Well what a perfect way to break up the january month than with a trip down to the treasure trove that is Doolin and enjoy one of it’s greatest finds – the incredible music life.
I mean it may be one day but what a line up- David Kitt, Ronan O’Snodaigh, Anna Mullarkey, Donal Dineen and many more. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday in winter than packing up the car, taking the short but stunning spin down from Galway and nesting into one of the local hostels or perhaps even the glamping tents – these are fab but not sure about in January. Walk to Doolin Hotel and feed yourself with some of their delicious, wholesome food and then sit back and enjoy the sounds of the day’s line-up.
There will also be film screenings, awesome music workshops and panel discussions happening across the day.
Doolin has it all – you can stoll along the Cliff walk (Cliff of Moher views to please the eyes), go for a surf or swim (the brave ones) and well just being here is a joy unto itself.
Check out my Travel Guides to Clare and to the very nearby Ennistymon which is definitely worth taking a trip to if you are in the area. Saturday in Doolin at the Music minds and Sunday soaking up the community and heart in Ennistymon?
Ticket prices are €35 with some add ons or family prices depending on what you wish to enjoy over the weekend. Worth it and a fantastic way to support the Irish music culture and the artists and smaller Irish festivals.
Astronomy fascinates me and the little I know about the astroligcal world really blows my mind. I want to put a bit more time into this in 2019 and reading a bit more and learning the fascinating nature that is going on all around us in that deep dark sky of ours.
So if you are in Galway and find yourself with similar interest or wanting to attend a different type of festival than your usual one, this may just be the weekend for you!
The Galway Astronomy Club will be running their annual and Ireland’s largest astronomy festival again this January in the Harbour Hotel.
There are some exciting talks, workshops and an astrophotography worshop from some of Ireland’s greatest scholars and figures in the field of astronomy – I mean do these lecture titles not just make you realise how incredible the universe is and how much there is to know?
‘V1, The star that changed to Universe’ ,
‘Comet debris and Irish trees: what’s the connection?’
‘Gravitational waves – a new window on the Universe’
Check out my Travel Guide to Galway for other things to do and eat during your time here,
Behold! Doolin; the creative hub and magical pocket of the west. What’s this? Another fantastic event and community weekend happening at the edge of this island ?
Yes – if a weekend of music didn’t entice you then perhaps a weekend of writing may draw you here. And if a place of inspiration is what you need to get the creative juices flowing, well then you have it all at your doorstep.
This weekend will be filled with workshops for writers, aspiring writers, readings, advice from those in the writing industry, music (of course!) and food and the famous Doolin welcome. Check the full programme here.
Tickets for the full weekend are €99 or individual prices of €40 for individual workshops or €10 for events (if you don’t have a weekend pass).
This really sounds like a wonderful weekend for any creative or writing enthusiasts.
Galway : February 22nd – 23rd
Dublin: March 2nd – 3rd
Oh I had seen this come up online a few times and I loved the title alone, so when I recently saw a friend sharing that she was taking part in it I got to looking into it a bit more.
I just love the sound of what this festival is about- culture, language, diversity, supporting and promoting the varying languages and talent and arts in Ireland.
“ Our mission is to showcase Ireland’s rich artistic and cultural tapestry through the use of the many languages spoken in the country. Our festival is the only one of its kind, as it offers audiences an opportunity to be immersed in a multilingual experience while enjoying a varied and engaging programme. “
The programme includes the absolutely wonderful and talented Aine Gallagher (she’s m’friend and I’m not biased cos she is awesome and I’m super proud to call her a buddy!). Do check out this fine lady – including a screening of the award winning documentary “Gra agus Eagla”, story about Irish people’s love and fear of our native language.
There will also be talks and shows through several languages – Russian, Japanese, Portugese, Spanish. Drumming worshops, doodling and just a great mixture and line up at this. Check out the Galway Programme Here.
An equally exciting and engaging line up is scheduled for the Dublin offering , including a Bollywood dance workshop, Inclusion: Dissolving Barriers workshop oooh and an Arabic language workshop (I took Arabic for a bit when I studied in Spain, so interesting to learn languages so unfamiliar to our own.)
Sounds excellent and supporting festivals and events that encourage, promote and educate us about social inclusion, diversity and cultures is something I am all for.
Well this sounds amazing. A weekend of guided hikes around the stunning Killarney, screenings of documentaries and movies, some fantastic guest speakers – imcluding Cal Major (Paddle Against Plastic) who has been doing some incredible work and campaigning , a very inspiring woman! There will be exhibitions and some music happening in the evenings.
This weekend sounds like my dream festival and the perfect reason to take a trip to Killarney. You can take a trip to the National Park also while in the area.
Do it, do it! Tickets are a veryyy reasonable €65 – Get yours Here.
What better way to celebrate St.Patrick’s Weekend and soak up the beauty of Ireland than joining a walking festival in Ardara ?
There will be walks for all levels – easy, medium and strenuous so you can take whatever pace you feel. Another opportunity to visit somewhere new on this Island of ours (or revisit!) as well as meeting some local and non-locals, guided walks and just being in nature.
Nature, and more so, Irish nature is a very inspiring and healing tool that we sometimes forget to utilise and protect – so weekends like these are so important to remind us of this.
The 2019 programme is coming soon, so keep an eye out on the Ardara Festival page and maybe get planning your trip to Donegal in the mean time? There is so much to be seen and explored here.
Ahhh man – can Doolin get any better? SO – if a music festival doesn’t tickle your fancy, or you aren’t much of a writer then maybe a weekend dedicated to Doolin’s other passion may entice you?
We know that Doolin is a wash with surf lovers and ocean babies so OF COURSE it was inevitable that a Surf Festival would manifest around Clare’s thriving surf scene.
This will be fantastic. Clare – Doolin/ Lahinch and the surrouding areas have a really strong community that revolves around the ocean, surf, music, being close to and respecting nature and everything else that rural Irish life may entail.
There will be film screenings, workshops, music, sustainable local food, art exhibitions – so surfer or not you are going to love this!
There will a ‘Wave of Winter’ surf competition – open to all levels. Check out this video (Created by Kev Smith and music by the awesome Moxie) to get you in the mood.
Full details and the programme for the weekend coming soon, but this is one not to be missed in my opinion.
Erm hello Irish adventure films being screened in the gorgeous Westport and thus forming a festival around it! What do you reckon – a pretty sweet combination ?
The 2019 details are still to come in but judging by the 2018 line up and list of screenings that took place – including ‘One Breath’ which I went to an exhibiton about in London where some epic people create new world records in the world of Free Diving and I am still absorbing what these people have achieved!
Also ‘The Frozen Road’ a solo cycling journey around the world including through the Canadian Arctic.
Past Speakers included Alastair Humphreys who walked across India, cycled the world and rowed the Atlantic and was named National Geographic ‘s Adventurer of the year.
This will be awesome. Keep your eyes peeled for updates and sure a weekend in Westport, why wouldn’t you?
I have fallen back into love with my home town of Tuam and am ready and waiting to celebrate any locally created gathering or festival or community event. I arrived back at the tail end of 2018’s Three Rings Festival and attended a superb night of music, poetry and spoken word in our much loved Brownes Restaurant (with it’s own Michelin bib now and all)
You can really see the passion, community, talent, creative culture and enthusiasm that resides in Tuam – it’s artists, it’s people and in the organisers of this festival.
There will be more exciting things to come from this in 2019 I can imagine so keep up to date with their Facebook page- and sure you can check out my Travel Guide to Tuam if you want to see what else we have to offer you. There is plenty!
Ah, Connemara – my home from home. Leenane is stunning and a mountain walking festival is the way to do it.
This year with be it’s 11th year running and May in Connemara is somethign very special. Take the weekend to walk and enjoy the views of mountains all around you and be in one of Ireland’s most unique landscapes.
There are different categories for different levels of walking and you can buy tickets now for individual days or the full weekend. Full details coming soon also.
Perhaps walking in the South west of Ireland is for you instead of the west? Have you been to Kerry recently? It is another world and somewhere that I have not frequented enough, living in the west I always feel as Kerry is that bit far away but after my recent trip to Dingle I realise it is not and it really feels like crossing a line to another worldly place.
Each day has a set route ranging from 17/18/22 km. You will walk along canals, through Slieve Mish mountain range, look over the windmills, spot megalithic forts, visit Annascaul (Tom Creane land), walk across Inch beach and the weekend ends with a walk from Annascaul to Dingle (this will be magic) and finishing up in the beloved Dingle.
Music, refreshments, barbecues, craic and learning about Ireland and Kerry will also be part and parcel of this weekend.
Ticket prices range from €30 – €80 (full weekend).
Sounds like you should be there.
So if electronic music is more your scene then this may just the festival for you. I’m quite the electronic music fan myself so I always love an opportunity to check out something a bit out of the usual stomping ground or a bit more underground (That’s what the cool kids would say, isn’t it?)
So this festival taking place in Belfast sounds like it could be a pretty cool weekend. I love Belfast (Check out my Travel Guide to Belfast and see what you can get up to). This is an indepentdent festival run by people and artists who are passionate about electronic music and visual arts and providing a platform for those who share this passion, across Ireland, to come together.
The 2019 lineup is yet to be announced but with the three tiers of tickets already sold out and past artists who played here including Bicep and Moxie – it should be a good ‘un!
Check out their video from previous festivals. Yiii I can feel summer coming already.
Okay a festival that celebrates vans and campervan life AND this year the absolutely aweeesome King Kong Company are headling. Woo! Worth it for these guys alone – and lots more great music lined up too.
This will be the tenth year for this small but growing festival – I’ve heard nothing but great things about this and I think if you are looking for a festival this summer that is a little bit different, with sound and interesting people and a bit more laid back and with a deadly line up then check this one out.
Might just inspire you to bring those van life dreams come to reality.
So if you haven’t noticed, I like to write. I may not be very good but sure keep going and practice is the best way, no?
So this week in Listowel dedicated to writers and writing is another one that caught my eye for the 2019 festival season.
This week will include workshops and masterclasses from writers and poets and directors. It is a week dedicated to the love of reading, writing, the arts, culture, walks, talks, visual arts, performances and it takes place in another of Kerry’s cultural hot spots – the heritage town of Listowel.
I always dream of spending a month or so in Kerry and well what a perfect excuse to do that then to be around for this week of culture and expression.
The title of this festival hooked me in – bad ideas are great! Good ideas are great. Writing things good and bad is great. So throw that all together into Borris House, the ‘Seat of the High Kings’ and surrounded by the Black Stair moutains and the River Barrow can only be a cause for good things to come. I have fallen in love with the scenery of Carlow as I drive through it on the way to Wexford. It’s another one of these under celebrated parts of this country, I think.
So get yourself to Borris house for a weekend of dialogue, discussion among creative, diverse and international minds. Expect prize winning novelists, poets, film makers, musicians, political commentators, architects and just all types of people who are enthused or intrigued by the world of writing, creativity, ideas or just enjoy being in the company of those who do.
Who is going to Carlow this summer ? The 2019 schedule will be published in April and I don’t doubt it will be an exciting one. You can pre book your tickets now though.
Okay – can I add Doolin to this list for a forth time? Well I am – so another option for you to experience Doolin at it’s finest. The folk festival , yes – get to this one. It’s the perfect chance to see what Doolin is all about, folk and traditional music, the square, streets and pubs filled with fun and friendly folk (see what I did there?).
It’s amazing how somewhere that is quite small in it’s phyiscal size can really hold so much life and diversity and culture and talent. Would it be safe to say that the folk festival may be one of the biggest festival events on Doolin’s extensive calender? I’d think it might be.
So book your hostels or tents or whatever is your sleeping spot of choice now and get the folk festival firmly marked into you calender. It won’t disappoint.
What? How have I not known that this exists? A festival dedicated to travel writing – man this has been what I have been looking for !
This is a week of talks and discussions from travel writers and their journeys and the books they have written, journey writing workshops –
“Women adventuring off the beaten track” by Jacki Hill-Murphy , yes please!.
How about exploring Lismore and Waterford this year then?
Okay I could probably fill up this whole blog post with festivals happening in Galway, especially during the summer. However, for now I shall just leave it with this one.
The Galway film fleadh may just be my favourite event that takes place in our delightful city. There is something about it – aside from the exceptional films, documentaries and support to Irish and local film makers and artists there is a certain something in the air around the time of the film fleadh. The people it attracts, the collaboration and community spirit it ignites and the passion that is both celebrated but that is also born here for some. If you are going to come to Galway then this week may be a nice time to visit.
Not only are there screens but there are panel discussions and plenty of terrific off-shoot events and pop ups that happen on the back of this great festival.
Feakle, I haven’t mentioned Feakle yet amongst the Clare offerings to the Irish festival scene. So if you like your trad music, or if perhaps you would like to attend some workshops around trad music and learning or improving your musical instrument skills with some of Ireland and Clare’s most renowned trad musicians ? Or maybe just attend a whole host of trad music sessions ( even join in?) then pack up your fiddle and your bodhran and head to Feakle this August as this week is for you.
West Cork Yoga festival has fast become one of the most popular gatherings for yogis, yoginis and non-yogi types alike. Each year it gets a little bit bigger, sells out a bit quicker but the wonderful response and feed back from those who attend, volunteer, teach and share continues to be full of joy and appreciation.
Aside from the fact that it takes place in West Cork, which as anyone who has visited there knows it is just beautiful, but the yoga community in Ireland really is one of the most supportive and welcoming that I have come across over my many years of practice and travel within different communities.
That support and community, fueled by the hard work and passion of the organisers as well as the true heart and spirit of yoga thriving through this event’s manifestation it has appeared to become one of the weekends of the summer for all who attend.
This is a non profit event and all proceeds go towards charities that West Cork Yoga Festival choose to support each year. That is it, everyone who contributes to this does so voluntarily and with the spirit of kindness behind their presence.
2019 details to follow.
Yes, yes – that is correct; you can come to Ireland and attended a story telling festival on a small inhabited island 8km of the West Cork coast. Yes, you really can.
This has been happening for 23 years, amazing. If Irish people are experts at one thing, telling stories is definitely high up there. Ireland has tales of magic, hardship, mystery, adventure, heros, darkness, sadness, pain, tears and the underworld. These are kept alive through the art of story telling and if you hold that space on a small island then you are sure to experience something unique.
Story tellers from across the world and Ireland come here to share, expression, create , experience and keep this ancient art alive.
Cape Clear is an island of the coast of Baltimore and is 3km long and 1km wide. There is walking involved to get to and from the three venues and be sure to know there will be some breath taking views along the way. A general level of fitness is needed to really enjoy this festival. Oh it sounds just perfect. I can just imagine the night sky there!
Tickets are €75.
Clifden, another home from home. It kind of reminds me of a mini Galway city (not to relate everything to Galway but its good for comparative purposes).
I attended this years Arts Festival to see The Whileaways play in the impressive setting of the Church of Ireland. It was great. There was a fantastic programme of events happening over the ten days and 2019 will not disappoint I can safely assume.
Clifden is a delight to spend time in and you can enjoy the many surrounding villages, nature, beaches, sightseeing as well as all that Clifden itself has to offer (think delicious, top class fresh food, music, Irish pubs at their best. One of my favourite things to do when I come here is wander and out of the shops here. There are some great cafes and galleries and bookshops.
September is also my favourite month to spend a bit more time here, it is a little bit quieter than the summer months, the weather is still good (if not better sometimes) and you can just settle into the more relaxed and local pace of life.
More writing and by the sea and in Kilmore Quay. (Sure I am a natural poet!) I was feeling bad there as I had not included any Wexford festivals but alas I actually have.
Kilmore Quay is such a cute place and you feel you have been trasnported back to old Ireland with it’s thatched cottages and the wild and beautiful sea in front.
So why not come here and join in on some experiential workshops, readings, talks, competitions and see how to work towards getting that book published which you so wish to do.
2018 saw an impressive line up of interviews with authors, publishers, poets and more. Writing tips and information sessions, practical workshops where you get writing, chill out time to work on your creative process and more.
If you are wanting to grow and develop your skills or engage with experts in many varying fields of writing then I think this could be a winner for you.
Any opportunity to visit Wexford is good for me.
I need to update this but I have a travel guide to Wexford from a few years back . And a recent trip to Hook head was a delight!
I made my first trip to Achill this year and that trip coincided (or was actually inspired by) the Battle For The Lake festival. The line-up was great and I love any excuse or opportunity to check out and support small, Irish festivals in magical parts of this island. It was totally worth the trip.
At €50 for a weekend pass or €35 for a one day pass. There was music happening from around 6pm onwards, some really great musicians and I got to boogie away to Daithi and some other great local acts.
There was a blazing and fabulous fire pit burning brightly all evening and it was so sweet to see such a nice vibe here, people all huddled together to get a piece of warmth as well as having the craic with those standing next to them ! The Saturday night fireworks display with the marching band playing around the fire was just wonderful.
As well as music there were watersports and various classes happening – Kitesurfing, SUP, surfing, yoga and fitness. You could sit and watch the heats of the Irish National Windsurfing Competitions. Sunday was lovely to sit on some beanbags with a tea in hand watching the kite surfers across the lake with the music in the background.
We even got into the sea ourselves for a morning dip in the ocean to revive after all the dancing and chatting and get ready for day two. Achill is amazing and I wrote a Travel Guide to it which you can check out to plan around the festivities. I would really, really recommend this and it is a great way to enjoy a festival vibe but still have the freedom during the day to go and explore, hike or get in the sea and soak up all tht Achill has to offer.
There I was feeling bad that I had left out Wexford when in fact I had not.
This is an awesome reason to create a festival , clay building. There are workshops happening over this week all around earth building techniques such as wattle and daub, upcycled cob dome, mudwall repair, stone and earth mortar and much more.
It takes place in the heritage centre so you can get another bonus injection of culture and lerning. I have been interested in cob building for many years and dabbled in it a bit and spent a week helping to build a cob house in Galway. It is a fascinating and really enjoyable experience.
There is a great community around it and this week will be a great chance to explore it some, learn from experienced earth builders and meet some interesting people. Also you get to visit Wexford!
There are no dates for 2019 as of yet but I’ll keep this here so if they surface I can add them in.
Ah if you just can’t wait until Other Voices or you want to try out the magical Dingle with a different festival vibe (I mean – food, craft beers, cookery demos, Dingle, Dingle, Dingle!) then this may just be a weekend you take that trip down to this Kerry coast.
I feel grateful that I got to attend Other Voices this year and soak up that unique Dingle world and be part of the very special community that Other Voices has created around it.Soo come for the food festival to see St.James’ church switch guitars and pianos for pans and knives for some cookery demos. Check out Nellifred’s awesome ‘Shed’ venue for some workshops, attend a whisky masterclass or join a cider or craft beer trail. Hoorah!
Being Dingle- there will be street entertainment, live music, child friendly events and much more. Oh I think I will make it a life goal to get to all of the wonderful festivals that Dingle offers at least once in my life.
This year’s festival saw Luka Bloom play in the Gothic church, a guided shore walk, walking to Omey island with a local archaeologist, talks about the challenges facing coastal communities, trad sessions, demos and food tasting, sea week community dinner and so many more great events.
What more reason do you need to book a few nights away in the stunning connemara (the soul of Ireland lives here) – or perhaps the whole week! There is just an abundance of places to explore and things to do and see and delicious food to eat.
Westival was formerly called Wesport Arts Festival. Along with a name change, this music and arts festival has changed from a summer’s end gathering to an autumnal Halloween weekend gig.
Described as an intimate indoor festival you can experience events amongst the Gothic architecture of the Holy Trinity Church, their Town hall theatre or a more intimate setting in some of the local and loved pubs.
This festival has a combination of loca, national and international artists and mucis and culture.
Last year’s line up included Lisa Hannigan, Gilbert O’Sillivan, Le Galaxie, Daithi and Elaine Mai, The Clandestinos and more. Art exhibitions, community, street performances and just a great old hoolie in Westport town!
2019 info to come. Keep it in mind.
A festival that describes itself as ‘celebrating mother nature’ is the kind of festival that I like to attend and support. So indicative in it’s name, the Connemara Green festival is just that. Through this festival the organisers and community involved wish to realise awareness of the unique ecology and biodiversity in Connemara and to celebrate it as well as raise funds to protect it and support biodiversity projects in the process.
It takes place in Letterfrack, which has all you need for a Connemara village – the Connemara National Park, Diamond hill to wake the legs and lungs, cottages to sleep if you wish and some local pubs serving tasty food.
Events over this weekend included walks with local historians and ecologists, learn about the native flora and fauna, foraging, kayaking and outdoor activities, cookery classes and… need I go on? There is so much happening here. It is not a far drive from Galway (for us Galway folk) and the drive through Inagh valley is a car-stopper. You can head further into connemara and take a trip to Clifden, Roundstone or the Ballyconnelly beaches for example.
Or jsut stay put in the lovely Letterfrack, go for a pint in Tully Cross and take a walk along The White Strand. Support innovative and inspiring festivals like this and rediscover the magic of Ireland at the same time.
Another opportunity to delve into the world of the dark skies and astronomy with this festival.
This years programme was relly impressive and inticing – taking place in three parts of Mayo , Newport, Mulranny and Ballycroy.
This weeend includes talks, workshops, star gazing, tours of Ballycroy national park, solar walks, astrophotography, story telling by torchlight, ‘The Universe from beginning to end’, ‘Rethinking the relationship between light and dark’ and much, much more.
Newport for one is absolutely gorgeous and it is again an opportunity to support and join in with locally created and inspired events and festivals. Newport also has an astronomy club to keep you in the dark sky world until the next installation of this festival in 2019.
I love that this is happening.
Oh wow, I made 2018 the year I would finally make the pilgrimage to Dingle for Other Voices. I am so very thrilled that I did. What a magic place, what a magic event and what a special and warm community that makes their way to this small viallage on the south west Irish coast to soak up music, culture, tribe, discussions, food and just a weekend of moving through a journey that when you open up to the magic here it just guides you to the next discovery.
This usually takes place in December so keep an eye on their page and website for details for 2019. This is not a ticketed event but you can now support the festival by buying a ticket if you wish which offers you access to certain venues and also just helps with the financial side of bringing this event to life each year.
This year also saw a sister Other Voices Festival happening in Ballina, Mayo.
So there you have some festival and adventure ideas for 2019. I am sure I will be adding more because Ireland is going from strength to strength in terms of local, creative and community inspired events celebrating culture, arts and all things fun.
Do let me know of any exciting ones I can add and let me know if you attend any of them in the coming year.
Ireland is such a wonderful place to explore and travel – and the smaller the town the better sometimes. That is where you find some real hidden gifts.
2018 was definitely the year that I fell in love with Ireland and I hope 2019 can be the same for you with the help of some awesome festivals.