Top 30 Annual Irish Festivals to Celebrate in Ireland

There are plenty of Irish festivals to look forward to this year in Ireland, which is famed for its lively and colorful culture. The Irish’s annual celebrations of their rich culture and history are exciting events. Events recur all year long to satisfy all interests, from St. Patrick’s Day to the Galway International Arts Festival. These festivals frequently draw tourists from all over the world and offer a variety of events, including music, dance, theater, comedy, and visual art. There are many annual Irish festivals that are guaranteed to pique your curiosity, whether you’re searching for a classic Irish experience or something more modern.

Here are some of the top annual Irish festivals to look forward to in 2023:

Irish Festivals in the Spring Season:

  1. Dublin International Film Festival 
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The top films from Irish and international cinema are presented at the Dublin International Film Festival (DIFF), which takes place every year in Dublin, Ireland. This Irish festival showcases mainstream and independent projects in a range of genres, including drama, comedy, animation, and horror, in terms of short films and documentaries. 

The festival offers workshops, master classes, and panel discussions with professionals from the industry and filmmakers in addition to movie screenings. This festival usually happens for ten days in either February or March, depending on their scheduling for the year. 

  1. St. Patrick’s Day 
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Every year on March 17th, the cultural and religious celebration known as St. Patrick’s Day is observed in remembrance of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Although many nations now commemorate the occasion, it was first observed in Ireland. Parades, donning green attire, and various celebrations like concerts, festivals, and events that highlight Irish culture are used to honor the day. The St. Patrick’s Parade, which incorporates extravagant floats, dancers, and singers from all over the world, is the festival’s main draw. This is one of the best and most awaited Irish festivals.

  1. Galway Food Festival 
galway food

Every year over the Easter weekend in Galway City, there is a festival called the Galway Food Festival. The event honors the thriving culinary scene in the West of Ireland by displaying the best local products, artisanal cuisine, and culinary prowess. 

Visitors can take part in a variety of culinary events, such as tastings, cooking demonstrations, and lectures by renowned chefs and food authorities. The festival, which is a highlight of the nation’s gastronomic calendar, draws foodies from all around Ireland and beyond.

  1. Galway Theatre Festival 
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An annual occasion in Galway City is the Galway Theatre Festival, held in April and May. Plays, musicals, experimental pieces, and physical theater are just a few of the theatrical productions that are presented during the festival.

 This festival features both foreign artwork and the best of Irish theater. Theater fans from all around Ireland and abroad attend the festival, which offers a stage for new and experienced talent. The Galway Theatre Festival caters to all audiences, with a combination of free and ticketed programs to choose from. 

Irish Festivals in the Summer Season:

  1. Dublin Dance Festival  
dublin dance festival

The best contemporary dance from Ireland and around the world is presented at the Dublin Dance Festival, which takes place during the month of May every year. Renowned dancers and choreographers will perform, teach workshops, and give speeches during the festival. It gives both up-and-coming and renowned performers a stage, while celebrating the diversity and originality of contemporary dance.

  1. Bealtaine Festival  
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An annual celebration of creativity in the elderly, the Bealtaine Festival is held in Ireland over the month of May. For older audiences, the festival offers a wide range of activities, including music, theater, visual arts, and dance. It serves as a forum to refute stereotypes about aging and highlights the valuable contribution older people make to Irish society. If you are planning to enjoy time with your elderly, this is one of the Irish festivals you should celebrate.

  1. Cork Midsummer Festival  
dublin midsummer festival

An annual celebration of the arts and culture of the city, the Cork Midsummer Festival, is held in Cork. The festival presents a wide variety of performances in theater, dance, music, and visual arts, exhibiting both domestic and foreign talent. It serves as a venue for both upcoming and experienced artists to exhibit their work, and draws viewers from all around Ireland and abroad. You can witness this festival during the month of June. 

  1. Dalkey Book Festival  
dalkey book festival

An annual celebration known as the Dalkey Book Festival is held in the seaside Irish town of Dalkey. The festival offers a variety of activities, such as speeches, readings, interviews, and workshops given by well-known writers from around the globe. It is a must-attend event for book enthusiasts and celebrates the enjoyment of reading. So if you are a bibliophile, this is one of the Irish festivals you shouldn’t miss. You can enjoy this festival during the month of June. 

  1.  Earagail Arts Festival  
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The Earagail Arts Festival is a yearly celebration of the local arts and culture that takes place in County Donegal, Ireland. The festival presents a wide variety of performances in theater, music, dance, and visual arts, exhibiting both domestic and foreign talent. It serves as a venue for both upcoming and experienced artists to exhibit their work, and draws viewers from all around Ireland and abroad during the month of July. 

  1. Galway International Arts Festival 
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The two-week Galway International Arts Festival is a celebration of the performing, visual, and literary arts. Irish and foreign musicians are featured in the festival’s roster, which is held in Galway. Sinead O’Connor, St. Vincent, and David Byrne were in their earlier iterations. This festival begins in the middle of July and ends at the end of July. 

Irish Festivals in the Autumn Season:

  1. Galway Races  
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The Galway Races, an annual occasion in Galway, Ireland, draw visitors who are passionate about horse racing from all over the world. The festival includes a week-long schedule of fashion, entertainment, and horse racing during the month of August. It is a high point of the Irish social and sporting calendar, and a wonderful chance to take in the lively atmosphere and the thrill of the races.

  1. Spraoi International Street Arts Festival  
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Every year, the best street theater and performances from across the world are shown at the Spraoi International Street Arts Festival in Waterford, Ireland. The festival offers a wide variety of activities, such as performances by musicians, visual artists, and street performers. It is a must-attend event for street art enthusiasts and a wonderful chance to take in Waterford’s energetic environment. Witness this festival during the month of August. 

  1. Kilkenny Arts Festival  
kilkenny arts

An annual celebration of the arts and culture of the area, the Kilkenny Arts Festival is held in Kilkenny, Ireland, in mid-August. The festival presents a wide variety of performances in theater, music, dance, and visual arts, exhibiting both domestic and foreign talent. It serves as a venue for both upcoming and experienced artists to exhibit their work, and draws viewers from all around Ireland and abroad.

  1. Culture Night 
cultre night

Every year, Ireland celebrates its arts and culture with a nationwide celebration known as “Culture Night.” The festival offers a wide variety of performances in the performing, visual, and literary arts, and many cultural organizations are providing free admission for the evening. It’s a wonderful chance to get a sense of the depth and variety of Irish culture.

  1. Dublin Fringe Festival  
dublin fringe festival

The Dublin Fringe Festival is a two-week celebration of modern art and culture that takes place every September. The festival includes theater, dance, music, comedy, and other events at various locations throughout Dublin. Anyone interested in contemporary art should definitely pay the festival a visit because it is known for highlighting up-and-coming artists.

  1. Dingle Food Festival  
food festival

The scenic town of Dingle in County Kerry hosts the Dingle Food Festival, which honors the best of Irish cuisine and drink, during the month of October. Live music, food and beverage vendors, and cooking demos are all part of the festival. The Taste Trail, where guests can sample some of the best food and beverages in the area, is the festival’s main attraction.

  1. Electric Picnic  
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In Stradbally, County Laois, there is a three-day music and arts festival held every September called Electric Picnic. The festival’s schedule includes both Irish and foreign artists from a variety of musical styles, from indie and rock to techno and dance. Artists such as Billie Eilish, Lewis Capaldi, Niall Horan, The Killers, Rick Astley, Tom Odell, and The Sniffers participate in this music and art festival.  So for all the music lovers, this is one of the Irish festivals you shouldn’t miss.

Additionally, there are performances of comedy, theater, and visual arts at the festival. The top Irish annual festivals to look forward to in 2023 include just a few of these. In Ireland’s thriving festival scene, there is something for everyone to enjoy, regardless of your interests in music, food, the arts, or literature.

  1. Dublin Theatre Festival 
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The Dublin Theatre Festival, the first theater event in Europe, presents a mix of Irish and foreign productions. This festival presents plays, musicals, and experimental theater in a number of locations throughout Dublin. This is one of the Irish festivals which stages major international theatre and involves major artists. Previous presentations have featured works by Tennessee Williams, Harold Pinter, and Samuel Beckett. These performances occur in the months of September and October.

  1. Wexford Festival Opera 
wexford festival opera

The Wexford Festival Opera is an annual celebration of the best opera from around the world that takes place in Wexford. The festival offers a schedule of performances, workshops, and discussions by well-known artists and subject-matter authorities. For fans of opera, it is a must-attend event and a fantastic chance to witness the beauty and impact of this art form. Witness this festival during October and November. 

  1. Bram Stoker Festival  
bram stoker

The Bram Stoker Festival is a yearly celebration of the life and works of Irish author Bram Stoker, best known for penning Dracula, that takes place in Dublin. The festival emphasizes the gothic and supernatural themes that are common in Stoker’s writings and offers a wide variety of events in the arts, including theater, music, and literature. You can be part of this festival in the final part of October. 

  1. Rose of Tralee International Festival  
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An annual festival honoring Irish culture and tradition is called the Rose of Tralee International Festival, which takes place in Tralee, during the month of August. The festival includes a schedule of performances in the arts, such as dance, music, and pageantry, and it culminates in the choice of the Rose of Tralee, an Irish woman chosen to symbolize Irish communities around the world. 

  1. Derry Halloween  

One of the largest Halloween festivities in the world, this festival is held in Derry, Northern Ireland. Various activities are included in it, such as a parade, fireworks, music, and street entertainment involving fireworks, parades, and ghost tours. With a schedule of activities that includes live music, food vendors, and street entertainment, the city becomes a Halloween fantasy. Enjoy this festival during the final week of October. 

  1. Cork Jazz Festival  
cork jazz festival

One of the largest jazz events in Europe, the Cork Jazz Festival is held around Cork City at a number of venues. Since 1978, the festival has featured both regional and international jazz musicians. A food market, jazz workshops, and late-night jam sessions are all included in the festival. The Cork Jazz Festival is held during the final week of October. 

Irish Festivals in the Winter Season:

  1. Puca Festival 
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This recently developed celebration, which is celebrated all over Ireland, honors Irish folklore and traditions. Live concerts, interactive installations, and illuminated nighttime parades are all part of the festival. In late October and early November, is when this festival will be on. 

  1. The Cork International Film Festival 
cork int fil festival

This festival, which features the best in both domestic and foreign movies, is the oldest in Ireland. Premieres, retrospectives, and filmmaker Q&A sessions are all part of the festival. It draws both movie fans and businesspeople alike from all around the world.

With a variety of film screenings and events, this festival takes place in November and features the best in Irish and worldwide filmmaking. 

  1. Galway Christmas Market 
galway chritsmas market

During the holiday season, this colorful market is hosted in the center of Galway City. More than 50 vendors with handcrafted items, holiday sweets, and hot beverages may be found at the market. A Santa’s Grotto, a carousel, and live entertainment are also available. 

One of the biggest Christmas markets in Ireland is held here throughout November and December. It offers a variety of stalls selling arts, crafts, and cuisine, as well as live entertainment and music.

  1. Winterval Waterford  

A Christmas market, an ice rink, a Ferris wheel, and a carousel are just a few of the festive festivities and activities that make up this festival, which is held annually in Waterford. From late November to early January, it happens. This festival, which celebrates the Christmas season with a variety of activities like markets, carol singing, ice skating, and a light show, is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas with family. 

  1. Yulefest Kilkenny 
yulefest kilkenny

This joyful festival, which takes place in Kilkenny, honors the holiday season with a range of occasions and activities. Christmas markets, live theater performances, a food village, and live music are all part of the festival. Yulefest Kilkenny runs from November right up until the end of January.

  1. Belfast Christmas Market 
belfast christmas

An international Christmas market with over 80 stalls selling presents, crafts, and food is being held in Belfast. A Santa’s grotto, live music, and a lighted Christmas tree are all present at the market. Here, in November and December, is one of Northern Ireland’s largest Christmas markets. There are numerous stalls selling arts, crafts, and food there, along with live performances and music.

  1. Dublin Castle Christmas Market 
dublin castle market

This is a joyful market conducted in Dublin Castle’s ancient environs. Over 30 kiosks in the market sell handcrafted goods, including food, crafts, and gifts. Additionally, there are Christmas activities, a Santa’s grotto, and live entertainment. It occurs in December.

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Hope you are also looking forward to these festivals and having a great time with your loved ones!

Ishita Handa
Ishita Handa

Hey readers,
An amateur author discovers a new realm of sharing important information about Ireland with readers through writing and learning how to engage them better.
I want to give my readers as much information as I can while still making it fascinating and compelling.

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