Taking place from the last Saturday in October to the second Sunday in November every year this is Northern Ireland’s leading arts event. Promoting music, art, comedy, literature, dance, cinema and the best of Irish theatre the whole city comes alive to the sound of international stars performing in more than twenty venues throughout the city. An excellent time to visit Belfast. Lots of free events too which is always an added bonus.
Fiddler’s Green Folk Festival
For the best in traditional Irish music head to Rostrevor for the last week in June and you certainly won’t be disappointed. Taking place in the picturesque foothills of the Mourne Mountains, this festival attracts the best Irish singers and musicians from all over the world ensuring that the standard of music as well as the craic on offer is second to none. Try to make it for the biggest crossroads Ceili in the world which forms the highlight of the whole week.
Fleadh Amhran Agus Rince
Ballycastle in County Antrim is now the official host of this competition for traditional Irish singing and dancing. With numerous sessions, ceilis and set dancing workshops you are sure to find yourself caught up in one event or another over the weekend so bring your dancing shoes. As well as the wonderful atmosphere while the festival is taking place, the location itself is also idyllic. Situated on the North Antrim coast, this is a wonderful town and the perfect setting for this highly entertaining event. Fleadh Amhran Agus Rince takes place over the middle weekend in June every year and the town is also home to Ireland’s oldest festival, the Ould Lammas Fair which takes place on August 27th and 28th each year.
Coalisland International Music Festival
While the emphasis of the aforementioned festivals is mainly on traditional Irish music and dance, this one stretches slightly further afield featuring performers from all over the world. Attracting over fifty thousand visitors to the town which is situated on the western shores of Lough Neagh, the festival takes place over one weekend at the beginning of July each year. So, if you think a mix of rock, pop and traditional musicians from all over Ireland combined with marching bands from the Czech Republic, Russia and Austria, majorettes from Hungary, Austria and the Ukraine and much more sounds like music to your ears then you know where it’s at so get organising.
Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival
Finally, if you happen to be in Northern Ireland for Halloween, why not head to Derry to celebrate the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. You are in the official home of the Celts after all so what better place to enjoy the celebrations? Over forty thousand assorted ghouls and spooks descend on the city for the weekend where a host of street events can be found throughout the city culminating with a huge fireworks display and the Halloween Fancy Dress Ball on October 31st.