2014 festivals July-Dec

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



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, hayfestival.com

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. groovefestival.ie

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, westcorkmusic.ie

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, eaf.ie

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, spwc.ie

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, galwayartsfestival.com

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

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, sligojazz.ie

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. knockanstockan.ie

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,



CastlePalooza 1-3
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. castlepalooza.com

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, spraoi.com

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, dublinhorseshow.com

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, kilkennyarts.ie

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, puckfair.ie

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, fleadhcheoil.ie

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

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, electricpicnic.ie


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, fringefest.com

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, harvestblues.ie

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, mountainstosea.ie

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, kinsaleartsfestival.com

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

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, dublintheatrefestival.com

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,clifdenartsweek.ie
Culture Night 21
Late-night culture with free entry into more than 100 venues in Dublin and many family events. culturenight.ie

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. newrosspianofestival.com

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


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. guinnessjazzfestival.com

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. sligolive.ie

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, wexfordopera.com


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

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


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

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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