A guide to the best festivals in Ireland in 2022 (pandemic permitting)

Artists and organisers are ready and waiting to stage a lavish array of events in 2022

We’d be forgiven for fearing 2022 might be déjà vu all over again. Start of the year, and an unclear map ahead. But those planning festivals for this year are agile, positive and inventive, even after two years of curtailed or cancelled events. There’s lots of scenario planning by creative people, and a giant holding-the-nerve.

Let’s look forward: January’s festivals have found ways to surmount the challenges of sudden restrictions and curfews. There is a world of cultural pleasure and fun planned through 2022. It’ll happen. And boy and girl, will we enjoy it. It has lifted the soul just hearing about it all.

Here’s a selection of what’s to come (check updates; details subject to change, and public health restrictions, obviously).


The Winter Series, Jan 5th to April 15th
Weekly broadcast of talks recorded live at Borris 2021, including Paul Muldoon, Sarah Moss, David Mitchell, Emma Dabiri, Darina Allen, Michael Harding. festivalofwritingandideas.com


Out to Lunch, Jan 8th-30th

Having planned over 50 live events in Belfast (Fairport Convention, Hollie McNish, Jane Weaver, John Francis Flynn), most have now been rescheduled for later this year (including to Cathedral Arts Festival in May). Some events will be live-streamed. cqaf.com

Belong/Bí Ann, Jan 10th to Feb 7th
Dublin City Libraries and Axis Ballymun invitation to explore culture via podcasts, online talks, live events. Celebrating the power of libraries with guests Manchán Magan, Liz Nugent, Dermot Bolger, Sharyn Ward, Chandrika Narayanan Mohan. dublincitylibraries.ie, axisballymun.ie

ClassicsNow, Jan 21st-23rd
The second ClassicsNow festival is a hybrid of online and live events in Dublin, with artists using the ancient past to reflect on our world today. Featuring Madeline Miller, Charlotte Higgins, Daisy Dunn, Carlo Gébler; Gavin Kostick, Janet Moran and Andrew Synnott; Theatre Lovett, Akala, and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill's new translation of The Persians on the Peacock stage with Once Off Productions. classicsnow.ie

Midwinter Festival STANFORD, Jan 21st-23rd

Music for Galway focus on unsung hero of music history, Irish composer Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, with performances of his chamber and vocal works, music by composers who influenced or studied with him, talks and films at Town Hall Theatre and St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church,Galway. Rescheduling and an extra concert means the full programme can "raise the spirits for everyone in the depths of winter", despite restrictions, says executive director Anna Lardi. musicforgalway.ie

Irish Times Winter Nights, Jan 24th-27th
Online festival of conversation, culture and ideas, with four nights of live interviews, including WHO's Mike Ryan, Minister Helen McEntee, economist David McWilliams, author Bonnie Greer, DJ Annie Macmanus, comedian David Baddiel, paralympic champion Ellen Keane, rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll, columnist and author Fintan O'Toole, poet Paul Muldoon and writer Caitlin Moran, in conversation with Irish Times journalists. irishtimes.com/winter-nights

TradFest, Jan 26th-30th
The thrill of live music in-person returns after almost two years, with trad and folk concerts across Dublin city, using hospital-grade air disinfection, Covid certs and 8pm curfews. Line-up includes Fairport Convention, Peggy Seeger, Stockton's Wing, Ralph McTell, Altan, Dervish, 4 Men & A Dog, Kíla, Laoise Kelly, Karan Casey, Cór Cúil Aodha and Seán O'Sé. tradfesttemplebar.com

Dublin Lunar New Year, Jan 28th to Feb 6th
Celebrating the Year of the Tiger, for all ages. Music, lion dancing, K-Pop for Lunar New Year in Meeting House Square, a red-lit city, plus workshops, tours, talks and performances hosted by Dublin Zoo, the Chester Beatty, National Gallery, National Museum, Hugh Lane Gallery, Museum of Literature Ireland, Royal Irish Academy of Music, East Asia Film Festival Ireland, Gaiety School of Acting, Asia Market. dublinlunarnewyear.ie


Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, Feb 23rd to March 6th
Hybrid festival for 20th anniversary, with the best of world cinema, new Irish work, eight programmes of shorts and public events across Dublin, including 20 workshops and panels with international guests. VMDIFF believes "the cinematic experience is the primary experience for the art form and look forward to presenting over 100 films in cinemas and outdoors", plus 20% of its programme online. diff.ie

Spike Cello Festival, Feb 10th-12th

Spike will be happening on benches, in Dublin venues and online, with highlights including cellist-songwriter Ayanna Witter-Johnson, new cello-theatre work by Zoe Ní Riordáin, Yocella's yoga-cello and workshops from far-flung ("or should that be far-strung?") corners of the earth. spikecellofest.com

Festival of Youth Orchestras, Feb 19th
Young Irish musicians at the National Concert Hall Dublin performing classical works and modern arrangements, from Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky to film music to traditional Irish. iayo.ie, nch.ie

Mother Tongues Festival, Feb 21st-26th
Celebrating linguistic diversity and culture, including workshops, exhibitions, performance, storytelling , in south Dublin, across over 15 languages. mothertonguesfestival.com

Ortús Chamber Music Festival, Feb 25th-27th

Growing festival in Cork city and county has acclaimed violinist/curator Mairéad Hickey perform with celebrated Irish musicians Fiachra Garvey and Siún Milne, plus top international musicians Sindy Mohamed, Brannon Cho, Fumiko Mohri, Sara Ferrandez and Alexander Kovalev. ortusfestival.ie


Francophonie Festival, March
Celebrating French language and culture with literature, film, talks, debates through the month. Presented by embassies of the International Organisation of la Francophonie, Department of Foreign Affairs, with Irish cultural partners. ie.ambafrance.org/-Francophonie-576-

Ennis Book Club Festival, March 4th-6th
Ireland's largest book club gathering with live activities including Claire Keegan, Michael Harding, John Banville and Fintan O'Toole in Sunday Symposium; event at St. Tola's Cheese Farm; favourites 10 Books and Books n' Buns; some online events. ennisbookclubfestival.com

St.Patrick's Festival, March 16th-20th
Ireland's biggest multi-disciplinary arts and culture festival plans its long-awaited return to live, in-person events (subject to public health guidance), in Dublin and across Ireland, including festival parade on March 17th . Plus SPF TV reignites, with online programme of music, song, dance, theatre, literature, performance, visual arts, family programmes, community events, film, food, wellness, tours, spectacle from all over Ireland: free, accessible globally. stpatricksfestival.ie

Dublin Arabic Film Festival, March
Following a virtual outing in its usual November slot, curators Jim Sheridan and Zahara Moufid hope for a March festival with audiences physically attending. dublinarabicfilmfestival.com


One Dublin One Book, April 1st-30th
Nora: A Love Story of Nora Barnacle and James Joyce by Nuala O'Connor is this year's choice for 1D1B. Readings, panel discussions, music, films and book club, details from Dublin City Council Events in February; book available from libraries and bookshops. onedublinonebook.ie

Cúirt International Festival of Literature, April 4th-10th
The Galway festival's theme is "at the intersections", highlighting common connections we all find through stories. Confirmed authors include Edel Coffey, Claire Keegan and Raymond Antrobus. Cuirt.ie

Franco-Irish Literary Festival, April 8th-10th
Encouraging and stimulating Irish and Francophone literature, including performance at the French Library, full-day event at Dublin Castle and literary brunch at Alliance Française. francoirishliteraryfestival.com

Music Current, April 19th-23rd
Contemporary Irish electronic music and new international repertoire at Dublin's Project Arts Centre, including Splinter Reeds (USA), Loadbang (USA), Ensemble Garage (Germany), Dublin Sound Lab Ensemble (Ireland). musiccurrent.ie

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, April 28th-May 8th

Assuming live events will be back in Belfast, plans include Mogwai, Richard Hawley, Rachel Sermanni and John Cooper Clarke, plus rescheduled events from January's Out to Lunch. cqaf.com

Galway Theatre Festival, April 29th-May 7th
Looking forward to welcoming audiences back into theatres, and perhaps non-traditional spaces. galwaytheatrefestival.com


Bealtaine Festival, May 1st-31st
Age & Opportunity celebrates arts and creativity as we age, hoping for both online and in-person performances, discussions, a film commission, literature, music all month, depending on restrictions. Line-up in March. bealtaine.ie

Dublin Dance Festival, May (and through the year)
Artistic director Jazmin Chiodi's first edition, where audiences can share live and digital dance experiences from international and Irish artists, and a programme connecting communities, artists and public spaces. dublindancefestival.ie

Comic Book Festival, May 17th-21st
Alliance Française Dublin and Illustrators Ireland celebrate seven years of Fête de l'Illustration & de la Bande Dessinée, supported by French Embassy, blending French visual language and Irish storytelling to showcase comics, graphic novels and narrative art. Online discussions, live readings, screening and workshops. alliance-francaise.ie/bd/

West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival, May 18th-22nd
Performances at Russborough House & Park by leading international and Irish musicians, plus free family programme. Winter Weekend also returns, Nov 11th-13th. westwicklowfestival.com

International Literature Festival Dublin, May 19th-29th
Dublin City Council's 25th anniversary programme includes talks, workshops, outdoor activities, and the prestigious Dublin Literary Award on May 19th. Line-up in April. ilfdublin.com

Galway Early Music Festival, May 27th-29th
International festival of medieval, renaissance and baroque music. galwayearlymusic.com. Other Irish festivals of early music: Limerick Early Music (March), East Cork Early Music (Oct), Sligo Baroque Festival (Sept), Ardee Baroque (Nov), and Scoil na gCláirseach Festival of Early Irish Harp (July).


Carlow Arts Festival, June 7th-12th
After last year's live, digital and virtual hybrid, the multi-disciplinary festival hosts artists from home and abroad (including France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland, Switzerland). Benjamin Perchet takes over at the helm: "Challenging perceptions, blurring the lines between art forms is the best way to reach and retain a broad, stimulated, eclectic, curious, generous audience." carlowartsfestival.com

Forbidden Fruit, Royal Hospital, Dublin, June 4th-5th
Planning 10th birthday with "a return to what we love after three long years", the first acts for the outdoor city festival include headliners Bicep Live, Lorde, Hot Chip and Peggy Gou. forbiddenfruit.ie

Dublin International Chamber Music Festival, June 7th-12th
Great Music in Irish Houses, with artists from home and abroad performing live in interesting spaces. Apart from superb chamber music including world premieres, there's online Musial Postcards series, and the public can get involved with the festival, Irish pianists and frontline workers on a piano project responding to the pandemic. dicmf.com

Borris House Festival of Writing & Ideas, June 10th-12th
After last year's live festivals, returning with guests including David Puttnam, Fintan O'Toole, Fiona Shaw, Hanan Al-Shaykh, Jean Hanff Korelitz, Jody O'Neill, Kirsty Laing, Misha Glenny, Oliver Bullough, Max Porter, Paul Muldoon, Philippe Sands, Shirley Ze Yu, Richard Ford, Stephen Frears, William Dalrymple. festivalofwritingandideas.com

Cruinniú na nÓg, June 11th
Free day of creativity for children and young people; events nationwide. cruinniu.creativeireland.gov.ie

Cork Midsummer Festival, June 15th-26th
Promising community "in every brilliant sense of the word", alongside invention and celebration during bright, long days of midsummer. Plans for ambitious site-specific work, including world premiere of Corcadorca's Guests of the Nation by Frank O'Connor, adapted by Kevin Barry. corkmidsummer.com

Dalkey Book Festival, June 16th-19th
The (necessarily flexible) plan is for full capacity, with 60+ events celebrating Irish and international writing, welcoming some of the world's leading thinkers to the seaside village. Expect global names, local vibe – and Joycean celebrations (opening on Bloomsday in Ulysses's centenary). dalkeybookfestival.org

Body & Soul, June 17th-19th
A return and re-imagining, this year's intimate Summer Solstice festival in Ballinlough, Co Roscommon emphasises discovery and play, with music as a gateway for a curated creative programme of live performances and experiences, connecting audiences, artists and nature. bodyandsoul.ie

Hinterland, June 23rd-26th
After shifting to autumn in 2021, the Kells, Co Meath festival of literature and arts returns to its traditional June slot, with public health dictating whether it's back to 60+ events or remains in last year's more bijou format. hinterland.ie

West Cork Chamber Music Festival, June 24th-July 3rd
Some 80 concerts built around four top international string quartets: Pavel Haas from Prague, Danel from Belgium, Doric from London and Signum from Germany. Bantry festival features 60 professional musicians, 30 students, masterclasses, and a Fringe Series from Glengarriff to Skibbereen, taking in the islands. Planning live, well-managed events, even if Covid is circulating. Virtual concerts are not planned. westcorkmusic.ie/chamber-music-festival/

Fiestaval Street Arts and Circus Festival, June or July
Dublin City Council's day-long free street arts, comedy and music festival for all ages. fiestaval.ie


Longitude, July 1st-3rd
The three-day music festival at Marley Park, Dublin, has announced dates for 2022, following cancelation for the past two years. longitude.ie

Clonmel Junction Festival, July 2nd-10th
Welcoming audiences, artists and community into the new Festival GeoDome for its 21st birthday. Music, literature, visual art, plus two site-specific co-productions: Luzern: A Folktale of Memory by Laurence O'Dwyer, about a fictional neuroscientist, co-produced with Callan's Asylum Productions; and Collins Hall, theatre/live music show with Up Till Dawn, revisiting showbands' heyday, with audience as part of the action. junctionfestival.com

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival, July 2nd-10th
Including new commissions: Crossing Skin, dance by Junk Ensemble; film by Brokentalkers and the Uprooted Performance Ensemble, and music by Nick Roth with Emer Mayock, Donal Siggins, visual artist Diarmuid Delargy and theatre artist Adrian Dunbar. cairdefestival.com

Irish Youth Dance Festival, July 2nd-3rd
Ensemble-based, performance-centred festival showcasing emerging dancers, plus world premiere of work by Juan Maria Seller (Portugal). dublinyouthdance.com

Galway Film Fleadh, July 5th-10th
International film festival for feature films and shorts, bringing audiences and filmmakers from around the world together. Returns with in-person and online screenings, including at Pálás Cinema. galwayfilmfleadh.com

West Cork Literary Festival, July 8th-15th
Planning a return to in-person in Bantry: workshops, readings, family events. Some will also be streamed. westcorkliteraryfestival.ie

Earagail Arts Festival, July 9th-24th
Immersive and participatory experiences in circus, music, spoken word, theatre, from the western islands of the Gaeltacht to the lowlands of east Donegal, celebrating people, language and landscape of Donegal. eaf.ie

Galway International Arts Festival, July 11th-24th
After 2021's shift to autumn, GIAF returns to its usual summer dates, planning new theatre, opera, visual arts, street arts, the much anticipated return of the Heineken Big Top (including Pixies, Sinéad O'Connor, The Flaming Lips), and the 10th birthday of First Thought Talks. Giaf.ie

Limerick Wild Geese Bastille Day Festival, July 15th-17th
Commemorating Flight of the Wild Geese and Ireland-France friendship, with Irish Chamber Orchestra at King John's Castle performing Symphony 32 by Erick Falc'her-Poyroux, honouring centenary of Ireland's independence. facebook.com/LimerickWild/

All Together Now, July 29th-31st
August bank holiday weekend of music, spoken word, comedy, theatre, debate, art, workshops in grounds of Curraghmore House, Co Waterford. Line-up includes Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Sinéad O'Connor, Groove Armada, Underworld. alltogethernow.ie

Spraoi International Street Arts Festival, July 29th-31st

International street artists and musicians perform, plus the Spraoi parade through Waterford's streets at night. spraoi.com


Kilkenny Arts Festival, Aug 4th-14th
Focusing again this year on live experience as much as possible, particularly the return of its core classical music programme, Secret Garden Music series and Marble City Sessions. Plus new opera, outdoor theatre and multi-media installations. kilkennyarts.ie

Waterford Walls, Aug 12th-21st
Preparations are well under way for the international street art festival, with artists and wall-owners gearing up. waterfordwalls.ie

Chamber Music on Valentia, August 18th-21st
Mary Dullea presents classical, contemporary and Irish traditional music in stunning settings, with performers from USA, Iceland and Ireland. Including John Tilbury's solo piano Beatles programme alongside Sitkovetsky's Bach Goldberg Variations, Gavin Bryars and Justinian Tamusuza, chamber music by Carl von Dittersdorf, Amy Beach and Joan Trimble, Carolan revisited, premieres by Linda and Irene Buckley. chambermusiconvalentia.com


Electric Picnic, Sept 2nd-4th
After a nearly-happened in 2021, the music and arts festival in the grounds of Stradbally Hall, Co Laois, has announced dates for its music and arts festival. electricpicnic.ie

Music in Monkstown, September 9th-11th
Classical musicians in the parish church in Monkstown, south Dublin: renowned pianist Barry Douglas, festival founder and former NSO clarinetist John Finucane, Piatti String Quartet. Plus Cruit Éireann (Harp Ireland), Jiani Guzheng Ensemble of Chinese Harps, post concert jazz. musicinmonkstown.ie

Dublin Festival of History, Sept 9th to Oct 9th

Dublin City Council's 10th festival, shining fresh perspective on history and its importance in our everyday lives. Best-selling Irish and international historians in talks and debate. dublinfestivalofhistory.ie

Dublin Fringe Festival, September 10th-25th
Curated multi-disciplinary city-wide festival with innovative approaches, creating a platform for emerging Irish arts companies and showcasing the finest international contemporary performing arts. fringefest.com

Dublin Theatre Festival, Sept 29th to Oct 16th
City-wide festival packed with world-class Irish and European theatre. Dublintheatrefestival.ie


Children's Festivals
Among autumn children's festivals of live performance, literature, visual art workshops: Baboró International Arts Festival for Children in Galway (Oct 3rd-16th, baboro.ie); and Bualadh Bos Children's Festival in Limerick (Oct 2nd-15th, limetreetheatre.ie).

Belfast International Arts Festival, Oct 18th to Nov 6th
International city-wide celebration of contemporary performance, media, visual arts and cross-artform work, planning expanded programme through the year for 60th anniversary, along with core festival in October. belfastinternationalartsfestival.com

Tipperary Dance International Festival, Oct 10th-16th
After two years mixing on site and online events, planning to go back to essentials with a cutting-edge international programme of live events across the county, indoor and outdoor performances, masterclasses. tipperarydance.com

Wexford Festival Opera, Oct 21st to Nov 6th
With theme of Magic and Music, and three main stage operas (La Tempesta, Lalla Roukh and Armida); two Pocket Opera|Opera beag (The Master based Colm Tóibín's novel and The Spectre Knight by Alfred Cellier); a new commissioned opera by artist-in-residence Conor Mitchell, after-hours Cabaret des Artistes; the Wexford Factory; and production of Cinderella by 16-year-old composer Alma Elizabeth Deutscher. Gala with celebrated mezzo soprano Daniela Barcellona, lunchtime recitals back at St Iberius Church, and the Tom Walsh lecture (Shakespeare's Rough Magic, by Patrick Spottiswoode). wexfordopera.com

Cork Jazz Festival, Oct 22nd-25th
Ireland's biggest jazz event. guinnessjazzfestival.com

Bram Stoker Festival, late October
After having to skip 2021, Dublin's celebration of supernatural and the legacy of Dracula author Bram Stoker is planning dark treats on Dublin's streets. bramstokerfestival.com


Tulca festival of visual arts, Nov 4th-20th
The 20th year of the multi-venue, artist-centered festival of contemporary art plans 15 artists and two collectives exhibiting in Galway city centre. tulca.ie

Dublin Book Festival, Nov 10th-13th
Focus on Irish-published books by favourite authors and new voices, and continuing its children's programme. dublinbookfestival.com

Cork International Film Festival, Nov 10th-20th

The 67th programme will be physical and online, showcasing the best Irish and international features and shorts plus Wild Child retrospective, Culinary Cinema, Green Screen, Guilty Pleasures and Illuminate film strands. corkfilmfest.org

Waterford Winterval, Nov 18th to Dec 23rd
Ireland's Christmas Capital with over 100 free and ticketed events. winterval.ie

Perform Festival, Nov 25th-27th
Following a successful in-person Covid-compliant event in 2021, the performing arts festival at Dublin's RDS plans 150 workshops in dance, acrobatics, singing and acting, 2,500 performers across three stages; dance and sing competitions, Battle of the Bands. performfestival.com