St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations
Rapidly becoming a worldwide event, Ireland is still the best place to spend ‘Paddy’s Day’. In the bigger cities, and in Dublin in particular, the festival is now a three-day event which culminates with a huge fireworks display on the final night. The highlight of the celebrations for many is the parade on the actual day and of course this is also the more traditional aspect of the whole event. For most, however, it is the general party atmosphere that descends on the entire country which features among their reasons for being there. Whatever the reason, one thing you can be sure of is that you will have a truly memorable stay if you visit the country for March 17th.
Murphy’s Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, Kilkenny
Although it has only been around since 1995, this event rapidly established itself as one of the best comedy festivals on the continent. Attracting a host of the best national and international stand-up comedians and comedy improvisers, the Cat Laughs is simply an excuse to have fun. It’s also pretty unique thanks to an intimacy which allows performers to mingle with audiences at ease and a complete lack of any television cameras. Everyone is there to have a good time and enjoy the event and this is exactly what happens. The 2001 festival takes place between May 31st and June 5th.
Galway Arts Festival
Widely regarded as the country’s most popular celebration of the arts, the Galway Arts festival is an international extravaganza of the performing and visual arts. Among the activities which take place are street parades, music, dance, film exhibitions, comedy and theatre and if there’s anything else you can think off, well that’s there too. Featuring performers from all over the world the festival is a rare mix of local, national and international culture, and for two weeks only the city leaves itself completely at the mercy at the hundreds of thousands who flock there for the celebrations. This year’s festival takes place from July 17th to the 29th so book your accommodation early or you’ll be left wandering the streets.
All Ireland Fleadh Ceol, Listowel, Co. Kerry
This year is the fiftieth anniversary of Fleadh Ceol na hEireann, the biggest gathering of traditional Irish musicians on the planet. Taking place in a different town every year, this year the honour has gone to Listowel in County Kerry. Having already hosted the event on twelve previous occasions, the locals certainly know how to put on a good show and this year’s Fleadh promises to be a weekend of non-stop entertainment with ceilidh, concerts, sessions and street entertainment. Over four thousand musicians will take part in the numerous competitions but more than ten thousand will be performing at various venues throughout the town. If you’re looking for a traditional Irish festival you won’t any better than this so ensure that you keep add Listowel from the 24th to the 26th of August to your itinerary.
Cork Jazz Festival
Taking place on the October bank holiday weekend, the Guinness Jazz Festival is now in its 24th year and is one of Ireland's biggest annual events. With over one hundred bands and seven hundred musicians from twenty-five different countries performing at various venues throughout the city and with free admission to 90% of the gigs, this is definitely one you don’t want to miss. Forty thousand visitors descend upon the city for the event and the atmosphere for the four days of the festival is indescribable.