Watch autumn leaves change colour
Visit our spectacular National Parks and find a stunning viewpoint to watch forests and landscapes change colour. Here’s some of the best places in Ireland to see the autumn leaves in shades of glorious rust and burnt orange.
Nestled in the corner of Galway lies the stunning Connemara National Park. An ideal spot for native trees to flourish, it's a must-see location when autumn makes its appearance. Stop by in autumn to admire the ageing leaves of the park's sessile oaks, sycamores and wych elms and discover how these pillars of nature prepare for the winters ahead.
The vast and open boglands of Mayo’s Wild Nephin National Park morph from lush greens to an incredible medley of purples, oranges, and yellows. Walk along the raised boardwalk and soak up incredible views. Stay until night falls and gaze up at the sky as twinkling stars appear before you.
Hop on your bike or take a short stroll from the city centre to Phoenix Park - one of Europe’s largest urban parks. Make your way to the wooded pastures near the Ashtown and Castleknock gates and discover over 350 different varieties of plants, including fine examples of lime, ash and chestnut trees as they turn all shades of the colourful autumn spectrum.
Gaze up at the Northern Lights in Donegal
As autumn arrives, nature lovers head to remote parts of Donegal to see the night sky dance as the Northern Lights reach down from the Arctic Circle. The sun at this time of year makes atoms in the sky change state and fills the sky with incredible purples, greens, and blues.
As Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head is the best place for stargazers to come and experience the Northern Lights. Make your way over to Caffe Banba the following morning and revive yourself with a coffee at the very tip of Donegal.
Explore rugged Fanad Head, stopping to take in views of striking Fanad Head Lighthouse before waiting for night to fall, when the skies light up in spectacular shades. Meet lighthouse keepers during the guided tour and ask them all about the aurora borealis in Donegal.
Sail to peaceful Tory Island off the north west coast of Donegal and enjoy the Northern Lights without any light pollution. This beautiful island has a rich history of saints and Viking raids. Time your trip for early autumn and look out for the striking white and black feathers of razorbills hunting for fish out at sea.
Watch whales and deer in the wild
During the autumn months in Ireland our wildlife flourishes, making it the best time of year to see some of the beautiful animals that call Ireland home.
Walking through dense forests and spotting glimpses of wild deer is such an incredible experience. Travel to Kerry where herds of deer roam high in Killarney National Park and stroll through the gorgeous open woodland in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
Visit the coastline of Cork and Kerry and book in for an unforgettable whale watching experience. This is the ideal time of year to spot fin, minke and even humpback whales on a tour with Union Hall’s Cork Whale Watch and Kerry’s Blasket Islands Eco Marine and Whale Watching Tours.
Enjoy seasonal cuisine
As autumn arrives in Ireland, it brings with it some of our finest homegrown ingredients, inspiring chefs around the country to create seasonal dishes and menus.
Harvesting fresh seafood from the Wexford coast, the team at La Côte serve contemporary cuisine that changes with the seasons. Try the unmissable tasting menu of trout caviar, pan roasted hake and strawberry and Wexbury panna cotta from their renowned restaurant in Wexford town, or grab something to go from their food truck, The Cheeky Cod.
Discover one of the most popular restaurants in the midlands at Tullamore’s The Blue Apron Restaurant. Inspired by his Turkish routes, Chef Kenan has embraced Irish cuisine and crafted dishes of succulent slow roasted pork, Imam Bayildi and fresh hake fillet. Book in for a meal and you’ll soon see why the reviews are so good.
Having worked in multi award winning restaurants, Conor and Charlotte, the owners of The Courthouse Restaurant in Carrickmacross, have since opened their own renowned eatery. Their creative menu is based on seasonal ingredients, it features favourite dishes of beef and fish paired with autumnal veggies like courgette, cauliflower, and parsnips. Book your table well in advance and don’t miss out on the midweek deals.
Snap the perfect autumn photo
Capture your favourite moments of autumn and enjoy a photography workshop with the pros. Photographers love this time of year, snapping amazing landscape photos and taking advantage of the striking weather.
Visit the rugged coast of Sligo and learn how to improve your landscape and seascape photography from one of the top photographers in the country at Gareth McCormack Photography. Attend one of Gareth's weekend workshops in Enniscrone or reserve your spot on a weeklong tour of the northwest, photographing the region in its autumnal glory.
Explore the best of County Kerry with your camera, photographing the beautiful scenery of Dingle Peninsula and Killarney National Park. Gain useful technical knowledge from the experts at Dingle Darkroom like how to frame an image perfectly, shoot awe inspiring sunsets and master all your camera’s settings.
Escape to an idyllic forest retreat
Wake up to the sound of birdsong in the remote forest cabin of Cabu by the Lakes in Cavan. Head outside and soak up views of the scenic lake, go for a stroll and hear the leaves crunch under your feet, and sneak peeks of the squirrels stocking up their food supplies for the winter.
Put another log on the fire and cosy up with a good book, or paddle across the lakes in a kayak and bask in the tranquil atmosphere. After, take time to explore the enchanting woods of Killykeen Forest Park where Cabu is based. End the day with a hearty meal and craft beer or mocktail and get ready to do it all over again the next day.
Escape to Mount Falcon Estate with your nearest and dearest for an unforgettable getaway in County Mayo. Snuggle up in a luxurious woodland cabin on the grounds of the 100-acre estate and watch the seasons change outside your window.
Enjoy the crisp autumn air on the bike trails beyond the cabin, or go for a stroll through the private woods on the Woodlands Hawk Walk with a trained hawk on your hand.
Plan a birdwatching getaway
Autumn gives us all a chance to catch glimpses of the powerful and beautiful birds of prey that patrol our skies. It’s the prime migrating time for birds, so pack up your binoculars and a flask of tea and head for the outdoors.
One of the most successful wildlife reintroductions in recent times has seen the regal golden eagle nesting once again in Donegal’s Glenveagh National Park. Hike along the Lakeside Walk and watch birds fly over the mountain peaks and Glenveagh Castle. Keep your eyes peeled, these zippy predators can dive from the air at speeds of over 200 km/h.
Nesting in small patches of the east coast, red kites are instantly recognisable thanks to their white heads, triangle shaped tails and red colouring. Swooping from great heights in the Wicklow Mountains National Park, they’re mainly scavengers, but have been known to hunt mice, voles and pigeons. Walk up to the slopes of Djouce Mountain on the raised boardwalks for a better chance of seeing them.
The wide open expanses of moorlands in East Clare make for ideal hunting grounds for hen harriers. Plan a visit to The Burren and spot these birds soaring through the sky, surveying all below before quickly closing in on their prey. During breeding season, the males try to impress the females by performing a ‘sky dance’.
Watch the stately birds fly high in the sky before turning and plummeting towards the ground in a series of magnificent twists and turns, it’s a spectacle you won’t want to miss.