2023 Festivals in Ireland
Festivals are something that Ireland does incredibly well, from music to food to sport or even farming, the summer months are littered with all types of events. Here we will take you through some of the highlights that we think you can't miss
Check out the following festivals
Galway Oyster Festival
The longest running festival of its kind in the world, from oyster shucking championships to live music, this famous festival has a lot to offer.Read More
Attend Lisdoonvarna's famous match making festival that's been taking place for over 200 years. It's a veritable love fest.Read More
National Ploughing Championship
One of the biggest outdoor exhibitions and cultural trade shows in Europe featuring a tented trade village, agricultural expositions and plenty of Irish food and cultural attractions.Read More
West Cork Literary Festival
Join literary greats from ireland and around the world for informative talks on the world of literature. This week long event has something for the whole family.Read More
Rose of Tralee
One of Ireland's most reputed festivals, witness Roses from around the world compete to win as well as live music and entertainment in beautiful County Kerry.Read More
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann
This is a festival celebrating one of Ireland's top cultural feats: Traditional Irish music. Watch as young musician battle it out for the ultimate prize.Read More
Galway International Oyster Festival | 2023
The Galway International Oyster Festival takes places on the last weekend of September each year. It's an incredibly popular event drawing in over 10,000 people on an annual basis and is high up on the list on Ireland's social calendar. Over the course of the weekend you'll be treated to a wide range of live entertainment, gourmet food, fine wine, endless amounts of Guinness and of course Oysters.
The festival has been taking place in Galway since 1954 and is second only to the St. Patrick's Day Festival in terms of international recognition. The full range of senses are in for a treat through the multitude of events taking place over the 3 days: seafood trails, foodie talks & tasting events in some of Galway's best restaurants, The Festival Marquee, a Mardi Gras style Gala Event along with family activities, live music, cooking demonstrations and more.
The oyster shucking championships, better known as 'The Oyster Olympics', are the main event over the weekend. Witness masters at work as competitors seemingly fly through bucket after bucket of oyster without mistake, you'll find this even more impressive if you try and open up an oyster over the weekend.
Taking a trip to Galway, arguably Ireland's most attractive city, to attend the Galway Oyster Festival will put you in Galway as the summer winds down and there's plenty to do. If you're planning to come to Galway you should check out our handy Top 10 Guide which is perfect for filling out your itinerary.
For more information and ticket prices check out the official website for the Galway International Oyster Festival.
Lisdoonvarna Match Making Festival 2023
Lisdoonvarna is a small spa town in Ireland, home to well under 1,000 residents. But each September, more than 40,000 eligible Irish farmers descend on this little village. This matchmaking festival is Europe’s largest singles event, and it has been in the making for more than 200 years. It’s a veritable love fest.
During the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, romantic hopefuls meet up under the guidance of local love guru, Willie Daly. He’s a third-generation matchmaker, and many say that he is the last of his kind in Ireland. He’s one of a long line of men who both trade horses and broker marriages – an unlikely but not entirely inconceivable combination.
Matchmaking is an ancient tradition in Ireland. It began in Lisdoonvarna after the town became famous in the late 1700s for its mineral springs. In those days, lonely farmers would caravan down to the town in September, after all of their crops had been brought in for the year. Local matchmakers introduced them to eligible candidates, and a robust tradition was born.
Matchmaking: An Evolving Tradition in Ireland
Men greatly outnumber women at this event, and many of them really are farmers, even today. That said, women make a strong showing here. In the past few years, internationally acclaimed singer, Sinéad O’Connor, came in search of love. Willie Daly also says he’s currently being contacted by a number of Chinese nationals hoping to find love with an Irish farmer. It’s a worldwide event.
The matchmaking process has changed over the years. Daly explains that, centuries before, eligible men came with their mothers, who actually did most of the talking. Today, potential lovers meet at one of the daily dances staged for the entire month of September and the early part of October. These social events continue on until 2 a.m. each night, giving potential matches plenty of time to get to know each other.
National Ploughing Championships 2023
A real rural Ireland event
Every September, Ireland plays host to nearly 190,000 visitors at the National Ploughing Championships. Billed as one of the biggest outdoor exhibitions and cultural trade shows in Europe, the event features a tented trade village, a host of agricultural expositions and plenty of Irish food and cultural attractions.
The contest dates to 1931, when two friends found themselves in a dispute over which person’s county had the best ploughmen. A tradition was born, and the earliest contests were held on a 16-acre plot. Today, more than 700 acres – including all the land needed for ploughing, exposition space and parking.
The actual contest involves more than 330 competitors and stretches out over three days. Winners of this event go on to compete in European and international ploughing championships. The adjoining trade show focuses on farm machinery and other agricultural products, though this is only one facet of the grand-scale event.
In all, more than 1,100 exhibitors join the event, and the atmosphere they cultivate has a broad and international appeal. Other contests are also on the agenda, including a lamb sheering contest and sheep dog trials. Visitors also enjoy they food fair, craft village and celebrity cookery demonstrations. There’s also a fashion show, and in a separate competition, the most appropriately dressed lady and gent are awarded.
Connect with the National Ploughing Championships and read the latest updates about this year’s programmes through Facebook.
The Rose of Tralee 2023
The Rose of Tralee Festival is one of Ireland's largest and longest running festivals having begun in 1957. It is an international competition that's celebrated among Irish communities across the world. The main focus of the festival is the selection of the Rose of Tralee which brings young women of Irish descent from around the world to County Kerry to attempt to wow the judges with their personality, talents and charm.
The festival celebrates the best of Irish culture and exudes a party atmosphere for the duration of the festival. The festival also includes street entertainment, carnival, live concerts, theatre, circus, markets, funfair, fireworks and our internationally renowned Rose Parades.
The 2015 street carnival line-up includes Hometown, Stereo Kicks, Hudson Taylor, Nathan Carter, Sharon Shannon, the Kilfenora Ceili Band and much much more!
If you make the trip to the Rose of Tralee make sure you put aside some time to explore everything that the beautiful County Kerry has to offer. It’s home to a plethora of scenic beauty ranging from majestic mountains to coastal sights. The Ring of Kerry is one of the most scenic drives in the country and shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the area.
West Cork Literary Festival 2023
The West Cork Literary Festival has evolved from a small gathering of writers in 1997 to a renowned festival at the forefront of the Irish literature world. The festival runs over the course of a week that sees international writers, well known Irish writers and emerging young talent descend upon Bantry spreading their knowledge and work to all who attend. The town of Bantry is based in a beautiful coastal region of West Cork where you'll find stunning views of the ocean, sandy beaches and plenty of water based activities.
In the Bantry Bookshop and Library you'll find daily readings that are increasingly popular and free of charge. These readings start in the morning and continue on into the evening hours catering for both adult and children. There are workshops and masterclasses that cover various genres, question and answer sessions, interviews with authors, book launches and much more. This is the perfect festival for those looking to further their writing ability through sound advice from some of the leading writers in the world. The writer in residence is available throughout the week to give one to one support on every aspect of being a writer.
There's childrens programmes running in various locations throughout the week catering for 4 to 14 year olds ideally timed so parents can attend other events.
As the day winds down and readings come to an end the post festival action kicks off including live music events in the pleasant pubs of Bantry.
To find out more about the festival and the schedule visit the official West Cork Literary Festival website.
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2023
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann - The Music Festival of Ireland
Translated, its name means The Music Festival of Ireland and music is exactly what's in store for those who attend. The Fleadh, as it's commonly known, is a competition for amateur musicians. Music has always been a huge part of Irish life throughout history and traditional Irish music is hugely popular on the west coast of Ireland. The Fleadh is a showcase of this tradition as well as a celebration of the individual skills of the competitors.
You don't have to be an expert on music to thoroughly enjoy this historic event. This week long festival, which takes place in County Sligo for the second year running, has plenty to entertain everyone. Aside from the enjoyable bouts between young musicians, the week consists of historical tours, films, seminars, street performances and markets. In the evening hours you'll probably find yourself in a small cosy pub enjoying a hearty sing-along with some of the top musicians in the country.
The Fleadh can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone, you don't have to be knowledgeable, you just have to have a set of ears and an interest which I'm sure for first time goers will have grown exponentially by the end of the festival. Still not sure? Check out this fantastic video which will have you planning your visit in no time.
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