Insider Tips

Making merry in May: what's on in Dublin?

By Visit DublinDublin's Official Tourism SiteBIO
Tweet us @visitdublinCLOSE

As the May sunshine breaks through the clouds, Dubliners are gearing up for an action-packed summer. Make each day of the month count with our guide to the best music, comedy, arts and outdoor activities happening in the capital, from modern dance to kitesurfing.

Making merry in May: what's on in Dublin?

There's a feeling of excitement in the air as Dublin gears up for summer. At no point is this more obvious than during the month of May, the capital's chance to blow off the cobwebs of winter and spring – and show locals and visitors the kind of fun it's capable of.

There are fantastic gigs in landmark venues, stimulating exhibitions to make you think, and comedy nights to make you gasp with laughter. Choose from our curated shortlist of what's on in Dublin to squeeze every ounce of enjoyment out of the city's May madness.

Film and theatre

1. The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival 2017, an annual event celebrating the contributions of gay people to the theatre, kicked off on 1st May. In its 14th year, the festival will be reaching a milestone with its 4000th performance, and it's celebrating with a packed programme. You'll see plays about gay traveller boxing champions, lesbian gangsters in London's East End and Mormon missionaries – amongst many other things.

2. Get a glance at the next generation of Irish actors and writers when the Little Shadow Theatre Company showcase their best in The New Irish Playbook. Running in the Smock Alley Theatre from 15th to 20th May, ticket prices are a bargain at €10 to €15 for what are sure to be stellar performances. 

Making merry in May: what's on in Dublin?
Making merry in May: what's on in Dublin?

Music and dance

1. For 15 years now the Dublin Dance Festival has been bringing some of the world's best dancers and choreographers to the city and the 2017 festival will continue this tradition. Inspiring performances, workshops and discussion forums will all be part of the exciting programme of events held in various venues throughout the city from 18th to 28th May.

2. Set your toes tapping to the sounds of Irish music at the Skerries Traditional Music Weekend from 19th to 21st May. Catch a session, join a workshop or dance on the streets to some of Ireland's best loved musicians at this festival that highlights the great and good of Irish music and dance.

Art and photography

1. It's impossible to overstate the impact that Hot Press Magazine has had on the Irish music scene and this weekend, that impact will be celebrated at the HP 40 Covers Exhibition. Leading up to the magazine's 40th anniverary in June, the show creates a detailed landscape featuring the musicians, film stars, celebrities and others who have taken centre stage in Ireland.

2. Explore Japanese art with a visit to the Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle; from May to August take in The Art of Friendship: Japanese Surimono Prints exhibition. Created in the late 18th and 19th century as gifts for friends, short verses composed at poetry gatherings were combined with designs prepared by artists, resulting in stunning objects providing a glimpse of times gone by in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Making merry in May: what's on in Dublin?
Making merry in May: what's on in Dublin?


1. Be part of a unique comedy gig when you attend the Comedy Showhouse 2017 in the Project Arts Centre, kicking off on 29th May. Join some of Ireland's famous comedians as they live record sketches and stories for the radio. The showcase features household names such as Fiona Looney, Fred Cooke and Sean Hughes, all for the reasonable price of €5-€10.

2. Prepare to be amused as one of Ireland's most popular comedians, PJ Gallagher, takes the stage in the Pavillion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire on the 25th of May. You're sure to be in stitches as he brings his own slant on current affairs and life in general to this brand new stand-up show.

Hit the great outdoors

1. Dollymount Beach is the place to be on the weekend of 20th May, as The Battle for the Bay takes over the Strand for an epic 11th year in a row. Watch the expert kitesurfers compete, try some stand-up paddleboarding or just enjoy the atmosphere at this extreme watersports event.

2. Take your pets out for the day to Smithfield and indulge in all things fur-related at the Dublin City Council Pets in the City event on Sunday 14th May. With free entry, loads of animal-themed stalls and a "Scrufts" competition (the scruffy version of Crufts), this is a fun day out for the whole family, especially the four-legged members.

3. Yoga in the Park is back in beautiful Ranelagh at Dartmouth Square every Saturday across the summer. Find your inner peace with some gentle stretching in the great outdoors. Be guided through a 75-minute yoga class, the perfect start to a Zen state of mind as you make the most of your weekend.

Making merry in May: what's on in Dublin?