Subscriber OnlyCulture

63 Irish festivals to head for this summer, from music and comedy to literature and science

There’s still time to catch Dublin Dance Festival, Cellissimo and International Literature Festival Dublin, which end this weekend


Festivals: love them or hate them, they take over summer in Ireland each year with music, theatre, comedy, literature and more. Between them, the 63 events in this guide take place around the country, for audiences young and old. Before they kick-off, there’s still time to catch Dublin Dance Festival, Cellissimo and International Literature Festival Dublin, which end this weekend. Bealtaine, the nationwide celebration of arts and creativity, runs until Friday.

MAY

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival

May 27th-June 3rd

Opera, classical concerts and more at historic venues in Lismore, Youghal, Dungarvan and Castlemartyr. Four performances of Handel’s Giulio Cesare, in the grounds of Lismore Castle, in Co Waterford, feature the Irish Baroque Orchestra and the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival Chorus. blackwatervalleyopera.ie

Listowel Writers’ Week

May 29th-June 2nd

Readings, book launches, conversations, screenings, musical performances, workshops and children’s events. writersweek.ie

Kilkenny Cat Laughs

May 31st-June 3rd

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

READ MORE

JUNE

Live at the Marquee

Until June 25th

This Cork series features Tom Odell, Mick Flannery, Lyra, Christy Moore, Ne-Yo, Bryan Adams, Damien Dempsey, blk., John Bishop, Bicep, Van Morisson and more. aikenpromotions.com

Sea Bangor

June 1st-2nd

Beach activities, funfair rides, food demos, food-and-drink stalls, hot-food trucks, ice cream and an outdoor bar, with entertainment from the Leading Ladies and Soda Popz. Local teams will compete for the rowing cup on June 1st. visitardsandnorthdown.com

When Next We Meet

June 1st-2nd

Billed as a small-scale concert series with a big heart, these Clonmel events feature Ye Vagabonds, Bell X1, Susan O’Neill, Cormac Looby, Rachael Lavelle and The Line. whennextwemeet.ie

Forbidden Fruit

June 1st-2nd

Nelly Furtado, Four Tet and Bicep kick will perform as part of two days of music and art in the grounds of Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin. forbiddenfruit.ie

UCD Festival

June 8th

More than 130 free events at University College Dublin’s Belfield campus, including special guest author Kit de Waal in conversation with RTÉ broadcaster Rick O’Shea. Zones are dedicated to science and innovation, engineering and technology, biotech, discovery, culture and family fun, with sensory-friendly spaces for those with neurodiverse needs. festival.ucd.ie

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. dicmf.com

Galway Folk Festival

June 5th-9th

More than 50 events across Galway city showcasing folk, roots and traditional music. The line-up includes Declan O’Rourke, Beth Orton, Amble, Eleanor Shanley & Mike Hanrahan, Niamh Bury, David Murphy and Ímar. galwayfolkfestival.com

Carlow Arts Festival

June 5th-9th

Dance, literature, circus, spectacle, music, theatre, cinema and visual arts. The opening night features Pelat, an outdoor interactive show by the Spanish artist Joan Català, in the grounds of Carlow College. carlowartsfestival.ie

Bulmers Live at Leopardstown

Thursday evenings in July & August

Bulmers Live at Leopardstown offers five days of horse racing followed by live entertainment from artists including Spice Girl Melanie C, hitmaker Bonnie Tyler, trad-house group Chasing Abbey, Irish album chart topper Lyra and Hermitage Green. leopardstown.com/bulmerslive

Borris House Festival of Writing & Ideas

June 7th-9th

Weekend gathering in the grounds of the Co Carlow house, featuring historians, activists, musicians, journalists, environmentalists and literary minds. festivalofwritingandideas.com

In the Meadows

June 8th

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

Cork Carnival of Science

June 8th-9th

Live science shows offering family-friendly experiments, interactive activities, games, street cuisine and live entertainment. corkcity.ie

Otherside Festival

June 8th and June 22nd

Otherside are running two events this summer, both at Rock Farm in Slane, Co Meath. The One in the Woods, on June 8th, has music from Fjaak, Yasmin Gardezi and Franck. Soundmate31, on June 22nd, will feature Kolter, Emma B, LP Rhythm and Matthias. othersidefestival.ie

Bloomsday Festival

June 11th-16th

This celebration of James Joyce and his novel Ulysses, organised by the James Joyce Centre, takes place across Dublin city. Events include a musical celebration of Ulysses, art exhibitions, walking tours and a teatime talk on Henrietta Street in the age of Joyce. bloomsdayfestival.ie

Cork Midsummer Festival

June 12th-23rd

Theatre, visual art, dance and film by Irish and international artists, including Tino Sehgal, Kamchàtka, Dead Centre with Emilie Pine, Deirdre Kinahan, Lost Dog, Emma Martin/United Fall, Landmark Productions, Isadora Epstein, Davey Moore, Graffiti Theatre Company, Elaine McCague and Laura Murphy. corkmidsummer.com

Dalkey Book Festival

June 13th-16th

The writers and thinkers descending on the Co Dublin seaside town this year include Paul Lynch, Colm Tóibín, Claire Keegan, Anne Enright, Paul Murray, Kevin Barry, Donal Ryan, Elaine Feeney, Jan Carson, John Boyne, Victoria Kennefick, Colin Barrett, Nuala O’Connor, Mary Costello, Ferdia Lennon and Sinéad Gleeson. dalkeybookfestival.org

Waterford International Organ Festival

June 13th-16th

Includes six concerts centred around Hamburg and Parisian composers, notably honouring Gabriel Fauré, Théodore Dubois and Matthias Weckmann. visitwaterford.com

The Yes Festival

June 13th-16th

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. yesderry.com

Lovely Music

June 14th-15th

Highlights of Louth Contemporary Music Society’s 10th annual festival, in Dundalk, include Robert Ashley: Crash, which opens the festival; for The Bar, the Varispeed Collective will be joined by Seán Carpio, Caoimhe Hopkinson and Steve Welsh. louthcms.org

Cruinniú na nÓg

June 15th

Circus workshops, rap recitals and youth-theatre taster workshops nationwide. cruinniu.creativeireland.gov.ie

Pipeworks International Organ and Choral Festival

June 19th-23rd

Marking the centenary of the death of the Irish composer Charles Villiers Stanford, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra will be performing a programme that includes Stanford’s dramatic Stabat Mater and the Irish premiere of Percy Whitlock’s Symphony in G minor for organ and orchestra, featuring Daniel Moult. pipeworks.ie

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. itsbeyondthepale.ie

Galway Ukulele Festival

June 21st-23rd

Three days of concerts, workshops, street performances, competitions, flash mobs and more. galwayukefest.com

Sea Sessions

June 21st-23rd

Bundoran festival features headliners blk., Cian Ducrot and Johnny Marr, plus Jazzy, Jake Bugg, Lea Heart, Bricknasty, Kelly-Anne Byrne and Jen Payne. seasessions.com

Tunefest

June 21st-23rd

Trad music festival in the harbour town of Dungarvan, Co Waterford, brings together musicians and singers from Ireland and overseas with Grammy-nominated group Cherish the Ladies, Talisk and Danú in concert alongside pub session trails, street busking, CD launches, recitals and open-air gig rig workshops. tunefest.ie

Malahide Castle summer concerts

June 21st-July 7th

Headliners at these north Co Dublin gigs include Take That, LCD Soundsystem, Shania Twain, SZA, Nicki Minaj and Arcade Fire. mcd.ie

Hinterland

June 27th-30th

Literature, politics, sport, lifestyle and children’s fiction in Kells, Co Meath, featuring Anne Enright reading from her latest novel, The Wren, the Wren; a Where’s Wally treasure hunt; and the veteran BBC investigative journalist Peter Taylor. hinterland.ie

Foyle Maritime Festival

June 27th-30th

The river Foyle is the backdrop of this Derry festival, with more than 120,000 people expected to attend as Visual Spectrum provides a laser display on Saturday that will be visible from locations along the Foyle before the Dusk Chorus that evening. There will be live music from local musicians, a show of tall ships on the water, fireworks, and water- and land-based activities. The quayside will become a maritime village featuring vintage fairground rides, live music, the culinary delights of the LegenDerry Food Village, the Maritime and Merchant Markets, Big Wheel, water taster sessions and more. foylemaritime.com

Night & Day

June 28th-30th

Performance, art and interaction at Lough Key Forest Park, in Co Roscommon. Featuring Bell X1, Damien Dempsey, The Undertones, Mick Flannery, Ash, Gemma Hayes, The 4 of Us, The Frank and Walters, Nialler9 and more. The festival includes a family zone with dance workshops, baby boppers, foraging, pottery painting and face painting. nightandday.ie

Kaleidoscope

June 28th-30th

The Kooks, Lyra, The Waterboys, Block Rockin Beats and King Kong Company headline the three-day family festival. kaleidoscopefestival.ie

Donegal Town Summer Festival

June 28th-30th

With headliners Gavin James, Block Rockin Beats and Derek Ryan; plus Lavengro, Seán Magee, All Folk’d Up, The Logues, Darren Boot, The Seeger Session Revival, Onóir and Encór Tír Chonaill. govisitdonegal.com

West Cork Chamber Music Festival

June 28th-July 7th

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

Clonmel Junction Arts Festival

June 28th-July 7th

Delving into photography, theatre, music, dance and architecture to start conversations about what lies ahead for artists and the arts in Clonmel. Featuring a Fidelio Trio concert celebrating the work of Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, plus a live premiere of Iseli-Chiodi Dance Company’s Turnstile, commissioned by Tipperary Museum of Hidden History for the Bloody Sunday centenary. junctionfestival.com

Longitude

June 29th-30th

Acts at this festival in Marlay Park, Dublin, include Central Cee, Doja Cat, Becky Hill, 21 Savage, Belters Only, blk., Joel Corry, Jazzy, Sonny Fodera and D-Block Europe. longitude.ie

JULY

Iveagh Gardens gigs

July 4th-21st

This Dublin series features Van Morrison, Sugababes, Glen Hansard, Dropkick Murphys, Christy Moore, Pillow Queens, Passenger, Phoenix, Damien Dempsey and Paloma Faith. aikenpromotions.com

Irish Youth Dance Festival

July 6th-7th

Including a collaboration with Irish National Youth Ballet, bringing together young dancers aged up to 25. dublinyouthdance.com

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival

July 6th-13th

Including literary events with Adania Shibli in conversation with Louise Kennedy, street theatre by Joan Català, Chloe Loftus and Rodney Bell, and music by Boubacar Traoré. cairdefestival.com

Willie Clancy Summer School

July 6th-14th

Traditional music, song and dance in Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, with instrument and dance classes, lectures, workshops and céilithe. scoilsamhraidhwillieclancy.com

Galway Film Fleadh

July 9th-14th

This international festival brings together audiences and film-makers from around the world. Plus Junior Film Fleadh screenings and events, with Kneecap opening and Palestine selected as the country of focus. galwayfilmfleadh.com

Sult Féile

July 12th-13th

Music festival in the heart of the Gaoth Dobhair Gaeltacht, Co Donegal, features performances from Example, Bell X1, Alabama 3, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Kimmic and Welshy. sultfeile.ie

West Cork Literary Festival

July 12th-19th

Workshops, readings, events for children and more, all in Bantry. Featuring Anne Enright, Colm Tóibín, Miriam Margolyes, Caleb Azumah Nelson, Adania Shibli and David Nicholls. westcorkmusic.ie

Earagail Arts Festival

July 13th-28th

Music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, circus and more in Co Donegal. Including performances by Muireann Bradley and Boyfriends by Ultan Pringle, a pop-up Gaeltacht, circus arts of Catalunya, the traditions of Tory and stories of Arranmore. eaf.ie

Volvo Cork Week

July 15th-19th

More than 200 boats and 10,000 sailors and spectators will descend on the harbour town of Crosshaven for the biennial regatta and festival of maritime culture where visitors come together to share their passion for the sea. corkweek.ie

Galway International Arts Festival

July 15th-28th

Irish and international theatre, opera, circus and visual arts. The Heineken Big Top includes gigs by Passenger, The Saw Doctors, Kneecap, Block Rockin Beats, Jess Glynne, Kettama and Gavin James. Theatre includes Reunion by Mark O’Rowe, Unspeakable Conversations by Christian O’Reilly and As We Face the Sun by Kit Withington. giaf.ie

Forest Fest

July 19th-21st

The Co Laois festival features music from The Cult, The Human League, Ocean Colour Scene and The Divine Comedy, among others, plus family entertainment, circus and street theatre, drumming workshops, street food, craft beers, a cocktail bar and a funfair. forestfest.ie

Belfast TradFest

July 21st-28th

Traditional-music concerts, pub sessions and céilithe, plus a trad summer school with workshops, talks and lectures. belfasttradfest.com

Mary from Dungloe International Arts Festival

July 27th-August 5th
Commissioned by The Irish Times

Community-based, family-friendly festival with a wide variety of musical, cultural, sporting and artistic events, as well as the Mary from Dungloe competition, for which Irish diaspora communities from around the world nominate a young woman to represent their area. The winner, who holds the title for a year, acts as an ambassador for the festival, Dungloe and Donegal. Featuring performances from Daniel O’Donnell, Onóir and Humble Earthworms. maryfromdungloe.ie

AUGUST

All Together Now

August 1st-4th

The line-up at Curraghmore Estate, Co Waterford, includes The Prodigy, The National, Jorja Smith, Róisín Murphy, Future Islands, James Vincent McMorrow, The Mary Wallopers, Natasha Bedingfield and Kingfishr, alongside Tommy Tiernan and Panty Bliss at Brunch on the Bandstand. alltogethernow.ie

Healing Spirit Festival

August 2nd-4th

An alcohol- and drug-free music, art, food and holistic festival in Cavan’s lakelands. drummanyspirit.com

Spraoi International Street Arts Festival

August 2nd-4th

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

Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival

August 2nd-10th

Visual arts, theatre, music, street theatre, pop-up performers, workshops, exhibitions and more, together with a range of community events. birrvintageweek.com

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. kilkennyarts.ie

Waterford Walls

August 9th-18th

Ireland’s largest international street-art festival features spectacular murals, plus workshops and guided tours. wallsproject.ie

Cork on a Fork Fest

August 14th-18th

A five-day showcase of culinary excellence. corkcity.ie

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. chambermusiconvalentia.com

Electric Picnic

August 16th-18th

Ireland’s best-known weekend music festival takes over the grounds of Stradbally Hall, in Co Laois. Acts include headliners Noah Kahan, Calvin Harris and Kylie Minogue, alongside Gerry Cinnamon, Kodaline, Raye, The Wolfe Tones, Kneecap, Jazzy and more. electricpicnic.ie

Masters of Tradition

August 21st-25th

Musicians across the spectrum of Irish traditional music perform in Bantry, west Cork, curated by the fiddle player Martin Hayes. westcorkmusic.ie

Dunmore East Festival of Bluegrass

August 22nd-25th

The Co Waterford town provides a seaside backdrop for the celebration of bluegrass and country music. discoverdunmore.com

Another Love Story

August 23rd-25th

Music, art, conversation, food and more at 18th-century Killyon Manor, Co Meath. Featuring Grandbrothers, Muireann Bradley, Mildlife, Leafar Legov and Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy, among others. anotherlovestory.ie

Wider Than Pictures

23rd - 27th August

Series of shows in the courtyard of Collins Barracks in Dublin featuring artists including James Blunt, The The and Deacon Blue. widerthanpictures.ie

Desmond O’Halloran Music Weekend

August 30th-September 1st

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

SEPTEMBER

Dublin Fringe Festival

September 7th-22nd

Hundreds of performers in dozens of shows, many of them premieres. fringefest.com