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On the weather front Cork has two seasons: Wet and Sunny and then there's Sunny and Wet. Being in the southwest we have the famous mild gulf stream influence - so palm trees abound - yes honestly. In winter it never really gets very cold and in summer it never really gets very hot. It can be 10 degrees C (that 20 degrees F to our American friends) warmer than London in the winter and 10 degrees C colder than London in the summer. And it does rain quite a bit but then we also have a lot of sun - so go figure!
Late Spring and early Summer tends to be the sunniest time of the year; mid winter is nearly always the dullest. Snow is very unusual near sea level; in fact some areas along the coastline only record snow once every 10 years or so on average. Despite the moderating influence of the nearby ocean, some high summertime temperatures can occur; temperatures in excess of 30*c (86*F) have been recorded on a number of occasions, whereas temperatures as low as -12*c (10F) have been measured in inland areas of the county, but these low temperatures are rare.
Annual rainfall in Cork ranges from 1050mm (42 inches) in the city centre to over 2500mm (100 inches) in the mountainous west of the county. The driest areas in County Cork are in the extreme southeast where rainfall averages at 936 mm (37 inches) at both Roches Point and Ballymacoda. Again, the driest part of the year tends to correspond with the sunniest time, with late Spring and early Summer being best. Late Autumn and Winter are usually the wettest; although given the highly changeable weather pattern in this part of the world these statistics can be reversed occasionally, as anyone who visited Cork or indeed any part of Ireland over the last two Summers (2007 and 2008) will sadly testify!
A good site for the weather background is www.meteireann.ie the official government website Cork Airport and Roches Point are the local weather stations. But the reality is that we have been on the beach in tee shirts and eating outdoor in February and we have been damp and putting on the heating in August - and vice versa. So whenever you are coming bring clothes for rain and a wolly jumper, and also beach gear - you never know. Keep your activity plans flexible and go with the flow - if its sunny - like it has been for the last 3 days here in early May, then go on the beach (there are lots) or find a pub with outdoor seating by the water (there are lots), and if its cold then do your outdoor and walking activities (there are lots of great tourist must dos) and if its raining then go for indoor attractions, again there are lots, and don't forget nice warm pubs with real fires and live music - there are lots of those too!
And if you don't like the weather - well just wait an hour - its bound to change!