May in Ireland starts with a traditional May Day public holiday, which falls this year on Monday 2nd May.
With its roots in the traditional Celtic festival ‘Lá Bealtaine’, this day marks the start of summer across the country. Traditionally the festival would have been celebrated in villages with the lighting of bonfires and other rituals to protect crops and cattle. For Ireland, May Day is also known as Labour Day and many still participate in parades and demonstrations campaigning for workers’ rights and social justice.
May is also the start of festival season in Ireland, with cultural, culinary and sporting events taking place throughout the month.
21st – 29th May – International Literary Festival
Nine days of events featuring great writers from across the world and performances celebrating Dublin’s historic and contemporary connection with literature.
29th May – Classic Car Show
Classic Car Show at Wells House & Gardens in Co. Wexford is a hugely popular annual event for motoring enthusiasts. It’s also a great family day out with entertainment and live music alongside the classic and contemporary cars.
Several food festivals across the country celebrate some of the best of Ireland’s regional produce and culinary traditions. Foodies should head to the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine in Co. Cork, The Killarney Beerfest in Co. Kerry and the Carrigaholt Oyster and Traditional Music Festival in Co. Clare.
May is also a great month for music in Ireland. Bruce Springsteen (27th May), Josh Groban (29th May) and Busted (31st May) are among those playing in Dublin this month. Major movie releases include Captain America: Civil War, Angry Birds, X-Men Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass.