Ireland in May is late spring, and also one of the best months to visit as there is less chance of rain. This is one of the best times for outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and road trips where you can see Ireland’s top attractions at their best.
Be sure to still be mindful of forecasts though, as Ireland weather is notoriously fickle. Here are a few things to take note of when visiting Ireland in May to make the most of your trip.
Things you'll find in this article
- What is the weather like in Ireland in May?
- What should I pack for Ireland in May
- Where you should stay in Ireland in May
- Things to do in Ireland in May
- Tours you should do in Ireland in May
- Practical Tips for Ireland in May
What is the weather like in Ireland in May?
Temperature in Ireland in May
There’s an average of 7°C to 16°C temperature in May.
Rain in Ireland in May
There’s an average of 60 mm rain over 11 days.
Wind in Ireland in May
9 to 13 miles per hour
Sun in Ireland in May
There’s an average of 6 hours of actual sunshine for May in Ireland.
What should I pack for Ireland in May
May marks the spring season in Ireland which means you get to enjoy sun rays in the morning while wind and rain start coming in the afternoon.
So if you’re planning to enjoy the Irish weather during these times be sure to consider these options on your list.
Jeans – You can bring a good pair of jeans. The temperature during the spring season is still cool so be sure your pair of jeans can protect you from the chilly air.
Preferably, bring dark-colored jeans so you can mix and match any top with them. Anyhow, you can just bring your favorite jeans and flaunt them in the streets of Ireland.
Pair of flats – You can now ditch your thick hiking boots or rain boots since spring in Ireland cannot possibly freeze you to death anymore. A pair of ballet flats for females or a topsider for male will already get you through this season. If you still want to prepare for the rainy nights, you can try these pair of waterproof ballet flats in Amazon and these Oxford-inspired shoes for men.
Sneakers – If flats are too overdressed for you, you can also put on a pair of sneakers for a more casual look. This Black Converse Chuck Taylor is an all-time favorite because it is very versatile and can be paired up with almost anything.
Windbreaker – Ireland in May tend to be chilly and windy on some days. So prepare a light jacket or a windbreaker in case you don’t want to get uncomfortable exploring Ireland.
Umbrella – Don’t forget to include an umbrella in your packing list to shield you from the rain. This compact travel umbrella from Amazon is a good option as it will easily fit in your luggage or in your everyday bag.
Fleece sweatshirt – Perfect for layering, a fleece sweater is also a good consideration. You can wear it on top of a jacket or just wear it as it is. This sweatshirt from Amazon should be added to your essentials.
Where you should stay in Ireland in May
Although there are a lot of accommodations in Ireland that will fit any traveler’s budget, nothing beats the experience of staying in castle hotels in Ireland. So here are some of the affordable castle hotels that you can stay in Ireland for the month of May.
Cabra Castle Hotel still has the 18th-century castle vibes but with the modern touch from its amenities. A 4-star castle hotel in Cavan situated in a quiet neighborhood in Kingscourt, Cabra Castle Hotel is a mix and match of royalty and modern luxury. Rates start at $162. To book, click here.
A Gothic castle dated from 1209, Kinnitty Castle Hotel is located at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. If you want the unique experience that comes with this castle, better check it out before it’s too late. Also, the rates start at only $110 a night. To book, click here.
Things to do in Ireland in May
1. Explore Dublin
The Republic of Ireland’s charming capital Dublin is where most tourists start and end their Irish getaway. It’s just proper to spend at least a couple of days here as well. This is a walkable city, the transport system is pretty reliable and there’s just plenty of things to do in Dublin.
Start with a traditional Irish breakfast (and Irish coffee), then head on to museums like the National Gallery, visit churches like St. Patrick’s and the Dublin Castle. Sample more Irish food at Grafton Street, visit the grounds and stunning library of Trinity College, relax in St. Stephen’s Green them head to a nearby pub for a pint of Guinness.
You may also explore a bit of Ireland’s grim history at the Kilmainham Gaol, or get lost inside the massive Phoenix Park and Zoo. Be sure to also check out the city’s thriving pub culture, experience nightlife at the Temple Bar district, or watch the sunset over the River Liffey.
2. Go Castle-Hopping
Among the many things that make Ireland a fascinating country to visit apart from its stunning natural beauty is the abundance of fortresses or castles spread across its lush landscapes.
Thousands of them were built over the past millennia, with most of them built as defense systems to protect lands or entire regions from being invaded.
Over the centuries and after numerous battles, these castles were turned into noble residences, administrative offices, schools, cultural centers, museums, and even hotels. A good number are in ruins but still as magnificent.
Built on hilltops, on dramatic cliffs, by a body of water, tucked inside forested areas or surrounded by massive parklands — these castles continue to attract tourists and remain to be among the best attractions in Ireland. Spend at least a day visiting these castles, as it’s also a great way to know more about Ireland’s history.
Some of the best castles or fortresses that you can visit are the Ashford Castle, Blarney Castle, Bunratty Castle, Cahir Castle, Dunguaire Castle, Kilkenny Castle, King John’s Castle and the Rock of Cashel.
3. Guinness Storehouse
When you’re in Dublin, or in Ireland really, one of the best things to do is to have a pint of Guinness. You can have one at your hotel’s bar or at a pub down the street, or you can have it as a treat after touring the place where the famous dark stuff is made — the Guinness Storehouse.
Many tourists say that Guinness doesn’t taste as good in their countries compared to having it in Ireland, and perhaps, it’s your chance to find out why. Go on an interactive guided tour that takes you through seven floors of an atrium shaped like a Guinness pint.
Get to know its history, some fun trivia, and the process involved in one of Ireland’s most popular drinks. The tour ends at the top floor where you’re rewarded with a pint of Guinness and 360-degree views of the Dublin skyline.
4. Titanic Belfast
If Belfast is part of your Ireland itinerary, be sure to include a visit to the massive Titanic Belfast. It is a place dedicated to the city’s maritime history, where you can find exhibits and galleries detailing stones from the RMS Titanic.
The place is huge, its floor space is about 130,000 square feet and the interactive displays are extensive. It’s one of the best things to do in Ireland that gives a closer look at one of the significant parts of its recent history so be sure to stop by.
5. Go on a Scenic or Themed Road trip
Ireland boasts of a diverse landscape that may vary per region, but are all equally green, hence the nickname ‘emerald state’. There are just a lot to see and visit here — from castles to cliffs to lakes and even some of the most fascinating archeological wonders and monastic sites.
A great way to explore and see more of Ireland is to rent a car and drive or join a group tour that goes on a road trip to some of the country’s best.
A few of these are a drive to any of the Wild Atlantic Way areas, a tour around the mesmerizing Ring of Kerry, a trip to the stunning Ancient East, and a fascinating Game of Thrones tour that brings you to filming locations in Northern Ireland.
6. Visit Sligo Abbey and Strandhill Beach
Sligo is not often seen in articles and lists of the places to visit in Ireland but this quaint northwestern town should definitely be part of your itinerary. Located about 50 kilometers from the border to Northern Ireland, Sligo has several unmissable attractions that are sure to make your Ireland trip more memorable.
There’s the impressive 13th-century abbey with its stately arches and intricate details. Its style is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance, and quite picturesque. This is a Dominican Friary that has the only surviving high altar in any Irish monastic church, that dates back to the 16th century.
Another must-visit in Sligo is the charming coastal village of Strandhill, also home to what are regarded as among the best beaches in Ireland. The enchanting beach is uniquely Ireland, with its grassy sand dunes and rocky shores. Other Sligo attractions that you should check out are Benbulbin, Coney Island, Knocknarea, Lissadell House, and Parke’s Castle.
7. Take a scenic road trip in Dingle
The 46-km Slea Head Drive from Dingle in Ireland is one of the best and most spectacular driving routes in Ireland. It’s part of the Wild Atlantic Way route which is considered one of the most scenic road trip routes in the world.
The route consists of breathtaking views of the coastline, offshore islands, and cliff-top roads and it’s best to access through driving on your own.
It is one of the most popular activities in Dingle.
8. Visit Shannon
Located in Western Ireland, Shannon is a small town located near the Shannon Estuary. It is also a good entry and exit point to Ireland because of Shannon Airport, the third busiest airport in Ireland after Dublin Airport and Cork Airport.
But there are several things to do in Shannon more than people think. It is also a good base for several popular things to do in Ireland.
Tours you should do in Ireland in May
Practical Tips for Ireland in May
1. Ireland weather is unpredictable any time of the year and there’s always a chance of rain or wind. Be sure to pack warmer clothes or those that you can easily layer. Check this Ireland packing list for more ideas what to wear in certain season.
2. If your Ireland itinerary includes attractions from different counties or regions, it is best to rent a car and drive as you can better manage your trips that way and explore each area at your own pace.
3. If your Ireland itinerary includes counties or regions from both Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, know that there’s no strict border control or regulations.
You won’t even know which part of Ireland you are except in RI, they use kilometers per hour while in NI it’s miles per hour. Be mindful to avoid being issued a speeding ticket.
4. If you’re going swimming in either a public or hotel pool in Ireland, have a swim cap ready. It is required and you won’t be allowed in the water unless you wear one.
5. There is no set tipping culture in Ireland, but if you want to give a few euros or pounds for great service, it is of course appreciated.
6. Check out this list for more travel tips for Ireland for first-time visitors.
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Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries for the past 8 years. I also lived in 3 continents – from the Caribbean, South East Asia to Africa. But despite living in several countries, my love for Ireland remains the same. A country that had been a part of my life since I was 14 because of my love for Irish music and bands. Ireland Travel Guides was born because of this passion and hopefully, in some little ways, this website will be able to help you on your next trip to Ireland.