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Dublin in May: 21 Fun Things to See, Do & Eat

Discover things to do in Dublin in May. Find out if a May trip to Dublin is worth doing. Enjoy the best of Dublin in the Spring.
Are you wondering what it’s like to visit Dublin in May? I lived in Ireland for 12 years, close to Dublin City Centre and had the amazing opportunity to experience life in the capital during different parts of the year.

Dublin in the Spring is a fabulous time to visit and May is Spring at its peak. Experience Dublin's beautiful Georgian parks and marvel at the flower baskets hanging from pub, shopfronts, and homes. 

Let’s explore a variety of cool things to see, do, and eat in Dublin in May to help inspire your own trip to Ireland at this time of year.

What is the Weather Like in Dublin in May?

May is one of the best months to visit Dublin, with average temperatures ranging from high 50s to mid 60s (14 - 19°C). On average, there are fewer days of rain in May. 

Dublin in May - Walk the Hellfire Club

However, to set expectations, the weather in Dublin can be unpredictable at any time of year so come prepared with sunglasses and an umbrella likely to stand up to strong winds. Pack lightweight layers that you can easily add and remove as the weather changes.

Ireland is positioned at a high latitude which means the days are long and bright in the late Spring and Summer. If you visit Dublin in May, you'll be able to enjoy a late-evening walk or an outdoor pint during golden hour.

Dublin in May - Waterfall on the River Dodder

Things to do in Dublin in May at a Glance

Now let's take a look at things to do, see and eat in Dublin in May at a glance. Each heading is clickable and will take you directly to the item of interest.

Table of Contents

    1. National Botanic Garden 
    2. Dublin Docklands Festival
    3. Swan Walk on the River Dodder
    4. Take a Walk in Phoenix Park
    5. Ireland's Eye
    6. Tour Powerscourt
    7. Hike the Hellfire Club 
    8. Tour the Gardens at Kilruddery 
    9. Cycle the Grand Canal to Harold's Cross
    10. Visit Kilmainham Gaol
    11. Explore the Chester Beatty Museum
    12. Go Whiskey Tasting at Roe and Co.
    13. Pop Into Guinness Open Gate
    14. Visit the Museum of Archaeology
    15. Listen to Music at Cobblestone
    16. Catch a show at the Gaiety
    17. Catch a Musical at Bord Gais Theatre
    18. Visit the Irish Georgian Society
    19. Taste Vino at O'Brien's Wine Fair at Dublin Castle
    20. Explore Epic Ireland
    21. Catch a Performance at Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar

    Things to do in Dublin in May in Detail

    Let's explore cool things to do in Dublin in May in more detail. I've actually done all of these things in the month of May, so they are tried and tested for this time of year. 

    In Dublin, the weather is always a wild card, so I've broken down my recommendations into two parts: what to do if the weather is good and what to do in Dublin if it rains or the weather is bad.

    What to do in Dublin in May if the Weather is Nice

    Let's start on an optimistic note and explore some cool things to do in Dublin in May if the sun comes out during your trip. 

    1. National Botanic Garden 

    Forget the Guinness (for now!), because Dublin's National Botanic Garden is a green oasis that will blow your mind. Imagine wandering through vibrant Victorian glasshouses overflowing with exotic blooms, strolling past serene Japanese gardens, and picnicking under ancient trees – all for free!

    Dublin in May - Greenhouse at the National Botanic Garden

    2. Dublin Docklands Festival

    Speaking of free things to do in Dublin, the Dublin Docklands Festival bursts onto the scene in May, transforming Grand Canal Dock into a festive playground. 

    Live music, arts and crafts stalls, delicious food trucks, and even water sports demos – it's the perfect place to soak up the festive atmosphere and catch some rays.

    Dublin in May - Bord Gais Theatre and Marker Hotel viewed from below

    3. Swan Walk on the River Dodder

    Swap the hustle and bustle of Dublin City Centre for a tranquil escape with one of my favorite Dublin walks along the River Dodder. The path along the Dodder between Ringsend and Ballsbridge offers a glimpse into Dublin's quieter side. 

    Keep an eye out for majestic swans gliding gracefully on the water – a picture-perfect moment, wouldn't you say?

    Dublin in May - Swan on the River Dodder

    4. Take a Walk in Phoenix Park

    Dublin's answer to Central Park, Phoenix Park is a sprawling green space where you can lose yourself for hours. 

    Rent a bike, pack a picnic, and explore the vast grounds – discover fallow deer frolicking in the wilderness, stumble upon historical monuments, visit the Dublin Zoo, or simply bask in the sun-dappled meadows.

    Dublin in May - Stone tower in Phoenix Park

    5. Ireland's Eye

    Feeling adventurous? Hop on a ferry to Ireland's Eye, a small island sanctuary that is home to large colonies of breeding birds. 

    Walk past a historic Martello Tower and then marvel at the breathtaking coastal views. This is Dublin with a wild side, and a fantastic off-the-beaten path destination if you visit Dublin in May!

    Dublin in May - Martello Tower on Ireland's Eye

    6. Tour Powerscourt

    Escape Dublin City and enter the majestic world of Powerscourt, a grand Palladian mansion nestled amidst stunning gardens. 

    Tour the opulent interior, get lost in the meticulously landscaped gardens, and maybe even indulge in a luxurious afternoon tea. Did you know that the grounds of Powerscourt even features a pet cemetery?

    Dublin in May - Powerscourt

    7. Hike the Hellfire Club 

    Looking for a more challenging adventure? Hike up to the Hellfire Club, a mysterious 18th-century building perched atop Montpelier Hill. 

    The views from the top are breathtaking, and the air is thick with whispers of dark rituals and devilish gatherings. Just remember, this is a proper hike, so pack accordingly and wear sturdy shoes.

    Dublin in May - The Hellfire Club

    8. Tour the Gardens at Kilruddery 

    Feeling like royalty? The stunning gardens at Kilruddery House in Bray, a suburb of Dublin along the coast in County Wicklow are a must-visit for any nature lover. 

    Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and enchanting walkways, explore the Walled Garden and 17th century gardens, and let the beauty transport you to another world. 

    Kilruddery Gardens are free to visit and open from April to October so a trip to Dublin in May is the perfect time to plan a visit here.

    Dublin in May - Kilruddery Gardens

    9. Cycle the Grand Canal to Harold's Cross

    Fancy a two-wheeled adventure? The Grand Canal runs through the heart of Dublin and features an extensive cycle path well protected from traffic. 

    Dublin in May - Swans on the Grand Canal

    Rent a bike from one of the Dublin Bikes stations dotted around the city and then take a ride to Harold's Cross, a village within the city that is most well known as an area where public executions took place in the 18th century. The area may actually have been named after the local gallows. 

    Fortunately, today, all you'll find are charming shops and restaurants including our favorite cafe: Southbank. 

    Dublin in May - Coffee and a croissant at Southbank in Harold's CrossDublin in May - Avo Toast at Southbank

     back to 'at a glance'

    What to do in Dublin in May if it Rains

    Weather is always a gamble in Dublin (at any time of year). If you get unlucky and encounter a spell of wet weather, I've got you covered with plenty ideas of things to do in Dublin in May if it rains.

    10. Visit Kilmainham Gaol

    Unravel the turbulent history of Ireland within these chilling prison walls. Imagine the whispers of revolutionaries and feel the weight of their struggles. Kilmainham Gaol is a must-visit for history buffs.

    Dublin in the rain: Kilmainham Gaol

    11. Explore the Chester Beatty Museum

    Escape the rain and embark on a global cultural odyssey on the grounds of Dublin Castle at the Chester Beatty Museum. From ancient Egyptian papyrus to Japanese woodblock prints, this museum houses a mind-boggling collection of artifacts that will transport you across continents and centuries.

     The Chester Beatty Museum is most well-known for their collection of historic bibles and other religious texts and is one of my favorite Dublin hidden gems.

    Dublin in May - Chester Beatty Museum

    12. Go Whiskey Tasting at Roe and Co.

    Let's be honest, sometimes a rainy day calls for a little liquid sunshine. And what better way to brighten your spirits (pun intended) than with a whiskey tasting at the swanky Roe & Co Distillery? 

    Sample their award-winning drams, learn about the art of distillation, and emerge feeling warm and fuzzy – inside and out. Roe and Co. is one of my favorite places to go whiskey tasting in Dublin.

    Dublin in May - Copper pot stills at Roe and Co distillery

    13. Pop Into Guinness Open Gate

    Guinness Open Gate is Diageo's answer to the craft beer revolution. Escape the rain and sample craft beers that will prove that Guinness is not just about the iconic stout. 

    Feeling hungry? You can also order bar bites to accompany the brews.

    Dublin in May - Beer glasses at Open Gate Brewery

    14. Visit the Museum of Archaeology

    The National Museum of Archaeology is one of Dublin's many free museums. Here, the architecture rivals the exhibits. Enter the museum through a grand domed chamber filled with light. 

    Explore treasures dug up over the centuries. Many of the finds on display date back to Viking times. 

    The most striking exhibit for me was the Bog Bodies. A number of sets of human remains dating back to the Iron Age were discovered in peat bogs around the country. The nature of that environment means that the Bog Bodies are extremely well-preserved. 

    Dublin in May - Banister inside the Museum of Archaeology

    15. Listen to Music at Cobblestone

    Embrace the Irish spirit and soak up some live tunes at Cobblestone, a traditional pub located in Smithfield. Renowned for its authentic Irish music sessions, this is the place to be for toe-tapping rhythms, lively singalongs, and a pint (or two) of the good stuff.

    Dublin in May - Music at Cobblestone

    16. Catch a show at the Gaiety

    Catch a show at the iconic Gaiety Theatre and experience the best of Irish wit and storytelling. From hilarious comedies to heartwarming dramas, there's something for everyone at this historic venue. Plus, the opulent interior is a treat in itself.

    Dublin in May - Gaiety Theatre

    17. Catch a Musical at Bord Gais Theatre

    Belt out your favorite tunes in the stunning Bord Gais Theatre. From beloved classics like Les Misérables to brand new musicals, this modern venue promises an unforgettable night of entertainment, rain or shine. 

    Located in Dublin's Grand Canal Dock, the theatre was designed by Daniel Libeskind and is an architectural treat to behold.

    Dublin in May - Plaza outside the Bord Gais Energy Theatre

    18. Visit the Irish Georgian Society

    Immerse yourself in the elegant world of Georgian Dublin at the Irish Georgian Society. The IGS office is located in the heart of Dublin City on South William Street. 

    We popped in on a rainy afternoon to explore some of the exhibits and artifacts on display. the Irish Georgian Society also sponsors events and lectures so check to see if there is something of interest on during your May visit to Dublin. 

    Explore restored 18th-century townhouse, learn about the lives of the city's wealthy residents, and imagine yourself strolling down cobbled streets in powdered wigs and silk gowns.

    Dublin in May - Portraits inside the Irish Georgian Society

    19. Taste Vino at O'Brien's Wine Fair at Dublin Castle

    Escape the rain and indulge in a touch of luxury at O'Brien's Wine Fair (usually hosted in Dublin Castle). Sip exquisite wines from around the world and soak up the atmosphere of this historic setting.

    20. Explore Epic Ireland

    Dive into the fascinating story of Irish emigration through cutting-edge exhibits and immersive experiences. Prepare to be moved, inspired, and connected to the Irish diaspora around the world.

    Dublin in May - EPIC Ireland Exhibit

    21. Catch a Performance at Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar

    Embark on an artistic adventure in the heart of Temple Bar. This renowned center showcases innovative performances, exhibitions, and events, guaranteed to challenge your perspectives and spark your imagination.

    Dublin in May - Performance at Project Arts Centre

    Where to Stay in Dublin in May

    I lived in Dublin for 12 years, so I haven't availed of that many hotels here. However, I can personally recommend the following hotels based on my experience staying there:

    • The Wilder Townhouse is a boutique hotel that was once a home for retired governesses. It's situated in a 19th century brick building just a short walk to The National Concert Hall and St. Stephen's Green. The breakfast here is outstanding, the beds are comfy, and the rooms are named after former residents.
    • The Grand Canal Hotel is a more budget-friendly option with a craft beer bar called The Gasworks attached. It's close to the Google offices in Grand Canal Dock.
    • The Charlemont Hilton is conveniently located along the Grand Canal and within easy walking distance of Dublin City Centre, Ranelagh, and Rathmines. I found the hotel room to be well-insulated from noise and I got a great night's sleep.
    Facade of the Marker Hotel in Dublin
    I can also recommend a few other hotels that my family has stayed in:
    • The Marker is a posh hotel with a fabulous rooftop bar in Grand Canal Dock.
    • The Dylan is a boutique hotel in a historic building in Ballsbridge. It's walking distance to Dublin City Centre and just around the corner from the vibrant shops, restaurants, and pubs on historic Baggot Street.
    • The Schoolhouse Hotel is truly unique and is located in a historic school house. It's also home to one of my favorite pubs in Ireland.
    In my experience, the best neighborhoods to stay in Dublin depend on your preferences. If you want to be in the heart of it all, stay around Stephen's Green. Ballsbridge or Grand Canal Dock is a good choice if you want to be central, but not too central.

    In general, areas south of the River Liffey are considered more "posh" and areas north of the Liffey can be a bit edgier. I don't recommend staying in Temple Bar (it will be noisy!)

    There are a number of hostels and cheaper accommodation along Gardiner Street on the North Side. This is definitely an edgier part of town and I wouldn't recommend it.

    Getting to Dublin in May

    Dublin Airport is extremely well connected to the UK and Europe thanks to Aer Lingus and Ryanair. You'll find a wide range of point-to-point connections to get you to Ireland.

    For transatlantic flights to the US, Dublin has the advantage of having US pre-clearance. This means that you can clear US customs and immigration in Dublin Airport, so you can go straight to your connection or to baggage claim when you arrive in the US.

    To get to Dublin from Asia, India, or Australia/New Zealand, I recommend flying through Dubai on Emirates. I've personally flown Emirates business class and Emirates first class, and I highly recommend the experience.

    Skyscanner Banner to Book Flights

    You can also connect to Dublin from almost anywhere in the world via airports like Lisbon, Amsterdam Schiphol, Frankfurt, Paris, or Istanbul.

    To get from Dublin Airport to the city center, you can take a taxi for about €30. There is a surcharge for transportation late at night and on Sundays. The Aircoach or Dublin Bus are more economical options. Unfortunately, Dublin Airport is not served by rail.

    Should You Visit Dublin in May?

    There are pros and cons to visiting Dublin at any time of year. In May, I see the pros as:
    1. You have a higher probability of nice weather
    2. The days are long so you'll have plenty of daylight to explore
    3. May is proper "shoulder season". You may find some deals on flights and accommodation since May is not peak tourist season because kids are still in school.
    Dublin in May - Flowers in the Park
    The cons of visiting Dublin in May are:
    1. It can get crowded in Dublin City Centre when there is a cruise ship in port. 
    2. The weather can be unpredictable (but this is true at any time of year if I'm honest)
    Are you planning a trip to Ireland and trying to decide what time of year to visit? Check out month-by-month ideas of things to do in Dublin based on my personal experience:
    Dublin in August

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    Is Dublin Worth Visiting in MayThings to do in Dublin in May


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    Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Dublin in May: 21 Fun Things to See, Do & Eat
    Dublin in May: 21 Fun Things to See, Do & Eat
    Discover things to do in Dublin in May. Find out if a May trip to Dublin is worth doing. Enjoy the best of Dublin in the Spring.
    Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog