If you’re thinking about visiting Ireland in May but you’re not sure what to expect, you’ve landed in the right place!
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 decent and the days are nice and long, which gives you lots of daylight hours to explore.
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 before visiting Ireland in May
Although a 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 during this month 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 last year!). The average temperature in Ireland in May tends to be pretty consistent, with mean temperatures ranging between 9.0 °C and 13.0 °C over the last three years.
2. The days are lovely and long
The days in May 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.
3. Book accommodation in advance
When planning a trip to Ireland in and around the summer months, it’s always worth booking accommodation in advance. This way, you’ll avoid 1, being unable to nab a place to stay in the area you want to stay and 2, avoid being forced into paying for expensive accommodation (better value rooms tend to book up first).
4. There’s plenty to do
There’s endless things to do in Ireland in May. The long days give you plenty of time to explore and the extra sunlight means you can avoid cramming everything you want to see/do into a short window of time.
5. Make an informed decision
Picking when to visit Ireland isn’t easy, and there’s an awful lot to consider, so it’s well worth spending some time comparing what it’s like in Ireland during the other months, when you have a second:
- 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
The pros and cons of spending May in Ireland
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 31 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 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
What to expect from the weather in Ireland in May
Although it hasn’t yet reached summertime, the weather in Ireland in May is usually quite good. However, last year was a bit of an exception (see below).
Here’s what the weathers been like during previous years. Note: this data comes from MET Eireann, Ireland’s Meteorological Service
- The weather in Ireland in May 2021 wasn’t great, and it was cool and wet in many places across the county
- The number of days where rain fell ranged from 16 (at the Phoenix Park in Dublin) to 24 days (on Valentia Island in Kerry)
- The month experienced below average temperature everywhere, but it was coldest in the West. The average temperature was 9.0 °C
- The weather in Ireland in May 2020 was very dry and sunny
- The number of days when rain fell ranged from 5 days (Oak Park in Carlow) to 14 days (Malin Head in Donegal)
- The average temperature for the month ranged between 10.9 °C and 13.0 °C
Average temperature in Ireland in May
The average temperature in Ireland in May tends to be pretty consistent, with mean temperatures ranging between 9.0 °C and 13.0 °C over the last three years.
Those from colder temperate climates will find the weather in early May in Ireland pretty easy to handle while those from tropical corners of the world may find Ireland in May quite cold.
The average temperature in previous years
- 2021: 9.0 °C
- 2020: 10.9 °C to 13.0 °C
- 2019: 10.1 °C
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.
2. Hikes and walks
Ireland is a walkers paradise, with tracks and trails to suit every level of fitness.
3. Tourist favourites and hidden gems
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.
What to pack / what to wear in Ireland in May
If you’re scratching your head and trying to figure out what to pack for May in Ireland, then the below should help.
The best piece of advice that I can give you is to pack for sun AND rain. Here’s some more advice:
- Keep an eye on the 10-day weather forecast so you have an idea of what weather to expect
- Pack for warm dry weather and rain… definitely pack for rain
- 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)
FAQs about spending May in Ireland
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is May rainy in Ireland?’ (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.
Is May a good month for Ireland?
May is one of the best times to visit Ireland. Days are long (sun rises at 05:17 and sets at 21:26) and mild (9.0 °C and 13.0 °C). It’s also just before the schools finish, so it’s not as busy as the summer months.
What is the weather in Ireland in May like?
It’s hit and miss. The days are generally mild (between 9.0 °C and 13.0 °C) but the island can receive plenty of rain, which happened last year.
Are there many things to do in Ireland in May?
Yes – endless! The long days provide plenty of daylight hours to explore, and the mild weather provides enjoyable conditions, especially for hikes and walks.
Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!).