I've been told I should prune my fig tree before the end of the Summer (Northern Hemisphere) so that it can recover before winter. I'm in Ireland.
Is it late enough in the summer by July?
If you prune before end of summer, you're pruning off fruit that could develop in the fall. I've never heard of pruning in summer so a tree could recover before winter.
Pruning should done in the dormant season, as figs bleed a latex sap if pruned during the growing season.
Pruning of fig trees should be done during cold weather if possible. Slow circulation allows wounds to “cauterize” rather than continue to bleed as they often do during warm weather. Bleeding is normally harmless, but may be unsightly as it stains stems and often molds. Winter pruning of fig trees is not as critical as it is for other fruit trees and often only performed to promote structural stability. Because the first set of “summer” figs appears on growth from the previous summer, their production is inversely proportionate to the quantity of new stems removed during pruning.
Production of summer figs may be totally eliminated in favor of autumn figs by complete pruning. The autumn figs eventually appear on new growth of the immediately preceding summer. Type of pruning, if any, is determined by the type of fruit desired. (Autumn figs are smaller, firmer and more abundant; the most desirable for drying. Summer figs are not as abundant, but large and succulent; excellent when fresh.)