Kick start your summer fun with a fantastic festival or event taking place all around the country next month.
There are a host of festivals to choose from to suit all tastes! From tasty food festivals to electric music festivals and energising walking festivals to quirky traditional festivals, discover all that’s on to plan your getaway with www.discoverireland.ie.
Movie Magic in Dublin!
Lose yourself in the silver screen at the Fingal Film Festival, (May 8th – 10th), in Co. Dublin. Featuring independent film, workshops and awards, this is a little piece of Hollywood, right here in Ireland!
Get theatrical in Dublin!
The Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, (May 6th – 19th), is the largest event of its kind in the world, offering drama, comedy, musical theatre, cabaret and more in Dublin’s historic Georgian heart. With free seminars, lunch time opera and children’s shows, it’s all about diversity and it’s open to all so don’t miss out!
Book a bestseller in Dublin!
Bestselling author Dan Brown is in town ready to crack the Da Vinci Code and other titles at this year’s Dublin Writers Festival, (May 20th – 26th). Caitlin Moran, columnist, feminist and author of How to be a Woman will also be appearing at what promises to be a real page turner of an event across the capital.
Soul seeking in the capital!
Chill out at the Dublin City Soul Festival, (May 23rd – 26th), a celebration of peace, unity and love, promoted as Ireland’s ‘feel good festival’. Enjoy the Soul Picnic in Merrion Square Park, with music, tasty treats and barbecue food. Follow the Love the City Music Trail from venue to venue in this vibrant, multi-cultural event.
Bloom in the Park!
Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family event, Bloom (May 30th – June 3rd), is back bigger, better and more botanical than ever this year at Dublin’s Phoenix Park in Dublin City.
Flex your mussels in Renvyle!
There’ll be mussels aplenty at the Connemara Mussel Festival, (May 3rd – 5th), on the beautiful Renvyle Peninsula in Co. Galway, as well as music, cooking competitions, walks, talks, theatre and children’s events.
Float your boat in Salthill!
There’s seaside fun in Co. Galway at An Tóstal Salthill, (May 5th), plus the very best of all Ireland Curragh racing. Check out the local Galway Hookers from Claddagh, the tug of war, traditional Irish and sean nos dancing, sand castle competitions, barbecue on the prom and more.
Be a bog trotter in Connemara!
Celebrate all that is magical about the Connemara landscape during Connemara Bog Week in Co. Galway, (May 24th – June 3rd), with art exhibitions, Sean Nos dance workshops, cycle races, trad music, and illustrated archaeology talks.
Test your taste buds in Carlingford!
Get a taste for good food at Taste of Carlingford, (May 11th – 12th), a weekend of fine food and refreshments in the idyllic medieval village of Carlingford in Co. Louth. Everything from delicious strawberries and mouth-watering oysters to street entertainment, heritage walks and face painting for the kids.
Wexfood for all!
A tasty schedule of mouth-watering family events at the Wexford Food Festival, (May 24th – 26th), including a crackling hog roast, cookery demonstrations, a trip back in time to sample food cooked 500 BC – but still fresh! - and an open air food market.
Beat a trad trail to Louisburgh!
Singing, set dancing and trad music are just some of the fun activities on offer at Feile Chois Cuain, (May 3rd – 6th), in lovely Louisburgh, Co Mayo, an area rich in musical heritage With everything from tutored workshops to full blown concerts.
Walk the wild west in Cong!
For a natural high make the most of Mayo with the Cong Lakes Walking Weekend, (May 3rd – 6th). Walking is graded ‘easy’ on two days, with the third ‘moderate’, including a hike to the top of Benlevy Mountain outside Clonbur.
Seaside Jazz in Bray!
New York based Brazilian pianist and singer Elaine Elias is winging her way to Bray, Co. Wicklow for the Bray Jazz Festival, (May 3rd – 5th). Prepare for a showcase of the best in Irish and European jazz with cajun, zydeco and creole in the mix too!
See mountains in Bloom!
Take a trek on one of Ireland’s longest running walking festivals - the Slieve Bloom Walking Festival, (May 3rd – 6th), with a great choice of walks over four days in Co. Offaly. From easy woodland walks to challenging hikes, it puts the great in the great outdoors!
Walk the Glen in Tipp!
Explore the Glen of Aherlow, one of Tipperary’s most attractive spots, on foot as part of the Glen of Aherlow Walking Festival, (May 31st – June 3rd). It’s the perfect way to see this beautiful part of Ireland, where the River Aherlow runs between the Galtee Mountains and the wooded ridge of Slievenamuck.
Jazz hands in Clare!
There’s free jazz, and then there’s free jazz. The good news for music lovers is that the performances at the Doonbeg International Jazz Festival, (May 31st – June 4rd), are free!
Slow down for Food in Clare!
Celebrity chef Richard Corrigan will be on hand for this year’s Burren Slow Food Festival, (May 17th – 19th), as will JP McMahon of Aniar, Galway’s first Michelin Star restaurant and Peter Jackson, executive chef from Hotel Doolin. Look out for world champion oyster shucker Michael Moran too. With seaweed foraging, guided walks, beer tasting and organic salmon sampling.
Fire up a festival in Westmeath!
Re-ignite your passion for arts, culture and heritage at the Festival of the Fires, (May 4th – 5th), at Uisneach, in Co. Westmeath, a pilgrimage to the ancient sacred heart of Ireland where you will experience the very best in Irish culture, art, heritage and ceremony – with music, fire performers and family fun.
Go cross country in Meath!
There may be horses for courses but for family fun look no further than the Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Country Fair 2013, (May 30th – June 2nd), for a weekend full of the thrills and spills of horse trials and a country fair with good food, great shopping and loads of free kids entertainment.
Married to Mozart in Lismore!
Get ready for a wedding, with Mozart’s opera, Le Nozze di Figaro, taking centre stage at the Lismore Music Festival in Co. Waterford, (May 25th – June 2nd). With pre opera suppers available in local restaurants, opera picnics to enjoy, as well as the castle gardens, don’t forget to book your oysters and bubbles!
Trad by the sea in Waterford!
Danu are the headline act at the Dungarvan Trad Fest, (May 30th – June 3rd), a gathering of performers from 25 years of festivals and a holiday weekend of traditional music, song and dance in the beautiful coastal town.
Road thrills in Kerry!
Experience the thrill of the chase at the Cartell.ie Rally of the Lakes, (May 3rd – 5th). The event revs up with a ceremonial start in Killarney town centre on Friday evening, and finishes at the Gleneagle Hotel on Sunday after two hard days of rallying over some of the world’s greatest tarmac stages.
Lucky sevens in Kinsale!
Those experiencing withdrawal symptoms after all the rugby will sprint down the wing to Kinsale, Co. Kerry, for the Heineken Sevens by the Sea event (May 4th – 5th) with competitions for men, women, elite players and tag enthusiasts.
Literary life in Listowel!
Sharpen your pencil and lick your nib for the return of one of the country’s best known literary festivals, Listowel Writers’ Week in Co. Kerry, (May 29th – June 2nd). Poets, novelists, scientists, comedians, pop psychologists and environmentalists, they’ll all be here – will you?
Documentaries in Donegal!
Michael Moore take note. Documentary lovers will be well served at the Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival in Donegal and Derry, (May 10th – 19th). With compelling viewing on screen and scenic views off, it’s the perfect movie mix.
Rock ‘n’ roll ‘n’ running in Donegal!
Rocks’n’ Rollin’ Ultra Challenge, (May 12th), is Ireland’s most northerly, scenic and toughest ultra-marathon along the highways and byways of Inishowen’s coastal routes. Four races in one day allows all levels of middle distance runners to take part in this hills of Donegal running festival.
Have a Fleadh Day!
Everything from street busking to bone playing, traditional music and celebrity concerts are on offer at the Fleadh by the Feale, (May 3rd – 6th), bringing traditional Irish musicians from all over Ireland, Europe and America to Abbeyfeale in West Limerick.
Great shakes on the Shannon!
Billy Connolly’s only one of the reasons to visit Riverfest, (May 3rd – 6th), in Limerick city. Check out the free Tai Chi in Arthur’s Quay Park, enjoy an evening with the Cecilians at the Lime Tree Theatre, enjoy fun on the Shannon, street entertainment, fireworks, and a great big drum!
Sing out in Limerick!
Limerick has a proud tradition of choral singing, so hear it at its best in Limerick City at the Limerick Sings International Choral Festival, (May 31st – June 3rd). Hear national and international choirs take part a weekend of non-competitive music and song.
Rhythm and roots in Kilkenny!
Get back to your musical roots at the Smithwick’s Kilkenny Roots Festival, with over 80 gigs in 30 venues across the city (May 3rd – 6th). Headline acts include Angel Olsen, Larry & His Flask and Chuck Prophet.
Spring lambs springing in Roscommon!
Watch lambs as they jump for joy at the Roscommon Lamb Festival, (May 1st – 6th), celebrating food, family and farming in the county. Come for the ceilis and the crafts, for the fishing challenges and sheep dog trials, and for fun for all the family.
Raise the roof in Cork!
Exercise your ears at the Cork International Choral Festival, (May 1st – 5th), attracting 5,000 singers in choirs from across the world for a programme of gala and fringe concerts, national and international competition, and world-class performances.
Beats in Ballydehob
Cool cats and other creatures will beat a trail to the Ballydehob Jazz Festival in Co. Cork, (May 3rd – 6th), where acts such as the Neil Crowley Trio, Kitten and the Hip and, of course, the Swingin’ Bluecats will strut their stuff.
Feel the Beat in Ballyvourney!
Traditional musicians of all ages, and lovers of trad music, head for Cork Fleadh Cheoil, (May 10th – 12th), to be hosted in the Gaeltacht region of Ballyvourney for the first time ever this year.
Age creatively with Bealtaine!
Celebrate creativity as we age with the month-long Bealtaine Festival, (May 1st – 31st) in Sligo Town and County. Open to everyone aged 50+ all over the country, take part in a range of arts and cultural events, from theatre and music to literature and photography. Miss it and you’ll miss out!
Up to your oxters in the Ox Mountains!
Enjoy a Spring walking weekend in the Ox Mountains and Loughs Talt and Easkey area at the South Sligo Walking Festival, (May 4th – 6th), with multi-activity packages, guided hillwalking, short, medium and long distance trails.
Spin to Sligo!
It’s pedal power all the way for the An Post Tour of Sligo, (May 4th – 5th), with a 10k Hazelwood Spin for All and a Family Fun Day too. With four different routes on offer there is something to suit everyone from the seasoned cyclist to the easy rider.