Belfast has been selected as the host city of the 2025 Oireachtas na Samhna, Ireland's longest-running national performing arts festival. 

The festival, which takes place in Killarney between October 30 and November 3 this year, features the very best of traditional sean-nós storytelling, including junior and senior competitions.

It also features music and singing sessions, seminars, exhibitions, drama, and a variety of fringe events. 

Over 11,000 people attended last year's festival, which featured a total of 855 competitors across a variety of competitions, while a total of 169 events were held during the festival. 

Festival organizers, An tOireachtas have selected Belfast as the host venue for next year after a series of meetings with councilors, officials, and representatives from the arts, culture, and Irish-language sectors in the city. 

"Belfast City very clearly possesses all the elements that are vital to holding a highly successful Oireachtas festival," An tOireachtas CEO Máirín Nic Dhonnchadh said in a statement. 

"I look forward to working with Belfast City Council towards ensuring a dynamic, energetic, vibrant festival by the banks of the Lagan in 2025.  

"The city abounds with great venues, a gracious hospitality sector, an appreciation for the arts, and a warm, welcoming community." 

Councillor Ryan Murphy, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, noted that the city boasts a "thriving" Irish-language community and said Belfast's diverse cultural heritage played a key role in the decision to host the festival there next year. 

"As a council, we are committed to celebrating the cultural significance of language, including Irish, to communities and highlighting the importance of ensuring languages are used, and nurtured, for both present and future generations.  

"Bringing Oireachtas na Samhna to Belfast will, I believe, will create a lasting legacy for the generations of young Irish speakers to come, and act as a platform to showcase the many benefits that celebrating language can bring - creating vibrancy, fostering learning, and forging new friendships." 

The 2025 festival will kick off on October 29 and run until November 2, beginning on the last Monday in October and ending on the first Sunday in November.