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The best Irish summer festivals in July and August, from music and comedy to literature and science

Schools are out and out of offices are on so it’s time to plan how to get the best out of summer in Ireland

Electric Picnic: the music festival comes around earlier this year, in mid-August rather than the September bank-holiday weekend. Photograph: Alan Betson

Summer is officially here and that means festival season is well and truly up and running. July kicks off with gigs in the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin, the Galway Film Fleadh and the West Cork Literary Festival among many other cultural and family events. This list will bring you right up to September so you’ll have no excuse for missing anything.


Iveagh Gardens gigs

July 4th-21st

This Dublin series features Van Morrison, Sugababes, Glen Hansard, Dropkick Murphys, Christy Moore, Pillow Queens, Passenger, Phoenix, Damien Dempsey and Paloma Faith.

Irish Youth Dance Festival

July 6th-7th

Including a collaboration with Irish National Youth Ballet, bringing together young dancers aged up to 25.

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival

July 6th-13th

Including literary events with Adania Shibli in conversation with Louise Kennedy, street theatre by Joan Català, Chloe Loftus and Rodney Bell, and music by Boubacar Traoré.


Willie Clancy Summer School

July 6th-14th

Traditional music, song and dance in Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, with instrument and dance classes, lectures, workshops and céilithe.

Galway Film Fleadh

July 9th-14th
Mo Chara (Liam Óg Ó Hannaidh, Móglaí Bap (Naoise Ó Cairealláin) and DJ Próvai (JJ Ó Dochartaigh) are the trio that make up Kneecap. Photograph: Helen Sloan

This international festival brings together audiences and film-makers from around the world. Plus Junior Film Fleadh screenings and events, with Kneecap opening and Palestine selected as the country of focus.

Sult Féile

July 12th-13th

Music festival in the heart of the Gaoth Dobhair Gaeltacht, Co Donegal, features performances from Example, Bell X1, Alabama 3, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Kimmic and Welshy.

West Cork Literary Festival

July 12th-19th

Workshops, readings, events for children and more, all in Bantry. Featuring Anne Enright, Colm Tóibín, Miriam Margolyes, Caleb Azumah Nelson, Adania Shibli and David Nicholls.

Earagail Arts Festival

July 13th-28th

Music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, circus and more in Co Donegal. Including performances by Muireann Bradley and Boyfriends by Ultan Pringle, a pop-up Gaeltacht, circus arts of Catalunya, the traditions of Tory and stories of Arranmore.

Volvo Cork Week

July 15th-19th

More than 200 boats and 10,000 sailors and spectators will descend on the harbour town of Crosshaven for the biennial regatta and festival of maritime t where visitors come together to share their passion for the sea.

Galway International Arts Festival

July 15th-28th
The Forgotten World by Planete Vapeur, on Eyre Square at the Galway International Arts Festival. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Irish and international theatre, opera, circus and visual arts. The Heineken Big Top includes gigs by Passenger, The Saw Doctors, Kneecap, Block Rockin Beats, Jess Glynne, Kettama and Gavin James. Theatre includes Reunion by Mark O’Rowe, Unspeakable Conversations by Christian O’Reilly and As We Face the sun by Kit Withington.

Forest Fest

July 19th-21st

The Co Laois festival features music from The Cult, The Human League, Ocean Colour Scene and The Divine Comedy, among others, plus family entertainment, circus and street theatre, drumming workshops, street food, craft beers, a cocktail bar and a funfair.

Ulster Fleadh

July 21st-28th

Dromore, Co Tyrone hosts the Ulster Fleadh once more, with concerts and traditional sessions galore. Lead performers include The Whistlin’ Donkeys, Daoirí Farrell, the Knockmore Céilí Band and the Blackwater Céilí Band

Belfast TradFest

July 21st-28th

Traditional-music concerts, pub sessions and céilithe, plus a trad summer school with workshops, talks and lectures.

Mary from Dungloe International Arts Festival

July 27th-August 5th
Commissioned by The Irish Times
The 2023 Marys pose for a picture during the Mary from Dungloe Festival in Dungloe, Co Donegal. Photograph: Joe Dunne

Community-based, family-friendly festival with a wide variety of musical, cultural, sporting and artistic events, as well as the Mary from Dungloe competition, for which Irish diaspora communities from around the world nominate a young woman to represent their area. The winner, who holds the title for a year, acts as an ambassador for the festival, Dungloe and Donegal. Featuring performances from Daniel O’Donnell, Onóir and Humble Earthworms.

Mary from Dungloe: Poses, party pieces and Prosecco at Donegal’s original ‘lovely girls’ competitionOpens in new window ]


All Together Now

August 1st-4th
The line-up at All Together Now includes The Mary Wallopers, Natasha Bedingfield and Kingfishr. Photograph: Glen Bollard

The line-up at Curraghmore Estate, Co Waterford, includes The Prodigy, The National, Jorja Smith, Róisín Murphy, Future Islands, James Vincent McMorrow, The Mary Wallopers, Natasha Bedingfield and Kingfishr, alongside Tommy Tiernan and Panty Bliss at Brunch on the Bandstand.

Healing Spirit Festival

August 2nd-4th

An alcohol- and drug-free music, art, food and holistic festival in Cavan’s lakelands.

Spraoi International Street Arts Festival

August 2nd-4th

Hundreds of artists and musicians from around the world perform in a festival headlined by the parade for more than 20,000 spectators on Waterford city’s medieval streets.

Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival

August 2nd-10th

Visual arts, theatre, music, street theatre, pop-up performers, workshops, exhibitions and more, together with a range of community events.

Kilkenny Arts Festival

August 8th-18th

Includes the Irish premiere of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Drone Mass, Irish Chamber Orchestra’s premiere of a new work by Errollyn Wallen, and a European premiere double bill from Irish National Opera.

Waterford Walls

August 9th-18th
Waterford Walls features murals around the city. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ireland’s largest international street-art festival features spectacular murals, plus workshops and guided tours.

Cork on a Fork Fest

August 14th-18th

A five-day showcase of culinary excellence.

Chamber Music on Valentia

August 15th-18th

The pianist Mary Dullea curates four days of concerts, workshops and opportunities to work with the festival’s international musicians.

Electric Picnic

August 16th-18th
Electric Picnic takes place from August 16th this year. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ireland’s best-known weekend music festival takes over the grounds of Stradbally Hall, in Co Laois. Acts include headliners Noah Kahan, Calvin Harris and Kylie Minogue, alongside Gerry Cinnamon, Kodaline, Raye, The Wolfe Tones, Kneecap, Jazzy and more.

Masters of Tradition

August 21st-25th

Musicians across the spectrum of Irish traditional music perform in Bantry, west Cork, curated by the fiddle player Martin Hayes.

Dunmore East Festival of Bluegrass

August 22nd-25th

The Co Waterford town provides a seaside backdrop for the celebration of bluegrass and country music.

Another Love Story

August 23rd-25th

Music, art, conversation, food and more at 18th-century Killyon Manor, Co Meath. Featuring Grandbrothers, Muireann Bradley, Mildlife, Leafar Legov and Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy, among others.

Wider Than Pictures

23rd – 27th August

Series of shows in the courtyard of Collins Barracks in Dublin featuring artists including James Blunt, The The and Deacon Blue.

Desmond O’Halloran Music Weekend

August 30th-September 1st

Traditional, roots and folk sessions from young and established Bofin, Connemara and Galway musicians, plus notable friends and guests.


Dublin Fringe Festival

September 7th-22nd

Hundreds of performers in dozens of shows, many of them premieres.