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  • Entertainment

TRAVEL: An island of fabulous festivals

Sunday, 17th February, 2019 9:00am
TRAVEL: An island of fabulous festivals

Kerry Seanachie and author Batt Burns with his grand daughters Laoise and Aisling Burns at Listowel Writers’ week.

TRAVEL: An island of fabulous festivals

Kerry Seanachie and author Batt Burns with his grand daughters Laoise and Aisling Burns at Listowel Writers’ week.

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WE’VE survived January, now let the fun begin! And there’s no fun like festival fun!

Ireland loves festivals, from the big, cosy and quirky to the arty, sporty and foodie. With so many incredible events taking place throughout the year, it’s time to get planning - new diaries at the ready!

To set you up for festival success here are 20 Great Irish Festivals in 2019 spanning the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and our own fair city to plan a trip around.

St Patrick's Festival (March 14-18)

As well as the traditional Dublin City parade on March 17, there will be  other events taking place in honour of St Patrick. The five-day festival will offer a broad range of events including storytelling performances and Greening the City, which sees buildings, venues and spaces across the city illuminate green.

This year parades will also be taking place in Swords and Skerries for the first time ever. Full details of all events will be announced over the coming weeks. See

Cork Choral Festival (May 1-5)

Cork Choral Festival, which started in 1954, brings choirs from across the world for a programme of gala concerts, schools concerts, national and international competitions, and world-class performances, as thousands of participants bring the city to life for a celebration of choral music in all its many forms. One of Europe’s premier choral festivals, Cork is noted for its high standards, eclectic and wide-ranging programme, and the friendliness of its welcome. See

May the 4th Festival (May 4-5)

May the fourth be with you! Returning for a second year, the Star Wars festival returns to Kerry. Kicking off on Star Wars Day, the festival will see events for all ages taking place across the Kerry villages of Ballyferriter, Portmagee, Ballinskelligs and Valentia Island.

These include drive-in movie screenings, guided film location walks, a fancy dress céilí and more, all within sight of Skellig Micheal where Luke Skywalker followed in the footsteps of ancient Irish monks by living in rugged isolation. See

Listowel Writers' Week (May 29-June 2)

Listowel Writers’ Week has been bringing writers, artists and poets to the stunning Kerry heritage town of Listowel, since 1970. It’s a festival for everyone, with events held for all ages and interests.

Full details for this year’s festival will be announced later this year but you can expect the usual unique experiences, including book launches, author readings, walking tours and poet’s corners. See

Body&Soul (June 21-23)

Body&Soul will return in 2019 for its tenth anniversary. Set in the stunning grounds of Ballinlough Castle, the festival offers a holistic experience for all the senses including music artists, immersive theatre, art installations, gastronomic experiences, and indulgent wellbeing areas come together to provide a weekend of sensory exploration. Tickets are available to reserve now, and the music line-up will be announced early this year. See

Earagail Arts Festival (July 10-28)

Earagail Arts Festival is a bilingual (Irish and English), multidisciplinary summer festival which takes place each July throughout County Donegal.

The festival goes on the road from West to North, showcasing inspiring performers and native artists providing opportunities for cultural exchange, in purpose-built theatres, galleries, village halls, forests and beaches, creating a unique cultural experience in the most unlikely of magical places.


Kilkenny Arts Festival (August 9-18)

Each year Kilkenny Arts Festival gathers some of the world’s finest musicians, performers, writers and artists in Ireland’s historic city. 

For ten days, the city’s churches, castle, courtyards, townhouses and gardens offer a magical setting for unique collaborations and intimate encounters between audiences and artists.

Keep an eye out for what new festival director, Olga Barry, has in store for 2019. See

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (August 11-18)

The Fleadh Cheoil festival will take place in Drogheda for the second time this year, after moving from Ennis due to its growing success. It’s one of Ireland’s most popular events in recent years, and the world’s largest annual celebration of Irish music, language, song and dance.

This year’s festival will feature workshops, competitions, concerts, céili’s, and much more. Keep up to date on event announcements throughout the year. See

A Taste of West Cork (September 6-15)

Featuring over 250 events taking place in 41 towns and villages and 8 islands, celebrate West Cork’s food culture, set against a dramatic backdrop stretching from the beaches of Inchydoney, to the Beara peninsula and reaching out through the scattered islands off Roaring Water Bay.

A Taste of West Cork is one of Ireland's longest running food festivals and is fast becoming a premier event on the food calendar.  The festival is one of the best opportunities for local producers and chefs to showcase their wares to people passionate about food.

May the 4th be with you in Kerry this summer.

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