So you’ve missed St Patrick’s Day again this year? Don’t worry! there are many wonderful festivals to be enjoyed across Ireland throughout the year so you can discover the country’s famous ‘craic’.
If you are cycling the Wild Atlantic Way or walking in Ireland, here’s our monthly calendar featuring the most unique, not-to-be-missed festivals in Ireland. From food to arts and even a leprechaun hunt, there is something for everybody:
Listen to the best traditional Irish music at Dublin’s TradFest.
St Patrick’s Day on 17th March is celebrated in villages and towns, big and small across the country.
The National Leprechaun Hunt takes place on the slopes of Slieve Foy Mountain, in Carlingford (on the Tain Way) which is a special protected area and leprechaun haven. Carlingford is also home to an annual oyster festival in August.
Easter usually doesn’t involve many activities in Ireland, Good Friday is actually the only day of the year (along with Christmas Day) when pubs across the country are closed. However, Easter promises to be a very memorable and special one in 2016, as it marks the first centenary of the historic Easter Rising of 1916. Many events are expected to take place throughout the country but particularly in Dublin.
Taste the Wild Atlantic Way Street Food Festival in Kinsale is one of the latest foodie festivals hosted by Ireland’s gourmet capital.
Foodies can also head to Galway Food Festival this month.
May is a busy festival month on the Barrow Way with the Barrow River Arts Festival taking place in the village of Borris and the Carlow Arts Festival (Eigse) at the end of May/beginning of June.
Letterfrack in County Galway, hosts Conamara Bog Week, a festival for all the family.
Further North along the Wild Atlantic Way, the town of Westport is home to the Festival of the Pirate Queen, celebrating the life of Ireland’s most famous queen and pirate: Grace O’Malley.
Westport also hosts its Folk and Bluegrass Festival in June.
Só Sligo Food Festival is a great time to visit Yeat’s county. 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of WB Yeats and Sligo will be one of the main centre of cultural activities to honour the Nobel Laureate.
Both food and music are the main ingredients of Killarney Festival of Music and Food this month.
In mid-June, the village of Doolin on the Burren Way hosts its annual Folk Festival.
Bloomsday on 16th June is a must-see festival for James Joyce and literature fans: you will be recreating James Joyce’s Ulysses across the streets of Dublin in period costumes to match Mr Bloom’s.
Both the Galway International Arts Festival and Film Fleadh, the biggest festivals in the city, take place in July.
Feile na Mara – Achill Island festival of the Sea celebrates Achill’s maritime traditions and its a great opportunity to experience the island like a local.
The last Sunday in July is Reek Sunday, when thousands of pilgrims climb Ireland’s Holy Mountain: Croagh Patrick in Westport. Magnificent views of Clew Bay will be your reward from the summit.
Rose of Tralee International Festival is an Irish institution with ‘Roses’ (or lovely ladies) from different counties and overseas looking for the coveted prize: being Ireland’s ‘Rose’ for the year.
Horse and pony fans should head to the Clifden Connemara Pony Show – Festival of the Connemara Pony which dates back to 1924.
Taste of Donegal takes place at the end of August in Donegal town while Doolin hosts its craft beer festival.
Puck Fair in Killorglin in County Kerry is one of the most unusual festivals in the country and one of the oldest: it has been celebrated for over 400 years and pays homage to King Puck, which is actually a wild goat.
Carlingford, on the Tain Way, hosts its annual Oyster Festival this month.
Dingle Tradfest is the latest addition to Dingle‘s music celebrations.
Treat yourself to the best local seafood after a day cycling or walking the Wild Atlantic Way at the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival.
September is also time to celebrate the tastiest of Westport’s produce at the Westport Food Festival and Taste of West Cork in the first two weeks of the month.
Clifden Arts Festival in Connemara celebrates its 38th year in 2015.
Head for Lisdooonvarna Matchmaking Festival: where love is in the air and you might find your perfect other half.
October is also time for the Dingle food festival in County Kerry.
Cork Jazz Festival at end of October has been attracting music fans for many years. It is one of the best loved festivals in Cork. You can easily spend a night in Cork before starting your Wild Atlantic Way adventure.
Conamara Sea Week in Letterfrack, along the Wild Atlantic Way, celebrates 30 years and is packed with music, workshops and other events honouring the region’s maritime heritage.
Take a detour to Lisdoonvarna, very close to The Burren Way, for delicious treats at the Burren Food Fayre.
Bram Stoker Festival and Dublin Theatre Festival also take place in Dublin this month.
You might also want to read 5 Unique Festivals on the Wild Atlantic Way.
If you are visiting Dublin after walking The Wicklow Way for instance: from the Jameson film festival in the Spring, Dance Festival in May to the Bram Stoker Festival and the Dublin Theatre Festival in the Autumn, there is always something going on in the capital.
If you are planning your cycling or walking trip in Ireland around a particular festival, make sure you book well in advance as accommodation availability can be affected.