I am thinking od surprising my husband with a trip to Ireland over Thanksgiving. Is this a big mistake weather wise. What would be a good 8 night itinerary? Thank you.
We took our second trip to Ireland 4 years ago at Thanksgiving. Honestly, I would not do it again, although I love Ireland and can't wait to return.
So many sights were closed and it wasn't daylight until almost 8:30 am and was dark by 4:30 pm. And although it rained off and on our first trip, this trip was almost entirely dark and gloomy.
The plus side, is you can stay anywhere you want because its not booked, and there is very little traffic at the tourist sights that are open. We also met some really friendly locals and shared dinner and drinks with them.
If you are OK with only 6 hours of daylight, go for it. As for me, I can't wait to do Ireland in the summer or early fall.
It was mostly museums in the smaller towns that were closed. We were in the Donegal and Connemara areas.
We did enjoy hiking in Glenveagh National Park and their tea room. There were less that 10 people on the paved hiking path back to the castle there. And I believe there is a tram that runs if you don't want to hike the 3 kilometers along the lake. We hiked in the light rain, because that's just what you do in Ireland! :-)
Another thing we enjoyed was the Christmas market in Galway. While it is nothing like the markets in Germany, we still found it interesting. And we happened upon a candlelight Advent service there that had beautiful Christmas music.
In eight days, you could do a loop either from Dublin to Shannon or vice versa. We've done it both ways, flying into Shannon and driving the south loop to leave out of Dublin, then three years later we flew into Dublin and drove the north loop to leave out of Shannon. Both our trips were in February, which made for short days, low temps, rain, and few other tourists. Yes, some things will be closed. It really depends on what your interests are. If you enjoy food and pubs, you'll find plenty of those open with peat fires burning and all the craic you can wish for. If you like cities and museums, they'll be open. Your outdoor activities may be limited but with good planning, you can still hit the must-sees. Coming from Phoenix, it might be a nice change of pace for you!