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Best time of year to visit Ireland

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Neither my husband or I have ever been to Ireland, but we are looking to plan a trip for our first anniversary (or sometime next year!) and Ireland is on our list of considerations.

What is the best time of year to travel to Ireland for nice weather without a lot of crowds? Are there any times of year to avoid. For example, we had friends who visited Italy in August of this year while we had gone in June. They had a completely different experience then us, even though we went to the same places, because a lot of Italy shuts down in August.

Thanks so much!
Hilary

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