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All-island event guide, your inspiration for autumn

Thomas Breathnach looks at a selection of events and activities to inspire your staycation breaks in the upcoming months


Cork | Cork Folk Festival

With four headline concerts at the Triskel Arts Centre, an open-air concert ‘Folk Fest’ with Seán Ó Sé & The Abbey Céili Band at Fitzgerald’s Park, film showings and sessions across the city, the 42nd Cork Folk Festival is lined up to be a stomper. Sep 29-Oct 3; corkfolkfestival.com

Kerry | Dingle Food Festival

You’ll never need an excuse to visit Dingle but the town’s fun-filled féile bia makes a tantalizing incentive to hit the road west. Highlights of the event include fifty market stalls, cookery demos, wine tasting and workshops. Sep 30-Oct 2; dinglefood.com


Limerick | Ballyhoura Walking Festival

Set along the unspoiled swathes of the scenic Munster Vales, this is billed as Ireland’s oldest walking festival with events including sunrise and moonlight walks and yoga session around the rolling countryside. It also takes in tandem with the Joyce Brothers Musical Festival so prepare to get those hiking boots tapping. Oct 7-9; visitballyhoura.com

Clare | Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival

It’s that time of the year again where we download Tinder and hightail it the Banner. The festival takes place across the four weekends in September which means there’s still time for Cupid to work his magic. Or third generation matchmaker Willie Daly in this case. Sep 2-30; matchmakerireland.com

Tipperary | Clonmel Apple Fest

Make the trip to Tipp for this fun-filled annual festival which celebrates food, heritage and nature all through the prism of the arts. Events from a street feast, harvest procession and a reading from Manchán Magan. Sep 22-25; clonmelapplefest.ie

Waterford | Imagine Arts Festival

The 21st edition of this multidisciplinary arts festival features an eclectic line-up of artistic events including theatre, music, comedy, visual art, dance and film. The festival also features Waterford Writers Weekend with live performances and special workshops for all ages. Oct 25-30; imagineartsfestival.com


Galway | Galway Oyster Festival

It’s the world’s longest running oyster festival and has been shucking shellfish since 1954! Pay a visit this year and you can expect a uniquely Galwegian mix of gourmet, craic and glam from seafood trails and foodie talks to the highly contested shucking championships and best dressed gongs. Sep 23-25; galwayoysterfest.com

Mayo | Ballina Fringe Festival

Billed as an artistic exploration of life lived on the edge of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, the Ballina Fringe Festival is vibrant showcase of words, art and music. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘The Possibilities’ and will include a host of workshops and musical entertainment, not least headline act, Lisa Hannigan. Oct 8-15; ballinafringefestival.ie

Roscommon | Night and Day Festival

Celebrate the Autumn Equinox at the inaugural Night and Day Festival set in the ambient surroundings of Clonalis House in Castlerea. The festival will present a magical medley of performance, art and interaction with music, discussion, culinary feasting, locally brewed craft beers and a whole lot of dancing. Sep 24-25; nightandday.ie

Leitrim | The Knock at The Dock

Set in Carrick-on-Shannon’s truly fantastic arts centre, The Dock, this evening of music celebrates releases from Leitrim’s very own independent record label, The Knock. The set-list will feature a preview of the latest a preview of the latest project, Watched Kettle, featuring singer Susan Rowland, among other releases. Oct 1; thedock.ie

Sligo | Sligo Baroque Festival

One of the top cultural events along the Wild Atlantic Way, this long-standing music festival aims to pitch baroque in a friendly and informal fashion. Themed around the elements of nature the event will feature a mix of national and international performers including Swiss ensemble A Corte Musical. Sep 23-25; sligobaroquefestival.com


Donegal | Disappear Here Film Festival

Set in the charming village of Ballyliffin on the Inishowen Peninsula, Disappear Here is the Wild Atlantic Way’s most northernly film festival and returns for its sixth edition this month. The event offers films, workshops, industry events and thought provoking discussion for movie buffs. Sep 23-25; disappearhere.com

Cavan | Created in Cavan

More an ongoing celebration than a one-off event, Created in Cavan are a series of events which take place in Cavan throughout the year celebrating local food. Wine Night at the popular Oak Room restaurant is a five course tasting menu soirée pair delicious wines with even more delicious food. Sep 30 & Oct 28; createdincavan.ie

Down | Taste Autumn in Ards & North Down

It’s one week down and one to go for this packed two week festival showcasing the best of North Down’s food scene. Featuring the region’s best seafood, farmhouse fare and craft drink, culminating in the showcase event, Tide and Turf Portavogie.

Sep 10-24; visitardsandnorthdown.com

Monaghan |Street Food Festival

This one-day festival will be a celebration of the quality produce, dining and crafts available throughout Co. Monaghan. The event will be hosted in the heart of Monaghan town from The Diamond through to Church Square with a carnival-style atmosphere anticipated. Oct 1; tasteofmonaghan.com

Fermanagh | Festival Lough Erne

This weekend sees the Fermanagh Lakeland’s top festival in full flow. Saturday and Sunday will see a range of events on both land and water from dawn yoga on Devinish Island, lakeshore walks and boat-trips to Belleek, all fuelled by excellent local food options. Sep 10-18; festivallougherne.com

Antrim | Bushmills Salmon & Whiskey Festival

Where better to toast the water of life than at the home of Ireland’s oldest distillery. This three day festival showcases the best of fresh local produce with cookery demonstrations, whiskey tastings at the distillery, the Glens Market Artisan Market and the Salmon Station. Sep 23-25

Tyrone | Mid Ulster Sperrins Walking Festival

Make tracks for this Sperrin mountains gathering where you can lace up for a weekend of various grade walking trails. Routes include the “Magic of the Forest- Plants with purpose” tour in Davagh Forest; they cost £5 and refreshments like tea and scones should get you over the line. Sep 25-25

Derry | Culture Night 2022

With one of the most vibrant programmes across the island, Culture Night in Derry a is jam-packed night of free entertainment, activities, arts and adventure when arts as cultural hubs across the city open their doors with inspiring late night events. Sep 23; visitderry.com

Armagh | Footsteps in the Forest

This family-friendly festival in the stunning Ring of Gullion celebrates the ancient traditions which mark the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter. Rub shoulders with mythical characters and explore their enchanting woodland realm through a magical living storybook tour. Oct 27-31.


Louth | Fuinneamh

This music and arts gathering at Bellurgan Park outside Dundalk pitches itself as much as a community and a tribe as a festival. Join the homage to the ancient wisdom of Ireland via everything from a holistic village to live music including techno and folk. Sep 17-18; fuinneamh.ie

Longford | MediEvil CarnEvil

If you’re looking for some PG-friendly spooks in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, head to the popular Knights & Conquests Heritage Centre in Granard. Expect scripted tours inspired by Longford lore along with an on-site fun fair. Oct 28-30; knightsandconquests.ie

Meath | Samhain Festival Kells

Celebrate the traditions of Ireland’s Ancient East at this three day event in historic Kells. Food & drink tastings, poetry, farm tours, producer visits, farmer’s markets, kids workshops and a long table supper are listed among the highlights. Nov 3-6; discoverboynevalley.ie

Westmeath | Halloween at Dún Na Sí

What better spot to channel your inner síofra than with a family-friendly Halloween than at the Dún na Sí Amenity & Heritage Park in Moate. Featuring recreated dolmens, stone circles and ringforts, consider it the perfect backdrop to ring in Oiche Samhain. Oct 31; dunnasi.ie

Offaly | Irish Hot Air Ballooning Championships

It may have fallen under your radar, but this quirky festival which celebrates its 50th outing this year, will take place in the impressive backdrop Birr Castle Demesne and may take your next visit to Offaly to new heights. Sep 24-Sep 30; visitoffaly.ie

Dublin | Dublin Theatre Festival

Bringing the best of Irish theatre to the capital — and the world — this twenty day billboard event aims to appeal to the diverse communities which makes up the city with performances from Joyce’s Women at The Abbey to Good Sex at the Samuel Beckett. Sep 29-Oct 16; dublintheatrefestival.ie

Wicklow | EcoTrail Wicklow

Supported by Fáilte Ireland and part of an eco-responsible international circuit of races in thirteen destinations around the world, Ireland’s longest trail race aims to raise g awareness around the importance of protecting our natural environment. Sep 24; wicklow.ecotrail.com

Wexford: Write by the Sea

This boutique writing festival in Kilmore Quay is an intimate gathering of readings, conversations, workshops and interviews with guest speakers while delicious seafood lunches are included in ticket prices. Sep 23-25; writebythesea.ie

Carlow | Lisnavagh Wellness Festival

Celebrating the harvest festival, this unplugged gathering takes place in beautiful Lisnavagh House. As well as artisan food stalls and live music you can expect an eclectic collection of soul-feeding activities from forest bathing and bee therapy to a silent forest rave. Oct 15-16; Lisnavagh.com

Laois: National Ploughing Festival

The Superbowl of Irish agriculture rolls into Laois once more this September in what is one of Europe’s top farming festivals. Among the trade village, food fair and fashion show, events from celebrity cooking demos to the All-Ireland of lamb shearing take centre stage. September 20-22; npa.ie

Kilkenny: Kilkenny Animate

Hosted by Academy Award nominated animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, this weekend event celebrates visual storytelling with an eclectic series of exhibitions, talks, performances and workshops. Sep 30-Oct 2; kilkennyanimated.com

Kildare: Taste of Kildare

Part of the annual autumn Curragh Festival, this celebration of all things culinary in Kildare features a vast array of food stalls from the county’s leading restaurants, producers and suppliers. Sep 24-25; intokildare.ie

For more on events across the island, see discoverireland.ie and discovernorthernireland.com. Note that some of the above are ticketed events, so refer to websites for pricing info.