Subscriber OnlyCulture

Ireland’s best festivals in 2024: A handy guide to more than 100 of the best cultural showcases

From huge events such as Electric Picnic and Dublin Theatre Festival to more esoteric gatherings around Ireland

EOY Mag Pics 2023

A rich explosion of festivals is being planned right now, from big hitters to niche pleasures. What follow isn’t an exhaustive list but a taster of the cultural festivals coming up around Ireland in 2024. While some programmes are well along, others won’t be announced until later in the year, so watch their spaces online and on social media.


First Fortnight

Until January 14th

First Fortnight flags the benefits of the arts for mental health, with inspiration from diverse artforms including poetry, music, textile art and theatre.

Out to Lunch Arts Festival

Until January 28th

The year’s first outing from Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, with a programme of live comedy, music, theatre, spoken word and film screenings. Highlights include David O’Doherty, Sooz Kempner, The Henry Girls, Fraulein and John Francis Flynn.

Music for Galway Midwinter Festival Fauré

January 19th-21st

This year’s midwinter festival is curated by the pianist Michel Dalberto alongside Music for Galway’s artistic director, Finghin Collins, marking the centenary of Gabriel Fauré's death.



January 24th-28th

Ireland’s largest trad and folk festival, with live music across Dublin. Featuring Janis Ian, Transatlantic Women and Carlos Núñez, among many others.


Brigit: Dublin City Celebrating Women

February 1st-5th

The third Dublinwide celebration of St Brigid welcomes spring with events aiming to shine a light on her lasting legacy and the ways contemporary women embody the spirit of the goddess.

Classics Now

February 2nd-4th

This cultural festival takes place online, in Dublin and beyond, diving into the art, literature and ideas of the ancient Greeks and Romans as interpreted and reimagined by artists of today.

Dublin Lunar New Year

February 3rd-11th

Dublin City Council invites all to welcome the Year of the Dragon, with tours, food experiences, talks, hands-on workshops for adults and children, live music and dragon- themed fun.

What Next

February 7th-10th

Dance Limerick hosts dance artists from Ireland and Europe for four days of performances, workshops and discussions.

Spike Cello Festival

February 9th-11th

The Dublin cello festival brings audiences and musicians from home and abroad together for the sixth time. Performances include the Naomi Berrill Trio and Firl, the debut duo project from Gay-yee Westerhoff and Eos Counsell.

IAYO Festival of Youth Orchestras

February 10th

Young musicians from all over Ireland perform at the National Concert Hall.

Take Off Festival

February 13th-16th

This Cork-based showcase of dance artists from Ireland and Europe invites audiences to discover experienced and emerging choreographers with flavours of contemporary, Irish dance and hip hop.

Scene + Heard

February 15th-March 2nd

Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin presents more than 110 new shows from artists from Ireland and beyond. Expect comedy, cosmic circus, satire, moving melodies, absurdist theatre, sketch, improv, dance, drag kings, poetry and more.

Mother Tongues Festival

February 16th and 17th

This celebration of linguistic diversity encourages people to learn something new and have fun while celebrating their mother tongue and Ireland’s multilingualism. Includes the Italian company Cantieri Meticci, plus artists from around the world.

Dublin International Film Festival

February 22nd-March 2nd

World premieres, special screenings, Irish and international features, shorts, industry events, documentaries and Q&As.

Belfast TradFest Winter Weekend 2024

February 23rd-25th

Concerts, workshops, sessions, céilithe and a festival club.

Ortús Chamber Music Festival

February 23rd-March 3rd

Founders Mairéad Hickey and Sinéad O’Halloran present some of Ireland’s finest musicians alongside international peers in Cork city and county.


Ennis Book Club Festival

March 1st-3rd

Highlights include Claire Kilroy and Sinéad Gleeson in conversation with Edel Coffey; Denise Mina, Doug Johnstone and Andrea Mara talking crime fiction with Andrea Carter; and a symposium on breaking the cycle of poverty.

Francophonie Festival

March 1st-31st

Month-long celebration of the French language and cultural diversity, including film, literature, talks and debates. Incorporates the Francophonie festival (March 7th-9th) of free film screenings at the Light House Cinema and Alliance Française, Dublin.

Finding a Voice

March 7th-10th

A festival in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, of music by women composers through the ages and around the world, in celebration of International Women’s Day, on March 8th; the event was founded by sisters Róisín Maher and Clíona Maher in 2017.

Belfast’s Children’s Festival

March 8th-16th

Young at Art’s 26th year features local, national and international theatre, dance, music, art, interactive events and exhibitions, plus free family activities.

St Patrick’s Festival

March 15th-18th

Global celebration of Irish culture and heritage, including the national St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin on March 17th; the return of the Festival Quarter, at the National Museum of Ireland’s Collins Barracks branch, celebrating the best of Irish music, circus, spectacle, conversation, food and drink; and the One City programme of events taking place across Dublin, including Thisispopbaby’s Wake at the National Stadium.

Imagine! Belfast

March 18th-24th

Moore than 100 events celebrating ideas and politics. Participants include Paul Muldoon, Sarah P Corbett, Manchán Magan, Henry Normal and Nigel Planer, Ulster Orchestra and the Sullivan Squad.

Wander Wild Festival

March 22nd-24th

This festival in Killarney, Co Kerry, gives attendees the chance to go on new adventures and recharge amid stunning landscapes. The event promises something for all levels and abilities.

Early music festivals


Historically informed performances of medieval, renaissance and baroque music through the year: Limerick Early Music Festival (dates to be announced; limerickearlymusic. com), Galway Early Music Festival (dates to be announced;, Festival of Early Irish Harp in Kilkenny (July 26th- August 1st; Sligo Baroque Music Festival (September 27th- 29th;, East Cork Early Music Festival (October 18th-20th;; Ardee Baroque in Co Louth (dates to be announced;


One Dublin One Book

April 1st-30th

Dublin City Council’s month of free book- related events focusing on a single title, led by Dublin City Libraries, this year focuses on Snowflake, by Louise Nealon. The programme of events is launched on February 27th.

Five Lamps Arts Festival

April 10th-20th

Celebrating Dublin’s Five Lamps landmark and its surrounding community, this festival showcases literature, dance, music, visual art and theatre.

Catalyst International Film Festival

April 18th-20th

This Limerick festival addressing underrepresentation in the film industry aims to make equality, diversity and inclusion the norm. Ruth Negga is an ambassador.

West Waterford Festival of Food

April 19th-21st

This Dungarvan-based festival showcases the food of the region and hosts some of Ireland’s top chefs.

Cúirt International Festival of Literature

April 23rd-28th

A week of innovative thinking and world-class writing in Galway.

Cork World Book Fest

April 23rd-28th

Includes sessions for aspiring writers, translation workshops, and a full children’s programme.

New Music Dublin

April 25th-28th

A festival of adventurous new music for curious ears, at the National Concert Hall and other venues.


Bealtaine Festival

May 1st-31st

Nationwide celebration of arts and creativity, with more than 3,000 events.

Cork International Choral Festival

May 1st-5th

One of Europe’s premier international choral festivals, with gala concerts, schools concerts, national and international competitions and more.

Birr Festival of Music

May 2nd-6th

Classical music festival with concerts, workshops, street performances and pop-up events featuring singers and musicians of national and international acclaim.

City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival

May 2nd-6th

Hundreds of events over the May bank holiday weekend.

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

May 2nd-12th

A Belfast festival with music, comedy, theatre, art and literature. Early announcements include Tom Robinson, Snapped Ankles, Hollie McNish, Lack of Afro, Handsome Family and Jane Weaver.


May bank-holiday weekend

Events for the community and wider area in north Cork and beyond, in Glanworth, Co Cork.

Galway Theatre Festival

May 3rd-11th

Nine days of events featuring emerging and experimental theatre artists.

Dublin Dance Festival

May 14th-25th

Exceptional Irish and international artists present works across Dublin, including Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan at the Bord Gáis theatre.

West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival

May 15th-19th

Performances from Hyeyoon Park, Ben Goldscheider and Fiachra Garvey; Inmo Yang and Yannick Rafalimanana; the Sitkovetsky Trio; Quatuor Arod; and Claudia Boyle, Gyula Nagy and Fiachra Garvey.


May 18th-26th

Nine days and nights of International classic and contemporary music from the edge of Europe, presented by Music for Galway. Features world acclaimed classical composers, conductors, orchestras, artists, and musicians

International Literature Festival Dublin

May 17th-26th

Literary celebration at Merrion Square Park features conversations with authors and unconventional literary experiences for the whole family.;

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival

May 27th-June 3rd

Handel’s Giulio Cesare is the star of the summer opera festival at Lismore Castle, in Co Waterford; concerts and recitals also feature the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Nicholas McGegan playing Vivaldi.

Listowel Writers’ Week

May 29th-Jun 2nd

The Co Kerry literary and arts festival celebrates all genres of writing.


Forbidden Fruit

June 1st and 2nd

Nelly Furtado, Four Tet and Bicep kick off the summer music-festival season, as part of two days of music and art in the grounds of Royal Hospital Kilmainham, in Dublin.

Kilkenny Cat Laughs Comedy Festival

June bank-holiday weekend

Long-running comedy festival features Irish and international comics in venues across the city.

Cork Carnival of Science

June; exact dates to be announced

Live science shows offering family-friendly experiments, interactive activities, games, street cuisine and live entertainment, all with a science or Stem theme.

Dublin International Chamber Music Festival

June 4th-9th

World premieres, a family concert, music from South Africa and a piano project in collaboration with five Irish pianists and 10 trailblazing women.

Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas

June 7th-9th

Weekend gathering in the grounds of Borris House, Co Carlow, with speakers including historians, activists, musicians, journalists, environmentalists and literary minds.

In the Meadows

June 8th

This new one-day event at Royal Hospital Kilmainham, in Dublin, features headliners and cocurators Lankum, in their only Dublin show of 2024, plus Mogwai, Black Country, New Road, John Francis Flynn and This Is the Kit.

Body & Soul

June 14th-16th

The line-up for the grounds of Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath, has yet to be announced.


June; exact dates to be announced

An emerging trad music festival in the scenic harbour town of Dungarvan that brings together musicians and singers from Ireland and overseas.

The Yes Festival

June 13th-16th

A new, all-female international arts festival inspired by Molly Bloom, from Ulysses. Includes family-friendly and free events in theatre, dance, visual arts, film, textiles and music, at locations across Derry and north Co Donegal.

Dalkey Book Festival

June 13th-16th

Writers and thinkers from around the world descend on the Co Dublin seaside town.

Cork Midsummer Festival

June 13th-23rd

Theatre, dance, arts, music and more, including the annual Midsummer Parade.

Lovely Music

June 14th and 15th

Louth Contemporary Music Society’s annual midsummer festival.

Sea Sessions

June 21st-23rd

Featuring headliners blk., Cian Ducrot and Johnny Marr, plus Jazzy, Jake Bugg, Lea Heart, Bricknasty, Kelly-Anne Byrne and Jen Payne.

Beyond the Pale

June 21st-23rd

Acts at this music and arts festival at Glendalough Estate, in Co Wicklow, include Jungle, Jessie Ware, Soulwax, Richie Hawtin and Thievery Corporation.


June 27th-30th

Literature, politics, sport, lifestyle and children’s fiction in Kells, Co Meath.

West Cork Chamber Music Festival

June 28th-July 7th

Bantry hosts one of Europe’s premiere chamber-music festivals.

Clonmel Junction Arts Festival

June 28th-July 7th

Featuring a Fidelio Trio concert celebrating the work of Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, and a live premiere of Iseli-Chiodi Dance Company’s Turnstile, commissioned by Tipperary Museum of Hidden History for the Bloody Sunday centenary.


June 29th and 30th

This festival in Marlay Park, Dublin, is a favourite for many Irish music fans. Line-up to be announced soon.


Irish Youth Dance Festival

July 6th and 7th

Including a collaboration with the Irish National Youth Ballet, bringing together young dancers aged up to 25, with both established and emerging dance practitioners.

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival

July 6th-14th

Promising a unique coming-together of artists and audiences, a celebration of imagination and shared experience that welcomes all.

Galway Film Fleadh

July 9th-14th

International festival brings together audiences and film-makers from around the world. Plus Junior Film Fleadh screenings and events.

West Cork Literary Festival

July 12th-19th

Workshops, readings, professional development, events for children and more, all in Bantry.

Earagail Arts Festival

July 13th-28th

Music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, circus and more in Co Donegal.

Volvo Cork Week

July 15th-19th

A week of yacht racing, with entertainment throughout.

Galway International Arts Festival

July 15th-28th

Irish and international theatre, opera, circus and visual arts. The Heineken Big Top includes gigs from Passenger, The Saw Doctors, Kneecap, Block Rockin Beats, Jess Glynne, Kettama and Gavin James.

Belfast TradFest

July 21st-28th

Traditional-music concerts and fiery pub sessions, plus a fast-growing traditional-music summer school.


All Together Now

August 1st-4th

The initial line-up at Curraghmore Estate, Co Waterford, includes The National, Jorja Smith, Future Islands, Barry Can’t Swim and Baker.

Healing Spirit Festival

August 2nd-4th

A live no alcohol, no drugs, music, art, food and holistic festival in the heart of Cavan’s lake lands, presented by Drummany Spirit.

Spraoi International Street Arts Festival

August 2nd-4th

Hundreds of artists and musicians from around the world perform, headlined by the festival parade for more than 20,000 spectators on Waterford city’s medieval streets.

Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival

August 2nd-10th

Visual arts, theatre, exhibitions and lots more.

Kilkenny Arts Festival

August 8th-18th

Includes the Irish premiere of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Drone Mass, Irish Chamber Orchestra’s premiere of a new work by Errollyn Wallen, and a European premiere double bill from Irish National Opera.

Waterford Walls

August 9th-18th

Artists converge on the city to create spectacular murals for the international street-art festival; plus workshops and guided tours.

Cork on a Fork Fest

August 14th-18th

A five-day showcase of culinary excellence.

Chamber Music on Valentia

August 15th-18th

The pianist Mary Dullea curates four days of concerts, workshops and opportunities to work with the festival’s international musicians.

Electric Picnic

August 16th-18th

Ireland’s best-known weekend music festival takes over the grounds of Stradbally Hall, in Co Laois.

Another Love Story

August 23rd-25th

Music, art, conversation, food and more at 18th-century Killyon Manor, in Co Meath.

Desmond O’Halloran Music Weekend

August 30th-Sep 1st

Traditional, roots and folk sessions from young and established Bofin, Connemara and Galway musicians, plus notable friends and guests.


Dublin Fringe Festival

September 7th-22nd

A curated programme that encourages discovery, stimulates curiosity and creates memorable encounters.

Culture Night

September 20th

Thousands of free events in person, online and on the airwaves.

Dublin Theatre Festival

September 26th-Oct 13th

Showcasing world-class Irish and European theatre.

Write by the Sea

September 27th-29th

Boutique literary festival in Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford, with talks, readings, interviews and workshops.

Galway Cartoon Festival

September 27th-October 4th (provisional)

Exhibitions, talks, workshops and live events.

Dublin Festival of History

September 27th-October 13th

Irish and international historians talk and debate in this free Dublin City Council festival.


Bualadh Bos Children’s Festival

October 2nd-12th

Children’s performances and workshops in Limerick by local, national and international artists and companies, presented by Lime Tree and Belltable.

Space Week Ireland

October 4th-10th

Workshops, lectures and exhibitions around the country that aim to ignite a passion for space science and inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and astronauts.

Tipperary Dance International Festival

October 7th-17th

Performances, masterclasses and laboratories, dance in schools and cineclub. Activities take place throughout Co Tipperary, with performances in Thurles and Clonmel.

Dromineer Nenagh Literary Festival

October 11th-13th

Irish and international writers at venues that include stately homes and an 800-year-old castle.

Open House Dublin

October 12th-20th

Irish Architecture Foundation’s annual free festival of architecture and urban design, with guided tours and events for all ages across Dublin city and county.

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

October; exact dates to be announced

Irish and international theatre, dance and puppetry performances, plus exhibitions and workshops, all in Galway.

Belfast International Arts Festival

October 16th-November 3rd (Provisional)

International and home-grown artists across theatre, dance, music, visual arts, literature and film.

Wexford Festival Opera

October 18th-November 2nd

The three main-stage operas are Le Maschere (1901) by Pietro Mascagni; The Critic (1916) by Charles Villiers Stanford; and Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali (1827) by Gaetano Donizetti.

Bram Stoker Festival

October 25th-28th

Dublin’s celebration of the supernatural and the legacy of Dracula author Bram Stoker.

Cork Jazz Festival

October 25th-28th

Ireland’s biggest jazz event, attracting hundreds of musicians and thousands of music fans to Cork.


October 23rd-28th

Westport’s music and arts festival, with music and culture, plus literature and family events.

National Circus Festival

October 31st-November 3rd

Workshops, masterclasses and events in Co Kerry featuring home-grown and international talent and entertainment for all ages.


Leaves Festival of Writing and Music

November 6th-9th

The best of Irish writing and music comes to Co Laois. Events include readings, work- shops and performances.

Dublin Book Festival

November 6th-10th

Established and emerging writers and illustrators at 80 or so events around the city.

Cork International Film Festival

November 7th-17th

Ireland’s first and largest film festival promises the latest and best Irish and international features and shorts.

Spilt Milk Festival

November; exact dates to be announced

Sligo’s annual festival of music, art and film, curated by Binder and commissioned by the Model.

Imram Irish Language Literature Festival

November 9th-16th

This multimedia festival’s themed events include a gala reading of Gaeltacht writers and a flagship musical performance of a popular musician translated into Irish.

West Wicklow Chamber Music Winter Weekend

November 15th-17th

Concerts at Russborough and Blessington.

Dingle Lit

November 15th-17th

This book festival features events in English and as Gaeilge.



Waterford’s Christmas festival, with free and ticketed events for all ages.


Kinopolis Polish Film Festival

December 5th-8th

A showcase of the best Polish film releases of 2024, plus visits by filmmakers and actors.