Ireland in May: Weather, Top Tips & Reasons to Visit

by | 15 Apr 2024

The Emerald Isle casts a captivating spell through lush landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality. While any time of year is an enchanting experience, Ireland in May holds a particular allure. Stirring from its winter sleep, the island blooms both figuratively and literally: blossoming landscapes, brighter days, and a rejuvenating buzz filling the air with positivity. Here’s why May is a fantastic time to visit Ireland, plus some insightful tips for when you get there.

Ireland weather in May

Woman looking into the distance over the sea and cliffs as the sun sets in Ireland in May

May is the last month of spring in Ireland, which means the chilly days are over and the sun shines for longer. The air is fresh and fragrant, straight off the Atlantic Ocean and filled with the excitement of spring. On some special days, the mornings are misty and offer dramatic sunrises worthy of an Irish folktale. The weather in Ireland is famously unpredictable, so May is a good time to visit as it’s far more stable compared to other months.

Average temperature

The average temperature of Ireland in May: highs of 15°C/59°F to lows of 9°C/48°F, making it comfortably cool for hiking, climbing, surfing, and any other outdoor activities you’re into.


While rain is a possibility year-round in Ireland, May is one of the driest months in Ireland. However, it’s always wise to pack a waterproof jacket or umbrella to stay prepared for occasional showers.

Daylight Hours

With longer daylight hours, you have way more time to explore the jewels of the Emerald Isle. Visit stunning landscapes like the Cliffs of Moher, as well as the charming cities and towns that dot the countryside like Galway or Killarney.

Read more about Ireland’s lush landscapes: Legends of the west: discovering the best of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

Reasons to visit Ireland in May

Flora in Full Bloom

Wildflowers bloom as cliffs stretch out into the sea

In May, the Emerald Isle finally turns emerald again. Wildflowers carpet the countryside and gardens burst into bloom as a riot of color takes over Ireland. This makes it a great time of year to hike in the bluebell forests across Sligo, Roscommon, Wicklow & Mayo. Or, take a trip down the coastlines which are lined with beautiful wildflowers. In Burren National Park, you’ll find limestone landscapes home to one of the most diverse wildflower landscapes in Europe, where species from all over the world share the same plot of land! Make sure to visit gardens such as Powerscourt Estate & Gardens in Co Wicklow. Whether you’re strolling through botanical gardens or hiking along scenic trails, the vibrant flora of Ireland in May adds an extra layer of beauty to the island.

A more personal experience

As an early bird visiting Ireland in May, you’ll get the Emerald Isle to yourself before the crowds of the summer months arrive. That, coupled with longer days and milder temperatures, means May is the perfect time to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities. From hiking in the rugged mountains of Connemara to cycling along the scenic coastal routes of the Wild Atlantic Way, there’s no shortage of exhilarating activities to enjoy.

You may also like: The ultimate 1-week Ireland tour does exist – how Irish Elegance does it all

Cultural Immersion

The colorful front facade of an Irish pub, lined with waving flags and colorful wreaths below the windows.

May isn’t just any old month in Ireland. It starts with Lá Bealtaine, the Gaelic May Day festival, which historically marked the beginning of summer for the Irish. Bealtainet was mentioned in the earliest Irish Literature and dates back to the 8th century, and is tied closely to Irish mythology. It was when cattle were driven out to summer pastures, and the people performed rituals to protect the cattle and to encourage growth. In the pagan tradition, this included special bonfires, which are still burnt to mark this special day. Look out for bonfire celebrations and maypole dancing to really immerse yourself in the Irish folk tradition. There are other festivities too, like the Dublin Dance Festival, International literature festival, and small local music festivals like the Cup of Tae Festival in Donegal – which involves plenty of Irish music, pub dancing and fiddle playing.

Top tips for visiting Ireland in May

Woman looking out over cliffs and the Atlantic ocean. Wildflowers of purple and magenta cover the cliff in the foreground.

If you’re ready for a trip to Ireland, here are some essential tips to make sure you get the best out of your visit.

Pack Layers

We hope you get constant bright, sunny days – but we all know that Ireland’s weather can change on a dime. Make sure you pack plenty of layers that you can easily add or remove according to how the weather goes.

Book Accommodation in Advance

May marks the beginning of the tourist season in Ireland, so we recommend booking accommodation well in advance to secure the best options and prices.

Do your research

Ireland may be an island, but its landscapes are vast and there’s so much to see and explore. You’ll have to research well and extensively to make sure you get the best out of your trip.

Explore Off the Beaten Path

While popular tourist destinations like Dublin and the Cliffs of Moher are undoubtedly stunning, consider exploring lesser-known gems to escape the crowds and discover Ireland’s hidden treasures.

With a place as unique and beguiling as Ireland, it can be hard to do everything yourself. It takes a lot of research and planning to know what the best things to do are in any given month, be it May or any other time of year. That’s why taking an Insight Vacations tour makes your trip so effortless and stylish. You get to pick from pre-planned itineraries, designed by Destination Experts who all know the island intimately. Then, while you’re on your trip, you get to add-on optional experiences, customizing your vacation the way you like it. Always included in your tour are 4- and 5- star accommodation (all pre-booked), top-rated restaurants, and a team of Local Experts giving you Insider Access to their communities that you’d never get by yourself. Discover all the sights and insights of Ireland in May in premium comfort and style.

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I'm Jay – born in Italy, raised in South London. Having French sisters and Hungarian ancestors, I've always been fascinated with the world and its cultures, and I carry this curiosity into my writing for Insightful. My favourite destinations I've traveled to so far have been Italy, Peru, France and Brazil.