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The Ticket festival guide: Free (or nearly free) days out

The Ticket selects the best out-and-about events of the summer, from music and arts to kids’ stuff and family outings, from summer camps and summer schools to freebies and food events

WEXFORD MARITIME FESTIVAL
Co Wexford, June 20th-21st, wexfordmaritimefestival.ie
 
Planes dancing, boats racing coracles rowing and all manner of other water-based stuff will wash over Wexford with food stalls popping up to feed the masses. You can try water-skiing and powerboating too although these have “a small fee” attached. And, of course, you might come a cropper. 
 
 
DROGHEDA SAMBA FESTIVAL
Drogheda, June 26th-28th, droghedasamba.com
 
Drogheda and Samba have long been synonymo.... sorry, we’ll stop right there. We know it seems odd but Drogheda will be the home of samba this weekend. Expect pub and street gigs, workshops and concerts, a marathon non stop samba session, a parade and , of course the Samba mass. Yep. A Samba mass. 
 
 
FÉILE BRIAN BORU
Killaloe/Ballina July 1st-5th feilebrianboru.com
 
Brian Boru was a bit like Charlie Haughey in that he managed to be “from” multiple locations around this island. Killaloe is one of them. And that is why the Clare town, and its neighbour Ballina host a festival in the high king’s name. Poetry, history, food and dressing up? What’s not to love.
 
 
THE BURREN GARDEN FESTIVAL
The Burren, Co Clare, July 6th-12th, facebook.com/gardensintheburren
 
The Burren with its lunar landscape might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think gardens, but it has a majesty all of its own as the guided tours and daily events will make abundantly clear. 
 
 
CHARLIE CHAPLIN COMEDY FILM FESTIVAL 2015 
Waterville, Co Cork, August 20th- 23rd, chaplinfilmfestival.com
 
For fans of Chaplin, there will be nowhere else in the world to be other than Waterville towards the end of August. You can expect music, stand-up comedy and, obviously, films. Not everything is free but the attempt to break a world record by getting as many Charlie Chaplins into the same place is. A strict dress code applies – as you might expect. 
 
 
LISDOONVARNA MATCHMAKING FESTIVAL 
Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, August 28th-October 4th, matchmakerireland.com
 
Oh Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoon etc. This festival is now more than 150 years old and attracts up to 60,000 people from all over the world, The come for the music, the dancing and the ‘craic’. So people may even find love. It’s spread over multiple weekends which is why it spans three months.
 
 
THE NATIONAL PLOUGHING CHAMPIONSHIPS 
Ratheniska, Co Laois, September 22nd-24th, npa.ie
 
The Electric Picnic is not the only muddy-field based event taking place in Laois this year. It’s not even the biggest. The Ploughing is Europe’s largest outdoor event is in Ratheniska, Co Laois, and over the course of the event close to 300,000 will come through the gates to look at tractors cutting up fields and stroll past stalls selling tractors which could be used to cut up their own fields. Great stuff altogether. 
 
 
DUBLIN FESTIVAL OF HISTORY 
Printworks, Dublin Castle, September 24th-October 3rd, dublinfestivalofhistory.ie
 
There’s a lot of history in the air these days – what with all manner of centenaries coming thick and fast. This is the third time this scholarly festival takes place and, this year, it has been expanded to include a children’s prorgramme – but don’t tell them they’ll be learning stuff, just let it all soak in while they enjoy themselves.