvings. Unusually, is aligned to both the rising and setting sun on Winter Solstice. If you are in the mood for an adventure, this side trip is perfect. Non sign-posted, you have to traipse across some fields to find this truly hidden gem. Finding the 12c Aghavillar monastic site along the way is easier and you can actually go up to the top of the building. Brooding and beautiful, there is a part of a round tower here as well.

Kells Priory Kilkenny Ireland sheep

Kells Priory Kilkenny Ireland sheep

Kells Priory is 1,000 years old. It is a large, walled set of ruins, and the tumbled-down parts are rather maze like. Kids love running around here, and in the field populated by sheep on the short walk to the ruins. Kells Priory is usually deserted, though on my last visit I met a man with his pet fox. This is not the only pet fox in rural Kilkenny! You may also see another man walking with one in Thomastown. With accompanying fox or not, it’s nice to take a nice little walk along the river behind the Priory, where you’ll find the restored Mullins Mill.

Jerpoint Abbey is stunningly elegant & beautiful, dating from the 1100s. Unlike Kells Priory, there is a small visitor centre run by the OPW. Be sure to look carefully around this Abbey, because it has many carvings along and in the stone walls that you may otherwise miss.  There are many more fascinating historic sites in the area- keep your eyes open and investigate!

Want to stroll, or take part in more active outdoor adventure?

In the charming village of Inistioge where the movie Circle of Friends was filmed, walk along the river Nore to ‘Eve’s’ hidden cottage, or stroll in the Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum. You can go kayaking, SUPing, and canoeing out on the river Barrow in Graiguenamanagh, and you can even arrange to take a half day barge trip from St. Mullins to Graiguenamanagh on Larry’s Barge.  If you’d like to get into the water, there are two diving boards (or steps for the less brave) into the river along the quays.


Rent the beautiful Larrys Barge in Ireland

Rent the beautiful Larrys Barge in Ireland

Rent bikes and cycle along the Barrow river towpaths with Bike & Hike Graiguenamanagh (great for families as it is quite flat) or get more challenging along the Trail Kilkenny East Kilkenny bike trail. Or how about a hike up Brandon Hill to look across five counties, or hike in the Blackstairs mountains.

You want tasty artisan Irish food?

There are several award winning artisan food producers in the area, ranging from Stoneyford’s Knockdrinna cheese to Thomastown’s  Goatsbridge trout & caviar to Truffle Fairy chocolates– and loads more. Many of Kilkenny’s restaurants pride themselves on using fresh local ingredients. There’s a whole Kilkenny Food Trail you can explore, too.

You want to experience an authentic traditional Irish pub?

Graiguenamanagh is home to a pub which is also a shop, a hardware store, and a fishing and shooting depot! If you’re lucky, you may hear trad music, or the church bells as you have a tasty pint. Doyle’s is just across the street from the 800 year old (still functioning) Duiske Abbey.

There’s a tiny pub in a farmhouse on the road from Thomastown to Graiguenamanagh, just at the Coppenagh crossroads, . You can glimpse the family watching telly in their sitting room as you sip your pint.

Inside of Doyles, Graiguenamanagh Kilkenny Ireland

Inside of Doyles pub,Graiguenamanagh Kilkenny Ireland. Photo by @GraigueBikeHire

Get your name written in your pint by the barman in Inistioge’s O’Donnell’s pub. Better than Starbucks!

You want Irish crafts?

There’s Cushendale traditional woolen mill in Graiguenamanagh, between Thomastown & Stoneyford you’ll find Jerpoint Glass glassblowers, and in Bennettsbridge there’s Moth to a Flame candle maker and Nicholas Mosse‘s lovely handcrafted pottery & cafe in a picturesque stone mill. Thomastown is a very crafty small town, with several makers and craft shops. Do have a stroll around. There’s even more elsewhere, all on the Kilkenny Craft Trail.

Call it getting off the beaten track, call it community-oriented tourism, or just call it a good idea- exploring rural Kilkenny Ireland will give you an authentic taste of Ireland in uncrowded, special places.

Prepare for that Irish weather!

Transitions well from rainy field nice restaurant! Makes life simpler! My Cotswold Outdoor triclimate jacket

Transitions well from rainy field nice restaurant! Makes life simpler! My Cotswold Outdoor triclimate jacket

One thing I’ve found invaluable when enjoying a day out in Kilkenny, is to be prepared for any weather, any time of year! Even if it is sunny when you start out, it could change and lash down rain for 20 minutes, or just produce a steady, misty drizzle for a few hours before the sun splits the sky again. Don’t underestimate the misty type rain– it will soak you to the skin in a few minutes! Always bring a suitable rain jacket- preferably one that won’t be too warm, or cold!

The joke about Ireland having 4 seasons in one day is TRUE! I’m finding that one of those rainproof jackets that also has a removeable fleece lining is perfect. I got a 3-season one from Cotswold Outdoor online, and I wear it everywhere! I even wore it  into our annual Christmas lunch at Michelin-starred Campagne– I think it looks that good 😀 Cotswold contacted me about testing out an item, and when I chose the 3-season coat I never expected it to look as nice as it does; I figured it would be really frumpy or kinda gaudy because it was functional; but this coat goes fine with most any outfit! You can see me in it in the video & photos; often even with a skirt or dress! Of course if I get it mucky visiting the Zwartbles Ireland lambs that’ll be born around Christmas, I won’t wear it to eat out until it gets a good clean– I’ll let you know how it washes up!  If you are interested in checking out the one I got, it’s also on Sale right now at Cotswold Outdoor; the Women’s Evolution 2 triclimate jacket.

Here’s the Google map with driving routes & some interest points and activities for your visit to Kilkenny.

In the map I have you starting from the area of Kilkenny Castle, heading to Kells. (The route is figure 8-ish, with a side jaunt to Knockroe passage tomb.) I’ve recommended the journey with that starting point because from that driving direction a lovely view of the Barrow valley rises up on your right hand side as you near Graiguenamanagh. There is a roadside pull-off where you can stop and savour the scene.

Have a great time! If you have any questions, tweet me @VibrantIreland. And watch out for those sheep on the road 😀

A version of the Kilkenny information was first was written by me for TBEXcon’s site ahead of their 2013 conference in Dublin.

weather bomb Ireland - on its way

weather bomb Ireland – on its way

What in the world is a Weather Bomb, and how is it hitting Ireland?

I’ve curated some photos of this storm, shared from around Ireland, and I’ll attempt to explain what this weather bomb Ireland / severe weather phenomenon is!

Actually, I’ve used to help me explain! A weather bomb is technically known as explosive cyclogenesis; a low pressure system or depression “in which the central barometric pressure drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hours, which can produce hurricane-force winds with very heavy rainfall or snow.” Though so far here it’s not been snowy or even overly rainy, the wind and waves are quite high. The Northern parts of Ireland are getting the worst of it, and here are the photos: 

PS: if you’ve pictures of this Weather Bomb Ireland you’d like added, tweet them to me!

To see more dramatic photos of Ireland’s stormy weather, check out these from storm Christine!

For photos of a storm of a different sort, see these of the beautiful Northern Lights in Ireland!

More photos of Irish weather; sunrises, sunsets, and Northern Lights– see here.


The display of the Northern Lights in Ireland 27 February 2014 was unforgettable. Here are some of the best photos:


Griangrafadoir  is the Irish word for photographer.

The literal translation is sun light designer.

Sunrise at Ireland's Eye, taken from Baldoyle by Jeremy Skillington

Ireland’s Eye, taken from Baldoyle by Jeremy Skillington

Isn’t that lovely? How fitting, especially for the Ireland Sunrise photos.

Here is the newest selection of the photos. They’re just a few of the many shared on Twitter & Instagram, and each week I’ll do a post with more. Remember, if YOU have a photo of a sunrise in Ireland, you can join in by sharing it with the hashtag #IrelandSunrise. Who knows, it may end up on one of these Irish sunrise blogposts as well as on social media 🙂

If you’d like a daily dose of the sunrise photos, check out the #IrelandSunrise hashtag streams, or @VibrantIreland where I RT the Twitter photos. Thank you!

BIG thank yous to everyone who is sharing- I get lovely responses from folk saying how your photos are brightening their day! Well done, you sunlight designers 😀

Declan Gilmore shares a beautiful dawn in the southeast with us:

Ireland sunrise & house silhouette by @DecGilmore

Ireland sunrise  & silhouette in the SouthEast by @DecGilmore

Dublin City has its own special sunrise beauty, as Gary Reville shows:

Sunrise Dublin Ireland by @rockyreville

Sunrise over the Eircom building, Dublin, Ireland by Gary @rockyreville

 Woolly sheep in the field are toasty even on a frosty morning, from Suzanna Crampton:

A frosty Ireland Sunrise for @zwartableIsE sheep

A frosty Ireland Sunrise for @ZwartablesIE sheep

Johann Doorley captured the sun as it crests the horizon and silhouettes the twisty branches of a wind-weathered Hawthorn tree:

Ireland Sunrise cresting the dark horizon by @caccabus

Sunrise cresting the dark horizon, by @caccabus

Whilst a small boat heads out do see what the day will bring, via Will McGoldrick:

The boat Fearless II heads out at sunrise in Youghal, Cork, Ireland. By Will McGoldrick.

The Fearless II heads out at sunrise in Youghal, Cork. By Will McGoldrick @whipperwills

On the outskirts of Dublin City, the Irish Sea reflects the sunrise, shared by @justaddattude on Instagram:

On the west coast of Ireland, in Sligo, Val Robus gives us the contrast of the vast sunrise sky versus being fenced in:

Also in Sligo, Ken McGuire wakes up to a beautiful Christmas day. Yes, sunrises are a gift. Enjoy!

Keep watching for the Irish sunrises- in person, on social media, and each week on Vibrant Ireland. Why not try a little sun-designing & join in? 🙂 

What time is the sunrise here in Ireland in January? Well, it changes a little each day, but for middle of January sunrise time is around 8.40 am- 8.30 am.

Missed last week’s #IrelandSunrise post? You can read it here!

May you enjoy each day ahead

first sunrise of 2014 Ireland

The first sunrise of 2014, in the Barrow Valley, ireland

 A fresh start.

Sunrise. A new day.

Often a surge of exhilarating beauty which we enjoy as the sun wakes up the sky. Perfect antidote to the Monday morning blahs.

Enjoy this very first round up of the Ireland sunrises sourced from photos people shared on Twitter and Instagram.

Would you like to share your sunrise in Ireland photos too? Just tweet or Instagram them with the hashtag #IrelandSunrise and I’ll re-share as many as possible. I’ll also use several in the weekly Ireland Sunrise post on

What time is the sunrise here in Ireland when these were taken? Well, it changes a little each day, but for end December & start of January a loose time is around 8.40 am.

Thank you to everyone who has shared their photographs over the past few weeks. So many people have enjoyed seeing them! Keep up the good work 🙂

Enjoy the sunrises!


Here are just a few of the #IrelandSunrise pictures shared on Twitter:


 From the West:

 From Dublin:

Wow! #Irelandsunrise RT @gribers: Dublin sunrise a little earlier. #photography

Dublin sunrise by @gribers

— Susan VibrantIreland (@VibrantIreland) December 19, 2013



A frosty Cow:

A Path to the Sunrise:

A vibrant Collage:

A glittering morning at a Sligo Lake:

There were so many wonderful photos shared over the past few weeks, and these are just a few. Do have a look at #IrelandSunrise on Twitter to see more, and also on Instagram. Keep sharing YOUR photos, too! I’ll be choosing from both new shares & the older shared photos for another blog post next week.

On your bucket list?

The Northern Lights- In Ireland! Here are some tips and photos.

Yes, sometimes you can see the aurora borealis from Ireland, mainly in the northern parts of the island, although in 2003 I saw them in county Kilkenny. Since 2012 there have been a few lovely flare-ups, and Ireland is on the lookout for the Northern Lights again after the 9 January 2014 solar flare. Twitter has been buzzing with aurora chat! @fintaann caught some:

One of the top aurora spotters in Ireland has been Brendan Alexander of Donegal Skies. If you’d like to know where & when to watch the skies he’s a good person to follow; on twitter @DonegalSkies . Here’s his video of the Northern Lights dancing in Ireland. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Aurora Explosion Over Ireland from Brendan Alexander on Vimeo.

Additionally, there’s now a new  Aurora Alert account for Ireland, on Twitter. Worth a follow!

If you’d like to see and possibly photograph the Lights for yourself, I’ve a few tips. (Tips for those of us that aren’t already knowledgeable photographers!) I managed to capture the Northern Lights using only a little point & shoot camera- it can be done, but you do need to do a few things first in order for it to capture the aurora.


The Northern Lights in Ireland

The Northern Lights interwoven with a cloudy section of sky

Tip One:

Plan your trip for when the moon is dark, or only a sliver. That way, even if the Northern Lights are only force 2 on the scale of 1 to 10, you still have a chance to see them- they won’t be competing with moonlight. During our trip the strength forecast was 2 & 3 and we still saw fantastic Lights as there was no moon. Obviously the same is true for artificial lights, so get out of built up areas. For aurora alerts & information anywhere in the world, check out Aurora Alerts.

Tip Two:

If you are taking photos, a good camera & lens is necessary, especially if the aurora isn’t bright. We just had a little Samsung digital point & shoot, and we set the ISO to 800, though the longest exposure time available to us was just 16 second. Apparently 20-40 second exposure is ideal. Still- we are thrilled to have gotten the photos we do have.

Also, use a tripod– you’ll need it for the long exposure. It is impossible to hold any camera perfectly still for the time needed- especially in the cold! Also, do note that cold makes the camera battery drain faster, so bring a back up or try to keep the camera warm in your coat between shots. And sadly the chances of your camera phone getting a good photo are often slim. We tried. Perhaps if the Lights were very very bright… but don’t go out with just your phone or you’ll likely only end up with photos of blackness. Your eye may see the lights, but your phone’s camera can’t capture them.

One thing that pictures cannot convey is the amazement of standing under the Northern Lights as they swirl overhead. Nor can a photograph duplicate the excitement/fright we felt as a huge green blast violently erupted from the cloud cover like a n enormous glowing green volcano in the sky. I also never managed to capture the multi-coloured, dancing Lights we saw but I’ll always remember them. And though what you see in almost any aurora photo is colour-boosted so they’ll show up better (the Lights are not that electric to the naked eye)  the Lights are still more magical in real life. I hope you get to see them one day.

Did you know there is an Astronomy Trail across Ireland? And that southwest county Kerry is now a rare gold tier Dark Sky park? There’s so much beauty in Ireland–night and day 🙂

Here’s another Aurora Borealis video from Donegal, this time by Mark Nolan & Stoycho Daniv. Lovely!

Malin Head Aurora from Mark Nolan on Vimeo.

We went to Northern Norway last year & saw the aurora 6 out of 7 nights! You can see some of the photographs that we took here. Have a look 🙂