Ireland in May: A Summer Preview

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May is part of the shoulder season in Ireland. As such, the number of tourists is fewer and rooms are easily available throughout the country. Although not a busy season, Ireland’s weather in May is comparable to the peak tourist season (June through early September), so make the most out of it. Explore the stunning Cliffs of Moher, take a road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way, soak up the culture and history of Dublin and admire the Neolithic tombs in Newgrange. Fun and learning never stop when you are on a trip to Ireland.

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Ireland Weather in May

Night view of Temple Bar Street in Dublin, Ireland
Being the end of spring, May in Ireland sees the weather starting to gradually warm up.

May is considered the last month of spring in Ireland. The weather is a bit cooler than in the summer months between June and August, and with plenty of daylight to travel throughout the country. During this time of year, the average temperature of Ireland is 11 °C with slight variations across the country. In the capital Dublin, average temperatures range from lows of 9 °C to a high of 15 °C. It does not rain much during this month, which makes it the perfect time to explore the country.

For a seasonal overview, check our travel guide on the best time to visit Ireland.

Weather in Ireland in May - Rainfall and Temperatures

Apr May Jun
Avg Daily (°C) 11 15 17
Avg Nightly (°C) 5 7 10
Avg Daily (°F) 52 59 63
Avg Nightly (°F) 41 45 50
Avg Rainfall (mm) 50 50 70

Why Visit Ireland in May

St. Marys Cathedral in Killarney
Explore the scenic region of Killarney and indulge yourself in the beauty of the local architecture.
Irelands highest sea cliffs, located in south west Donegal
Make sure to visit Donegal during your Ireland trip in May and go for a surf or a hike along the beach.

Still wondering if you should take a trip to Ireland in May? Here is why traveling to Ireland in May is such a good idea:

  • Pre-peak tourist season: Tourists do not descend on Ireland in huge numbers until a month later. This means you can experience top-rated sights without crowds.
  • Good deals: May is not the peak tourist season in Ireland. This means that you can get better bargains on hotel bookings and airfares.
  • Super spring: May is a lovely time to visit Ireland. This is the time of year when mountainsides and parks in cities are abloom with spring flowers. This is particularly visible if you are exploring Killarney and southwestern Ireland.
  • Wild Ireland: At the height of winter, most of the tourist attractions along the country’s coast and mountains are closed. But the whole country is accessible in May. Head to Ireland’s surf capital, Donegal, the best place in the country to catch a wave, or go hiking on the lovely 131-kilometer-long Wicklow Way.
  • Festive season: May is a month packed with fun festivals and events in Ireland. Top of the picks are the Beltane Fire Festival when a sacred fire is lit on the Hill of Uisneach to welcome summer, the Kilkenny Roots Festival, which typically features some big names from the music world, and Vantastival, a festival dedicated to Irish musical acts.

Where to go and what to do

Cliffs of Moher, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher will provide you with some stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

There are oodles of fun activities to do in Ireland in May. Visit the majestic Cliffs of Moher along the County Clare coast. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean from more than 213 meters above, they offer incredible views over Galway Bay. Connemara, which is famous for its rugged coastline, secret bays, and slate-colored lakes, is another extraordinary place to visit. In addition to this, Connemara National Park offers superb trails to those who enjoy hiking.

Another beautiful place to explore is Killarney and its national park, which includes the lovely Muckross House, gardens, and farms. The grandeur of this 19th-century mansion takes you back to a bygone era. The adjoining parks and the lake region are stunning. To add a dash of mystery to your Ireland trip, go to Glendalough, home to an important monastic site dating back to the 16th century. In addition to taking in the rich history of this place, you can also explore its surrounding woodlands, lakes, and gentle nature trails.

Make sure that you include a trip to the iconic Rock of Cashel if you are traveling to Ireland in May. This glorious group of medieval buildings includes a Romanesque chapel, High Cross (a 12th-century round tower), and a Gothic cathedral that is more than 700 years old. No trip to Ireland is complete without exploring Dublin. Here you can visit the historic Trinity College, the National Museum of Ireland, and the majestic Christ Church Cathedral. Do not miss a chance to stroll inside Saint Stephen’s Green, a 22-acre public park and a treasure of the city.

What to bring

Side view of woman in warm clothing looking away on the beach
Since it isn't fully summer, the temperatures can get on the colder side so make sure that you are prepared with proper clothing.

While packing for your trip to Ireland in May, keep in mind that you will be spending a lot of time outdoors and temperatures can plunge. So a sturdy pair of hiking shoes and a good jacket along with warm clothes that can be worn in layers will come in handy.

Ireland is not just replete with breathtaking landscapes, lakes, and woodlands for nature lovers, the country also has a lot to offer in the forms of culture, arts, and history. There is something for everyone, and May is one of the loveliest times of year to visit this beautiful island country. If you are looking for tips on the length of your stay in the country, make sure to check our travel guide on how many days you should spend in Ireland. We recommend spending at least a week so that you don't miss out on any of the must-see highlights. If you want a more in-depth tour, you could opt for a 10-day itinerary or longer. On the other hand, if you are strapped for time, you could go for a 5-day trip which would give you a taste of the country. 

Feel free to reach out to our local travel experts who can help you design your own custom tour to Ireland. So, wait for no further and start planning your trip to Ireland in May right away!

More information

Published by Lucas Toft, updated on January 28, 2023

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