SEE PHOTOS - Ireland's offbeat festivals

Ireland - The home of Father Ted’s Craggy Island, where museums are dedicated purely to leprechauns and festivals crown goats king or attempt to beat Guinness world records for the most people dressed as blue smurfs at any one time, Ireland has so much more to offer than just green fields and a strong drinking culture!

For the past year I have been on a mission to find out about all of the most fascinating and unconventional tours, events and festivals taking place on the island of Ireland throughout the year. Below is just a small selection of some of the most quirky and unusual festivals scheduled for 2011.

- Carlingford Leprechaun Hunt 2011 (March 27th) –

Louth: On the first day of Summertime the National Leprechaun Hunt of Ireland took place with hunters assembling (having bought a Leprechaun Hunting Licence for €5) and proceeding to the mountain gate. N.B. Hunters will NOT be allowed to hunt in the area of the wishing well & slate rock as this area is now protected under the European Habitats Directive which allows for the protection of flora, fauna, wild animals, & Little People!

- Clonmel Junction Festival 2011 (1st to 10th July) –

Tipperary: Its innocent name belies the fact that this is truly one of the most quirky summer festival initiatives Ireland has to offer at the moment. With highlights in 2010 including the Faulty Towers dining experience, Creole music, disused premises taken over to create themed interactive cafes and circus themed performances – this festival has something for even the most random of sorts!



Offbeat Irish tours and locations offered by Giddy Goat Tours

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- Tuam Jog in the Bog 2011 (16th July) –

Galway: A fun adventure day – jumping and running around the bogs of Tuam with a hearty BBQ and Bogman’s Ball afterwards as a reward.

- King Puck Fair 2011 (10th to 12th August) –

Kerry: Killorglin, in the geographical heart of Kerry, is the venue for one of Ireland’s most unusual street festivals – Puck Fair. The fair is one of Ireland’s oldest and longest celebrated and is held without fail on 10th, 11th and 12th August every year with a group of people going up into the mountains to catch a wild goat. Brought back to the town, the Queen of Puck Fair crowns the goat “King Puck”.

- Paddy Games 2011 (Date to be confirmed) –

Cork: Paddy Games is an unusual international sports event open to competitors who wish to represent their country in a range of liberating athletic manoeuvres. The common man’s games, Paddy Games founding principle is taking silliness very seriously. With events such as: the car tyre floor routine, cow pat spitting, belly bashing, strait-jacket wrestling and mobile phone throwing – where can it go wrong?!

- Bog Snorkelling All-Ireland Championships 2011  (Date to be confirmed)

Monaghan: A sporting event/spectator sport (depending on how dirty you’re willing to get) consisting of competitors completing two consecutive lengths of water filled trench cut through a peat bog, in the shortest time possible. Competitors must wear snorkels and flippers, and complete the course without using conventional swimming strokes, relying on flipper power alone!

- Culchie Festival (Date & location to be confirmed):

Festival of fun incorporating the annual step-thru run. Festival is seen as the male version of the Rose of Tralee. A festival that provides a platform for the unpaid entertainers of Ireland.

Culchie Festival