This year, government initiative Creative Ireland is highlighting some of the best projects, events, and initiatives that are bringing culture and the arts to the forefront in every Irish county and Co. Cork is no different.

The largest county in Ireland and home to two Gaeltacht (Irish-language speaking) areas, Co. Cork ensures there is no shortage of cultural inspiration in this haven of creativity, as is evidenced by the sheer breadth of artists and creators who have called it home, from Seán Ó Ríada and Captain Francis O’Neill to Elizabeth Bowen, Seán Ó Riordáin, William Trevor and Séamus Murphy - to name just a few.

Here are some of the best events and long-term initiatives you should know about in Co. Cork:

West Cork Literary Festival

John Boyne, Sarah Moss, Sue Leonard at the West Cork Literary Festival. Photo: Ben Russell

John Boyne, Sarah Moss, Sue Leonard at the West Cork Literary Festival. Photo: Ben Russell

The West Cork Literary Festival is a weeklong celebration of writing and reading for people of all ages. The event is varied and has extensive programs of readings, talks, and week-long workshops. Begins July 14-23.

The Arts Grant Scheme

Cork City Culture Night. Image: Creative Ireland.

Cork City Culture Night. Image: Creative Ireland.

The Arts Grant Scheme will fund 145 arts projects including festivals, community, and school arts projects, writers groups, pipe and brass bands, choirs, youth groups, arts activities for the elderly, people with special needs, indigenous minority.

Multi-Cultural Day 

In association with the local Irish in Europe Association, a Multi-Cultural Day will take place on September 2, representing a variety of different nationality-focused groups in and around Cork City and County.

The Inaugural West Cork History Festival

The Inaugural West Cork History Festival, an eclectic mix of discussions, presentations and panels on a range of local, national and international topics. July 28-30.

Creative Ireland and Cork County Library

Image: iStock

Image: iStock

Cork County Library aims to empower communities by providing access to resources that educate, inform, enlighten and enrich the lives of their citizens, by promoting and supporting literature and a love of reading, and by collecting and preserving resources relating to the cultural heritage of County Cork.

Cork County Council’s Library Service has proposed a wonderful range of events and initiatives that will put culture and creativity at the heart of the County’s Library Network. 

West Cork Fit-Up Festival

Photo: Facebook

Photo: Facebook

The West Cork Fit-up Festival revives the tradition of professional theatre companies touring shows to small rural towns and villages enhancing cultural tourism. The motto is “Theatre for All.” Begins July 18 - August 13.

Pop-up Shops Initiative

In each of County Cork’s eight Municipal Districts, Cork County Council’s Culture Team will work to facilitate the installation of ‘pop-up shops’ – namely - to use for creative/cultural purposes, any vacant or unused premises (including shop front windows) for a temporary period.

Cork County Council’s Culture Team will host a workshop(s) for community groups on how to set up a ‘pop-up’ shop and will, where feasible, support local groups to this effect across the eight Municipal Districts of the County

Picnic at the Castle

Mallow Castle. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Mallow Castle. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

One of North Cork’s rising visitor attractions for a day of creative arts activity for all the family. Historic Mallow Castle House and grounds, owned by Cork County Council, is a wonderful civic recreational space and location for cultural events. August 13.

Database of cultural sites and organizations within Cork County

Cork County Council will this year commence on undertaking a thorough database of cultural sites within the County of Cork.  In undertaking this plan, Cork County Council will set out to examine each town/village and establish whether or not there are present, cost-neutral venues, that are being/can be used for cultural activities.

Celebrating Cork’s Past Heritage

Celebrating Cork Past Family Heritage Exhibition. Image: Cork County Council.

Celebrating Cork Past Family Heritage Exhibition. Image: Cork County Council.

A day for County Cork’s hard-working groups to highlight and showcase the heritage/culture they preserve and protect locally. Their work has inspired by way of cultural/creative output, making it a great day to be inspired by the history and culture. September 29.  

150th Commemoration of the Manchester Martyrs

The Manchester Martyrs

The Manchester Martyrs

On November 23, 1867, Cork Fenians William Allen of Bandon and Michael O’ Brien of Ballymacoda, together with Michael Larkin, were executed as one of the last public hangings ever carried out in Manchester, England. Known as the Manchester Martyrs, they were executed for their part in the Fenian Rising of 1867. The 150th commemoration will see international attention and community participation in both Bandon and Ballymacoda.

The Art of Heritage – A Culture of Creativity

 The Múscraí Gaeltacht - a place where Art and Heritage comes alive. Image: Cork County Council.

The Múscraí Gaeltacht - a place where Art and Heritage comes alive. Image: Cork County Council.

In recognition of the County’s vast culture(s) and the numerous community groups engaging with the Creative Ireland Program in County Cork, the County Council will host a Creative Ireland County Cork Conference, focusing on the importance and value of connectivity between art and heritage, culture and creativity.  Date TBD.

Check out Co. Cork’s full culture and creativity plans here.

Is there an upcoming event in Co. Cork you think people should know about? Tell us in the comment section.

What's on in Co. Cork? Kinsale is just one of the many towns and cities throughout Cork that are hubs of creativity and culture. Chris Hill