The Irish summer truly kicked off last weekend with two of the country’s biggest festivals, Body and Soul and Sea Sessions, drawing massive crowds to dance, sing, and surf in the rarely seen Irish sun.
There’s still a long summer ahead of us until the Irish festival season closes up shop with Electric Picnic at the beginning of September, however, and Ard na Sidhe Country House in County Kerry has put together this perfect interactive map to guide you through the best bits yet to come.
Plan your trip around Ireland to precision with this guide around the country, covering music, food, drama, art and much more in some of Ireland’s most beautiful and exciting settings. Kicking off with Dublin Pride 2015, the guide takes us to all four provinces before finishing up at A Taste of Donegal at the end of August.
1. Body & Soul, June 19-21
Unfortunately, we’ve already missed out on this one but put it top of the list for next year's batch of early bird tickets. All of the beauty of the Body and Soul area at Electric Picnic wrapped into it’s own lovely festival. You never know what you’ll come across in this wonderland in Ballinlough Castle.
2. Dublin Pride, June 18-28
Set to be one of the biggest years yet what with our historic referendum vote just a month ago kicking off the show early, Merrion Square welcomes the Rainbow Republic for a ten-day celebration of LGBT Pride. Highlights will include the Pride Village and the parade on Saturday June 27.
3. Killarney Festival of Food and Music, June 27-28
As if picturesque Killarney didn’t already have enough to offer, the Music and Food Festival sees 20,000 music and food fans flock to the Kerry town for a seven-stage extravaganza of festival fun. Michelin star and celebrity chefs mixed with the very best of homegrown comedic talent and the chance to revisit Duran Duran all throughout a jam-packed two days.
4. Longitude, July 17-19
Possibly Electric Picnic’s main contender for high-profile headliners, Longitude holds the beauty, for Dubliners at least, of being able to return home to your own bed after all the excitement of the musical day. The Marley Park party has been awarded “Best Medium Festival Award” at the Irish Festival Awards for the past two years in a row and attracting names such as Hozier and Chemical Brothers. there’s really no excuse for you not to be there.
5. Indiependence, July 31-August 2
A firm favorite in Munster, The Indiependence Arts and Music Festival in Deer Farm, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, is one of those Irish festivals that has remained completely unspoilt in the past few years, despite drawing big names such as Basement Jaxx and Ash.
6. Galway Arts Festival, July 13-26
The obvious high point in Galway City’s calendar, Galway Arts Festival shows why the Town of the Tribes can rival the capital any day when it comes to a unique and invigorating cultural experience. This year the festival will feature “Skywhale,” a 100ft long and 70 ft tall piece of art from Australian artist, Patricia Piccinini, that will take to the skies for the duration. Street parties, silent discos, comedy shows, plays and live gigs, this festival showcases the best Galway and Ireland has to offer and it’s on for a full two weeks!
7. Castlepalooza, July 31-August 2
Described as the Irish Coachella (although obviously we think it’s better) and often voted among one of Europe’s best small festivals, Castlepalooza revolves around Charleville Castle, Co. Offaly, to offer a small community of music worshippers a safe haven of fun for the August bank holiday weekend every year. The festival has a big interest in sustainable development and boasts an intimate party area called The Courtyard and spoken word sessions called Scene of the Rhyme.
8. Spraoi, July 31-August 2
The name for this festival is literally the Irish for “fun” because that’s exactly what it is. With a side-festival SprÓg for the kids, this Waterford weekend sees hundreds of performers delighting the crowd for free over the August bank holiday.
9. Fleadh Cheoil, August 9-16
Although based around the competitions for the world’s amateur Irish traditional musicians, Fleadh Cheoil is for anybody with a slight interest in listening to traditional music. Highlights this year will include “The Second Coming,” an act that combines traditional music, aerial circus acts and W.B. Yeats. Walk into any pub, hotel or restaurant and you’re sure to find a session of musicians to keep you entertained for the evening. The Fleadh hits Sligo town again this year for the best session Ireland and possibly the world.
10. A Taste of Donegal, August 28-30
All of the music and dancing will leave you with the perfect appetite to finish up the festival summer in Donegal town where 110 exhibitors will hold tastings, masterclasses and demonstrations. The perfect way to wind up before the winter hibernation.