Get your summer into top gear this June Bank Holiday Weekend as festival season gets into full swing.

With a host of Ireland’s top annual festivals to choose from and with some quirky new events added to the mix, now is the ideal time to discover what Ireland really has to offer.

Whether you love good food, top international comedy or simply getting outdoors, there is a host of activities and events to choose from to make this weekend a memorable one. So get set for one of the biggest weekend’s of the year with www.discoverireland.ie. Here are some suggestions to get your plans underway.

Family Fun for the Long Weekend
For a more quirky outdoor event for all the family the All Ireland & International Sheep Shearing & Wool Handling Championships will be taking place in Punchestown, Co. Kildare June 2 - 3rd. Bring the family along to see expert competitors from across Europe, Australia and New Zealand shear up to 2,000 sheep over the two day event. Or for those into food, arts and crafts drop into Food and Craft Hall, which will showcase personalised creations from top craft makers. While Babe fans will get the chance to see Ireland’s best sheep dogs competing against international rivals!
The Rooscarbery Festival by the Sea taking place in West Cork June 1st-4th is a great family day out for Munster based families or for those planning a weekend away. The popular festival returns with a fantastic weekend full of FREE family fun and entertainment. With an array of activities planned such as the Beat on the Street and an eclectic farmers market, families will be guaranteed a great day out.

The Clifden 200 Festival, which has been taking place in the capital of Connemara since 1812, takes place from May 25th - June 4th and will offer an array of indoor and outdoor events which focus on the rich heritage of the region. Families will have the opportunity to take part in walks and field trips, dance at the street party or catch a glimpse a traditional boats regatta.

For families looking to jump into the joys of June, the Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Country Fair is an ideal fun-filled event for the entire family to enjoy from May 31st - June 3rd. With over 50 shopping stands, locally produced food, picnic areas and old fashioned carnival stands, the entire family will get to see world class Eventing and some of the world’s most fearsome Olympian up close and personal, as this year’s event is an Olympic qualifier attracting world class competitors.

While the Cork Ocean to City Race will again host its annual unique 15-mile ocean rowing race taking place June 1st - 9th. Now in its 7th year, it continues to grow in strength as one of Cork's premier annual sporting events. Boats used in the race are 'fixed seat boats' and can include a huge variety of kayaks, currachs, Irish coastal rowing boats and Corks Bantry Boat 'Fionnbarra'. The race itself takes place on Saturday 2nd June but as the event has grown into a maritime festival for all the family.

Festival Fever
Check out top Irish and international comedians at the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny City from May 31st - June 4th for what has become one of the top comedy events in the calendar. Showcasing the best in what Irish comedy has to offer, the festival now attracts in excess of 30,000 visitors to the city. The exciting line-up this year includes comedy’s much loved grump, Jack Dee after a six year absence. Other top international comedy acts on the books include All Murray and UK rising star and rapper Doc Brown, who’s set to take Kilkenny by storm with his slick lyrics and clever rap skills.

Music lovers can pack up their bags and head to the sunny south east for Strawberry Fest takes place in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexfod from June 1st-3rd and will feature live performances from Maverick Sabre, Ireland’s top rappers The Original Rudeboys and Mikill Payne.

For opera enthusiasts The Lismore Music Festival, set in the stunning surroundings of Lismore Castl, has an incredible line up set to take place in the converted stables of Lismore Castle. Taking place June 2nd-3rd, visitors can look forward to two performances of Rossini’s popular opera The Barber of Seville featuring amongst others Puerto Rican Tenor, Javier Abrue and Turkish born Soprano Pervin Chakar. The festival will also plans to host a number of FREE music events as part of the Opera Supper Club Farmers Market in Lismore town.

From those in the West, the Havana Cultura Festival (formerly Little Havana Festival) returns to Galway's Latin Quarter. From June 1st- 3rd Galway's Latin Quarter will be alive with Latin music, dance, street entertainment, art and cultural events.

While in the North West the Roy Gallagher International Tribute Festival will take place in Ballyshannon Co. Donegal from May 31st- June 3rd. The International Tribute Festival dedicated to the late Rock ‘n’ Blues guitarist Rory Gallagher has a host of events on offer such as open air street gigs, workshops, exhibitions, theatre, concerts and pub sessions, all celebrating the very best of rock and blues music.

Catch Some Culture
For those interested in the arts and literature, this June Bank Holiday weekend is really something to get excited about. To start off, the Listowel, Writers Week, which takes place from May 30th- June 3rd in Listowel Co. Kerry returns as one of Ireland’s top literary events. Devoted to the cause of the writer, the festival gives writers a platform for artistic output with opportunities to befriend an established writer and practical support with 3 day workshops along with readings, lectures, debates and book launches. There is also a children’s programme in place throughout offering kids the chance to get familiar with literature from a young age.

While the Goldsmith International Literary Festival takes place in Goldsmith Country, Westmeath & Longford from June 1st-3rd. The festival continues to attract visitors from around the world and gives attendees the chance to get involved in lectures, talks, debates, music, poetry readings and a literary tour of goldsmith country, a must this bank holiday for literary lovers!

Alternatively literary lovers can join in a number FREE public events, film screenings and music as part of the Dublin Writers Festival. The festival which takes place June 4th-10th continues to go from strength to strength this year securing the attendance of the controversial author, evolutionary biologist, ethologist, atheist and humanist, Richard Dawkins who will be in conversation at the National Concert Hall on Tuesday, June 5th. In addition, attendees will also get the chance to partake in literary debate and discussion on the works of contemporary writers with top international authors. The festival is a must see for all thinkers for all readers, writers and lovers of words.

Visit www.discoverireland.ie/whatson to find more information on fantastic events, holiday ideas and fun for the entire family this June Bank Holiday.


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