Sugarloaf Mountain in Ireland

Photo: kilgarron/Flickr

Summer is generally considered Ireland's peak season, and while the extra sunshine is pleasant, don't overlook the value of visiting this magical place in the off-season.

Because of the significantly cheaper airfares and less-crowded attractions, visiting Ireland in the autumn (or even the winter) is a no-brainer for budget-savvy travelers. Sure, it's colder and wetter, but that's why they invented sweaters and raincoats, right? Economical concerns aside, autumn is also one of the most beautiful times of year to explore Ireland.

Due to its wet, mild climate, Ireland tends to stay green year-round, but when autumn rolls around, splotches of warm hues make their way into those postcard-worthy vistas, like this image of the Great Sugarloaf mountain in County Wicklow (above).

Admittedly, Ireland's autumn foliage isn't as widespread as other destinations, such as in the northeastern United States, where almost no green leaves are left untouched. What sets the Irish leaf peeping experience apart from all others is the subtle smattering of vivid reds, oranges and golds, which pop against the seemingly eternal verdant landscape. Even after all the dead leaves finally fall in November, Ireland's scenery remains green throughout the winter (albeit less green than in the summer).

If these photos don't convince you that an off-season trip to Ireland is in order, then maybe it's time to get your eyes checked!


Bridge in autumn

Photo: Liam Moloney/Flickr

Adare, County Limerick


Autumn cliffside

Photo: walshphotos/Shutterstock

Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry


Colorful autumn valley in Ireland

Photo: Pierre Laclerc/Shutterstock

Connemara countryside


Torc waterfall in autumn

Photo: Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock

Torc Waterfall, Killarney National Park


Colorful autumn ivy building

Photo: liseykina/Shutterstock

Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland


Yellow autumn mossy rocks

Photo: Gerardo Borbolla/Shutterstock

Toormakeady, County Mayo


Giant's Causeway trail

Photo: Catie Leary

Causeway Coast Way, County Antrim


Leaves and mossy rocks

Photo: walshphotos/Shutterstock

Mullinhassig Waterfall, County Cork


Orange autumn trees

Photo: Chris Murphy/Flickr

Lower Glendalough, County Wicklow


Red ivy on a building

Photo: Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock

Cong, County Galway and County Mayo


Yellow autumn flowers

Photo: Gerardo Borbolla/Shutterstock

Toormakeady, County Mayo


Cliffs and ferns in Ireland

Photo: liseykina/Shutterstock

Howth town, County Fingal


Tree trunk in autumn leaves

Photo: Eoin Gardiner/Flickr

Galway, Ireland


Yellow flowers and bike

Photo: Gerardo Borbolla/Shutterstock

Toormakeady, County Mayo


Blue sky and autumn

Photo: Chris Murphy/Flickr

Lower Glendalough, County Wicklow


Autumn at the Cliffs of Moher

Photo: Gerardo Borbolla/Shutterstock

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare


Yeats Country in Autumn

Photo: Catie Leary

Yeats Country, County Sligo


Guinness Lake in Ireland

Photo: Mahender G/Flickr

Lough Tay, County Wicklow


Fallen leaves on creek

Photo: walshphotos/Shutterstock

Mullinhassig Wood, County Cork


Autumn spire in Ireland

Photo: Chris Murphy/Flickr

Glendalough, County Wicklow


Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.