Ireland is the ancestral home of Halloween, so surely we should have some spooktacular events on!
Well, Halloween in Ireland hasn’t always been the massive event that it is in the US, but we *are* getting more into the spirit (ahem) of things each year. Ireland now has some ace Halloween festivals & fun, including one that was voted Europe’s BEST Independent Scare Attraction! Read on for 2015’s top Halloween events for adults and children in Ireland.
***UPDATED! Be sure to read all the added events- and there is one county in particular that you mustn’t miss! Read all the way to the end***
Halloween is on a Saturday night this year, so for sure many adults will be having the Halloween craic once the kiddies have conked out after their sugar high. If you are in Dublin, book in that babysitter if needs be, & head out to the ely bar & brasserie at the IFCI in the trendy, modern Docklands to enjoy food, brews, & grooves at Ely’s
Halloween House Party:
Beats, Brews, Tastings & Trouble; Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble!
Come on down to ely bar & brasserie on Saturday 31st October for our spooktacular Halloween House Party.
We’ll have tastings of bewitching beverages including a craft beer table with pumpkin & seasonal beers, candy cocktails, w-eerie wine ‘n’ whiskey, ghoulish gin and more!
Nothing says Halloween like stuffing your face full of food. And fantastic food it is too. Think mini pumpkin pies, turkey legs, sweet potato fritters and of course, sweet treats – without the tricks.
You can also WIN BIG with a load of amazing prizes up for grabs! We’ll be awarding scariest costume, most original costume, best corporate crew costume and more.
Our Halloween House Party kicks off from 8pm with a devilish DJ from 10pm
ely bar & brasserie, IFSC, Dublin 1
Loftus Hall, known as Ireland’s most haunted house!
The devil himself once visited this house on Wexford’s wild Hook Head peninsula! Loftus Hall has several Halloween tours, handily broken down into 3 age groups: families with school age children (5-11) , families with over 12s, and tours for over 18s. The tours start 17 Oct and run until 1 November, Do you dare? I’ll be going myself, but on a day tour. *scaredy cat* 😉
“Halloween (Samhain) marks the change between “light” and the “darkness”. This change means there is a weakness in the connection between worlds, allowing ghostly spirits to pass into our world more easily.
Ancestors are welcomed, but harmful spirits are avoided and hidden from. Which will you meet on your Loftus Hall Samhain Tour? Let your guide, from the present, and the past, take you on a journey through the ground floor of Loftus Hall, sharing with you some of the most ghostly tales of Ireland’s Most Haunted House… And just in case you meet a harmful spirit, please note that dressing in costume is recommended to all to help keep you hidden from sinister spirits!”
Find out more details on The Spectres & Halloween at Loftus Hall, here.
Virginia Pumpkin Festival
Sure to delight both the young and the young at heart, the Virginia Pumpkin Festival returns on the 23rd through the 27th of October, 2015 in county Cavan. Cavan is a county well worth exploring, with lesser known gems like it’s very own Cavan Burren! Set aside a few days & enjoy the Pumpkin Festival and check out Cavan! (And perhaps treat yourself to one of my favorite Irish spa hotels!)
Virginia Pumpkin Festival
“If scooping out a pumpkin and decorating it with a particularly menacing face is your favourite part of Halloween, then look no further than the Virginia Pumpkin Festival. Now in its 8th year, the festival takes place over Bank Holiday Weekend and is the pumpkin party of the year!
Gather all the family to this magical festival with its biggest and best programme ever this year. Join in the frightful fun commencing with a haunted forest walk on Friday, The Kilkenny’s and a tribute to Luke Kelly to entertain you on the Saturday night in the Virginia Show Centre and a monster fancy dress ball on the Sunday night, this festival is an essential for everyone who loves Halloween. There is a full programme of day time entertainment for all ages and tastes. Check out the picture for a daily rundown.
Plus, there are competitions to partake in: Pumpkin Pie competition and the Alternative Pumpkin Competition, are both taking place over the weekend.
OMG I LOVE PUMPKIN PIE! Can I be a judge?!!? YUM 😀
Details and more info at www.pumpkinfestival.ie
Castles are perfect for ghost hunting and Halloween in Ireland!
One of my favorite castles is Huntington Castle in the charming village of Clonegal in county Carlow. I’ve been a few times throughout the year, and totally recommend a visit any time. Huntington is still owned by the family of the original builders, and they are absolutely passionate about it. Halloween is perfect for a visit- I loved their candlelit tour! It runs from 27 Oct to the 31st in 2015.
Another Irish Castle celebrating Halloween is Birr Castle in county Offaly. Along with their Haunted Woods and Castle tours for ages over 5, they are also offering a grown up evening that is very tempting!
The Twlight Hour – An evening of Gothic Music and Literature and Trickery with Nóirín Ní Riain & guests
Join us at Birr Castle for this very special evening with Noirin Ni Riain and guests. ‘Oiche Shamhna’ is a magical time with strong roots in ancient celtic Ireland. This evening will celebrate music and literature linked to All Hollows Eve exploring much loved traditions, songs, folklore, ghost stories, poetry and lots of haunted fun in the gothic castle.
Sunday 25th October at 20.00
Booking essential as places are limited. Pre-paid event with Tickets €25.00.
Click to see more on the Birr Castle Halloween events.
A third Halloween castle tour is to be found at Shankill Castle in Paulstown, co Kilkenny. I’ve not experienced this Halloween event myself, but it must be scary as they’ve a strong disclaimer!
The Scarefest Ghost Tour: A night-time, candle-lit tour led by the castle residents through the most haunted areas of the 300 year old castle and the 11th century church yard. A member of the Cope family leads the tours and relays the tales of past residents, along with an account of the recently recorded paranormal experiences.
On Halloween night, there will be extra special tours, including one over Midnight, for those willing and daring enough.
Be prepared to run for your life. The ghost tour is not for the faint hearted, or for those under the age of 15. Those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Group bookings available on request. Book Early bird tickets now, just €21.95 for a limited time.
WARNING: This tour is genuinely frightening and is not suitable for young children, the infirm, or those with health related concerns. The owners of Shankill Castle do not accept responsibility for the cause or aggravation of a health related issue as a result of their visit. Take this tour at your own risk. Unfortunately this venue is not wheelchair friendly. Should you wish to organise a wheelchair accessible tour please contact us.Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
More info: shankillcastle.com/scarefest2015/
Too Scary? How about a gentle Halloween Spooktacular?
HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR 2015
Friday 23rd October – Sunday 1st November
Limerick’s very own Halloween ‘Spooktacular’ Family Festival at Arthur’s Quay on the banks of the River Shannon, join in for a hauntingly good time with attractions including an authentic international food market, Vintage carnival experience, live performances, games, competitions and more!
Dare to hang 100 feet in the sky, whisk through the air and slide in circles?!? Limerick is proud to present an authentic Vintage Carnival as part of the Halloween Spooktacular. From “Galloping Horses” Carrousels, to Ferris wheels, and Helter Skelters, there is something to excite the imagination of children and adults alike.
Don’t miss the Halloween characters from Victorian Limerick, The Spooky Show – will be coming along to bring some spooky surprises to the performance area at The Halloween Spooktacular. Make sure to join in for some spooky fun!
Why not enter one a Halloween competition… if you dare!
*Best Costume Competition *Spooky skeleton scavenger hunt* Apple peeling * Colouring competitions. Give it a go!
Find out more at: halloweenspooktacular.ie
More Children’s Fun at Halloween!
The Wexford Arts Centre has fun workshops on for the kids:
Booking fee: €15 per workshop
Ages: 4-6 years and 7-11 years
All Things Ghoulish….!
Friday 30th October / 11.00am-1.00pm / ages 4-6 years
To celebrate Halloween, younger artists will get to make scary handprint Vampire cards, peg zombies and crazy pumpkin and monster sun catchers. We will supply all the magical supplies, and the children will learn to make these spooky Halloween decorations which are sure to scare the bravest of trick or treaters!
Older artists will transform into powerful Witches and Wizards as they make their very own magic wands and decorate magical capes. Using a huge assortment of spooky, glittering materials older children will be casting spells and ready to collect bags of sweets on Halloween night!
“From 23rd – 26th October 2015, Dublin City will celebrate 4 Days of Living Stories & 4 Nights of Deadly Adventures!
Whether you’re a resident vampire or visiting from further afield, Bram Stoker Festival 2015 has something for everyone in its gothically inspired programme of events.”
See the full Bram Stoker Festival Halloween line-up here.
Head to Ireland’s other capital, Cork and check out the Dragon of Shandon Festival running october 29-31st:
CCAL presents a Festival for all; Beasts, Visionaries, Ghouls, and Misfits come feast your eyes with wild spectacles as we ignite your imagination. For He is on his way. Emerging from the Underground. Hear his roar. The Dragon of Shandon calls you.
The renowned Dragon of Shandon returns for its 10th Year with a 3 day celebration of Samhain from the 29th to the 31st of Oct. Taking place in Cork’s Cultural Quarter, Shandon. For further information and Parade Route see www.dragonofshandon.com
The Dragon of Shandon began in 2006 as a street parade celebration of Samhain and creative partnership between artists and communities which has taken place on the night of October 31st in the heart of Shandon, Cork , Ireland for over 8 years.
Each year thousands take to the streets of Shandon on Cork ’s Northside to walk with the Dragon as it travels between worlds in a celebration of the living and the dead accompanied by an assortment of creatures from the underworld.
The evening parade is the result of an extensive outreach and participatory programme that spans several months of workshops with youth groups, the community and voluntary sector, schools and voluntary participants.
A commitment to high standards of practice both in artistic and participatory engagement are at the core of each annual parade with groups collaborating on an annual basis with artists to create original work that is reflective of their experiences.
The centrepiece of each parade is the Dragon, 36ft in length and made entirely of tape. This spectacular giant puppet is animated by twelve puppeteers on the night who walk it through the streets of Shandon along with an array of illuminated props, lanterns and characters.
Treats for Adults! Halloween Food Tour
For tasty delights way beyond the tooth rotting trick or treat sweets from Lidl or Aldi, treat yourself to to a fantastic Halloween food tour in one of my favorite cities – Belfast! Caroline is a brilliant guide; I’ve done a tour with her & I know you’ll have fun as well as yum! Book quickly, it will fill up fast.
Halloween Food Tour – Friday 30th October 2015 10.30am
Location: Belfast City Centre at 10.30am
The foodie’s food tour of Belfast! What is the food of Belfast/ Northern Ireland and where are the best places to find it? Tastes. Experiences. Fun.
We visit up to 8 different foodie destinations around the city and get to eat/drink over 23 local foods and drinks! You don’t need breakfast or lunch and we suggest you don’t drive afterwards ;0)
Northern Ireland has lots of Halloween events, too many for me to list! One of the biggest is:
Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, Derry~Londonderry FREE event! 29 October – 1 November. Europe’s biggest and best Halloween festival returns with an even busier programme of events than ever before! It’s set to be a week awash with devilish activities for the whole family with terror-ific characters, mythical mayhem and a whole host of ghostly going culminating the carnival parade through the streets and the fireworks display.
Check out more Halloween events in Northern Ireland on Discover Northern Ireland’s Halloween listings.
Dear readers, the county that is totally winning at Halloween has got to be county Meath!
Why? Well, 2 reasons: 1: Halloween began in County Meath over 2,000 years ago. 2: Meath has 36 different events on for Halloween!
Yep, that’s thirty and six spooky events– Meath is truly embracing being the birthplace of Halloween / Samhain! Did you know:
The site of Tlachtga (aka Tlachta) on the Hill of Ward, in County Meath, Ireland is believed to have been the first site of the celebration of Samhain, the precursor to our modern Halloween.
The ringfort dates from around 200 AD but festivals and rituals at the site may have taken place as far back as 1000 BC.
Priests, augurs and druids used to assemble there to light the winter fires of the Great Fire Festival on Samhain eve.
Under penalty of law, all fires that were lit within the kingdom that night were to be kindled from the fire at Tlachtga.
Samhain was a festival celebrating the dead and it also marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year.
It was during this time that the Irish believed that the graves would open and their gods and spirits, who dwelt inside, would walk the earth again.
Now, on to Meath’s modern day Halloween events:
The Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival: A 16 day celebration of Halloween in the place where it began
Halloween began over 2,000 years ago in County Meath and each year the ‘Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival’ re-creates that first Halloween with a Torchlit Procession and Samhain Festival of Fire, a re-enactment of the first Halloween fire from over 2,000 years ago. This takes place on the Hill of Tlachta, Athboy, Co. Meath and is just one of 37 other events that make up the scarily good ‘Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival’ Now in its 7th year, this festival offers spooky and fun events for all the family from October 16th to November 1st.
The scary events that are part of the ‘Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival’ are categorised into Children’s ‘Fun by Day’ and Adult’s ‘Frights by Night’ events. Adults are invited to immerse themselves in the horror of ‘FARMAPHOBIA’, recently pronounced Europe’s Best Independent Scare Attraction; these awards are the ‘Oscars of the European Scare Industry’. This frighteningly good attraction includes “SCARECUS” that houses a terrifying troupe of crazed circus performers. A ‘Murder Mystery Dinner’ is on the menu at The Stationhouse Hotel, Kilmessan, Co. Meath. Or you could step inside your own personal horror movie at the “Haunted Spooktacular” HORROR FARM that includes the Asylum, School House Massacre, Chamber’s Of Terror, Hillbilly Horror’s and Redneck Village.
Some of the gruesome events for kids include: a terrifying and spine tingling experience; ‘Pooka Spooka’ at Causey Farm that promises magical happenings including the Fairytale Corn Maze and broomstick rides; A less scary ‘Monster High Family Buffet’ is offered at the Pillo Hotel in Ashbourne, and the Headfort Arms Hotel in Kells invites you to ‘Storytelling and Songs with the friendly witch”. You can also pick your own Pumpkin at Meath Pumpkin Farm, Summerhill and Alright Pumpkin Farm, Girley, Fordstown while Tayto Park once again open their ‘House or Horrors’, ‘Haunted Hotel’ at Lough Crew have a special event for families in an outdoor Halloween scare attraction with live characters, special effects and a warning to be prepared for the totally unexpected.
The ‘Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival’ full event programme offers 36 different events, and a downloadable Festival Brochure can be found on: www.spiritsofmeath.ie
I think a trip to Meath is in order!
Fancy going to one of the MANY non-Halloween-y festivals on in Ireland this October? Click!
Do you have any Halloween in Ireland events that shoudn’t be missed? Let me know– THANKS!