Ireland is chock full of festivals of every description to suit all preferences, penchants and predilections! Primeval Puck Fair with its bizarre parade and coronation ceremony of its King who just happens to be a goat! Find your soul mate with the help of the wily matchmakers of Lisdoonvarna, sup Guinness and shuck oysters at the world famous Galway Oyster festival, marvel at the ravishing beauty of the Roses of Tralee, dance a jig at the Fleadh Cheoil, split your sides at the Cat Laughs – whatever it is, Ireland has it.
St. Patrick’s Day Festival, 12 March – 17 March, 2012
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated across the globe but where better to enjoy it than at source? The world famous St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin caps off a fantastic five days of festivities held throughout the country. From street theatre to sky fest, concerts to céilidhs, firework displays to funfairs, circus to carnivals – everyone everywhere enjoys the party!
42nd Listowel Writers Week, May 2012
Loquacious literati, wizardry philosophers, wandering word smiths, eloquent poets, and masterly novelists – all flock to the home of John B Keane for this magical week revolving around the imagination. The aim of the festival is to make the arts accessible to everybody, it wholly succeeds with a huge amount of activities attended by a star studded cast and you!
Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, Kilkenny, 4-8 June, 2012
Cat laughs has rapidly established itself as one of the best comedy festivals in the world. A host of the best national and international stand-up comedians strut their stuff across fourteen venues amidst the medieval buildings of Kilkenny. This cool festival is simply brilliant fun.
Puck Fair, Killorglin, Co.Kerry, August, 2012
Ireland’s oldest fair is a bizarre but spectacular event where a goat is proclaimed King of Puck, lofted into the skies while merry festival goers honour him in the mighty town of Killorglin. The main events include the traditional horse fair, parade and coronation ceremony of King Puck, open-air night concerts, fireworks display, children’s competitions, street entertainers and dancing displays.
Kilkenny Arts Festival, 10–19 August, 2012
Kilkenny Arts Festival 2008, 09, 10 & 11 were a huge successes! Ground-breaking theatre, music, literature, visual art, children’s events and outdoor performances abounded, with record crowds attending over 100 events, featuring almost 300 international, Irish and local artists in venues all over Kilkenny City and County, over the festival’s 10 days and nights. 2012 is going to be even better making it a must on everybody’s calendar!
53rd Rose of Tralee, Aug, 2012
The Rose of Tralee International Festival is based on the love song The Rose of Tralee, by William Mulchinock a 19th century wealthy merchant who was in love with Mary O’Connor, his maid. Mary was born in Broguemaker’s Lane in Tralee and worked as a nanny. When William first saw Mary he fell in love with her, but because of the difference in social class between the two families their love affair was discouraged. William emigrated, and some years later returned to Tralee only to find Mary had died of tuberculosis. He was broken hearted and expressed his love for her in the words of the song. Each year the most beautiful women from around the globe gather in the spectacular Tralee, each competing to become the Rose of Tralee.
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Cavan, Co.Offaly, August 2012
The 58th Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the largest festival of traditional Irish musicians, singers and dancers, will take place in August 2012 in Cavan Town.
Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, Sept/Oct, 2012
Matchmaking is one of the oldest traditions of Ireland. It developed from a time when the country had two classes – the rich landowners and the poor peasants. The rich organised matchmaking so that their sons and daughters would meet and marry other people who were also well to do. The Matchmakers of old were the dealers who attended street fairs, as it was they who knew the farmers who had eligible sons and daughters around the country. The Matchmaking Festival takes place every year during September in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare.
Galway Oyster Festival, September, 2012
Enjoy four days and nights at the world renowned Galway International Oyster Festival. For the best in gourmet seafood, live music and the best Guinness in town, it has to be the Galway Oyster Festival. From Thursday 24th September to Sunday 27th September 2012, Galway City will come alive as thousands of people travel from the four corners of the world to enjoy a remarkable festival celebrating the oyster, a food known for it’s mysterious luxury and passion.
Dublin Theatre Festival, Sept/Oct, 2012
The Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival has presented the finest talents of theatre from both home and abroad for over five decades. Indeed, it possesses the venerable title of being Europe’s oldest specialised theatre festival. Each autumn it thrills audiences with a spectacular season of international and national theatre.
Cork Jazz Festival, October, 2012
Renowned as Europe’s friendliest jazz festival, the event has hosted many of the ‘greats’ of jazz in its 30-year history. Stars such as Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Buddy Rich, Gerry Mulligan, Dave Brubeck, Cleo Laine, Joe Zawinul, Wynton Marsalis, Sonny Rollins, Jan Garbarek, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner and lots more have thrilled the festival’s audiences over the years. The Cork Jazz Festival is, by far, Ireland’s biggest and most prestigious jazz event and is one of the most important festivals on Ireland’s arts and cultural calendar.
Belfast Festival at Queen’s, October 2012
Every year, the largest festival of its kind in Ireland brings the best of international art to Belfast and brings international attention to the city’s dynamic arts practitioners. The Festival covers all art forms including theatre, dance, classical music, literature, jazz, comedy, visual arts, folk music and popular music, attracting over 100,000 visitors.