6 unforgettable Ireland march festivals

March is a time of transition, as winter fades away and the promise of spring fills the air.

Beyond St. Patrick’s Day parades, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in every corner of the country. Join to explore Ireland March Festivals through the rich variety of country and folk music, uncovering hidden gems and must-see events that showcase the spirit and diversity of this enchanting land. Whether you’re a local looking for new experiences or a visitor eager to immerse yourself in Irish culture, our March Festival calendar has everything you need to make the most of this magical time of year. So, satisfy your curiosity, embrace the celebratory spirit, and embark on a journey through the magic of spring festivities!

1. Fingal International Festival of Voices

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Get ready for a musical extravaganza! From the 7th to the 10th of March, Balbriggan Dublin hosts the Fingal International Festival of Voices – a captivating celebration of world cultures through music. This enchanting festival brings together renowned choirs, vocalists, and musicians from around the globe, promising a delightful mix of genres and styles.

You’ll find performances ranging from traditional folk songs to contemporary compositions, all delivered with passion and precision. Each day, venues across Fingal come alive with harmonious melodies, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the rich symphony of international sounds.

The festival caters to music lovers of all ages, offering free family-friendly concerts. Whether you prefer intimate recitals or grand spectacles, there’s something for everyone at the Fingal International Festival of Voices. Save the date for march festivals and take part in a truly unforgettable journey into the heart of global music!

When: 7th to the 10th of March

Where:  Balbriggan, Dublin

Cost: Free

Location: 12 Quay St Parking

2. Finding a Voice

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Music lovers and history buffs, get ready to be inspired! From March 7th to 10th, the charming town of Clonmel, Ireland, will be hosting “Finding a Voice,” a unique festival celebrating the incredible talents of female composers throughout history. 

The Preview Gala Concert is going to kick-off on 7th March 2024 with the prominent artists playing, violinist Patrick Rafter, pianist Gabriela Mayer and the cello player Alina Mayer-Whitla. 

The first concert on International Women’s Day, 8th March 2024 is the renowned Juliana Koch and Michael McHale duo playing the oboe and piano respectively. The other concert shows are titled as ‘Musici Ireland: A Mother’s Voice’. It is a tribute to the women impacted by the mother and baby homes in Ireland during the 1900s. This multidisciplinary production, created over two years by Beth McNinch and co-creative Jane Hackett, is a collaboration with survivors. It sheds light on this often overlooked part of Irish history. The performance includes an immersive exhibit by Bridget Ni Dhuinn, lighting by Eoin McNinch, and original music by Linda and Irene Buckley of Cork, accompanied by animation from Eabha Bortolozzo and Jack Kirwan. Crucially, the voices of three mothers, “Cait,” Deirdre Wadding, and Sheila O’Byrne, are featured.

The last show for the day is E.J. Mae and Rebekah Keogh’s Singer-Songwriter Showcase.

The Women’s special continues on the third day, 9th March 2024, of the concert, with Dr. Laura Watson’s “From the Stage to the Page: Women in Popular Music.” It is a fascinating illustrated talk that will take you on a journey through the words of women in rock and pop music. Get inspired by the stories behind the hits, the struggles faced, and the triumphs achieved by these amazing women.

The other show is “Duo Anima”, by pianist and viola players – Aileen Cahill and Andrea Banciu. Experience a gorgeous array of music for viola and piano from composers including Ina Boyle, Luise LeBeau and Elizabeth Maconchy, as well as the world première of a new work by Jane O’Leary, written especially for the duo. For the day, you can also join another celebration with the duo singer-songwriter Iness Mezel and traditional percussionist Nora Abdoun as they explore the power and beauty of indigenous Berber culture and share a window into the emotion and poetry of a hidden female world. Hear some of Ireland’s most exciting and talented performers (Isabelle O’Connell, Sylvia O’Brien, William Dowdall, Paul Roe, Keith Pascoe, Yseult Cooper Stockdale and Alex Petcu) as they take us on a musical journey inspired by the themes of water and magic, with works by Siobhán Cleary, Lili Boulanger, Rebecca Clarke, Gemma Peacock and Jessie Montgomery.  A highlight of the concert will be the world première of Judith Ring’s ‘The River Was Never Afraid’, inspired by Clonmel’s River Suir, as well as the winning piece in the Finding a Voice/Contemporary Music Centre competition for emerging composers.

The fourth and the last day of the festival includes film screening of Sisters with Transistors. The film maps a new history of electronic music through the visionary women whose radical experimentations with machines redefined the boundaries of music, including Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Bebe Barron, Pauline Oliveros, Delia Derbyshire, Maryanne Amacher, Eliane Radigue, Suzanne Ciani, and Laurie Spiegel. The film is narrated by Laurie Anderson and the screening will be introduced by composer Dr Judith Ring. Another concert is ‘Amerghin: Wind on Sea’ featuring instrumentalists Anna Marie O’Farrell, Aingeala De Búrca, Tim Doyle and Brian Fleming. The four members of Amerghin combine that experience to create stunning new compositions and improvisations, which co-exist on their set list with music that is older than most nations. Whether it is music from the seventeenth century or new music being improvised into existence in front of your ears, Amerghin breathe new life into everything they play.

This isn’t your typical concert series; it delves beyond the mainstream, showcasing the diverse and powerful musical contributions of women from all corners of the globe and across different eras. Be prepared to be captivated by the artistry of both established and upcoming female musicians performing a wide range of musical styles. Whether you’re a classical music enthusiast or simply appreciate powerful vocals and captivating melodies, the festival promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you enriched and inspired by the talent and creativity of female composers and musicians. So, mark your calendars, grab your music-loving friends, and embark on a journey of musical discovery at march festivals in Clonmel! 

When: March 7th to 10th

Where: Clonmel, Ireland

Cost: €85

Location: Old St. Mary’s Church, Clonmel

  1. Belfast Children’s Festival
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Calling all little adventurers and playful spirits! Get ready for a magical nine days of fun at the Belfast Children’s Festival, happening from March 8th to 16th! This exciting event in the march festivals calendar is bursting with amazing things to see and do, from jaw-dropping circus acts to captivating storytelling sessions. Whether you’re a curious toddler or a playful pre-teen, there’s something for everyone. Imagine being amazed by acrobats, laughing out loud during funny stories, and even getting involved in interactive activities. So, get ready to grab your grown-ups, and head to the Belfast Children’s Festival – it’s guaranteed to be a blast!

When: March 8th to 16th

Where: Belfast

Cost: £12

Location: Cotton Court

  1. St. Patrick’s Festival
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As shamrocks bloom and the Emerald Isle shimmers with march festivals spirit, the iconic St. Patrick’s Day celebrations ignite across Ireland! Whether you find yourself amidst the medieval charm of Kilkenny (15-18 March), the vibrant energy of Cork (15-18 March), the bustling cityscapes of Dublin (17th March), or the breathtaking scenery of Killarney Festival (15 – 18 March), the Paddy’s Day festivities promise an unforgettable experience. Think colorful parades with marching bands and floats, delicious Irish food like stew and soda bread, and the infectious energy of traditional Irish music filling the streets. Don your green attire, join in the merriment, and discover the magic of St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland!

When: 17th March 2024

Where: Kilkenny, Dublin, Cork and Killarney

Cost: Free

  1.  Early Music Festival
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The Early Music Festival in Limerick, for this year’s march festivals is happening on March 22nd and 23rd, and your chance to experience music from way back when – like medieval times, the Renaissance, and even the Baroque period (think fancy castles and elaborate costumes!) is here. Talented musicians will be using cool old instruments to bring the music of the past back to life, with everything from religious singing to catchy dance tunes. So, whether you’re a history buff or just curious about different kinds of music, march festivals are a fun way to travel through time and hear something totally unique!

When: March 22nd and 23rd

Where: Limerick

Cost: €5 – €25

Location: Ballina

  1. Festival Folk Roscommon 
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Excitement of a folk music festival is swirling around Roscommon this March. The march festivals promis to be a celebration of traditional Irish music and culture, with the best performers, Eleanor Shanley, Mick Hanly, Leo Logan and Charlie McGettigan. If you’re a fan of foot-stomping jigs, lilting ballads, and the vibrant spirit of Irish folk, this event might be the perfect way to experience the heart and soul of Roscommon.

When: 28th March 2024, 8pm

Where: Abbey Hotel, Roscommon

Cost: €30

Location: Abbey Hotel Roscommon

Tarla Vaidya
Tarla Vaidya

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