ΩAre you worried about whether you'll have hay fever or other pollen allergy problems when you visit Ireland? Travelers who have seasonal allergies need to know when pollen and other allergens peak in the places they will visit. You may be able to shift your visit to a less troublesome season. If you can't change the dates of your visit, you'll want to be able to monitor allergy reports and be prepared with any needed medications.
Preparing to Travel to Ireland With Allergies
It is always a good idea to pack your usual allergy medication when going on a trip, even outside of what you think of as the true pollen season. This is especially true for travelers who are visiting from the Southern Hemisphere who will find the seasons are reversed.
The pollen counts in Ireland may send you to nearest Irish pharmacy for over-the-counter relief. If you have asthma, you should research information on how to get medical help and keep your traveling companions informed in case of a severe attack.
General Allergy Seasons in Ireland
Early summer is the worst time for hay fever in Ireland, beginning in June, although it may start in mid-May in warmer areas of the country or in warmer years. Grass pollen is the most prevalent allergen in Ireland, with herb pollen being less common and there being little tree pollen. Grassy areas of the countryside will be worse for pollen than the city or coastal areas. The pollen counts peak in the afternoon or evening so it is best to avoid being outside at these times if you are particularly sensitive.
The peak months various kinds of pollen for all of the UK and Ireland are:
- March: Alder, hazel, yew, willow, elm, poplar.
- April: Ash, birch, oak.
- May: Grass, oak, pine, oil seed rape, plane.
- June: Grass, nettle, dock, lime, plantain.
- July: Mugwort, nettle, grass.
- August: Mugwort
Pollen and Allergy Forecasts for Ireland
For information on the pollen count in Ireland, these are trusted sources:
- Met Éireann Pollen Information: This site doesn't update the data continuously all year, only in the high allergen seasons, but it is generally the most reliable source. The information comes from the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, the people who measure the pollen count where it matters. The site contains forecasts and current count for tree, grass, weed, and spore allergens. However, it is presented by provinces in Ireland, not counties, which can make it more difficult for a traveler to interpret.
- Asthma Society of Ireland: This site provides a pollen tracker service from April to November (as well as some medical information) which is particularly geared towards those who suffer from asthma. They also divide the information by the four provinces, with a color code for low, moderate, high, and very high pollen. There is also a More Info button which can reveal items such as that the level of fungal spores is expected to rise.
- Met Office (UK) Pollen Forecast: This site is very similar to the Met Éireann pollen information service, but with a UK focus (in other words, on Northern Ireland). Their forecast for Northern Ireland occasionally differs from the Irish forecast for Ulster (which is logical, as the latter covers more ground).
- Accuweather.com: This site gives you a pollen forecast at a more local level. Select a location to see the weather and then select "Personalized Forecasts: Allergies." A big advantage of this site is that you can then select seeing their allergy forecast for the day, weekend, extended, or month. This can help you plan your visit.
- Weather.com: This site provides an Allergy Tracker forecast for specific locations. Be sure to change it to Europe and search for the city you will be visiting in Ireland. It has an overall allergy outlook and specific color-coded outlooks for tree, grass, weed, and mold allergens.
While seasonal allergies can put a damper on anyone's trip, hopefully being prepared with the latest information on pollen counts in Ireland will help visitors stay as allergy-free as possible during their journey in the Emerald Isle.