The top ten must-see annual sporting, music and fun events in Ireland

Mayo fans show their passion at the All-Ireland GAA football finals in 2012

7. Rose of Tralee

The Rose of Tralee International Festival has been drawing young women of Irish descent to Tralee since its debut in 1959.  The name of the festival originates from the love song, “The Rose of Tralee” by William Mulchinock who wrote this song for the love of his life, Mary O’Connor after she died. Because of their differences in social class, William was prevented from forming a relationship with her but wrote the song to express his great love. Young women of Irish descent from all of the world are selected to represent their county or city and showcase their personality and talent in the August festival. The woman chosen as the Rose of Tralee best represents the attributes described in the song. Along with the festival, music performances, discos, and family activities take place in the town of Tralee for all to enjoy.

Presenter Daithi O'Se with some of  the 2011 32 Roses during their visit to RTE

8. Taste of Dublin

Taste of Dublin is held in the middle of June in Iveagh Gardens each year. With more than 100 exhibitors and appearances from celebrity chefs, this event is foodie-heaven. Visitors can attend cooking lessons, wine tastings, and even watch world-class chefs from Dublin restaurants cook their best meals. More than 30,000 people attended the event this year. In the past, top chefs Rachel Allen, Darina Allen, and Jamie Oliver have attended.

9. Guinness Cork Jazz Festival

The Cork Jazz Festival is Ireland’s largest jazz festival and is held in October every year. Jazz fans can attend voice lessons, guitar lessons, and jazz lessons from renowned musicians with free admission in over 90 venues. The event has been headlined by famous Jazz musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald since its introduction in 1978 and draws crowds of over 40,000 each year. This arts and cultural event draws visitors from all over the world and is considered one of the best jazz festivals in Europe. 

10. Bloom Festival

The Bloom Festival, Ireland’s top gardening show, is held at the end of May each year in Phoenix Park. Local gardeners can apply to exhibit at the festival and have local consumers taste their produce and view their gardens. In 2013, 110,000 visitors joined over 1000 gardeners for the event. The show greatly boosts the Irish food and horticulture sector and has been paramount in encouraging consumers to buy locally. There is plenty of great food for the whole family to enjoy and fun activities run by Hamleys toy shop to keep children occupied.