The 2018 version of this was my most popular post of the year so grab a cuppa and enjoy reading about some of the best festivals of 2019.This is the perfect guide for those who might be thinking of coming to Ireland and timing it with one of these. Thanks so much to the Irish blogger group for their suggestions.
First Fortnight. Ireland’s Mental Health Arts Festival. Taking place countrywide and a really fantastic idea. Taking place in the first two weeks of January.
4th – 27th January. Out to Lunch Arts Festival, Belfast. Music, talks, comedy, lunchtime and evening events.
7th – 13th January Dublin Bowie Festival. Ground control to Major Tom, head to Dublin to celebrate all things Bowie.
18th – 20th January Akumakon, Galway. Anime, cosplay and gaming convention including special guests.
23rd – 27th January. TradFest in Dublin. Ireland’s largest traditional music festival taking place in some of the most historic locations in Dublin.
23rd – 27th January. Winter Music Festival, Ballincollig, Cork. Featuring Cathy Davey, Andy Irvine and more.
26th January. Dublin Smartphone Film Festival. Film Festival dedicated to films shot on Smartphones and Tablets.
25th-27th January Sligo Walking Festival takes place with NorthWest Adventure Tours. Night walks, day walks, spectacular scenery and more.
1st – 17th February. Celebrate the Chinese New Year Festival in Dublin. There are talks, tours, celebrations and more in this fabulous festival celebrating the Year of the Pig.
13th – 17th February. It’s the Bray Comedy Festival featuring Tommy Tiernan, Karl Spain and a fantastic game called Bingo Loco.
20th Feb – March 3rd The Dublin International Film Festival. Awards, talks, workshops and of course films.
1st – 3rd March. Ennis Book Club Festival. Celebrating book clubs and readers in Ireland’s only book club festival.
14th – 16th March Craft Brews and Food Fest, Convention Centre, Dublin. The Fair will feature a host of local and international craft beverages as well as local culinary delights.
14th – 18th March. St. Patrick’s Festival Dublin. There will also be many St. Patrick Parade’s and celebrations taking place throughout the island of Ireland on March 17th.
Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival Dun Laoghaire Rathdown 20th – 25th March. Celebrating writers who hail or reside in the ‘dlr’ region; J.M Synge, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett grew up there, Hugh Leonard and Maeve Binchy lived there all their lives and contemporary writers who still reside in the area include Joseph O’Connor, Hugo Hamilton, Marian Keyes and Ross O’Carroll Kelly.
22nd-24th March West Cork Stone Symposium. Come to the symposium to be inspired by a rugged coastline that’s home to one of Ireland’s most creative communities.
3rd – 6th April. Limerick Fringe Festival. Cabaret, Comedy, Dance & Physical Theatre, Kids & Youth, Spoken Word, Music, Theatre and Street Performance.
Bealtaine Festival. A countrywide festival running for the whole of May celebrating the arts and creativity as we age.
May 1st – Mon. May 6th, 2018 Roscommon Lamb Festival.Sheep sales, lamb blessings (yes, really), music, street parties, something for all the family. Ewed be maaad to miss it.
1st – 19th May Dublin Dance Festival. Enabling audiences to discover inspirational artists lies at the heart of the Dublin Dance Festival mission.
3rd – 5th May – Father Ted Festival in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare. Down with that kind of thing 😉 If you are a lovely girl or a wannabe nun this is the festival for you. You even get tea and cakes in Father Ted’s house! Gwan, gwan, gwan.
6th – 12th May Cos Cos Sean Nos Festival, Sligo. Join some of the country’s finest Sean Nós dancers, musicians, singers, poets and storytellers as they gather in the shadow of Benbulben.
17th – 19th May Midleton Arts Festival. Magical May events for all ages; children’s busking competition, make art on the street, great exhibitions, music, meditative dance, drumming circle, poetry, film, bohemian discussions, outstanding theatre. There really is something for everyone in Midleton’s Arts Festival.
26th May Rockin Road Festival, Drumcondra. A fun filled family day of music, Vintage scooters,bikes and cars with lots to occupy the young too. Join in this annual fundraiser for children and students who use the services of Childvision.
29th May – 2rd June Listowel Writers’ Week in Co. Kerry. An internationally acclaimed literary festival devoted to bringing together writers and audiences at unique and innovative events.
30th May – 2nd June Rory Gallagher Festival, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. Live music festival to pay tribute to the wonderful Rory Gallagher.
30th May – 3rd June. Bloom in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Show gardens, music, the best of Irish food, demos and more.
30th May – 3rd June. Kilkenny Cat Laughs. Celebrating 25 years of laughs in Kilkenny.
31st May – 2rd June. Vantastival Festival, Louth. For fans and enthusiasts of the camper van and camping lifestyle. Enjoy the magic of this family friendly festival.
1st – 3rdJune. Forbidden Fruit, Dublin. Fantastic bands in the stunning location of the Royal Hospital, K ilmainham.
7th – 9th June. Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival. Music and more throughout the pretty town of Westport, Co. Mayo.
14th and 15th June. Woollin – Dublin’s festival of yarn! If you like to spin a yarn this is the festival for you. Craft classes, talks and more.
14th – 16th June. Féile na Gealaí a celebration of everything Irish. Ráth Chairn, Co. Meath
21st – 23rd June Body & Soul in Co. Westmeath. Enter another world in this Summer Solstice Experience. With new ideas, experiences and performances around every corner.
21st – 23rd June. Sea Sessions, Co. Donegal. Turning Bundoran into Fundoran with this Surf Music Festival. Acts so far include Clean Bandit and Sigrid.
12th – 28th June Belsonic, Belfast. Featuring George Ezra, Stormzy, Hozier and more.
Muckno Mania, Castleblayney. A lovely family festival of fairytales. Taking place in July, dates to be confirmed.
Longford Summer Festival. Four day, family event with live music, an artisan market and more. Dates to be confirmed.
5th – 7th July. Forever Young Festival, Naas. Go back to the 80s with some amazing acts including Human League, Heaven 17, Level 42, Midge Ure and more. All profit from this festival will be donated to animal welfare charities.
Cairde Sligo Arts Festival. Sligo July 6th to 13th 2019. This is your invitation to imagination. A week long event with lots of music, arts and fun, do check out ParkFest – a great, free, event for all the family.
10th – 28th July Earagail Arts Festival in Donegal. Theatre, carnivals, visual arts and more taking place all over Co. Donegal.
Black Pig Festival, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo. A festival celebrating a black pig who was possessed and ate everyone in her path! There are no man eating pigs at this festival (hopefully!) but there is a funfair, fireworks, soapbox derby and more. July – dates to be confirmed.
Cruthú Arts Festival in Longford Town. Sharon tells me there’s always really great street art, pop-up galleries, theatre, workshops. July – dates to be confirmed.
19th – 21st July Knockanstockan Festival, Blessington, Co. Wicklow. Music & Arts Festival bringing performers together to celebrate, showcase and share their talent with like-minded people.
Sligo Jazz Festival. 23rd-28th July. An international summer school and jazz festival taking place in Sligo.
Durrow Scarecrow Festival, Co. Laois. July 28th – August 5th. Is your scarecrow the most talked about thing in the village? If so take it along to the All-Ireland Scarecrow Festival and you might be the best in Ireland.
Mary from Dungloe Festival. 27th July – 5th August. Do you fancy being a Mary? This international festival is open to all – you don’t have to be a Mary. You get to meet Daniel O’Donnell too 🙂
Feile an Phobail (Festival of the People). West Belfast and beyond. Music, Comedy, Talks, Tours, Theatre, Debate, Family, Community and more. Dates to be confirmed.
2nd – 4th August. All Together Now, Co. Waterford. Susan tells me this is one of the best weekends of the year, like a mini Electric Picnic.
2nd – 4th August Indiependence Festival, Co. Cork. Bastille, Biffy Clyro, Chasing Abbey and many more play.
2nd – 4th August Spraoi, Waterford. A fantastic street arts festival. Parades, music and more.
Siamsa Sraide Swinford, Co. Mayo possibly the longest running festival in Ireland. On the August bank holiday weekend every year, 3rd to 8th Aug 2018
7th – 12th August Feakle Festival. Workshops, concerts, sessions and more.
8th – 11th August. Sligo Summer Festival. Sligo comes alive with music with the gig rig in the centre of town. Last years acts included Example, Mike Denver, Mundy, Paddy Casey and more.
The Old Fair Day Festival, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo. 10th – 14th August A step back in time with this festival, see Ireland used to be in the fair days of the past. Family friendly event and most of it is free.
The Secret Village Festival, Ballaghdereen, Co. Roscommon. This has been known as the Electric Picnic for the west of Ireland….but shhh it’s a secret 😉Date to be confirmed.
11th – 18th August Fleadh Cheoil 2018 Drogheda. The biggest celebration of Irish music, dance and song in the World. You can’t help but be swept away by the atmosphere.
Bundoran’s Big Week By The Beach – August 14th – 18th 2019.
Bundoran’s Big Week by the Beach is a compilation of events that will take place in the seaside town from August 14th – 18th 2019. It will comprise a variety of events that will cater to all audiences and target markets for Bundoran. Some events will be new, others will be existing – all will be programmed together under the umbrella “Big Week by the Beach” playing on the theme of Bundoran being a seaside resort with lots to offer the visitor. Events include a golf scramble, Bundoran Surf Open, Bundoran Bay Swim, food trail, historical walks, music events, quiz night, traditional beach games (sandcastle competition etc) and more to be arranged.
Details will be available via www.discoverbundoran.com/bigweek
15th – 18th August. Still Voices Short Film Festival, Ballymahon, Co. Longford.
15th – 18th August. The Big Grill Festival, Dublin. An international BBQ festival and competition.
15th – 24th August. Belmullet Gala Festival, Co. Mayo. Busking, crafts, heritage, music and more.
16th – 18th August. Another Love Story, Killyon Manor. Back for the sixth edition of its summer celebration of music, art, discussion, food, fun & frolics
The Rose of Tralee 23rd – 27th August, in Tralee (of course). Lovely girls from all over the world with Irish connections take part in this competition. I’m told by Laura that this is so much more than a competition, there’s music, craic and more.
17th – 25th August. National Heritage Week. A week long celebration of our Irish heritage. Lots of free family events taking place all over the island of Ireland.
Carrickmacross Arts Festival. The biggest smallest festival in Ireland. Art, Music, Comedy, Drama, Poetry, Film, Crafts and Artisan trade stalls for ages 8 – 80. Dates to be confirmed.
Medieval Festival, Loughrea. 23rd – 25th August. Archery, food from the past, circus skills and more in this celebration of the past.
Electric Picnic in Strabally, Co. Laois. 30th August – 1st September. One of the biggest festivals in Ireland. Music, comedy, food, fun. I’ve never been but from the photos I’ve seen it looks amazing!
Matchmaking Festival, Lisdoonvarna. Running throughout September. If you haven’t found Mr or Mrs Right yet head to Lisdoonvarna!
Irish Bog Snorkelling Championships, Co. Monaghan. This sounds epic! (Dates to be confirmed).
Pigtown, Limerick. Culture and Food Festival celebrating all things Limerick. I quite like the sound of the pig-nic! (Dates to be confirmed).
6th – 15th September A Taste of West Cork. Food demos, talks, walks and celebrating the best of food in West Cork.
Clonakilty International Guitar Festival 16th – 22nd September. “The Clonakilty International Guitar Festival is a celebration of the guitar. It is not starch collared or stuffy nosed, from virtuosos to noodlers, all are welcomed and exalted!”
Bia Bundoran Food Festival – September 27th – 29th 2019 (Dates TBC)
Bia Bundoran will be a celebration of the great range of food available in Bundoran. This festival will be run by the food providers of the town and will comprise food promotion, special events, special menus, taster evenings and more.
Details will be available via www.discoverbundoran.com/bia
Baboro International Arts Festival for Children, Galway 14th – 20th October. Baboró believe that every child should have access to excellent arts and cultural experiences both as audience and participants.
Cork Jazz Festival. 24th – 28th October. A feast of jazz in Ireland’s longest running jazz festival.
Easkey Scarecrow Festival, Sligo takes place around Halloween. Take a drive through the village of Easkey and see all the fantastic scarecrows.
Sligo Live. 23rd – 28th October. Turning Sligo into Music City. Previous acts have included BellX1, Imelda May, Sheryl Crowe and more.
Derry Halloween. October Bank holiday weekend. A fantastic weekend in the walled city of Derry. Prepare to be amazed.
The Cheese Toastie Festival at The Harbour Bar, Bray. Do you think you make the best cheese toastie in Ireland? You’d be crackers to miss this one it sounds like gouda fun. Oct/Nov but dates to be confirmed.
Science Week, a countrywide festival celebrating science with talks, workshops, demos and more. Dates to be confirmed
Other Voices (December – dates to be confirmed). Musicians from all over the world bring Dingle to life in a number of different venues. One for the music lovers.
Waterford Winterval. An annual celebration of Christmas taking place in November/ December.
Thanks for reading the longest blog post I’ve ever written! Well the longest in researching it anyway. It’s actually amazed me how much is going on in our little island of Ireland and given me some ideas too! Well done to all the festival organisers on what sounds like some brilliant events.