If you’re wondering what to wear in Ireland in May, this article (based on 33 years of living here) will save you time.
Deciding what to pack for Ireland in May can be a bit of a pain, especially if you’re visiting for the first time!
However, it’s very grand and handy once you have a sense of what May is like in Ireland.
Our Ireland packing list for May has no affiliate links – just plain aul good advice!
Some quick need-to-knows about what to wear in Ireland in May
Before looking at what to wear in Ireland in May, it’s worth taking 10 seconds to get up-to-speed on what this month is like:
1. May is spring in Ireland
May is generally one of the best times to visit Ireland, thanks to its long days and usually OK weather. May has average highs of 15°C/59°F and average lows of 9°C/48°F. In the middle of the month, the sun rises at 05:17 and sets at 21:26. If you’re using one of the itineraries from our Irish road trip library, these long days give you lots of time to explore!
2. Hope for the best and plan for the worst
May is right on the cusp of summer in Ireland, so usually, the weather is quite good. However, the weather in Ireland regularly throws you a curveball, so it’s best to plan for every scenario. For example, last year (2022) May was mild, dry, and sunny, but in 2021, large parts of the country were cool and rainy. This is where layers and waterproofs come in handy.
3. Where you’re from plays a big part
It may be “find old weather” for us, but everyone handles the cold differently, and where you’re from definitely plays a part. If you’re from a cold country, then May’s temperatures will be more than manageable, but if you’re from a tropical climate, you might want to pack some extra layers just in case.
4. We can get four seasons in a day
In Ireland, it’s not uncommon to be basking in the sunshine one moment and then sheltering from a downpour the next. During May, you can easily encounter wind, sunshine, and rain in the span of a few hours, that’s why we’re adamant about layers and waterproofs, so you’re prepared for every scenario.
Ireland packing list for May
Now that we have all of the need-to-knows out of the way, it’s time to look at what to wear in Ireland in May and what to bring with you.
Below, you’ll find the type of plugs we use along with a mix of other essential items for your Ireland packing list for May.
1. The essentials
With any Ireland packing list for May, the essentials are always a good place to start.
Of course, what you consider essential, may not be what we consider essential, but we’ll pop a few things below to give you a general idea.
Start with the passport – make sure it’s valid (sounds obvious, but we often hear of people arriving to the airport with one that’s out of date!).
Phones, cameras, laptops etc. are definitely on our list, as well as their chargers. You’ll also need an adaptor or two – Ireland used G-type sockets with three rectangular prongs.
If you take any prescription or hard-to-find medication, then don’t forget to pack these as you may not be able to get them here.
You can buy toiletries once you arrive, but you might want to bring your own if you use anything specific.
A day bag is a must if you’re planning on being out and about. They are great for carrying snacks while hiking and stashing away unneeded layers.
2. The waterproofs
As we said earlier, May in Ireland is a mixed bag of sunshine and rain. So even if the forecast is predicting sunshine, we highly suggest bringing along some waterproofs.
Since the weather will be warming up, a light waterproof jacket over some layers should be enough to keep you warm and dry. If you plan on going on some walks or hikes, then waterproof trousers are also a good shout.
For city trips, a small umbrella is a great add-on, you can buy one once you arrive and they shouldn’t take up too much space in your day bag.
3. The cold-beaters
When it comes to what to wear in Ireland in May, many assume that warm layers won’t be needed.
At this time of the year, it should be relatively warm, so you can probably leave behind your bulky winter coat, woolly socks, hat, and gloves.
But, it’s still worth bringing layers, for example, vests, t-shirts, and jumpers/hoodies.
If you’re a bit unsure of how you’ll handle the cold, then consider bringing along a packable feather-down coat and a light scarf.
For women, sundress and maxi-skirt season is well underway.
4. The evening wear
In Ireland, the evening wear tends to be more on the casual side.
Men usually wear jeans/chinos with a light shirt or polo shirt, whereas women wear casual dresses and jeans and a nice top.
While this is perfectly acceptable for heading to the pub or even a night out; if you’re planning on eating out at a more formal restaurant or grabbing drinks in a high-end bar, you might want to pack something a little smarter.
5. The activity-specific clothing
While there are heaps of short and sweet beginner-friendly trails throughout the country, more challenging routes will require some decent footwear.
You may also want to bring some sunglasses and, as we mentioned earlier, light waterproofs.
Cities in Ireland are generally quite walkable and you can discover loads of attractions on foot. In this case, footwear can really make or break your trip, so make sure to pack a comfortable pair for walking around!
FAQs about what to wear in Ireland in May
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What Ireland packing list for May is the cheapest?’ to ‘Are pubs in May casual?’.
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.
What should I wear in Ireland in May?
With average highs of 15°C/59°F and average lows of 9°C/48°F, May tends to be nice and mild, although evenings can be cool. Waterproof outer-layers are always a must as are light layers. A valid passport and G-type plug adapter are essential.
How do people dress in Dublin in May?
This, of course, will vary depending on the person. Light layers, comfy footwear and a good waterproof outer-layer are musts. Dublin is pretty casual with the exception of fine dining restaurants.