Summer Festivals in Ireland

Well, hello summer! You’ve been a long time coming but you’re here now, so let’s just get on with things. How best to do that? Festivals.

Galway Arts Festival
Galway Arts Festival

But not just any old festivals – quirky festivals, like celebrations of the humble chip, highland games on a regal estate and a spot of Beethoven, Shakespeare and the magical music of the Gloaming in a medieval city.

Ah yes, it’s good to see you, summer. Let the fun, and the festivals, begin…

Sea Sessions Surf and Music Festival, Bundoran, County Donegal (June)
Music, waves and hopefully lots of sunny weather. Sea Sessions combines outdoor fun like beach soccer, tag rugby and ultimate frisbee with three days of live music from Irish and international acts. And the best part? It all happens right on the coastline of the stunning Wild Atlantic Way. 

Cork Midsummer Festival, Cork city (June)

City voted among the friendliest in the world by Condé Nast: check. Opera and theatre performances to make your hair stand on end? Check. Food tastings, events and get-togethers to keep you full and fancy free: check. Midsummer sun gently warming the River Lee and your happy face: Check and check. Cork Midsummer Festival added to diary: check.

Foyle Maritime Festival, Derry~Londonderry (July)

It’s not often you get a round-the-world yacht race, the Beach Boys, a festival of world traditions and a music day in the one place. It’s even more unusual for that one place to be one of the most perfectly intact walled cities in Europe.  Along with all of the above, the Foyle Maritime Festival provides the chance to visit the yachts and boats, too, and if you’re so inclined, we’d say the occasional Jack Sparrow impression would go down very well.

Dalriada, Glenarm Castle, County Antrim (July)

For those seasoned festival-goers who think they’ve done it all, this one is for you. Taking its name from an ancient Gaelic kingdom, Dalriada might just be the most eccentric festival we’ve ever heard of. Where else would you see sporting events like triathlons and horse hunt chases alongside concerts and celebrity chef demonstrations? But then, variety is the spice of life.

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Galway International Arts Festival (July)

This one is a real class act. The Galway International Arts Festival combines the best in theatre and music into one glorious union with eclectic events dotted around the banks of the River Corrib. Witness the greatness of Orfeo ed Euridice with a night at the opera, and groove along to Dublin-born star Gavin James the next. Discovering something new is what the Galway Arts Festival is all about — that and having the best time ever.

Kilkenny Arts Festival (August)

Once a mecca for classical music aficionados, the Kilkenny Arts Festival has evolved over the years into a delectable assortment of artistic entertainment. Literature, music, theatre and street performances will all be on the menu when this feast for the senses kicks off in Ireland’s medieval city. We hope you’re hungry.

Now, give yourself a minute to allow all that to sink in. Done? Here comes the hard part: deciding which of these superb festivals to catch around the island of Ireland this summer.

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