You thought festival season was over, it's only just beginning: 24 autumn festivals

Summer’s over, but ‘shoulder season’ festivals are just coming into bloom

The Headless Horseman at the Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival. Photograph: Barry Cronin

The Headless Horseman at the Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival. Photograph: Barry Cronin

 

Summer may be officially over, but “shoulder season” festivals are just coming into bloom, bringing colour and vibrancy – not to mention a much-needed economic boost – to towns and cities across the country.

1. New Ross Piano Festival

September 22-25

Boutique festival on the banks of the Barrow with recitals, quintets, jazz gigs and world premieres. newrosspianofestival.com

2. Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival

September 23-25

The world oyster shucking championships, plus music, street parades and a Mardi Gras gala. galwayoysterfestival.com

3. Clare Island Singles Weekend

September 23-25

A bracing weekend of adrenaline-fuelled open-air adventures on the Atlantic coast. clareislandadventures.ie

4. Write by the Sea

September 23-25

Brand-new festival brings the cream of Wexford’s writers – including Billy Roche, Cat Hogan and Peter Murphy – to the picturesque village of Kilmore Quay bearing workshops and writing tips galore. writebythesea.ie

5. Westport Arts Festival

September 28-October 2

Ten days of striking diverse gigs run by volunteers for the enjoyment of the local community as well as visitors. Headliners this year are The Undertones, Deirdre O’Kane and Edna O’Brien. westportartsfestival.com

6. Belly Laughs

September 28-October 9

Belfast’s bespoke comedy festival offers a unique blend of local and international acts. belfastcomedyfestival.com

7. Kinsale Gourmet Festival

October 7-9

The 40th edition promises to be a feast for the senses, with tasting sessions, chowder cook-offs and much more. kinsale.ie

8. Nire Valley Autumn Walking Festival

October 7-9

Walk and talk your way around the glorious Comeragh mountains in the company of well-informed local guides. nirevalley.com

9. Belfast International Arts Festival

October 11-29

This year’s festival has programming strands devoted to the refugee crisis, 1916 and Shakespeare. belfastinternationalartsfestival.com

10. Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival

October 15-November 6

A whole season of spooky stuff across the Boyne valley, from a festival of fire to ghost walks, children’s theatre and the chance to pick your own pumpkin. spiritsofmeath.com

11. Imagine Arts

October 20-30

Little Green Cars lead the charge at this annual explosion of creativity in and around Waterford city. imagineartsfestival.com

12. Sligo Live

October 26-31

Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Paul Brady and The Saw Doctors are among the highlights at the north-west’s folk roots and indie festival. sligolive.ie

13. Wexford Festival Opera

October 26- November 6

On the bill for 2016 are unjustly neglected works by Barber, Donizetti and Felicien David. wexfordopera.com

14. Richard Harris International Film Festival

October 27-31

Features and shorts, workshops and awards, plus the unveiling – as part of the Limerick Literary Trail - of a memorial plaque to the inimitable actor. richardharrisfilmfestival.com

15. Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival

October 27-31

Derry goes scary for the 30th time, with animation, an apple fair and hair-raising happenings galore. derrystrabane.com

16. Mayo Dark Sky

October 28-30

Newport is the base for this star-filled festival, with talks, astrophotography and, of course, the opportunity to observe the unspoiled skies of Ballycroy/Nephin national park. mayodarkskyfestival.wordpress.com

17. Bram Stoker festival

October 28-31

Four nights of deadly events in Dublin city pay suitably gothic homage to the author of Dracula. bramstokerfestival.com

18. Burren Food Fayre

October 29-30

Stalls, workshops and demonstrations promoting the Burren’s jaw-dropping range of local food producers. burren.ie

19. The Turf Warrior Challenge

November 5

Jump off cliffs, wade through bog pools, clamber up waterfalls, scramble through forests and plunge into the icy waters of Killary Fjord. Go on. You know you want to. turfwarriorchallenge.com

20. Kilkenomics

November 10-13

Comiconomics,might be a better name for the Kilkenny city festival which puts economists on the bill with stand-up comedians. kilkenomics.com

21. Dublin Book Festival

November 10-13

Showcase for Irish publishing which brings authors and readers together in the heart of the city. dublinbookfestival.com

22. Sneem International Storytelling and Folklore Festival

November 11-13

There’s a story in all of us, they say – and the perfect place for it to make an appearance is in the gorgeous Co Kerry village. sneemstorytellingfestival.com

23. Other Voices

December 2-4

Not so much a festival as a balm for the soul, this annual gathering has been attracting music-lovers to the glorious Dingle Peninsula since 2002. othervoices.ie

24. Temple Bar Trad

January 25-29

At the darkest time of the year, Dublin city centre lights up with musical energy; highlights for 2017 include Billy Bragg, Four Men And A Dog, Fairport Convention, Iarla O Lionaird and Steve Cooney and many, many more. templebartrad.com

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