With comedy season just around the corner now is the ideal time to combine your love of laughter with your love of getting away from it all. From hilarious comedy clubs to side-splitting festivals you can have a great laugh discovering the funny side of Ireland this year, with excellent comedy venues to tickle your ribs. Plan a break that will have you chortling, giggling and guffawing in a spectacular part of the country! The fun starts here at www.discoverireland.ie

Be a laughing cat!
Kilkenny has become Ireland’s unofficial comedy capital with the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, (May 30th – June 3rd), one of the highlights of the annual laughter calendar. The medieval city is a stunning backdrop for this event where you get to see top Irish and international acts in action. And watch out for newcomers set for a meteoric rise! Apart from stand up comedy there will be readings by authors, cartoon exhibitions and the traditional Sunday afternoon comedians’ football match! www.thecatlaughs.com

Enjoy some Cork Crackers!
You don’t have to commit to a festival to get a laugh out of your holidays. There are some great comedy venues around the country including Cork. One of the city’s best known is City Limits Comedy Club, where Tommy Tiernan filmed his Crooked Man DVD www.thecomedyclub.ie. Don’t miss the chance of a great night out at larger comedy venues around the country too. Forthcoming comedy gigs at the Cork Opera House include Rich Hall (June 4th) – not to be missed! www.corkoperahouse.ie.

Enjoy a Kerry Joke!
Add a comedy twist to your Kerry summer holiday this year and take in the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival, (August 22nd – 25th), in Waterville, honouring one of the all-time comedy greats. This entertaining event includes screenings, workshops, Chaplin themed street entertainment and much more, in a spectacular seaside village so beloved by the man himself. www.chaplinfilmfestival.com.

Capital comedy!
Head to Dublin for a belly laugh! Start your journey upstairs at the International Bar on Wicklow Street, where you can find live comedy on offer seven nights a week www.international-bar.com. The International Comedy Club has had a finger on the pulse of Irish comedy for the last 12 years, presenting exciting new comedy talent alongside some of the biggest comedians from Ireland and beyond www.theinternationalcomedyclub.com.

On Wednesdays and Sundays head for the Capital Comedy Club at the Ha’penny Inn, beside Dublin’s Ha’penny Bridge, for more mirth. www.capitalcomedyclub.com. And don’t miss the roll call at Anseo, in Camden Street, where the Laugh Out Loud comedy nights will make you do just that. www.laughoutloud.ie.

There are also comedy nights at the PantiBar, the Comedy Cellar and the Laughter Lounge. So no shortage of laughs to be had in the capital!

Make a show of yourself!
Fancy yourself as a bit of a comedian? Why not put it to the test, with a crash course in stand-up comedy? Learn how to express your own unique sense of humour on stage and make people laugh professionally at a Stand-Up Comedy Course run by the Gaiety School of Acting in Temple Bar, Dublin www.gaietyschool.com.

Giggle your way around Galway!
The west will be wide awake to the sound of laughter during the Galway Comedy Festival, (October 23rd-28th), which always attracts a stunning mix of talent from around the world. Previous performers include Dylan Moran, Sean Hughes and Tommy Tiernan. There will be 50 shows in all this year, and some of the acts will be Irish premieres, so see it here first! www.galwaycomedyfestival.com.

Howl with laughter this Halloween!
Later in the year, follow the sound of laughter to the midlands! Portlaoise in Co. Laois hosts the annual Hallowe’en Howls Comedy Festival, (October 25th – 28th), guaranteed to raise the roof of wonderfully intimate venues all around town. Organisers are promising a scarily good line-up that will crack you up this year! www.halloweenhowls.ie. Also in the midlands The Laughing Stock Comedy Club in the Palace Bar in Athlone has just opened and is promising some great events this year.

Comedy in Clonmel!
Make the trip to Tipp for the Bulmers Comedy Festival in Clonmel, (November 28th November – December 1st), attracting some of the finest, funniest and sharpest comedians to what is regarded as one of the best boutique comedy festivals in the country. For 2013 they are planning to attract the cream of the comedy crop from Canada, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and, of course, Ireland.