What’s on this weekend: Competitive conkers, vampire parties and all that jazz . . .

Bram Stoker festival and Burren Food Fayre among events taking place across the country

Members of Macnas performance group in Temple Bar, Dublin, during ’the Summoning’, part of last year’s Bram Stoker Festival. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Members of Macnas performance group in Temple Bar, Dublin, during ’the Summoning’, part of last year’s Bram Stoker Festival. Photograph: Aidan Crawley


From Bram Stoker to personal wellbeing to all that jazz, there’s a range of enticing events on nationwide this Halloween bank holiday weekend.

The 15th annual Irish Conker Championships will take place in Kilkenny city on Sunday, October 25th.

All proceeds go to St Vincent de Paul, and the competition coincides with the Savour Food Festival taking place in The Parade beside Kilkenny Castle.

There will be “just for the craic” conkers battles, alternative games and prizes awarded for best costume.

The competitive element of the festival is open to teams and individuals aged 10 and over, with separate categories for children, teenagers and adults. Entry costs €3 for under-17s and €6 for adults.

Bram Stoker Festival, the annual weekend-long celebration of Irish author Bram Stoker and his famed Dracula novel, takes place in Dublin from Friday 23rd to Monday, 26th October.

Among events and exhibitions across the capital are artistic displays in Smithfield Square all weekend, Stokerland street performance festival and pop-up playground in Wolfe Tone Square on Sunday, movie screenings and vampire-themed parties.

Ticket prices for events vary.

Mind, Body, Spirit & Yoga Festival offers anyone not so enthused by all the early Halloween hullabaloo the chance to witness lectures, demonstrations and taster sessions for yoga and other wellbeing-related practices in the RDS from October 24th-26th.

Experts in diverse fields from aromatherapy to yoga will be on hand for free classes, according to organisers, but admission to the exhibition costs €9.50.

Burren Food Fayre will see tastings, cooking demonstrations, talks and food workshops in Lisdoonvarna over Saturday 24th and Sunday, 25th October.

More than a dozen local food stalls will be present, and attendees young and old are encouraged to demonstrate their culinary capabilities for the Burren Masterchef competition on Sunday.

Entry is free.

The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, one of the largest gatherings of its kind across the island, takes place in venues across Cork city from October 23rd-25th.

Top performers include The Coronas (Cork Opera House on Saturday), Gary Numan (Cork Opera House on Sunday), Ryan Sheridan (The Savoy on Sunday) and Booka Brass band (Cork Opera House on Saturday) along with many, many more acts.

There will be a host of other events happening over the weekend, including open mics, jazz camps, a record and CD fare and street music sessions.

Entry prices vary.

Spleodar 2015 Festival runs from Bank Holiday Monday to Halloween in Nenagh, Co Tipperary.

A family-focused arts festival, the week-long celebration kicks off in the Nenagh Arts Centre on Monday with children’s music from The Speks and a plaster cast masterclass, and will culminate with a fancy dress spectacular and a fireworks display on Saturday October 31st.

Halloween Fest Westport Housewill see Jack O’Lantern crafting, zombie movies and the obligatory haunted house descend on the historic estate between Saturday October 24th and Halloween.

This child-friendly festival promises plenty of fun for the kids with face-painting, dance classes and loads of sweets. There will also be a road-train tour which will explore the 300-year story of the broader Westport House Estate.

Tickets are €15.65 for children, €19.95 for adults, and discounts are available for families, students and OAPs.