Alternatives to Garth: Comedy, a céilí and just a little country

What’s on this weekend: Knockanstockan, Féile Lúghnasa among festivals taking place


Dublin Goes Country Just because Garth Brooks isn’t coming to Dublin this weekend doesn’t mean fans have to stay at home and cry into their cowboy hats. A series of country music events will happen over the five days Garth was supposed to perform (July 25th to 29th).

There will be live bluegrass and country music nightly at Whelan’s starting at 8pm. The Dame Lane district will be transformed into an open air barn dance with free nightly music and square dancing. A different ‘Big Barn Dance’ will be hosted by the Academy tomorrow night, and all proceeds will go to charity Focus Ireland. Check out for a full list of events.

The Vodafone Comedy Festival Dublin also goes funny this weekend with the annual Vodafone Comedy Festival at Iveagh Gardens. Dara O’Briain, Russell Howard, Jason Manford and Rhys Darby are a few of the 85 comedians scheduled to perform. There will also be side-shows, street performers and live music.

The Kilmacanogue Horse Show The 41st Kilmacanogue Horse Show is tomorrow from 9:30 to 5:00 in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow. The organisers promise fun for the whole family including children’s pony classes, a dog show, art competitions, a treasure hunt, face painting and pony rides. For bigger kids there will be traditional horse show events like showing classes for horses and sheep. Go to for more information.

Knockanstockan Music Festival Also in Co Wicklow, the Knockanstockan independent music and arts festival started yesterday and will continue today. The event is held beside the Blessington lakes and will showcase 150 Irish acts playing a diverse variety of music, from folk to dance. See

Famine Walk A walk commemorating all those who died during the famine will take place in Ballingarry, Co Tipperary tomorrow at 3pm. The walk will cover about 1.5 miles (2.4km) and will be led by Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental, who will talk about his wartime experiences. The trail will pass the Famine Warhouse 1848, a national heritage site that was the scene of a rebellion in 1848. For more information, visit

Féile Lúghnasa The annual revival of an ancient Celtic festival is happening in Dingle this weekend. The four day festival begins today and will wind up on Monday. The eclectic lineup of events includes sheep shearing, a parade, hiking up Mount Brandon, music and storytelling in local pubs, dog trials, swimming races and a triathlon. Details at

Cashel Together A week-long festival in the small Connemara seaside village of Cashel begins on Sunday and will feature lots of fishing, a family fun day, sporting events, a céilí, mass and nightly live music. Go to Cashel Together’s Facebook page for more information.

Durrow Scarecrow Festival The quirky annual festival in Co Laois kicks of on Sunday and will feature nine days of scarecrows and arts and crafts exhibitions. There will be an outdoor market at weekends. Three hundred scarecrows are expected to attend.

Scoil Acla Summer School The eight-day Scoil Acla Summer School begins tomorrowon Achill Island. Organisers say it will be a week of immersion into Irish culture, language, song and dance. Students will have over 15 classes to choose from, ranging from Sean Nós dancing to creative writing. There will be practice sessions every afternoon and music events every night. See for a list of classes.