Visiting Ireland in May is a great idea (and I’m saying that as someone that has spent 33+ years here).
May is the best time to visit Ireland, in my opinion, if you want to visit before the summer mayhem starts to kick-in (more on this below).
The weather in Ireland in May tends to be good, with average highs of 15°C/59°F and average lows of 9°C/48°F.
In the guide below, you’ll find everything from things to do in Ireland in May to the different pros and cons of visiting during this month.
Some quick need-to-knows about visiting Ireland in May
Although visiting Ireland in May is pretty straightforward, there are some need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Below, you’ll find info on the weather in Ireland in Ireland in May along with some handy info.
1. The weather
The weather in Ireland in May can be very hit and miss (there was a lot of rain in recent years!). However, on the whole, May tends to be mild and sunny.
2. Average temperature
The average temperature in Ireland in May tends to be pretty consistent. Ireland gets average highs of 15°C/59°F and average lows of 9°C/48°F in May.
3. The days are lovely and long
Although May is still spring in Ireland, the days are nice and long with the sun rising at 05:17 and setting at 21:26 (mid-May). This makes planning out your Ireland itinerary easy as you’ve lots of daylight hours to play with.
4. Crowd levels and prices
May is still outside of the peak season, but it’s a popular month amongst domestic and international tourists. When planning a trip to Ireland in and around the summer months, it’s always worth booking accommodation in advance.
5. Festivals and events
There’s plenty of festivals in Ireland running during May. Two of the most notable are the International Literature Festival Dublin and Bealtaine Festival. However, there’s endless things to do in Ireland in May if festivals aren’t your thing.
Fast facts: The pros and cons of Ireland in May
If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, it’s good to have an idea of what pros and cons are associated with the various months.
I’ve spent 33 years in Ireland, and I’ve never missed a May (not intentionally…), so these advantages and disadvantages are based on first hand experience.
- Weather: The weather in Ireland in May can be good (more info below)
- Long days: From the middle of the month, the sun rises at 05:17 and sets at 21:26
- Festivals: There are several festivals in Ireland and Irish music festivals taking place in May
- Summer buzz: Long, mild days and the incoming summer tends to bring tourists and atmosphere to many towns, villages and cities
- Weather: Yep – it’s a pro and a con – the weather in Ireland in May can also be awful (it was last year!)
- Prices: Accommodation and flights costs will be near peak level
- Crowds: Better weather and long days mean more people travelling around Ireland
The weather in Ireland in May in different parts of the country
The weather in Ireland in May tends to be mild and summary, but we have had bad weather during this month many times over the years.
Below, we’ll provide you with an insight into the weather in Kerry, Belfast, Galway and Dublin in May using date from the Irish Meteorological Service and the UK Met Office for accuracy:
The weather in Dublin in May is generally mild and summery. The long-term average temperature in Dublin in May is 10.7°C/51.26°F. The long-term average rainfall level for Dublin in May is 59.5 millimetres.
The weather in Belfast in May is very similar to Dublin, historically. The average temperature in Belfast in May is 10.4°C/50.72°F. Average rainfall levels sit at 59.63 millimetres.
The weather in the west of Ireland in May tends to be both wetter and milder than Dublin and Belfast. The long-term average temperature in Galway in May is 11.3°C/52.34°F. The long-term average rainfall level for Galway in May is 75.3 millimetres.
The weather in Kerry in May tends to be mild with its fair share of rain. The long-term average temperature in Kerry in May is 11.5°C/52.7°F. The long-term average rainfall level for Kerry in May is 93.5 millimetres.
Things to do in Ireland in May
There’s a never-ending number of things to do in Ireland in May, regardless of what the weather is like.
If you’re on the hunt for things to do in Ireland in May, dive into our counties in Ireland section – it’s packed with the best places to visit in every county! Here are a handful of suggestions to get you started:
1. Set off on a well planned road trip
The long days in May are perfect for a road trip. Luckily, you’ve a never ending number of routes to head off on, depending on what you’re looking for.
We published the world’s largest collection of Irish road trip itineraries last year, with something to suit every want or need (I hope!).
If you’re in need of inspiration, our 5 days in Ireland or our 7 days in Ireland guides are two of our most popular itineraries.
2. Hikes and walks
Ireland is a walkers paradise, with tracks and trails to suit every level of fitness.
There are endless walking trails in Ireland, from massive mountains to stunning coastal strolls. Find walks in the county you’re visiting right here.
3. Tourist favourites and hidden gems
Some of the more popular things to do in Ireland in May amongst visiting tourists are the ‘Old-Favourites’, like the Cliffs of Moher, Slieve League and the Ring of Kerry.
However, there’s plenty of off-the-beaten-path corners of the island to discover. See our guide to the best places to visit in Ireland for some unique attractions.
4. The pub scene
If you fancy soaking up a bit of Ireland’s pub scene, you’ve plenty to choose from, which isn’t necessarily a good thing!
If you can, try and opt for the more traditional pubs in Ireland, as these tend to have the most character.
5. Visiting Dublin in May
There’s loads of worthwhile things to do in Dublin in May. If the weather’s good, set off on one of the many walks in Dublin.
If the weathers bad, there’s plenty of things to do in Dublin in May when it’s raining! See our 2 days in Dublin and 24 hours in Dublin guides for an easy-to-follow itinerary.
What to pack / what to wear in Ireland in May
So, we’ve a detailed guide on what to wear in Ireland in May, but I’ll give you the need-to-knows below.
The best piece of advice that I can give you is to pack for sun AND rain. Here’s some bits and pieces to bring with you:
- Layers (t-shirts, hoodies, shirts etc.)
- Some decent hiking/walking footwear
- A light waterproof jacket
- Waterproof trousers
- Appropriate layers that you can remove or put on if it gets too hot/cold
- Casual clothes for evening wear (shirt/polo-shirt and jeans/chinos are all appropriate ‘going-out wear’ in Ireland)
Debating visiting during a different month?
Picking when to visit Ireland can be tough. Especially as when you visit affects everything from your experience to the cost of a trip to Ireland.
It’s worth having a look at the pros and cons of visiting during the rest of the year (or ask me in the comments below!):
- Ireland in January
- Ireland in February
- Ireland in March
- Ireland in April
- Ireland in June
- Ireland in July
- Ireland in August
- Ireland in September
- Ireland in October
- Ireland in November
- Ireland in December
FAQs about spending May in Ireland
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is May in Ireland rainy?’ (it can be!) to ‘Is Ireland warm in May?’ (yes).
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Friday 1st of April 2022
Howaya Keith! I'm planning a trip early part of May and would love to know what festivals would be good to catch. Thanks