Hit the ground running in Ireland this summer - our top picks of the great events


An extensive “Science in the City” programme has been planned to run alongside the formal conference schedule, allowing the public to interact with some of the visiting scientists. A particular emphasis will be placed on the young, so it's worth looking out for, if you've got inquisitive kids in tow and are in Dublin during the summer.

For all the details, go to: www.dublinscience2012.ie.

June 11-17

For Roman Catholics, the big event this year is the 50th Eucharistic Congress which takes place at the city's RDS. The whole affair ends with Mass being celebrated on the final day in Croke Park on Sunday June 17.

It was back in 1932 that this event was last held in Ireland when the country was a different place than it is today. At that time, an estimated seven million of the faithful packed into Phoenix Park and church services were held in the open on O'Connell Street.

There's a rumour doing the rounds that Pope Benedict XVI may pay a visit, but at this stage it's only a rumour. However, even with the Pope, the city is expecting around 150,000 visitors to attend the event. They will be there not just for the main events, but also for workshops and cultural events that will be running alongside them. There will also be a dedicated youth programme.

For all the details, go to: www.iec2012.ie.

June 3

A high octane event aimed perhaps at the petrol heads, this event from Bavarian Breweries will see Formula One cars, Super League Formula, Indy Car, Formula Two and Dakar trucks all converging on the city. Once there, they promise to put on a show that is expected to attract up to a quarter of a million spectators.

The event has been held previously in Rotterdam and in Moscow and has in the past attracted Formula One drivers from teams like Ferrari, McClaren and Renault. Ideal, maybe, for a country like Ireland which doesn't actually have a Formula One race of its own.

The route take sin key landmarks around the Irish capital, passing by the Convention Centre in the Docklands district, Custom House Quay, across Butt Bridge and on to D'Olier Street, College Green, passing by Trinity, Westmoreland Street, across O'Connell Bridge and then back to the Convention Centre.

The added bonus is that almost the whole of the circuit is open to the public. And it's all free!

For all the details, go to: www.bavariacityracing.ie.

Running throughout 2012

The city doesn't actually get the accolade of City of Culture until the start of 2013, but you can expected a whole host of events to take place in the run-up to the year itself. First, there is a cultural Olympiad which will be staged ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It includes an initiative called Peace One Day and an installation by the artist Deborah Warner.

Derry will also have its own official boat in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race as well, to mark its City of Culture status, and will also be the the official host port where it welcome the 10-string Clipper fleet in July. It is the first time that the North of Ireland has been represented in the race.

For all the details, go to: www.cityofculture2013.com.

August 10-20

It's a hat-trick for Cavan as it hosts this 10-day festival celebrating all aspects of Irish cultural traditions, including music, song and dance. Get you accommodation booked early as the town expects an annual influx of up to 300,000 people from all over the world, most of them youngsters.

The fleadh is estimated to be worth around €40 million to Cavan and its surrounding area, but it's not all about the money. The event promises a terrific atmosphere with loads of family fun and fantastic performances.

For all the details, go to: www.comhaltas.ie.


The old Harland & Wolff shipyard in the city has been involved in what has been described as Europe's largest regeneration project. The result is the €8 billion Titanic Quarter – a development covering some 185 acres and involving apartments, commercial premises, hostels, restaurants and bars. Described as the “jewel in the crown” however, is the new Titanic Belfast visitor centre which has already been voted a “must see” destination in 2012 by no less than National Geographic magazine.

To mark the event, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Belfast City Council are planning a programme of festival events which are more than worth the effort of going to see. These include a spectacular light show to mark the actual opening of the visitor centre.

Other events planned for this year include a 100th anniversary commemoration of the sinking of the ship in the city's Waterfront Hall and MTV will be back in Belfast once again to host a major event on the Titanic Slipway. Meanwhile, the BBC Proms team are due over also to record a concert to be broadcast in September.