The chance of sunshine
Ireland’s weather is notoriously wet and overcast, with sunshine a rarity. Visiting in spring heightens your chances of experiencing the euphoria that descends during a spell of good weather in Ireland, as May and June are officially the country’s sunniest months. When the sun shines, Dublin feels like a different city – the parks instantly fill with sun-worshippers enjoying picnics and soaking up the rays, and it seems like everyone is in a good mood.
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The Allianz GAA National Football League (February–April)
Ireland’s second most important inter-county Gaelic football competition, the Allianz National Football League runs from February to April, consisting of matches between the senior county teams of Ireland. For 2017, more games will be televised than ever in the history of the league, meaning the pubs of Dublin will be filled with fans enjoying the coverage and associated rivalry.
MusicTown (April 7th–17th)
The year 2017 marks the third year of the MusicTown festival, highlighting Dublin’s impressive musical history and rich traditions. This year’s festival will see 11 days of harmonious events take place across the city – including the first concert of the inaugural Dublin Choral Festival, a musical walking tour, and performances by everyone from Craig David to Mary Black.
Dublin Dance Festival (May 18th–28th)
As the country that brought Riverdance to the world – one of the most successful dance productions in history – Ireland has a deserved reputation for quality choreography. Every May, the Dublin Dance Festival fulfils its mission to inspire and promote contemporary dance, especially the work of emerging Irish artists, premiering new pieces and fostering creativity.
The Guinness PRO12 Final (May 27th)
Spring sees the culmination of the Guinness PRO12, one of Europe’s three major professional rugby league competitions. During the tournament, sides from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy compete for places in the top-tier European Rugby Champions Cup. This year’s final will take place on May 27th at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. Three Irish teams feature among the top four in the current standings, with Leinster topping the table.
International Literature Festival Dublin (May 20th–29th)
Dating back to 1998, the International Literature Festival Dublin is billed as ‘Ireland’s premier literary event’. Bringing together lovers of the written word, this event is a must-visit for budding novelists. As part of the 2016 festival, international writers like Chris Kraus, Juan Gabriel Vásquez and Naomi Klein discussed their work alongside Irish authors such as Anakana Schofield.
Bloom in the Park (June 1st–5th)
Bloom in the Park is Ireland’s largest garden festival, based on UK events like the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, but it’s not just for those with green fingers. Taking place over the June Bank Holiday weekend, the festival is spread across 70 acres in Phoenix Park – Europe’s largest capital city park – and covers the realms of food, drink and horticulture.
Colour Dash (June 11th)
A fun run for the Irish Cancer Society, the annual Colour Dash is one of Dublin’s most fun – and colourful – charity events. Throughout the five-kilometre (3.1-mile) course through Phoenix Park, walkers and joggers are sprayed with organic paint in different colours, representing different aspects of cancer – for example, purple represents cancer survivorship.
Bloomsday Festival (June 11th–15th)
Falling on the date depicted in James Joyce’s seminal novel Ulysses, Bloomsday is the yearly celebration of the life of one of Ireland’s most famous authors. To mark the day, Dubliners dress up in costumes from the book, attend readings and visit Dublin landmarks mentioned in the text. In recent years, Bloomsday has expanded into a festival over several days, with events like Joycean pub crawls and outdoor feasts being held.
Taste of Dublin (June 15th–18th)
Described as ‘a culinary wonderland’, the Taste of Dublin Festival brings together the finest restaurants and purveyors of food and drink in the city in the picturesque surroundings of the Iveagh Gardens. Attendees can partake in cooking demos, tastings and masterclasses. Featured restaurants for this year include Avenue by Nick Munier and hipster Temple Bar crab shack Klaw.