10 Things to Do in Dublin in May

Are you preparing your trip to Dublin for May? I hope you've checked out all the special activities there are to do.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

10 Things to Do in Dublin in May

Dublin Castle | ©William Murphy

Throughout the year, Dublin offers many things to see and do, but if you're specifically interested in what's special in May, you're in the right place.

I've been looking at what events are happening only this month so you can jot down the ones you like best and join Dubliners in their celebrations. Get ready for lots of music, but also for quieter plans in the great outdoors. When do you say you're going?

1. Tour the most literary Dublin in the International Literature Festival

International Literature Festival in Dublin| ©DublinTown
International Literature Festival in Dublin| ©DublinTown

With Trinity University (one of the best in the world) as an emblem and cradle of writers like Oscar Wilde or Bran Stoker, it is not surprising that Dublin celebrates an International Literature Festival every May.

The idea is to bring books to the streets, and talks and exhibitions are organized, but also tours to discover the stories hidden in the city. There is also an annual award for the best work, although there is much more. One of the activities that most interest me are the guided tours of the city.

Each year they are organized in a different way, but as you can imagine everything revolves around literature. My advice is to sign up for one to get to know Dublin in a different way, maybe while you visit the oldest bookstores or a guide tells you ghost stories. And if you run out of room, you can always go on a guided tour of Dublin to get to know the city.

Interesting facts:

  • Where: at different cultural locations around the city.
  • When: mid-May
  • Price: approximately 4€ each ticket
  • Where to buy tickets: on the festival's website you can book and check the access for each activity.

Book a tour of Dublin

2. Take a tour to see the countryside during the grazing season.

Seeing a Farm| ©Alex Abboud
Seeing a Farm| ©Alex Abboud

As much as Dublin is a big city, its surroundings are quite rural. Livestock farming is therefore a vital and valuable sector, as the mountainous terrain of the west of Ireland is challenging.

During the month of May the shepherds take the sheep out to the fields again, so it is a good time to get to know this world. It is also the month when new lambs are born. If you feel like getting to know this rural environment, see the newborn lambs and understand the work of the shepherds, visit one of the farms that are usually located towards the south of Dublin.

However, this is not your only option to get to know the natural environment around Dublin, as you can also book an excursion to Wicklow, Glendalough and Kilkenny, for example, and have more contact with the rural world.

Interesting facts:

  • Where: farms in rural Dublin.
  • When: throughout May
  • Price of the farm visit: approximately 50€.
  • Price of the excursion: from €36
  • Where to buy tickets: online, if possible in advance

Book a tour to Wicklow, Glendalough and Kilkenny

3. Take advantage of the longer days to go on a tour

Sunset in Malahide| ©Miguel Mendez
Sunset in Malahide| ©Miguel Mendez

The arrival of May in Dublin brings almost 16 hours of daylight a day. It is clear that we can enjoy them in the city, but I invite you to take advantage of them to make an excursion from Dublin. You will have enough time (and sun) to visit several places, which also at this time look even more beautiful thanks to the spring and good weather.

I'm not going to fool you, there are many places you could visit during your stay in Dublin. It's hard for me to choose too, but I've made a selection.

Cliffs of Moher

If you are in Dublin, you have to take a trip to the Cliffs of Moher. In total, they have 8 kilometers of extension and heights exceeding 200 meters, so if you have vertigo, stay away from the edge.

Either way, you're sure to enjoy a good hike through the area, which is home to many species of birds.

During the tour you'll also have access to the Visitor Center, where you can learn more about the rock formation of the cliffs and the wildlife that inhabits them. If you want even better views, you have to climb the O'Brien Tower, the highest point, which offers an incredible panoramic view.


One of the best castles in Dublin is in Kilkenny, a small town just over an hour from the capital. If you feel like walking through medieval streets, you have come to the right place, as here you will find the Medieval Mile, a unique and very well preserved historic center.

Although Kilkenny nowadays has more modern elements, traditional professions such as goldsmithing or pottery still provide much value, so I recommend you to book a trip to Kikenny.

Malahide and Howth

If you like the sea, you have to go from Dublin to Malahide. This small town is the vacation destination of the Irish, but the good thing about going in May is that there will not be so many crowds and you can stroll along the beaches in peace and quiet.

The best thing about Malahide is that you can also extend the trip to Howth, which is also very close to Dublin and is a beautiful fishing village. The best thing you can do while you are there is a hiking route along the cliffs (from where you can take wonderful pictures) and then recharge your batteries with a delicious seafood dish.

Book an excursion from Dublin

4. Get to know the hidden Dublin

Dublin by night| ©William Murphy
Dublin by night| ©William Murphy

When May rolls around in Ireland, the nights are not so dark and not so cold. Why should this interest you? Because taking a night tour of Dublin will be much more enjoyable and the cold won't stop you from listening to stories of ghosts, murderers and satanic clubs.

Did you think Dublin was all about enchantment? It is, but when night falls there's nothing like getting to know its darker side. After all, these legends, real or not, are also part of the city's culture. The good thing about going with a guide is that he will explain everything and, being in a group, maybe you will be less afraid!

Another very similar experience is to go to the ghost bus tour of Dublin, in this case you will go under cover and it comes great in case of rain when you do not want to postpone the activity due to lack of time or when you do not feel like waiting for better weather.

Interesting facts:

  • Where: the historic center of Dublin
  • When: during the whole month of May
  • Price: between 15€ and 36€.
  • Where to buy tickets: can be booked online

Book a ghost tour in Dublin

5. Complete a walking tour in Wicklow

Hiking in Howth| ©Mariela S
Hiking in Howth| ©Mariela S

If there is something you want to do in May, when spring is already here, it is to do some hiking. In that case, I have a recommendation for you: visit Wicklow from Dublin. This area is pure nature and deserves a getaway, especially to walk among its forests and lakes, which in May are full of color and light.

Wicklow is a county south of Dublin (about 25 kilometers away) and its recognition comes from the National Park, the largest of the six in Ireland. As you would expect, there are several hiking trails, but there are three that stand out above the rest and are perfect for a day out here.

  • Devil's Glen: this 5-kilometer route is quite easy. If you want to go deep into the forest for about two hours, this is your best option.
  • Great Sugarloaf: to get good views of Wicklow without having to climb a big mountain, I recommend this walk. The highest point is over 500 meters, so it is quite accessible.
  • Hollywood - Glendalough: Are you an advanced hiker looking for a challenge? Take note of this route, as its 26 kilometers are not always easy, although they are worth it.

Interesting facts:

  • Where: Wicklow
  • When: during the whole month of May
  • Price: approximately 30€.
  • Where to buy tickets: you can make your reservation and get your ticket online.

Book a tour to Wicklow from Dublin

6. Come out and dance at the Dublin Dance Festival

Professional Dancers| ©Lucas
Professional Dancers| ©Lucas

Do you like dancing? Enjoy the Dublin Dance Festival if you travel to the capital of Ireland during the month of May. Every year this festival gathers dancers from all over the world, but especially from the country.

For almost two weeks several artists perform on stages placed around the city or in the streets. The best thing is that there is usually some immersive meeting, so that anyone can participate and explore through dance.

You can see street dance shows, flamenco, traditional dances ... The aim of this event is to unite people through dance. My advice is to take a look at the year's program and write down the performances you would like to go to.

Interesting facts:

  • Where: at the Projects Arts Centre
  • When: the last two weeks of May
  • Price: approximately 5€-25€, depending on each show
  • Where to buy tickets: on the official website

7. Follow the techno rhythm of Life Festival

At Life Festival| ©DamianC
At Life Festival| ©DamianC

What does Dublin sound like? A lot of things, but in May, specifically electronic music, as the Life Festival takes place. The line-up changes every year, but always features the hottest international DJs, but also gives space to local and emerging talents.

Its fame has made it the biggest techno festival in the country. Are you going to miss it? It is clear that Life Festival is not for everyone, but if you like electronic beats, you will enjoy it. There are also talks, workshops, magic or juggling shows and, in general, there is a very positive atmosphere.

Interesting facts:

  • Where: on the outskirts of Dublin.
  • When: last weekend in May
  • Price: approximately €150
  • Where to buy tickets: through the festival website

8. Attend the May Festival

From April 30 to May 1 is celebrated in Dublin and throughout Ireland the Feast of May, a festival in which there are dances and flower picking and that has its origins before Christianity.

The most curious of all is that the trees are decorated with eggshell and flowers as a symbol of life. In addition, bonfires are also lit at night.

If you are in Dublin the day before the beginning of May and the first night of that month, it is definitely worth it.

9. Run for Dublin in the Calcutta Run

Calcutta Run| ©Alan Rowlette
Calcutta Run| ©Alan Rowlette

If you're a runner, you probably always travel with your running shoes. During your trip to Dublin in May they will come in handy as you participate in the Calcutta Run. Beyond the personal satisfaction of completing another 5 or 10 kilometer race, you will be supporting a new cause, as it has a charitable nature.

When the Calcutta Run was first organized in 1999 it was already quite successful, but nowadays thousands of athletes are joining it, raising more than three hundred thousand euros. If you want to participate, you can sign up on their website.

If running is not your thing, you can always participate by making a donation and supporting the runners who cross the finish line at Blackhall Place (Phoenix Park). There they usually set up tents with food stalls, picnic areas and activities for the little ones, so if you are traveling to Dublin with children, it can be a good plan.

Interesting facts:

  • Where: in Phoenix Park
  • When: last weekend in May
  • Price: approximately 10€ (depending on donation)
  • Where to buy tickets: from the race website once registration opens (approximately a couple of months before)

10. Celebrate diversity at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

Talk at the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival| ©Senator Katherine Zappone
Talk at the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival| ©Senator Katherine Zappone

During the first two weeks of May a very special festival takes place in Dublin, the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. It has been organized since 2004 and it is attended by playwrights or, in general, LGTBIQ+ people who have stories to tell through theater.

With almost 20 years of experience, it has become a worldwide reference that aims to make visible the contributions of the collective to art. It began to be organized to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Oscar Wilde, the famous Dublin writer who was condemned for his homosexuality.

Since then it has focused on creating new opportunities and making visible the contributions to theater of this and other authors.

Interesting facts:

  • Where: various locations in central Dublin.
  • When: first two weeks of May
  • Price: approximately 25€ each ticket
  • Where to buy tickets: on the festival website

Dublin weather in May

Phoenix Park| ©Alain Rouiller
Phoenix Park| ©Alain Rouiller

Although there is no exact forecast that never fails, in general the month of May in Dublin has very pleasant temperatures. Highs exceed 13°C (sometimes reaching 16°C) and lows usually don't drop below 9°C, even at night. As far as rain is concerned, you should expect that there is a chance that one day during your trip it will come and disrupt all your plans.

However, even with rain, the best thing about traveling in May is that you will find many more hours of daylight than if you had traveled to Dublin in the winter months. In total, there are more than 16 hours to enjoy the city and, especially, its outdoor spaces and parks, as the temperatures are good.

What to pack in your Dublin suitcase if you travel in May

Preparing your luggage| ©Surface
Preparing your luggage| ©Surface

Of course, there is no perfect packing list for everyone, but I would like to give you some tips for your trip to Dublin if you are going in May:

  • Pack something to protect yourself from possible rain (hat, umbrella, raincoat...).
  • Also a comfortable and waterproof footwear that does not bother you.
  • Another tip is to opt for layers. In May temperatures are intermediate: neither too hot to wear shorts nor too cold to wear a heavy coat. The solution? Pack a warm but not too heavy jacket, sweaters and T-shirts in your suitcase so you can take off or add clothes as you need them.

What plans are you going to sign up for? Don't forget to tell me about them when you get back.