In November 2015, my parents, sister and I traveled to Ireland and France. It was a lovely first time trip to Europe, but was interrupted by cold fall weather, some seasonal closures, and sadly, the Paris bombings. Read about that trip here.
In follow up to that trip, we returned in May 2017. I’ve broken my second trip to Ireland into several posts by location. For my first trip, I wrote everything together, to show a fast paced itinerary. Now, however, I want to focus on key areas. My second visit was more about savoring the places I visited, rather than attempting to cram as much as possible into as little time as imaginable.
The weather in May was astoundingly better than what we had experienced in November. As evidence, check out the sunny photo of Malahide Castle, just north of Dublin! Over 2 weeks in Ireland, we only experienced 2 rainy days, the rest being sunny or partly cloudy. Temps averaged around 60 Fahrenheit, although the sunny day at Malahide climbed over 70! I think every Dubliner turned out to the coast for that unique day, as the grounds at the castle were covered in picnicers and sunbathers, and the beaches were crawling. We drove through Howth after visiting Malahide, and found it so packed we didn’t even stop. It was a lovely seaside town, with many shops and restaurants, but there were literally lines down the streets for every restaurant, and no parking. I would try it again on a more typical weekday.
Aside from that one warm Sunday, we didn’t encounter any other overcrowding. In fact, I would highly recommend the spring shoulder season over the off season. It was slightly more expensive than travel in November, but the small cost difference was well worth it for the better weather and no seasonal closures. May was perfect for those reasons, but avoids the busier times of summer, which also have higher hotel rates and airfares.