While walking in County Sligo, i was subjected to a hailstorm, a snow storm and some sunshine. It is January after all and that is not unexpected. In the summer season however it can be difficult to decide on what to pack for adventures in the Irish hills and mountains. The following general advise is for those planning on coming to Ireland on guided walking trips. If however you are planning to walk without a guide then remember that the weather is unpredictable and map reading and navigation skills are essential.
For the past two summers in Ireland the weather has been excellent for walking with many long days of sunshine and light breezes. However if there is one thing to expect about the Irish weather- its the unexpected. Our position as an island in the north Atlantic generally means cool summers and mild winters but in Ireland nothing about the weather is certain. My advise is if you are coming walking between May and October then come prepared. Firstly your back-pack should be waterproof. If not then have a waterproof bag to put inside your pack to ensure your essentials stay dry. There is nothing worse than carrying a spare set of dry clothes in your pack only to realise that when you need them they are wetter than those you are wearing. Pack shorts and long walking trousers, a light weight waterproof jacket and over trousers and a number of breathable tee shirts and tops. It is always a good idea to bring a warm hat and gloves particularly if you are planning to walk in any of the higher mountains. Remember also that long summer days in Ireland mean that you can still be in the mountains late in the evening and so please come prepared.
Over my years of walking with clients the item that I notice is most omitted is good walking boots. These are essential for ankle support on the higher hills and mountains and the uneven ground of areas such as the Burren. My advise is bring a good pair of walking shoes, which can be worn most days, and a pair of walking boots -for when the going gets tough. With boots remember to pack some suitable socks. The better prepared you are for your walking adventure the better you will enjoy it if the weather is inclement. At TrekkingTruTime our advise is to pack both rain gear and suncream as you may need to use them both- and often on the same day. Remember also that while Ireland does not suffer from mosquitos we do have other irritants such as midges that are particularly prevalent in boggy and marsh areas and forestry- the very areas that you will be walking in. So remember to pack some insect repellant- just in case.