Weekend marks start of festival season


There is plenty happening this weekend to continue the tradition of the May Bank Holiday marking the beginning of the summer festival season.

Most of the country should remain dry at least until Sunday with temperatures ranging between 13 and 20 degrees, good news for the numerous festivals events taking place. Met Éireann is predicting rain for Monday.

Limerick hosts Riverfest 2011, a four-day festival running from today until Monday. The festival includes Ireland's largest barbeque, a free open air concert and fireworks display.

The festival crowd will be boosted by thousands of rugby fans for tomorrow’s match between Munster and Harlequins in the Amlin Cup semi-final in Thomond Park.

The following day it is the turn of the runners as the Great Limerick Run takes place. Last year the event attracted 6,500 participants.

The largest of the arts festivals this weekend is the fourth annual Drogheda Arts Festival which will feature a preview of Pineapple, a new play by Philip McMahon, at 8.30pm tonight in the Droichead Arts Centre.

The world premiere of the play will take place Sunday night at the venue at 8.30pm.

Another highlight of this festival will be the transformation of the town’s West Street into an "urban playground" tomorrow showcasing skating, BMX, music and street dance.

Similar arts festivals are also being held this weekend in Dingle, Belfast and Rosscarbery in Co Cork.

In Galway a festival that has been absent from the city for over half a century returns with An Tóstal due to be revived in Salthill.

The two-ay event, last held in 1959, showcases Ireland's coastal traditions and will include currach and Galway hooker racing.

On the sporting front, Leinster take centre stage tomorrow as they take on Toulouse in the Heineken Cup semi-final with kick off in the Aviva Stadium scheduled for 3.30pm.

It is also a big weekend for the GAA as Croke Park hosts the division one Allianz Hurling League final on Sunday. The meeting of Dublin and Kilkenny at 4pm is preceded by the U21 football final where Cavan take on Galway. Throw in for that game is at 2pm.

Elsewhere the 57th annual Cork International Choral Festival takes this weekend; Donegal hosts its annual Cup of Tae festival and the Bray Jazz Festival comes to town.

For something a little bit different, the Kildare Malayalee Community is organising a gala cultural evening which is due to take place tomorrow at 11.30am at Brownstown Community Centre, Co Kildare.