When you hear the word festival, what comes to mind? Is it a roaring good time surrounded by friends? Is it learning about something exciting or getting pumped listening to your favourite bands that have collaborated for a “can’t miss, once in a lifetime” show? The answer could be any of these.
What’s amazing about festivals is the gathering of people who all have an interest in common. Some festivals can have thousands in attendance. The comradery can be somewhat overwhelming, but awesome at the same time.
Is Ireland the place for you?
Ireland has a ton of festivals that happen annually. They range from cultural events to musical performances. From young to old and everything in between, if you have an interest, Ireland will have a festival for you.
Whether you live in Ireland or planning a trip to locations like Cork, Dublin or the wild West area, you might be looking for something to do that goes above the ‘typical everyday attractions.’ The emerald isle will be able to keep you entertained.
With so many great featured festivals that happen here, how could anyone narrow down which to attend? Well, we’ve done the hard part and researched countless events. Take a look at our top picks for Ireland’s Best Festivals, to make planning your calendar a breeze for the upcoming year.
A Taste of West Cork
Are you a foodie? Are you searching for the best festival that surrounds the freshest culinary delights of Ireland? A Taste of West Cork is a luxurious ten-day event that happens every September. Celebrating food culture and products from the local region as well as globally, there will be mouth-watering must-try dishes around every corner.
What makes this festival unique is how many towns are involved. With over 50 towns and villages in addition to 9 islands, it is a culinary quest for the ages that everyone should attend at least once in their life.
Ireland is famous for its food, fresh fish, quality meat, POTATOES. As the times change so do tastes but West Cork has adapted too with plenty of vegan dishes too. The festival not only celebrates the food, but also those who produce and grow it.
Whilst in West Cork you can find yourself surrounded by the most beautiful scenery. High hills, open fields and the Atlantic Ocean. Take a dip in between sampling some delicious food.
If you enjoy trying new dishes, fancy yourself a culinary expert, A Taste of West Cork is a must!
The Electric Picnic is one of the most anticipated events for the music and culture loving crowd. This arts and music festival features tons of performances at a colossal camping site in Stradbally, Co. Laois. With so much going on all weekend long, it can feel like there isn’t enough time to do everything available, just relax and take it all in.
The Electric Picnic is a three-day camping event that has musical performances galore across in the main arena but so much more. Known for its main stage alternatives like body&soul, salty dog and trenchtown, there is a venue to fit your mood.
If you’re not in the mood for music, you can check out their alternative events. Literature events, yoga, Interviews, Food demos, comedy and live podcasts. There is something for everyone. Families even have their own area that is safe, secure and fun for all ages.
Participants can hang out on the camping grounds, take a dip in the lake, or take in the non-stop musical attractions that will be playing on the over 20 different stages. Before you go make sure you take a look for the campsite you want to stay in. If you love a party, then head to Hendrix!
Early bird tickets for the 2020 event were sold out in just an hour after going on sale. With that being said, you’ll want to grab your tickets as soon as the regular 2020 tickets go on sale.
Think you can handle the Atlantic ocean waves? If you love surfing and general beach activities combined with music, you’re going to love this.
Similar to the Electric Picnic, Sea Sessions is a daytime or camp-out festival for those 18 and up. Also, like Electric Picnic, the 2020 early bird tickets are sold out. This is one of the most popular musical events featuring tons of musicians and bands.
Based on Main Beach in the centre of Bundoran, participants have the option of staying during the day or camping out to continue the festivities well into the late hours. While music is a primary focus, Sea Sessions is about the sports too.
You won’t want to miss your chance of competing in the famous Surf “Best Move Contest” which could earn you a cool €2500!In addition to the activities on-site, there will also be tons of vendors too.
Food vendors have been hand-picked to ensure a wide variety of cuisines that range from organic beef dishes to vegetarian. For those that aren’t super eager to go camping, but still want to indulge in this one of a kind festival, there are plenty of lodging points in the Bundoran area.
Bloom Garden & Food Festival
Known for being the largest garden festival in Ireland, Bloom Garden & Food Festival is the place to be for those with a green thumb and a love for culinary delights. The event will feature tons of garden exhibits and showcase garden design.
The Bloom Garden & Food Festival connects the food lover with the grower. The Village will have samples available ranging from vegetables to meat and poultry. Don’t be scared, chat up the local Irish farmers to gain some valuable insight on how to grow in your backyard.
Bloom is held in Phoenix Park just a hop, skip or a jump from Dublin’s city centre. If you need inspiration for planning a garden redesign or are just fond of the plants, you can find some fun at Bloom.
Guess what it’s family friendly too. So, if your free for the June bank holiday weekend in Ireland, here you go!
Galway International Art Festival
Coming July 13th-26th of 2020, The Galway International Art Festival will be underway. This yearly event is jam-packed with exciting exhibits and things to see. This festival is a massive occasion for the region and includes events for theatre, music, comedy, visual art, dance, and literacy.
The first round of performers have been announced, and they include musical talents of Sinead O’Connor, Jon Hopkins, and the Pixies. In addition to musical performances, the International art festival also has a wide range of art forms. Including parades with dragons and street performers.
For those looking for non-stop fun for over a week, you won’t want to miss out on these incredible festivities. Galway was named as one of Ireland’s top cities and continues to be a destination for those seeking a city worth the travel. If you are into travel, consider starting a blog about your adventures.
Galway has also the European Capital of Culture for 2020 which means that this festival will be an all-out affair. Walk the cobble streets and be amazed with all that you see in Galway.
Guinness Cork Jazz Weekend
Cork City, Ireland, is the centre for a bunch of fantastic festivals. But one that is known all over the world is the infamous, Cork Jazz Weekend. If this on your list, it really should be.
Get those glad rags on and head on over those bridges into town. Whether you’re a jazz fan or a complete newbie to the genre this is for everyone. Big brass bands play on the street and in every corner of the city you can find music filling the air.
Each year thousands of music lovers come together to celebrate. This year the celebration will be held on October 22-26th. The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival has been happening since 1978 and is one of the largest jazz festivals in the world.
Bands and musicians travel the world to take part in the events of the weekend. From as far as the United States to local school of music students, there is a space for everyone to shine during this festival.
The epicentre of the festival is the Metropole Hotel where people can dance through the day and night. If it’s a good time you’re after, then look no further than Cork.
Returning for its tenth year in 2020, Forbidden Fruit is the longest-running city-centre event that takes place in Dublin each year. The 2020 event will kick off on the June Bank Holiday Weekend at the grounds of Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Forbidden Fruit is two days of jam-packed performances from some of the biggest names in the music industry. Tickets are always limited to this event, and participants must be over the age of 18 to attend.
Being only a 15 minute walk away from the city centre makes this festival easy to get to but also there’s loads of accommodation, restaurants and craic to be had. This edgy scene provides people with a chance to showcase their best fashion too.
Urban festival meets the Irish charm in the form of Forbidden fruit.
St Patrick’s Day
Would it be possible to mention Ireland without sharing the most important day?
Celebrate the man himself in every single town and village across the country. From the parades to the markets, green clothes and Guinness. There’s nowhere else you should be on March 17th.
Listen to a trad session and try to find a leprechaun as you banish the snakes. Ireland is a great big community; this becomes apparent during this day. The Irish are the friendliest people in the world.
Ireland is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. It is also one of the best places to take in outdoor musical festivals or a premier food event. Depending on your taste, hobbies or interests, there is something for everyone.
Many of the celebrations on our list sell out quickly, as they are the hottest attractions, so you must keep an eye on when to order.
Author Bio; Currently working as a Marketing Executive at Design Wizard, Claire is passionate about creating amazing content and bringing people together. Having recently graduated with her masters degree in Marketing she is keen to impact the digital world. Outside of work you can catch Claire taking photos of her rescue dog Storm and checking out social media.