10 things to do in Ireland this May bank holiday weekend

Dress up as a nun, swim the Shannon, listen for a corncrake or take in some jazz

Family fun in St Dominic’s Park, Drogheda,  1-5pm, Monday

Family fun in St Dominic’s Park, Drogheda, 1-5pm, Monday

 

Bray International Jazz Festival, Co Wicklow, May 3-6

One of Ireland’s most established jazz festivals, this four-day event turns the north Wicklow seaside town into a paradise for contemporary jazz lovers. The Mermaid Arts Centre hosts keynote international acts such as John Scofield, Anja Lechner and Francois Couturier, while the Well on Main Street, the Harbour Bar and the Town Hall resound with a mix of Irish and international performers. brayjazz.com, 01-2724030.

Dublin Dance Festival, until May 19

Only getting into its stride this weekend, this festival opened with Riot from Thisispopbaby, a mix of circus, spoken word and bombastic jigs at Vicar St (Friday, Saturday 7pm and 9.30pm). International street dancers will be moving to DJ sounds in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar, Dublin 2, on Sunday at 7.30pm. Monica Munoz Marin promises to break stereotypes in their free performance of Princesses Can be Pirates in Meeting House Square on Sunday at noon. dublindancefestival.ie, 01-6730660.

Drogheda Arts Festival, Co Louth, until May 6

Listen to spoken word at the Highlanes Gallery (Saturday, 6pm), catch short performance pieces entitled Summertime in Drogheda Shopping Centre (Saturday, noon-4pm) and enjoy Canadian composer Nicole Lizee Spielberg Etudes performed by Canadian pianist, Megumi Masaki at St Peter’s Church of Ireland, Drogheda (Saturday, 8pm). Children’s events in St Dominic’s Park on Monday, 1pm-5pm. droghedaartsfestival.ie

Father Ted Festival, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, May 3-5

A chance for die-hard Father Ted fans to indulge themselves in all things relating to this satirical television show first aired in the 1990s. The priests and nuns dance-off, karaoke and fancy dress competitions sum up the mood perfectly. Most events held in the Burren Smokehouse and Roadside Tavern. Tedtours. com

Shine A Light on Summer Festival, Hook Head, Co Wexford, May 4-6

One of Ireland’s oldest and most distinctive lighthouses at Hook Head hosts this celebration of the Irish coast guard with family games and local food. hookheritage.ie

Kilkenny Roots Festival, May 3-6

Dublin roots band, I Draw Slow, American singer-songwriters Patty Griffin and Jason Lytle, Michigan-based The Accidentals and Cuban-influenced Susto are just a sample of the superb offerings in Kilkenny this weekend. kilkennyroots.com

Inisbofin Concrake Festival, Inisbofin Island, Co Galway, May 3-6

The magical island of Inisbofin is one of the few places in Ireland where the corncrake can still be heard. This new festival brings visitors on early-morning and late-night walks to see and hear this bird whose “crex crex” call was once familiar in rural Ireland. Intensive farming practices such as early mowing for silage have pushed these birds out to most remote parts of Donegal, Mayo, Connemara and offshore islands. In 2018, Birdwatch Ireland estimated there were only 151 breeding pairs left. www.inishbofin.com

Slieve Bloom Walking Festival, May 3-6

Now in its 25th year, this walking festival in these low-lying mountains in Cos Laois and Offaly includes woodland and riverside walks as well as more strenuous hikes. The first walk of the weekend is the 5km Knockbarron Eco Walk, which sets off from the Kinnitty Community Centre, Kinnitty, Co Offaly on Friday, May 3rd at 7pm. Variously graded walks set off from the Clonaslee Community Centre in Clonaslee, Co Laois on Saturday, May 4th at 10.45am, while the Kinnitty Community Centre is the starting point on Sunday, May 5th at 10.45am. The festival ends with a 10km walk starting in Glenbarrow car park on Monday, May 6th at 11am. €20 for all weekend walks, or €8 per walk. https://slievebloom.ie/whats-on/walking-festival-2019

Connemara Mussel Festival, May 3-5

One of the first festivals of the year on the Wild Atlantic Way, this festival celebrates the mussels from Killary Harbour with master chefs’ seafood demonstrations, children’s cookery workshops and a family forage cook-off. There are also talks on beekeeping, organic gardening and archaeology, tai chi on Renvyle beach, sean nós dancing workshops, a family fun-run and seashore foraging. Plus plenty of opportunities to buy local artisan and food produce at the market in the Marian Hall in Tullycross on Saturday or Sunday. connemaramusselfestival.com

Riverfest Limerick May 3-6

A fireworks display, an aerial dance show, water zorbing and a zipline across the River Shannon are some of the highlights of this family-friendly festival. And, of course kayaking and boat tours, coarse fishing competitions and a chance to visit the LE Eithne Irish naval ship in Limerick Docks. The event starts with a swim across the Shannon on Friday, May 3rd at 6.30pm.https://www. limerick.ie/riverfest

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