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Festivals in Ireland
2nd - 6th June 2016Irelands favourite festival, The Cat Laughs Festival is an acclaimed comedy festival in the atmospheric setting of the charming and intimate medieval city of Kilkenny. The festival takes place on the June bank holiday weekend and was founded in 1994 in response to the burgeoning wealth of Irish comic talent. Since then the festival has grown from a small event comprising of a handful of shows to an internationally acclaimed festival. It showcases the very best in Irish and international comedy acts. The world-class programme blends renowned comic stars as well as newcomers and break-through acts. The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival attracts in excess of 30,000 visitors to Kilkenny and guarantees five days of fun and laughter!, ...read more
Guinness Cork Jazz Festival takes place in late October each year in Ireland's scenic southern capital of Cork. It is one of Ireland's flagship arts and cultural events, attracting visitors from all over the world. The festival has gone from strength to strength with a outstanding programme of world class jazz and jazz related sounds in over 90 venues. It is renowned as one of the best jazz festivals in Europe. Over the years the many of the top names in jazz have featured including Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Corea , Herbie Hancock , Dizzy Gillespie and dozens more. There's a superb music trail offering music free of entrance charges and a buzzing Festival Club - plus street entertainment, workshops, lectures, a jazz choir, a Jazz Camp for student musicians, and lots of parti...read more
Founded in 1998 the Dublin Writers’ Festival gathers many of the world’s best writers to discuss, debate, delight, provoke and enthral their audiences. Labelled by the media as ‘boasting a stunning array of top international literary talent’ and ‘the country’s most successful and easily the best annual literary event’ The Dublin Writers’ Festival will surely impress you! Given that Dublin was recently designated as UNESCO the City of Literature in 2010 it is no wonder it was chosen as the location for this superb literary line up. ...read more
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (Festival of music in Ireland) has been running for over 60 years across Ireland but crosses the border to Derry for the first time in 2013 . The goal of the Fleadh Cheoil has been to establish standards in Irish traditional music through competition. There are various stages to the competition. In Ireland there are county and provincial competitions leading to the All-Ireland Fleadh . Also it attracts overseas competitors as Britain and North America have regional stages of qualification for the All-Ireland . The Fleadh has developed as a mainly competitive event but it attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. The fleadh is an exciting week encompassing competitions ,sessions ,ceili bands, concerts ,pageants ,marching bands, drama and exhibitions all saluting the best of Irish Traditional culture. ...read more
Every September since 1954, Clarenbrige in Galway has come alive with seafood & oysters as it celebrates the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, the most internationally recognised food festival in Ireland and the world's longest running International Oyster Festival. Any why is the Clarenbridge Oyster so famous? Well, quiet simply for the taste – it’s unrivaled. Nowhere else can match the perfect conditions that exist in Clarenbridge for growing and harvesting Oysters – a sheltered bay, a perfect ratio of fresh and salt water and added to this the skill and knowledge of the community . Throughout the festival, a host of tantalising events to whet your appetite will take place throughout Galway.Festival-goers will have an action-packed weekend, including: an electrifying musical line up, celebrity cook-offs, quality Irish seafood, the National Oyster Opening Competition, the World Oyster Opening Championship, tantalising meals in Galway's best restaurants, the glamorous black-tie gala ball, a colourful parade through the streets of Galway, and plenty of fun and laughter. Sample the world-famous Galway Bay oysters and the legendary craic of the West of Ireland at one of the biggest events on Ireland's social calendar. ...read more
Ireland's biggest and most famous racing festival is held in Ballybrit Racecourse, Galway during the last week of July every year and involves seven days of unrivalled action. This year’s festival will run from 29th July until 04th August 2013. Some 250,000 people attend the Galway Races throughout the week and is a joyous, fun-filled seven days where people might leave with a few less Euros than they had when they arrived but they also leave with having made new friends and a great memories! There are 49 races available in the 2013 Galway Races Festival betting held at the Galway Festival over its seven day duration, the total Prize money on offer this year is in excess of €2 million for the first time. The Blue Riband race is the famous Galway Plate, a race so central to the history of Galway races. It takes place on Wednesday, the third day of the meeting and it will be the race that attracts by far the most media attention and certainly much of the Galway Festival betting. Galway Festival Ladies Day is on the fourth day of the Festival and it is one of the most colourful. ...read more
Now entering its 40th year, the Kilkenny Arts Festival was originally founded by a group of classical music enthusiasts. In later years the festival has broadened its programming and you can now indulge in a feast of artistic pursuits including classical music ,theatre ,dance , literature, visual art and craft. Many events take place in the historic venues of the lovely medieval city including Kilkenny Castle, St .Canice’s Cathedral and the Black Abbey. So come to Kilkenny, be part of the festival and experience the Arts in a way you will never forget! Join us from the 9th - 18th August 2013 and experience this unique celebration. ...read more
The world famous Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival draws huge crowds of over 20,000 people to the busy pubs and hotels every year during the whole month of September. They come for love, dancing, music, racing and a good time, and they don’t leave disappointed! Matchmaking is one of Ireland's oldest traditions and a good deal of it has taken place in Lisdoonvarna during September and early October. The town developed into a tourist centre in the 18th-century when a well-respected Limerick surgeon discovered the positive effects of its mineral waters. People travelled from all over Ireland to bathe in, and drink the mineral waters. The water that was rich in iron, sulphur and magnesium gave relief from the symptoms of diseases such as rheumatism and glandular fever. It was due to the popularity of these mineral springs and the huge amount of people going there that led to the Lisdoonvarna "matchmaking tradition". September became the peak month of the holiday season and with the harvest safely in, bachelor farmers flocked to Lisdoonvarna in search of a wife. Today, the only true Matchmaker left is Willie Daly, who runs a pub in Ennistymon and during the festivities you’ll find him and his precious notebook of love-seeking profiles, in his ‘office’ (aka the snug of The Matchmaker bar). All ages and nationalities queue at his table hoping that he will help find them a mate. Nowadays, Lisdoonvarna's annual festival has grown into Europe's largest single's event. It’s not all about looking for a spouse - they also come in search of a good time. For the month of September, dances run daily and carry on into the wee hours of the morning. Set dancing exhibitions are also a feature of the event and there’s live Irish music in most pubs, although getting to the bar can be quite a task, but don't worry or hurry, because the music carries on until the early hours!...read more
Listowel Writers’ Week is an international acclaimed 5-day literary festival devoted to bringing together writers and audiences at unique and innovative events in the historic and intimate surroundings of Listowel, County Kerry. At the core of this yearly celebration is a commitment to promoting and developing literary talent, reinforced by an organisation that values inclusivity, civic responsibility and partnership....read more
The National Ploughing festival exhibits a cross – section of everything associated with rural Ireland. From the national ploughing finals in tractor, vintage and horse ploughing, an 80 acre trade show of agriculture machinery, lifestyle ,livestock, leisure, forestry, bio-energy, garden, home, food fair, craft village. With over 300 competitions and 900 exhibitions showcasing every aspect of country life in Ireland there is something for everyone at this event. Leave this festival with a real taste of the Irish way of life! ...read more
Puck Fair is one of Ireland's oldest festivals, celebrating 400 years in 2013 with a four day festival. Only in Ireland would a wild mountain goat be crowned King and reign over a town for 3 days? Killorglin - where a goat is King and the people act the goat! The first day of Puck Fair has for 400 years been called the Gathering Day which makes Puck Fair the original and oldest Gathering Festival in Ireland. Attend the unique coronation ceremony & parade and you can enjoy free day & night concerts, storytelling, traditional music sessions & dancers, music & dance workshops, midnight madness fireworks & the Horse Fair, as part of many hours hours of free family entertainment. The carnival atmosphere includes street traders, street artists, craft fair, buskers, face painting, pet show, bonny babies, puppet theatre and music sessions. ...read more
The Rose of Tralee International Festival is one of Ireland's largest and longest running festivals. It features the selection of the Rose of Tralee, an international event that involves young women of Irish descent from Ireland and around the world. Every year more than 30 International Roses come to Tralee, supported by friends and family. All eyes are on the Roses, who travel from the UK, America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East and of course Ireland to compete for the coveted title of Rose of Tralee, the essence of which is based on the popular song of the same name. The festival comprises the Rose of Tralee selection, family carnival, fashion show and live concerts. The town's streets are transformed into a feast of parades, music, circus, funfair, markets and traditional Irish entertainment. Why not join the fun?...read more
17th March 2016Celebrate Irelands national holiday – the day when everybody is a little bit Irish! Saint Patrick's Day is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March, the anniversary of his death. It commemorates Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Saint Patrick's Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century and has gradually become a celebration of Irish culture in general. It is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland but it is also widely celebrated by the Irish Diaspora across the globe making it the most celebrated saints day in the world. Dublin is the host of the largest parade in Ireland with over 3000 performers an...read more
The Wexford Festival Opera is an opera festival that takes place in the town of Wexford in South-Eastern Ireland during the months of October and November. The Festival began under Tom Walsh and a group of opera lovers who quickly generated considerable interest by programming unusual and rare works, a typical festival staging three operas. This concept has persisted over the company's 61-year history under the direction of seven different Artistic Directors. From the beginning, the company embraced new and upcoming young singers, many of whom were Irish, but it also embraced new names from the international scene who made first appearances there. For sixty years now many hundreds of thousands of people have travelled to Wexford Festival Opera in search of artistic excellence and innovatio...read more
My recent trip was excellent! The voucher system worked out fairly well. I had made reservations at only our first two destinations as I wanted to be a bit flexible as to how long we stayed anywhere. Therefore, arriving in a town and then attempting to find anyone of these addresses was a bit challenging. All of the B&Bs we found were excellent, we even found very helpful people at those locations we didn't stay...making phone calls to find us accomodations...very helpful.
Thank you for all of you help, we had a wonderful time!
Susan, Chicago IL