Skip to Content

Festivals Ireland 2024: 103 of the Best

Festivals Ireland 2024: 103 of the Best

When it comes to festivals Ireland has its fair share (see our guide to music festivals in Ireland if you’re looking for the livelier ones!).

From traditional Irish festivals, like Puck Festival and the Lisdoonvarna Match Making Festival, to food, trad music and more, there’s an event to tickle most fancies.

And, thankfully, there’s heaps of festivals in Ireland in 2024 taking place right the way throughout the year.

Table of Contents

The best festivals in Ireland in 2024

Ireland festivals 2024

We’ll list out some of the ‘main’ events in Ireland in 2024 by month below.

While the vast majority now have their dates set in stone, some are still TBC.

Festivals in Ireland in January

Temple Bar on St Patrick's Day

Photos via Shutterstock

The first few months of the year is one of the quieter times of the year for festivals in Ireland, with many large events taking place pre-Christmas and then later in spring.

However, there are a handful of brilliant Irish festivals scheduled for the first three months of the year, as you’ll discover below.

1. First Fortnight (Multiple counties, January 5th – 28th)

First Fortnight is a charity challenging mental health stigma through an annual arts and culture festival held in January across Ireland. Events are taking place across Ireland, with screenings at the IFI, music in the Smock Alley Theatre and singing workshops wellness in Donegal. Full line up here.

2. Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival (Belfast, January 6th – 28th)

Belfast’s annual festival of music, comedy, theatre, art and literature. The creative blend of established names and emerging acts draws over 60,000 people to over 100 events in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.

3. Your Roots Are Showing (Louth, January 17th – 21st)

Dundalk’s Your Roots Are Showing is Ireland’s Folk Conference where you can experience over 100 captivating live performances by emerging talents and seasoned experts. Explore career opportunities at the Trade and Gig Fair, enhance your skills in hands-on workshops and listen to insightful panel discussions.

4. Music For Galway Midwinter Festival (Galway, January 19th – 21st)

Music for Galway returns to celebrate classical music with a three day midwinter festival in 2024 taking place in the Hardiman Ballroom and St. Nicholas’ Church. It features three chamber music concerts and a performance of ‘Requiem’.

5. TradFest (Dublin, January 24th – 28th)

With over 100 artists performing at over 18 venues, TradFest celebrates traditional Irish music with events taking place across the capital. Venues include the likes of Malahide Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the GPO. This is one of the most popular trad festivals in Ireland for good reason.

6. Brigid 1500 (Kildare, January 27th – February 27th)

Brigid 1500 is one of the newer festivals in Ireland. It honours St. Brigid’s 1500th anniversary with a diverse program including concerts, renowned artists like Eleanor McEvoy and Moya Brennan, and events like Mother Earth and Songs of Social Justice.

7. Imbolc International Music Festival (Derry, January 28th – February 4th)

One of the first music festivals in Ireland in 2024 is Imbolc Festival – an eight-day extravaganza of music, arts, and culture takes place in Derry’s Cultural Quarter on Great James Street, as well as various other spots throughout the city.

Festivals in Ireland in February

trad music

Photos via Shutterstock

February is when the Irish festivals scene starts to take off, with 3 – 4 times as many festivals taking place in comparison to the previous month.

From the beginning of the month, a mix of music, art and cultural festivals take place.

1. Brigit Festival (Dublin, February 1st – 5th)

Brigit 2024, a city-wide celebration, honours Imbolc and the Celtic Goddess Brigit. It signifies the awakening of nature and the pursuit of new ideas and projects. Brigit represents inspiration, healing, magic, wisdom, poetry, and more, with contemporary women embodying her spirit.

2. Classics Now (Dublin, February 2nd – 4th)

Classics Now will treat visitors to a host of interviews, discussions, film screenings and musical theatre performances. Each feature is centred around the art, literature and ideas of the Ancient Greeks and Romans as interpreted and reimagined by outstanding artists today. 

3. John Mc Fadden Festival (Mayo, February 2nd – 5th)

Taking place in Newport in Mayo, the John Mc Fadden Festival is now into its second year, with a weekend of music, singing and dance scheduled to honour highly respected fiddler John McFadden’s music.

4. The Bowie Festival (Dublin, February 7th – 11th)

The Bowie festival in Dublin celebrates all things, you guessed it, David Bowie! There are several events taking place across the capital, from ‘Revel Rebel’ performing in Opium to a highly anticipated performance of some of Bowie’s top hots by the RTE Concert Orchestra.

5. Irish Association of Youth Orchestras (Dublin, February 10th)

An annual celebration of youth orchestras in Ireland and their members, with a diverse variety of music played by young people, for young people. Now in its 28th edition, several performances take place at the National Concert Hall. 

6. Take Off Festival (Cork, February 14th – 16th)

Take Off Festival is a dance festival featuring exciting artists from Ireland and Europe, blending contemporary, Irish dance, and hip hop styles. It takes place at Dance Cork Firkin Crane

7. Scene Heard (Dublin, February 15th – March 2nd)

An in-person festival with programmed work from every facet of the arts world, Scene + Heard at the Smock Alley Theatre is a space for everyone from first-time script writers to seasoned actors to try out ideas.

8. Mother Tongues Festival (Dublin, February 16th – 17th)

Mother Tongues, the largest festival celebrating linguistic diversity through the arts in Ireland, showcases its work through a variety of workshops, open discussions, storytelling experiences, live performances and more across multiple languages. 

9. Dublin International Film Festival (Dublin, February 22rd – March 2nd)

The larges film festival in Ireland presents a programme of 2024’s most exciting international cinema, the best new Irish cinema, a retrospective of much-loved and forgotten classics, conversations with actors and directors and much more.

10. Belfast TradFest (Belfast, February 23rd – 25th)

The popular Belfast TradFest takes place in winter and summer, and this winter edition features weekend workshops alongside a full programme of concerts, talks, lectures, sessions, céilís and a festival club. 

11. Ortús Chamber Music Festival (Cork, February 25th – March 3rd)

The Ortús Chamber Music Festival unites accomplished Irish and international musicians for performances across Cork City and the wider county. There’s a packed line-up feature award-winning violinists, fiddlers and more.

Festivals in Ireland in March

festivals in ireland in march

Photos via Shutterstock

One of the most notable festivals in Ireland takes place during the month of March. I’m talking, of course, about St. Patrick’s Day.

However, if parades aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other Irish festivals taking place in March 2024.

1. Fingal International Festival of Voices (Dublin, March 7th – 10th)

Fingal Festival of Voices, a week-long festival featuring ensembles, performers, and singers from across the globe, takes place in Balbriggan. There’ll be musical events, competitions, food stalls, local arts and crafts markets, live performances and plenty more.

2. Finding a Voice (Clonmel, March 7th – 10th)

A festival of music by women for women by Róisín and Clíona Maher. Features performances of unforgettable music by remarkable women from leading Irish and international musicians, including Gabriela Mayer, Patrick Rafter and Kelley Petcu.

3. Belfast Children’s Festival (Belfast, March 8th – 16th)

An inspiring festival in Belfast with fun-filled performances, featuring local, national and international theatre, dance, music, art, interactive events and exhibitions alongside free family activities. 

4. St Patrick’s Festival (Various, March 17th)

Ireland’s national festival on March 17th is celebrated in almost every corner of the country with parades taking place across the country, including:

5. Otherside Music & Arts Festival (Meath, March 17th)

Out in an expansive valley in Slane, the Otherside Music & Arts Festival mixes dance, art, wellness, food, and connection across three days on Rock Farm. Previous headliners included Lane 8 and DJ Seinfeld.

6. Early Music Festivals (Limerick, March 22nd – 23rd)

The first of several festivals throughout the year, the Limerick Early Music Festival presents historically informed performances of medieval, renaissance and baroque music, featuring world-renowned artists.

Festivals in Ireland in April

Slieve League

Photos via Shutterstock

May is relatively quiet for Irish festivals in 2024, however, the ones that are taking place are well worth a look. Below, you’ll find everything from the popular Cathedral Quarter festival in Belfast to the brilliant Galway Theatre Festival.

1. Catalyst International Film Festival (Limerick, April 18th – 20th)

Catalyst Festival presents a film programme prioritising stories and storytellers currently under-represented on screen and behind the camera. Aiming to improve equality, diversity and inclusion, there will be screenings, panels, workshops and masterclasses.

2. Waterford Festival of Food (April 19th – 21st)

The Waterford Festival of Food is one of the first food-themed festivals in Ireland taking place in 2024. The festival showcases Ireland’s food culture with over 80 events in Dungarvan and surrounding areas, featuring taste tours, kitchen talks, chef dining, sustainability workshops, foraging walks, and a large outdoor market.

3. Cúirt International Festival of Literature (Galway, April 23rd – 28th)

Cúirt is one of Europe’s oldest book festivals, and a leading voice for literature both internationally and across Ireland. Expect plenty of discussion from Irish and international authors celebrating writing, books and reading in all forms.

4. New Music Dublin (Dublin, April 25th – 28th)

New Music Festival offers a platform to performers and music-makers from across the spectrum of Irish new music to showcase their work with a wide audience. Venues include the National Concert Hall. 

5. Galway Theatre Festival (Galway, April 2024 TBC)

One of the leading arts festivals in Ireland in 2024 dedicated to independent theatre and performance, the Galway Theatre Festival covers theatre, circus, spectacle and storytelling across nine performance-packed days. 

6. Salt Galway (April TBC)

S A L T is part of the Galway Theatre Festival and it involves two multidisciplinary beach performances that celebrate the ocean. It takes place on Traught Beach, Kinvara (30th April) and on Ladies Beach, Galway City (1st May).

Festivals in Ireland in May

Botanic Gardens

Photos via Shutterstock

May boasts a similar number of Irish festivals as April, with five main events in Ireland taking place. Below, you’ll find everything from the wonderful Listowel Writers’ Week to the Dublin Dance Festival.

1. Birr Festival of Music (Offaly, May 2nd – 6th)

The Birr Festival of Music is an annual classical music festival that features a mix of indoor and outdoor concerts, pop-ups, street performances and workshops. It’s curated by Niall Kinsella.

2. Greenfields (Kildare, May 3rd – 5th)

A weekend of glamping, camping and tunes is coming to Kildare this May Bank Holiday. Greenfields has a packed line-up including The Whistling Donkeys, Sharon Shannon, The Fureys and Aslan.

3. Bealtaine Fire Festival (Westmeath, May 11th)

This Irish festival celebrates the arrival of summer on the ancient Hill of Uisneach in the heart of Ireland. The festivities will include music, food, mindfulness, yoga, crafting, stalls, heritage talks, guided walks and more.

4. Dublin Dance Festival (Dublin, May 14th – 26th)

A 12-day festival showcasing the best Irish and international dance performances in venues across Dublin to a growing and appreciative audience celebrating the transformative power of dance.

5. West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival (Wicklow, May 15th – 19th)

Next in our Irish festivals 2024 guide is a chamber music festival bringing the riches of superb artists from Ireland and abroad to West Wicklow in some ornate surroundings. Sitkovetsky Trio and Inmo Yang are two of the acts performing this year

6. International Literature Festival Dublin (Dublin, May 17th – 26th)

Dublin’s one of the world’s great literature cities and the now-famous International Literature Festival hosts readings, conversations, debates, screenings, guided walks, events, podcasts and broadcasts.

7. Feile Binn Éadair (Dublin, May 24th – 26th)

Another of the Irish festivals running in the capital is Feile Binn Éadair – a trad fest in Howth! Over the course of the weekend, there are 4 headline shows and 27 free music sessions throughout the town, with the likes of Sharon Shannon taking to the stage.

8. Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (Waterford, May 27th – June 3rd)

The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival features four performances of G.F. Handel’s Giulio Cesare at Lismore Castle. The festival includes classical music recitals, concerts, and free events at various historic venues in the Blackwater Valley.

9. Listowel Writers’ Week (Listowel, May 29th – June 2nd)

Listowel Writers’ Week is another of the better-known Irish festivals, with high-quality opportunities for writers, aspiring writers, readers, and visitors to engage with the world of writing and reading. 

10. Ava Festival (Belfast, May 31st – June 1st)

The 2024 edition of AVA, an Audio Visual Arts Festival, marks its ten-year milestone, aims to reflect on the past, present, and future. Taking place at the Titanic Slipways, it’s a must for all electronic music fans.

11. Open Ear Festival (Cork, May 31st – June 2nd)

Cork’s Sherkin Island hosts, in their own words, the ‘freshest, weirdest and most exciting music that Ireland and further afield has to offer’. Few Irish festivals boast a location as picturesque as this one.

12. Doonbeg Jazz Festival (May 31st – June 3rd)

The 2024 Doonbeg International Jazz Festival is set to be a monumental celebration as it marks the event’s 25th year! 11 bands from across Ireland and the UK will make the journey to Clare’s coast with 27 performances taking place over the weekend!

Festivals in Ireland in June

music festivals ireland 2023

Photos via Shutterstock

June is when the Irish festivals scene really starts to kick-off, with a jam-packed list of events in Ireland on offer.

Below, you’ll find everything from lively music festivals in Ireland to quirky events and some great foodie festivals.

1. Forbidden Fruit (Dublin, June 1st – 3rd)

Dublin’s summer music festival season kicks off with Forbidden Fruit, a cracking two-day music and art festival taking place in the beautiful grounds of the city’s Royal Hospital, Kilmainham. This year’s line-up features Nelly Furtado, Groove Armada, Bicep and Freddie Gibbs.

2. Cat Laughs Comedy Festival (Kilkenny, June 2nd – 4th)

Not every summer festival needs music! Kilkenny hosts its Cat Laughs Comedy Festival every summer bank holiday weekend and promises plenty of giggles into the evening from Irish and international comics across the city. 

3. Borris House Festival (Carlow, Jun 7th – 9th)

The Borris House Festival of Writing & Ideas promises a weekend of stimulating dialogue and discourse with some of the finest writers around. Guest speakers this year include Margaret Atwood, Cerys Matthews and more.

4. Bloomsday (Dublin, June 11th – 16th)

Named after central character Leopold Bloom, Bloomsday celebrates Thursday June 16th 1904, the day depicted in James Joyce’s classic novel Ulysses. Celebrations include readings, performances and visiting the places referenced in the book.

5. Dalkey Book Festival (Dublin, Jun 13th – 16th)

30 minutes south of Dublin City lies the charming seaside suburb of Dalkey and it hosts a great book festival every June. Big name speakers in previous years have included Bono, Stephen Fry and Sally Rooney. 

6. Sea Sessions Bundoran (Donegal, Jun 21st – 23rd)

Sea Sessions is is one of the more popular Irish festivals taking place this summer. A surf and music festival out on Donegal’s windswept coast featuring some quality acts in a cool location. Headliners this year at Sea Sessions Bundoran include Cian Ducrot, Jake Bugg, BLK and more.

7. Beyond the Pale (Glendalough, Jun 21st – 23rd)

A lively music and arts festival returns to the stunning surrounding of Glendalough deep in the heart of Wicklow. With 150+ acts over 3 days, the headliners for the 2024 edition include Soulwax, 2ManyDjs, Jungle and Alvvays.

8. West Cork Chamber Music Festival (Bantry, June 28th – July 7th)

Bantry hosts one of Europe’s premiere chamber music festivals featuring a whole host of world-class musicians. Acts in 2024 include Dana Zemtsov, Boris Giltburg, Chiaroscuro Quartet and more.

9. Clonmel Junction Arts Festival (Tipperary, June 28th – July 7th)

Now into its 23rd year, the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival is a multi-disciplinary arts festival. Previous years have seen performances by Aileen Cahill with Andreea Banciu and composer-performer Eamon O’Malley.

10. Kaleidoscope Festival (Wicklow, June 28th – 30th)

Kaleidoscope Festival is one of the top Irish festivals for families and it takes place in Russborugh House. This year, the Waterboys, the Kooks, LYRA, the Dublin Gospel Choir and plenty more take to the stage.

11. Longitude (Dublin, June 29th – 30th)

Longitude is one of the livelier Irish festivals and it’s Dublin’s largest outdoor music festival. It takes place the last weekend of June in Marlay Park. Previous years have seen big-name acts including Megan Thee Stallion, Tyler the Creator, Dave and A$AP Rocky.

12. Patrún Festival (Inis Mor Island, June 29th – July 2nd)

An annual three-day summer party every June, the Patrún Festival takes place on the beautiful windswept Inis Mor island. It features all kinds of sport, including currach and hooker boat racing, tug-of-war, art and sandcastle competitions. 

13. Body & Soul (Westmeath, Update: Cancelled)

This celebration of the summer solstice at Ballinlough Castle Estate is an atmospheric festival of surprises. Previous line-ups have featured intimate performances from the likes of Aoife Nessa Francis, Sorcha Richardson and DJ Gilles Peterson.

14. Cruinniú na nÓg (Various, Jun TBC)

Cruinniú na nÓg is Creative Ireland’s national day of creativity with free events and activities for children and young people all across Ireland. Activities include everything from workshops and tutorials to recitals and readings. 

15. Dublin International Chamber Music Festival (Dublin, June 4th – 9th)

One of the biggest chamber music festivals in Ireland, the Dublin International Chamber Music Festival hosts world premieres, family concerts and some exhilarating music from Africa, alongside some wonderful Irish performances. 

16. Carlow Arts Festival (Carlow, June 5th – 9th)

Carlow Town begins its summer with a colourful weekend festival full of live music, circus, dance, theatre, visual arts and street art. Grab all-day music passes for just 20 euros. It’s an enjoyable week of mind-bending illusion and it’s one of the more unique Irish festivals.

Festivals in Ireland in July

Bantry House and Gardens

Photos via Shutterstock

July is another bumper month for festivals in Ireland in 2024, with a great mix of music, culture and food on offer.

It’s worth noting that many of the events in Ireland that take place during the summer months can be in hot demand, so make sure to check and see if you can buy tickets for these Irish festivals in advance.

1. Cairde Sligo (Sligo, July 6th – 14th)

Sligo’s arts festival takes over the town’s venues, streets and public spaces. Expect everything from atmospheric dance to performances by Edinburgh Fringe award-winning comics and colourful circus shows. 

2. Galway Film Fleadh (Galway, July 9th – 14th)

Another of the more famous events in Ireland is the Galway Film Fleadh – a week-long international film festival taking place every July. As well as screenings, the fair also runs an annual Pitching Competition, masterclasses, case studies and forum.

3. West Cork Literary Festival (Bantry, July 12th – 19th)

The West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry is one of Cork’s many summer festivals and promises workshops, readings, professional development, events for children and young people. Previous guests have included Raymond Antrobus and India Knight.

4. Earagail Arts Festival (Co. Donegal, July 13th – 28th)

This is a very distinct festival out in Donegal and features immersive and participatory experiences in circus, music, spoken word and theatre, all celebrating a unique people, language and landscape.

5. Galway International Arts Festival (Galway, July 15th – 28th)

Arguably one of the most famous Irish festivals, the Galway International Arts Festival has a packed programme and runs for a two weeks out in Galway. Includes cracking Irish and international theatre, opera, circus and visual arts, plus a headline slot from ‘Passenger’.

6. Belfast TradFest (Belfast, July 21st – 28th)

The summer edition of the Belfast TradFest takes place at the end of July and some fabulous musicians bring the city to life for seven-day series of concerts, sessions, céilí and music masterclasses.

7. Durrow Scarecrow Festival (Laois, July 28th – August 5th)

One of the more unique festivals Ireland has to offer is the Durrow Scarecrow Festival. Attendees can admire the scarecrows that can be found dotted around the village, visit the food markets, take park in the craft workshops and enjoy live entertainment. The highlight is the All-Ireland Scarecrow Championship, where hundreds of scarecrows from across Ireland compete.

8. Galway Races (Ballybrit, July 29th – August 4th)

Fancy a flutter? The Galway Races kick off at the end of July for a week in nearby Ballybrit. This prestigious festival has been running since the 19th century, so put on your best for the glamourous Ladies Day.

Festivals in Ireland in August

Kylemore Castle from afar

Photos via Shutterstock

From what we can tell, there are more Irish festivals taking place in August than in any other month of the year.

Below, you’ll find everything from the excellent Galway Oyster Festival and the Dingle Food Festival to some very quirky events in Ireland.

1. All Together Now (Curraghmore Estate, August 1st – 4th)

August starts with a bang at the Curraghmore Estate in Waterford with All Together Now. The line up includes The National, Tommy Tiernan, The Mary Wallopers and Bakar.

2. Birr Vintage Week (Birr, August 2nd – 10th)

Beginning back in 1968 and returning for its 56th edition, Birr Vintage Week in Offaly is nationally acknowledged as a unique historical, cultural and community-focused celebration. Dive into visual arts, music, street theatre, pop-up performances, workshops and exhibitions.

3. Spraoi International Street Arts Festival (Waterford, August 2nd – 4th)

It’s all happening in Waterford this weekend as Ireland’s free summer street party brings hundreds of global artists and musicians to perform, headlined by the festival parade in front of more than 20,000 spectators.

4. Fleadh Cheoil (Wexford, August 4th – 11th)

The very best trad musicians come together for a series of cracking performances during the week-long Fleadh Cheoil that takes place in Wexford Town, attracting in the region of 500,00 visitors. 

5. Howth Roots and Blues (Dublin, August 9th – 11th)

One of the more popular festivals in Ireland in recent years is Howth Roots and Blues. Here, you’ll discover the finest Irish live roots and blues musicians with a handful of international artists also making an appearance.

6. Puck Fair (Killorglin, August 10th – 12th)

The Puck Fair is one of the most unique festivals in Ireland! One of Ireland’s oldest fairs, this bizarre festival out in Killorglin in Kerry is centred around a village goat known as the ‘King Puck’.

7. Chamber Music on Valentia (Valentia, August 15th – 18th)

Curated by pianist Mary Dullea, the 11th edition of Chamber Music on Valentia takes place in a gorgeous island location in Kerry and has previously featured the first instalment of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti alongside Fidelio Trio’s innovative Pop Archive.

8. Electric Picnic (Laois, August 16th – 18th)

One of the largest Irish festivals sees out the summer – I’m talking, of course, about Electric Picnic. See out summer in the best way at this big and colourful festival over in Laois. Headliners include Calvin Harris, Kylie Minogue and Kodaline.

9. Masters of Tradition (Cork, August 21st – 25th)

It’s all in the name! Curated by by fiddle player Martin Hayes, Masters of Tradition celebrates the finest in Irish trad music and it all takes in place in Bantry on Cork’s west coast. 

10. Another Love Story (Meath, August 23rd – 25th)

This curiously-named festival is in its 10th year and takes place in the grounds and halls of 18th-century Killyon Manor in Meath. Expect a great weekend of music, art, conversation and gastronomy. 

11. Kilkenny Arts Festival (Kilkenny, August 8th – 18th)

Going for over 50 years now, the Kilkenny Arts Festival runs across ten days and gathers many of the world’s finest musicians, performers, writers and artists in Ireland’s medieval city for some cracking live performances.

12. Rose of Tralee Festival (Tralee, August 16th – 20th) 

Taking inspiration from a 19th-century ballad of the same name about a woman called Mary, the Rose of Tralee International Festival crowns the woman deemed best to match the “lovely and fair” attributes in the song.

13. Desmond O’Halloran Music Weekend (Galway, August TBC)

Celebrating the wizard from Inishbofin, the Desmond O’Halloran Music Weekend in Connemara is jam-packed with concerts, workshops, arts events and free traditional and folk music trails across the island’s venues and landscapes.

Festivals in Ireland in September

Lisdoonvarna

Photo left: UpSwing Mediaa. Top right: Maria Ryan Donnelly. Bottom right: Failte Ireland

There’s plenty of Irish festivals in 2024 set to run during the month of September.

One of the more unique festivals in Ireland, the  Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, is the most notable, but there’s plenty more taking place.

1. Sounds from a Safe Harbour Festival (Cork, September 7th – 10th)

This music, dance, art and conversation festival is curated by some big names – Bryce and Aaron Dessner of The National, actor Cillian Murphy, playwright Enda Walsh and Mary Hickson.

2. Dublin Fringe Festival (Dublin, September 7th – 22nd)

The Dublin Fringe Festival is a multidisciplinary arts festival running for two weeks and offers a platform for new and emerging artists in Ireland to showcase their work, alongside trying out new styles and practices.

3. Culture Night (Various, September 20th)

An all-Ireland celebration of culture and creativity, Culture Night sees the Arts Council partnering with artists, local authorities, arts organisations to present thousands of free events and activities into the evening, in-person, online and broadcast.

4. Dublin Festival of History (Dublin, September 27th – October 13th)

Offering a fresh perspective on history and its importance in everyday lives, the Dublin Festival of History is a free festival in Ireland’s capital so expect plenty of talk and debate from leading Irish and International historians.

5. Clonmel Applefest (Tipperary, September 26th – 29th)

Clonmel Applefest is one of many annual festivals in Ireland and it’s here that food, heritage and the environment are celebrated via the arts. In previous years, there has been everything from Jazz and Tapas to foraging and bake offs.

6. Write by the Sea (Wexford, September 27th – 29th)

Head down to the quaint fishing village of Kilmore Quay in Wexford for a fine weekend literary festival featuring talks, readings, interviews and workshops. Very handy for keen readers and would-be writers.

7. Galway Oyster and Seafood Festival (Galway, September 27th – 29th) 

Few corners of Ireland are better than Galway for seafood and this festival is an absolute must-visit! Take on their expertly curated Seafood Trail and sample some of the West Coast’s freshest finds at what is rightly one of the most popular food festivals in Ireland.

8. Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival (Lisdoonvarna, September 1st – 30th)

The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, at over 150+ years old, is one of the oldest Irish festivals. It has a couple of aims – to put on some great music from some of Ireland’s top music and also to provide a space for singles (especially from rural areas) to meet new people.

9. Dublin Theatre Festival (Dublin, September 26th – October 13th)

Europe’s oldest specialised theatre festival, Dublin Theatre Festival has staged major international theatre of scale and hosted productions by the world’s greatest artists, while also showcasing work by Ireland’s finest playwrights.

Festivals in Ireland in October

Mussenden Temple

Photos via Shutterstock

When October arrives, so does a plethora of Halloween-related Irish festivals, many of which tell the tell of the origin of the event in Ireland.

One of the most popular Irish festivals during this month is the Púca Festival, which takes place in County Meath.

1. Dingle Food Festival (Kerry, October 4th – 6th)

The fishing village of Dingle is an amazing pub town but it also hosts a mighty food festival! Highlights of the festival include cookery demonstrations, food trails, over 50 market stalls, children’s events and wine tastings.

2. Open House Dublin (Dublin, October 12th – 20th)

Over a weekend in mid-October, Open House Dublin is the Irish Architecture Foundation’s annual free festival of architecture and urban design, with more than 100 guided tours and events for all ages across Dublin city and county.

3. Belfast International Arts Festival (Belfast, October 12th – November 5th)

The leading contemporary arts festival in Northern Ireland takes place in venues across Belfast, promising a variety of live dance, theatre and family-friendly entertainment. 

4. Wexford Festival Opera (Wexford, October 18th – November 2nd)

For the last 70 years, the Wexford Festival Opera has made a name for itself by introducing audiences to unjustly neglected works. This year, it’s themed around women and war and includes Le maschere (1901).

5. Cork Jazz Festival (Cork, October 24th – 28th)

Why celebrate Halloween when you could enjoy Ireland’s biggest jazz event? Especially the Jazz Music Trail, which sees the city come alive with the sights and sounds of a music trail spanning over 60 Cork venues. 

6. Derry Halloween (Derry, October 28th – 31st) 

Claiming to be Europe’s biggest Halloween festival, Derry Halloween embraces the Samhain spirit and attracts revellers from all around the globe while showcasing a programme of arts, food and music alongside cultural, contemporary and family events.

7. Bram Stoker Festival (Dublin, October 25th – 28th)

Now in its 10th year, the Bram Stoker Festival celebrates the legacy of one of Ireland’s most beloved and iconic writers. Expect deliciously dark treats on the streets and in venues across Dublin.

8. Púca Festival (Athboy/Trim, late October)

Púca Festival is one of the newest Irish festivals and celebrates Ireland as the original home of Halloween, which began as the ancient tradition of Samhain over 2,000 years ago. Salute the Halloween spirits through folklore, food, myth and music!

8. Dromineer Nenagh Literary Festival (Nenagh, October TBC)

Now in its 20th year, the Dromineer Nenagh Literary Festival returns to the historic town of Nenagh for a strong programme including poetry/ fiction, historic readings, discussions and a lake tour.

Festivals in Ireland in November and December

Christmas markets in Ireland

Photos via Shutterstock

The months of November and December mark the arrival of a clatter of Christmassy Irish festivals and events in Ireland.

The various Christmas markets in Ireland tend to steal the show, but there are plenty of other evens taking place, too.

1. Cork International Film Festival (Cork, November 7th – 17th)

CIFF is Ireland’s first and largest film festival, showcasing the latest and best Irish features. There are also award-winning films from the international film festival circuit, new discoveries and cinema classics selected by their experienced curatorial team.

2. Dingle Lit (Dingle, November 15th – 17th)

The Dingle Lit is a cracking little literature festival in west Ireland. Expect a great mix of discussion and author events across three days. Previous guests at the festival have included Gabriel Bryne, President Higgins and Kit de Waal.

3. Leaves Festival of Writing and Music (Portlaoise, November TBC)

Leaves Festival of Writing and Music takes place in Portlaoise and celebrates the diversity and richness in today’s literary, music and film scene. Expect plenty of screenings, readings and workshops across the event’s three days. 

4. Dublin Book Festival (Dublin, November 6th – 10th)

A literature festival in a great literature city over four days. The Dublin Book Festival features a mix of live-audience author talks, poetry events and walking tours celebrating Irish writers, publishers and illustrators.

5. Galway Christmas Market (Galway, mid November – late December)

Christmas festivities on Ireland’s west coast. The Galway Continental Christmas Market received over 450,000 visitors in 2023 and featured over 50 wooden chalets, including a carousel, Santa’s Grotto and a German Bier Keller.

6. Winterval Waterford (Waterford, late November – late December)

Ireland’s largest Christmas festival, Winterval, takes place in the country’s oldest city. Waterford hosts magical experiences, festive family attractions, seasonal surprises and an abundance of free and ticketed events for all ages.

7. Yulefest Kilkenny (Kilkenny, late November – late December)

Yulefest Kilkenny returns in 2024 hosting a programme of events with something for everyone. Enjoy music from a bandstand, a fireworks display, street entertainment, a scavenger hunt and a santa run, among other things.

8. Belfast Christmas Market (Belfast, late November – late December)

Running for over 15 years, the Belfast Christmas Market takes place in the grounds of Belfast City Hall at Donegall Square. With over 100 exhibitors from 28 counties, it’s no surprise this event regularly attracts over 1,000,000 visitors!

9. Dublin Castle Christmas Market (Dublin, December)

The Dublin Castle Christmas Market takes place within the grand grounds of Dublin Castle. With over 26 vendors in wooden chalets, voice choirs and tons of food and drink options, there’s a great atmosphere at this one. 

10. Wicklow Christmas Market (Wicklow Town, late November – late December)

The Wicklow Christmas Market returns and feature chalets manned by local artisans selling everything from handcrafted ornaments, paintings and toys to homemade chutneys and jams. There’s also the brand new Eco-Ice Skating Rink!

11. Glow Cork (Cork, late November – late December)

Glow Cork is a massive Christmas celebration with tons of events taking place, including carol services, film screenings, wreathmaking workshops and, of course, the main festival market packed with artisanal chalets.

Festivals Ireland 2024: What ones have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant Irish festivals from the guide above.

If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

FAQs about the finest Irish festivals

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are the best traditional Irish festivals?’ to ‘Which Irish fairs are worth nabbing a ticket for?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What festivals in Ireland in 2024 are worth a visit?

This will be subjective and will be dependant on what you’re into. Above, you’ll find everything from match making festivals to surfing festivals in Ireland and much, much more.

What Irish festivals in 2024 are best for music?

There’s an endless list of music festivals taking place, from Cork Jazz Festival and Electric Picnic to Puck Fair and more.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Jim Allister

Wednesday 9th of August 2023

Féile an Phobail is Ireland’s Biggest Community Arts Festival. Féile provides a programme of inclusive arts, cultural and community-based activities throughout the year, with its flagship festival, the August Féile being the highlight of Ireland’s festival calendar.

On right now and worth a visit.

Eoghan OCRemin

Friday 21st of April 2023

Riverfest probably the biggest festival in May in Ireland Family friendly festival runs over the May bank holiday in Limerick, Festival Village, BBQ Competition, family events, Water displays, Children's events, Fireworks, music acts

Gerard king

Saturday 3rd of September 2022

Tribfest. 2 nights 1200 turnout 8 tribute bands Kilcock rugby club August bank holiday Free parking incl campers

Barbara Derbyshire

Tuesday 31st of May 2022

Ballybunion Arts Festival 21-24 July in Ballybunion www.ballybunionartsfestival.ie

Deirdre Cahill

Monday 18th of April 2022

SoFFT Nights, Dunderry Park, Co. Meath 4th & 5th June

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.