Come join the festival fun in 2014

From Malin to Mizen, here’s a selection of more than 80 festivals throughout the country for the year ahead



Out to Lunch 2-26
From Eamon Dunphy to Edna O’Brien, this Belfast festival has an eclectic line-up of music, spoken word and comedy to brighten the dark days after Christmas. 028-90246609,

The Dead Weekend 4-6
The centenary of James Joyce’s great short story is marked by a weekend of workshops, talks and a full-blown dinner on Sunday 5th. 01-8788547,

Theatre of Memory 16-18
The Abbey celebrates its 110th anniversary with a gathering of great minds: President Michael D Higgins, Richard Kearney, Frank McGuinness, Catriona Crowe, Declan Kiberd and Roddy Doyle are among those who will assemble for three days of lectures, plays and readings. 01-8787222,

Temple Bar Tradfest 22-26
Trad in the heart of Dublin city with De Danann, Altan, Stockton’s Wing, Carlos Nunez, plus the world’s first trad nightclub, Super Céilí, in Meeting House Square.,


Clonakilty International Board Games 7-9
Backgammon and bridge, chess, sudoku, Monopoly – you name it, you can play it in one of Ireland’s most beguiling towns, with great food and drink. 089-4352675,

Other Voices Derry 7-9
The Kerry festival heads to Derry for three days of inspirational cross-Border music-making at the spectacular Glassworks venue, where many of the gigs will be hosted by the actor Aidan Gillen. There will also be a music trail across the city.

Cork Spring 12-15
Jo Shapcott, Paul Muldoon, Leontia Flynn and the former US poet laureate Billy Collins are among the poets who will visit the Cork Arts Theatre for the Munster Literature Centre’s annual poetry festival. 021-4312955,

Jameson Dublin Film Festival 13-23
A blackly comic Dutch fable called Borgman is the first film to be announced for next year’s festival. We’re hooked already. 01-6624260,

Belfast Nashville 28-9
From Americana to blues, country to rock, there’s a song for every musical heart. Donovan and Midge Ure are among those who will perform at the 10th edition of this transatlantic songfest. 048-90323744,


New Music Dublin 6-9
Curated by the composer and founder of Crash Ensemble Donnacha Dennehy, this contemporary music showcase at the National Concert Hall will present a string quartet performed entirely in the dark, an hour-long evocation of snow, and a set built around the music of Kraftwerk. 087-2456971,

St Patrick’s Festival 14-17
The big parade, with its batons and marching bands, is just a small part of the madness that accompanies the annual celebration of our national saint’s day. Street performances, poems, walking tours, storytelling, funfairs and general high jinks will take over Ireland. 01-6763205,

Offset 21-23
Illustrators, animators, graphic designers and creative types of all sorts, from Ireland and abroad, descend on Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for a weekend of exploration and innovation.

One City One Book All month
This year’s appointed book is a collection of poems, ballads and songs, If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song. There will be a series of associated events around Dublin throughout the month. 01-6744809,

Cúirt 8-13
Last year’s big gig was a joint reading by Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley, never to be forgotten by those who were there. But there’s always a memorable programme of poetry, fiction and more at the Galway literary festival. 091-56588,

EVA International 12-6 July
Limerick’s biennial art exhibition of the best of international contemporary art is curated during the City of Culture year by Alexandria’s Bassam el Baroni.

Phase One 19-20
There will be DJs, workshops, mixers, bands and sounds galore over the Easter weekend for this festival of electronic music at The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.

Cork International Choral festival 30-4
Choirs from around the world gather for one of Europe’s top choral festivals, with concerts, competitions and a gala performance of Carmina Burana at Cork City Hall. 021-4215125,


Bealtaine All month
A month-long celebration of creativity that brings first-time and professional artists together to make new and challenging work. From Blow the Dust Off Your Trumpet at the National Concert Hall to monoprinting workshops in Cork, there’s a plethora of activities on offer around the country. 01-8057709,

Cathedral Quarter 1-11
Music, comedy, theatre and literature events based around St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast. 028-90232403,

Dublin Writers’ Festival 17-25
The most historic venues in the city – the National Library, James Joyce Museum and Tower, the Long Room at Trinity College, the Chester Beatty Library – play host to the most dynamic writers from Ireland and abroad as the brilliance of books is celebrated through readings, discussions, workshops and film screenings. 01-2225455,

Fleadh Nua 18-26
A week of traditional music-making in Ennis. This year’s programme includes Four Men and a Dog, The Kilfenora Céilí Band, and a colourful evening of Irish and Bulgarian music and dance. 065-6824276,

Dublin Dance Festival 20-31
The international dance group Bodies in Urban Spaces will show you Dublin as you’ve never seen it before. Also confirmed for 2014 is the British choreographer Russell Maliphant and his ensemble. 01-6790524,

Love: Live Music 21
Music Network’s free countrywide extravaganza of live music. Last year there were 300 events, from toddler song and dance through open orchestra rehearsals. 01-4750224,

Drop Everything 23-25
This cool contemporary festival of visual art, music and fashion – totally funded by online donations – is held biannually on Inisheer, the smallest and most easterly of the Aran Islands.

Life 23-25
Top electronic musicians will be heading for Belvedere House, Mullingar, Co Westmeath. life-festival-com

Listowel Writers’ Week 28-1
Novel-writing with the international best-seller Douglas Kennedy is just one of the workshops at Listowel in 2014 – there will also be poetry with Seamus Heaney’s Irish publisher, Peter Fallon of Gallery Press, and Getting Started, with Impac judge Catherine Dunne. 068-21074,

Rory Gallagher Tribute Festival
29-june 1
The great blues guitarist is commemorated with a long weekend of open-air and big-top concerts, blues sessions and exhibitions in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.

Sky Cat Laughs 29-2
Chris O’Dowd, Kevin Bridges and
Dylan Moran were among the stars of last year’s comedy festival, which made a triumphant return to the medieval city of Kilkenny after a few years’ absence. Expect more star names this year. 056-7763837,

Clonmel Junction 4-13
Past editions of this swirl of circus, music, dance and spectacle have seen Clonmel transformed into a forest and hosting an eco-theatrical funfair; last year’s nine-day festival culminated in Chris Bull’s spectacular high-wire crossing of the river Suir, accompanied by a local marching band. 052-6129339,

Ennis Street festival 4,5,6
The entire community of the Co Clare town gets involved as this multidisciplinary festival brings acrobatics, music, dance, visual arts and workshops to the banks of the river Fergus. 065-6893966,

Éigse Carlow 6-15
Notching up its 35th year, the Carlow arts festival offers a range of events from large-scale exhibitions at the Visual Centre for Contemporary Art to fireworks displays over the river Barrow, with a full programme of music and theatre into the bargain. 059-9172439,

Live at the Marquee 9- 5 july
Elbow, The Pixies, The Coronas, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Tom Jones and Robert Plant are already confirmed for this Cork rockfest, with more names being added – it seems – by the day. 01-7755800

Immrama 12-15
Travel to the heritage town of Lismore in Co Waterford, and you can travel the world. Past visitors to the festival of travel writing have included Paul Theroux, Colin Thubron, Jan Morris, Pico Iyer, Michael Palin and Redmond O’Hanlon. 058-53803,

Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas 14-15
Borris House sits at the foot of the Blackstairs Mountains in Co Carlow. Add in an eclectic mix of speakers, from the passionate to the provocative, and you have a recipe for festival success. Already signed up for 2014 are Roy Foster, Patrick McGrath, John Banville, Polly Samson and Stephen Frears. 059-9173381,

Bloomsday 16
Dust off your straw boater and your striped jacket for the annual outbreak of Edwardian costumes, readings, performances, re-enactments and kidney breakfasts as Dublin celebrates its favourite fictional son, the antihero of Joyce’s Ulysses, Leopold Bloom. 01-8788547,

Body and Soul 20-22
Celebrate the summer solstice in style at the perfectly formed boutique festival at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath. Last year’s programme included electronic superstars Jon Hopkins and Nicolas Jaar as well as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Families are welcome; there’s even a special kids’ area.

Cork Midsummer 21-30
Unique events in unexpected places is the motto of this explosion of events on the banks of the Lee. 021-4215131,
Sea Sessions 27-29
The seaside town of Bundoran,
Co Donegal turns into “Fundoran” for three action-packed days of surfing, skating and music.

Drogheda Samba Festival 27-29
A three-day party of Latin and African music and dance, including the now traditional five-hour non-stop samba session in the main street and a
not-so-traditional samba Mass. 041-9838332,

West Cork Chamber Music Festival 27-5
This nine-day festival, one of Ireland’s – indeed, Europe’s – most prestigious chamber music events, features 45 concerts with more than 100 top international chamber musicians. The venues are pretty spectacular, too, from the intimacy of St Brendan’s Church to the elegance of Bantry House, perched high above Bantry Bay. 027-527889,

Westport Festival of Music and Performing Arts 28-29
Hang out with such musical acts as Bryan Adams and Kool and the Gang in the grounds of Westport House and Gardens, a five-minute walk from the centre of the Mayo town, which Irish Times readers voted as Ireland’s best place to live in 2012.


Hay Festival Kells 3-6
The Welsh festival from the Wye valley came to the Irish midlands for the first time last year, bringing book talk galore from a stellar line-up of visiting writers including Germaine Greer, Jeanette Winterson and DBC Pierre – and Kells responded in kind, with pop-up bookshops appearing all over town. 046-9240055,

Groove 5-6
This event, shortlisted for the best new festival in Europe award on its debut outing last year, rocks the pristine grounds of Kilruddery House in Bray,
Co Wicklow.

West Cork Literary Festival 6-12
Want to do a Hilary Mantel? Or finally get down to writing that screenplay? A week-long workshop with the inspirational combination of Bantry and books will surely help. Study poetry with Maurice Riordan, historical fiction with Mary Morrissy, scriptwriting with Abbie Spallen, writing for children with Oisín McGann, and lots more. 027-527889,

Earagail Arts Festival 12-26
A bilingual programme of music, visual arts, circus and theatre on the wild and unspoiled northwestern seaboard of
Co Donegal. 074-9168800,

Street Performance World Championships 12-14, Dublin; 20-21, Cork
Whether you’re into jugglers, acrobats, sword-swallowers or just a bit of high-tech dancing in the street, this one’s for you. 01-6745922,

Galway Arts Festival 14-27
Every season is party season in Galway – but those seductive streets really light up during festival season. Next year dance, physical theatre and spectacle from the US and Europe will be among the highlights, as will world premieres, site-specific visual arts and a full programme of music in the big top on the banks of the Corrib. 091-509700,

Longitude 18-20
Last year’s music at Marlay Park in Dublin included Vampire Weekend, Kraftwerk and Foals.

Sligo Jazz Project 22-27
Workshops, ensemble classes, jam sessions – everything you ever wanted to know about jazz, basically – and a great wrap party. 071-9157862,

Knockanstockan 25-27
Begun by young musicians, this indie festival has its priorities in the right place as it showcases up-and-coming bands. It’s in a pretty good place, too: the tranquil woods and hills of the Blessington lakes.

Happy Days 31-10
There’s a change of dates next year for the Enniskillen festival, which celebrates the life and work of Samuel Beckett, but it’s a fair bet that the programme will, as we’ve come to expect, take a fresh look at the playwright as well as being tuned in to the serene surroundings of Ireland’s lake district. 028-66325000,


They’ve had The Charlatans, Mercury Rev and Sister Sledge; it’s a 17th-century castle surrounded by oak woods; and ticket holders get daily access to the castle, where there are art exhibitions and workshops and oodles of spa-type pampering.

Indiependence 1-3
Indie rock for the southwest is the order of the day for the second boutique festival of the bank holiday weekend at Mitchelstown, Co Cork.

Spraoi 1-3
It’s no accident that this festival is named after the Irish word for exuberance: street theatre is at the heart of it, and alongside the annual parade, a full programme of newly-commissioned work brings the historic city centre of Waterford to joyous life. 051-841808,

Dublin Horse Show 6-10
One of the summer’s biggest bashes brings craft, fashion, live music, gourmet food – oh, and a horse or two – to the RDS in Ballsbridge. 01-6680866,

Kilkenny Arts Festival 8-17
A visit to Kilkenny is always a good idea, and it’s an even better one during the 10 days of the festival. Last year you could walk the medieval streets in the sparky company of the visual artist Bob and Roberta Smith, settle down to watch Shakespeare outdoors in the Castle Yard, sing along with Neil “Divine Comedy” Hannon in St Canice’s Cathedral, or chuckle at clowns on the Parade. You’ll be spoiled for cultural choice. 056-7763663,

Puck Fair 10-12
Busking, dancing, singing and major merriment in the sumptuous setting of Killorglin, Co Kerry – and the crowning of a goat to boot. What’s not to love? 066-9762366,

Fleadh Ceoil na hEireann 10-17
Some 10,000 musicians and 300,000 fans will head to Sligo as the Fleadh heads northwest for the first time since 1991 for the annual outpouring of traditional virtuosity. 01-2800295,

Rose of Tralee 15-19
The best lovely girls festival in the world, bar none. 066-7121322,

Electric Picnic 29-31
Over the festival’s 10-year lifetime the uber-civilised rockfest at Stradbally,
Co Laois, has hosted Arcade Fire, Björk, the Sex Pistols, Sigur Rós, New Order, Sonic Youth and Robert Plant – as well as giving birth to a host of baby boutique festivals which, in their turn, have thrived. 0818-719300,


Dublin Fringe Festival 5-22
This is the Fringe’s first season under the curatorship of its new director, Kris Nelson from Montreal, who has promised “unconventional ideas, building relationships across borders, and connecting audiences with great art”. Sounds good to us. 01-6706106,

Harvest Time Blues 5-7
Autumn time, and the living is easy; especially in Monaghan, helped along by a serving of laid-back sounds at the Market House and the marquee, as well as a blues trail through this neat-as-a-pin market town. 047-38162,

Mountains to Sea DLR Book Festival 12-14
Last year Margaret Atwood and Colum McCann stole the show: but the star of this year’s literary festival is likely to be Dún Laoghaire’s newly built library and cultural centre. The 2014 festival programme will be tailored to the opening of this exciting fixture right on the seafront. 01-2719532,

Kinsale Arts Week 19-28
Kinsale has moved: no, not the town, just the arts festival. The dates have been switched to the autumn, and a new-look programme with a new direction is in the pipeline. No doubt it will still contain a healthy mix of established and emerging writers, artists and theatre groups – and the Co Cork gourmet town will be as beguiling as ever. 021-4700010,

National Ploughing Championships 23-25
Not just ploughing, but sheepdog trials, craft villages, food fairs and exhibitions at Ratheniska in Co Laois. 059-8625125,

Dublin Theatre Festival 25-12
With more than 500 performances in 20-plus venues, all the city’s a stage come the theatre festival. The 55th edition will doubtless provide theatregoers with the usual mix of old and new, ambitious and intimate, cutting-edge and classic. 01-6778439,

Clifden Arts Week 19-29
This community arts week provides locals and visitors with a wide range of readings, recitals, theatre and comedy – and all in the spectacular surroundings of Connemara. 095-21878,
Culture Night 21
Late-night culture with free entry into more than 100 venues in Dublin and many family events.

New Ross Piano festival 25-28
The musical focus in the attractive Wexford town next year will be on that most attractive combination, piano and and wind repertoire, with the Cassiopeia Winds Quintet from Dublin and quintets by Mozart and Beethoven.

Sligo Festival of Baroque Music 27-29
The best of the baroque repertoire brings a touch of late September musical sunshine to the northwest.


Cork Jazz Festival 24-26
Nile Rodgers, Soul II Soul Sound System, the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra, Primal Scream, Courtney Pine and the Portico Quartet were among those who assembled for some cool Leeside sounds last year.

Sligo Live 22-27
Traditional music from Sligo is noted for its “lift” – which this festival aims to replicate through a lively programme of folk, roots and indie gigs. Last year’s headliners were Imelda May and Villagers.

Wexford Festival Opera 22-2
Salomé, Don Bucefalo and Silent Night will be presented for our delectation once again, with an ancillary programme of recitals and short operas. 053-9122400,


Corona Cork Film Festival 8-16
Film and animation from Ireland and all over the world. 021-4271711,

Sneem International Folklore and Storytelling Festival 8-10
Tales to brighten the gloom of November with Irish and international seanchaí. 086-1522346, sneemstorytelling


Other Voices 6-8
Bringing the music home to Dingle? We can think of no better way to round off your festival year.

Airtricity Dublin Docklands Festival 12-23
Festive treats, a Victorian funfair and a marquee containing choirs and a cappella groups by day and afrobeats
and blues by night.

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