Ready for a party? You’d want to be if you’re planning on coming here. There’s always a festival around the bend in Ireland, usually closely followed by bunting, dancing, eating, singing and most definitely laughing.
Scanning our calendar, or indeed walking into our major towns half the time, you’d probably think we put on a festival at the slightest excuse.
Strawberries in season? Festival! declares Wexford.
Oyster season ahead? Festival, nod and in unison!
Are those flowers blooming? We’d only have to throw a .
So you think you’re funny, Kilkenny? “Let’s do a !” is Kilkenny’s punchline!
There are festivals for walking, racing, families, foodies and flowers. What possible excuse do we have for this year-round revelry of celebration, and on occasion, silliness? Well… why not?
Only in Ireland
It may smack as one of those 1 am ideas written on a bar coaster, but come to think of it, crowning a goat as king of a fair is probably one of our best excuses for a festival yet. is one of Ireland’s oldest festivals (officially recorded in 1613), squeezing storytelling, horse fairs, fireworks and a goat coronation (yes, we’re serious) into an eye-opening 3 days.
We’d like to imagine the germ of Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival came from a similar coaster, one that said ‘farmers seek wives – festival?’. More eloquent words are rhymed and dined at , and myths, tales, poetry and song along with it. While the Rose of Tralee combines a sweetly traditional pageant with our just as traditional need for a carnival, concerts, markets and parade. We defy you to resist the tears as the young Rose gets crowned – we got a bit weepy watching the goat.
Eat, drink and be musical
And then, there was light. Strobe lights.
Wandering wide-eyed into a fairy-lit Rave in the Woods at ; walking, surf board in hand, sand in toes, straight into acoustic strumming at Sea Sessions; sliding that first silky oyster down your throat after a gulp of malty port on a crowded pier – that is festival fever.
If your festival experience isn’t complete without your ears ringing days later, take your festival pick from our big hitters, , , , the indie music festival Hard Working Class Heroes, Glasgowbury or .
Families can find their cozy niche at the , or .
We can be traditional…
In perfect harmony, trad music and festivals go together like a drum and snare. At , listen to traditional music and learn to perform it yourself at one of the workshops. The World Fleadh features sean nós singing and ceílís, while the Tulla Trad Music Festival is a smaller, sweeter affair in the West.
Féile an Earraigh is for those who like their trad with a side of rock, country and even blues. Wrap it all up with the , a festival celebrating the life of the famous traditional musician Eddie Butcher.
We know, you’re dizzy with choice. Sit down there for a moment and steady yourself.
You probably want to know when the ‘season’ is, when all this kicks off and when it kicks the bucket. Well, it doesn’t. It’s year-round, four-season fun. spends spring on films, books and literature. turns up the heat during the hotter months, when it packs a summer season with film, arts and horseracing festivals. Northern Ireland makes festival hay as the sun shines, namely the Walled City Music Festival, , and Belfast City Blues Festival. ‘Summer lovin’ happens so faaaast’, sings our blog, which is good since come autumn, Dublin storms in with no less than ten rounds in its . Wexford Opera Festival and Cork Jazz won’t let October go without a fight, though. Londonderry throws the Banks of the Foyle festival for Halloween; the usual fireworks and parades, only with zombies. Surely we’d have a rest in winter? Nope. December is Christmas markets, carolling, ice-skating and Santa’s knee.
Having a lull in the festival calendar? There’s no excuse for that.