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May 30, 2013

Let the Festival Season Begin!

by Julianne Mooney

10-press-youth-carnivalI’m not sure where you are in the world, but here in Dublin, Ireland, the sun is shining and a long weekend lies before us. Everyone is walking about in t-shirts and smiles plastered across their faces. Summer is finally here.

The Irish know how to party and this weekend and indeed all summer, there’s a festival happening in almost every town around the country. Irish music, dance, comedy, maritime, horse fairs, country fairs, you name it, we’re celebrating it. As a nation, we’ve a huge appetite for festivals and events and no matter what your ‘thing’ is, I’m pretty sure there’s a festival out there for you.

Over the next two weeks I’ll be talking a lot about festivals – Saturday morning, June 1st, I’ll be chatting with Dave Fanning on 2FM (between 11 -12pm) about what’s going on around the country this weekend. Thursday 6 June, on Ireland AM, I’ll be chatting about Summer Festivals around Europe and then on Monday, 10th June, foodies will have to tune in for the Food Festivals around Ireland slot on Ireland AM!

To get you in the mood for the long weekend, here’s just a taster of what’s going on around Ireland this June Bank Holiday Weekend. For lots more festival mentions check out this website or Festivals of Ireland website.

Take your pick and enjoy!


The Sky Cats Laughs Comedy Festival, Kilkenny

Dates: Thursday May 30th – Monday June 3rd

Tickets: From €10 upwards

The Cat Laughs Festival delivers a wicked programme of comedy events every year and this year’s no exception. The weekend promises much laughter with some big names featuring in the programme, including, Aidan Bishop, Andrew Maxwell, Barry Murphy, Jimmy Cricket and Dylan Moran with a nice mix of some witty up and coming stars!


Listowel Writers’ Week, Listowel, Co. Kerry

Dates: Wednesday May 29th – Sunday June 2nd

This is Listowel’s 42nd year hosting the writers’ week and it just seems to get better and better each year. Five days of literature, culture, art, theatre and music for young and old. International and national authors, poets, actors and musicians unite to bring one of the liveliest festivals of the summer. The programme is packed with some great names – Thomas Keneally, Nadeem Aslam, Gene Kerrigan, Colum McCann to name just a few!

FAMILIES will want to check out:

Bloom In The Park, Phoenix Park Dublin

Dates: Thursday May 30th – Monday June 3rd

Tickets: €20 for day/weekend

Mums, Dads, kiddies, grannies, foodies and gardening fanatics alike will be making their way to the Phoenix Park this weekend for Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family event. Glean some inspiration from the show gardens, dine al fresco from one of the many food stalls and the great thing is – kids go free!

Greystones Arts Festival, Co. Wicklow

Dates: Friday May 31st – Sunday 2nd June

Tickets: Many events free of charge

Down in the ‘Garden of Ireland’ the streets of Greystones will be abuzz with street theatre, dancers, live music, face painting and some dramatic fireworks. Children can test their balance at the Junior Stilt Walking Workshop, watch a puppet show, while adults can find their rhythm at the African drums workshop. Ok, so I’m biased as I’m from Greystones, but my sister promises me, it’s one of the best summer festivals in Wicklow!

Galway Sea Festival, Galway Bay

Dates: Friday May 31st – Monday June 3rd

Tickets: Many events free of charge

This year sees the first year of the Galway Sea Festival, a weekend of beach safaris, seafood trails, and sandcastle competitions. What’s not to love? You can try your hand at taster sessions of wind-surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming in the Bay, and then retreat to the bars for some live music and dance. The hungry will want to follow the food trail around the cities many restaurants and the Galway Hookers will be part of an eventful regatta.

Ocean to City, Cork City

Dates: Sat June 1st – 10th

Down South, Cork is celebrating their maritime history both on and off shore with a festival filled with family fun at the Ocean to City Festival. Jump aboard a dragon boat or currach, explore the bay on a kayak trip, join acrobats and clowns at the Circus Factory, join the maritime treasure hunt or chill out and watch Moby Dick at the Half Moon Theatre.

Tattersalls International Horse Trials & Country Fair, Ratoath Co. Meath

Dates: Thursday May 30th to Sunday June 2nd

Tickets: €5 and children are free

I have to admit, I’d not heard of this festival until I got a note from a PR company on it, but having read up on it, I think it sounds pretty great! Known as ‘Tatts’ this festival is not just for horse lovers. The children’s area will be packed with things to keep the little ones happy – bouncing castle, buckaroo, face painting, dog show, pony rides and a pet farm. Foodies can gorge on goodies from any one of the manyfood stalls and dressage, cross-country and show jumping will be taking place over the weekend.


Forbidden Fruit, Royal Hospital Kilmainham

Dates: Saturday June 1st & Sunday June 2nd

Tickets: €54.50 (Day) €99.50 (weekend)

Four stages, over 8 hours of music and some top bands bode well for this year’s Forbidden Fruit. The main act on Saturday is Kasabian, with other acts including Crystal Castles and Lee Scratch Perry, while Sunday is headlined by Primal Scream and includes Woodkid and Daphne. The comedy stage features the likes of Kevin McAleer and David McSavage.

The Rory Gallagher Tribute Music Festival, Ballyshannon, Donegal

Dates: Thursday 30th May – Monday 3rd June

Tickets: €15

Said to be Ireland’s largest Rock ‘n Blues Festival, the streets, bars and tents in Ballyshannon will be rocking all weekend. Mick Pyro Blues Band (From Republic of Loose), Nine Below Zero featuring Rory’s band members and lots more will be entertaining the crowds this weekend.

The Doonbeg International Jazz Festival, Co. Clare

Dates: Friday May 31st – Monday June 3rd

Tickets: Free of Charge

For those who feel like swaying to a bit of jazz or leaping about the dance floor to swing, then head to Doonbeg in Co. Clare for the International Jazz festival. Groups from home and abroad will be taking over the town for four full days.

Some more to check out:

Carrick-On-Shannon 400 Festival

Riverstown Vintage Festival

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