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Don't look now, but Halloween ghosts are popping up all over! Ely in Dublin & more have events on this year. See article for more!

Don’t look now, but Halloween ghosts are popping up all over!

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:

Ghoulish grog! Ely's Halloween night is grown-up fun! Read about what's on for Haloween for adults and kids.

Ghoulish grog! Ely’s Halloween night is grown-up fun!

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

Only €30pp


pumpkin-like halloween in ireland sunset

A ‘ Halloween pumpkin ‘ sunset!

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!)

Irish Halloween Favorite! Virginia Pumpkin Festival

Halloween Favorite! Virginia Pumpkin Festival

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

Halloween in Ireland: Huntington Castle Ireland

Huntington Castle has a fab, fun Halloween tour

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.



Halloween at Birr Castle Ireland

Halloween at Birr Castle Ireland

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.
Adults only.

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:  

Too Scary? How about a gentle Halloween Spooktacular?


Friday 23rd October – Sunday 1st November

Limerick Spooktacular viaHalloween events Ireland

Limerick Spooktacular via

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!

Vintage Carnival

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:

More Children’s Fun at Halloween!

The Wexford Arts Centre has fun workshops on for the kids:

Children’s Halloween Workshops 
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!
Friday 30th October / 2.00pm-4.00pm / ages 7-11 years
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!



Bram Stoker Dracula Festival DublinI have to mention this is fangtastic festival ;-D even though you may already be well aware of it.

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.

Dragon of Shandon 2015; Halloween in Ireland

Dragon of Shandon 2015; Halloween in Ireland



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

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.

[youtube_sc url=”” title=”The%20dragon%20Of%20Shandon”]

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! 

Haunted Spooktacular at Grove Gardens, Fordstown, County Meath prepare for the 2015 'Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival'.Now is in its 7th year it offers over 37 spooky and fun events for all the family from October 16th to 1st November. Some of the 25 Ôgruesome events for kidsÕ include ÔThe Gates of HellÕ at the Haunted Hotel, an outdoor Halloween scare attraction with live characters, special effects and a warning is to be prepared for the totally unexpected. Tayto Park invites you into their ÔHouse or HorrorsÕ while ÔPooka SpookaÕ at Causey Farm promises a spine-tingling experience. A less scary ÔMonster High Family BuffetÕ is offered at the Pilo Hotel in Ashbourne, and the Headfort Arms Hotel in Kells invites you to ÔStorytelling and Song with the friendly witchÓ.For those adults wishing to be scared there are lots to choose from at the ÔSpirits of Meath Halloween FestivalÕ. Immerse yourself in the horror of FARMAPHOBIA, recently pronounced EuropeÕs Best Independent Scare Attraction; these awards are the 'Oscars of the European Scare Industry'. New at Farmaphobia for 2015 is ÒSCARECUSÓ housing a terrifying troupe of crazed circus performers, who invite you to join them for an eternal performance! A ÔMurder Mystery DinnerÕ is on the menu at The Stationhouse Hotel, Kilmessan, Co. Meath. Or you could step inside your own personal horror movie at the ÒHaunted SpooktacularÓ HORROR FARM that includes the Asylum, School House Massacre, ChamberÕs Of Terror, Hillbilly HorrorÕs and Redneck Village. . Photo:Barry Cronin/

Haunted Spooktacular at Grove Gardens County Meath. Halloween events in Ireland: 2015 ‘Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival. Photo:Barry Cronin/

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:

Halloween in Ireland- Spirits of Meath has lots of events throughout the county!

Halloween in Ireland- Spirits of Meath has lots of events throughout the county!


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.

SCARY CLOWN! Causey Farm, County Meath p, Irelandrepares for the 2015 'Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival'.Now is in its 7th year it offers over 37 spooky and fun events for all the family from October 16th to 1st November. Some of the 25 Ôgruesome events for kidsÕ include ÔThe Gates of HellÕ at the Haunted Hotel, an outdoor Halloween scare attraction with live characters, special effects and a warning is to be prepared for the totally unexpected. Tayto Park invites you into their ÔHouse or HorrorsÕ while ÔPooka SpookaÕ at Causey Farm promises a spine-tingling experience. A less scary ÔMonster High Family BuffetÕ is offered at the Pilo Hotel in Ashbourne, and the Headfort Arms Hotel in Kells invites you to ÔStorytelling and Song with the friendly witchÓ.For those adults wishing to be scared there are lots to choose from at the ÔSpirits of Meath Halloween FestivalÕ. Immerse yourself in the horror of FARMAPHOBIA, recently pronounced EuropeÕs Best Independent Scare Attraction; these awards are the 'Oscars of the European Scare Industry'. New at Farmaphobia for 2015 is ÒSCARECUSÓ housing a terrifying troupe of crazed circus performers, who invite you to join them for an eternal performance! A ÔMurder Mystery DinnerÕ is on the menu at The Stationhouse Hotel, Kilmessan, Co. Meath. Or you could step inside your own personal horror movie at the ÒHaunted SpooktacularÓ HORROR FARM that includes the Asylum, School House Massacre, ChamberÕs Of Terror, Hillbilly HorrorÕs and Redneck Village .Photo:Barry Cronin/ 087-9598549

SCARY CLOWN! Causey Farm, County Meath, Ireland prepares for the 2015 ‘Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival’ Photo:Barry Cronin/

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:   

I think a trip to Meath is in order!

***UPDATE! 😀 I’ll be there for Halloween Weekend! Follow along on Twitter @VibrantIreland and live videos on Periscope @vibrantireland***

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! 


Fortissimo photo by Pierce Cody

Fortissimo photo by Pierce Cody

Circus Factory presents: Fortissimo 

Part of Cork Midsummer festival, this free show is on again Monday evening at 10pm, gates 9:30pm, and is certainly intriguing.

A few more Fortissimo tickets have been released, and if you are one of the lucky ticket holders this is what you’ll get to experience:

Storytelling, aerial dance, live music, juggling and acrobatics were just some of the elements experienced at Sunday night’s height defying circus performance in Cork’s Elizabeth Fort. A six meter aerial rig set the stage for this poignant tale of women who suffered in the prison which was situated there in the 1800’s. Fortissimo’s mostly female cast tell their stories through skilled circus techniques including Corde Lisse, Chinese Pole and Aerial Hoop, while the always watching guards juggle around their acts, some using fire. The roles span from a witch, to a muse, and from a thief to a murderer. The popular show is a part of Cork Midsummer Festival.

Fortissimo photo by Pierce Cody

Circus factory’s Fortissimo. Pic Pierce Cody

Fortissimo, a site specific show, is inspired by the 19th century Women’s Prison. Elizabeth Fort sets out a macabre theme, with the darkening clouds bearing background to the stone prison wall. The nasty warden controlled the women using their private letters, reading them out in public and ridiculing with the contents. The show concentrates on the women’s fight to retrieve their prized letters, their only communication with their family. The 1 hr and 10 minute performance is accompanied by talented young musicians, instruments including a fiddle and a saxophone.

Circus Factory is a professional training and development centre for circus and street arts located on Albert Quay, Cork. It is run by the members for its members. The centre provides full time training facilities, runs yearly programmes of master classes, and serves as a full time creation and rehearsal space with residency possibility. The residencies are open for non-member individuals and companies. The centre is also open for novices and those wishing to hone their current circus skills with open sessions twice weekly. Time and equipment is provided for those who are not professionals but who are interested in circus. Circus Factory are funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and the project Fortissimo is funded by Cork City Arts Office through their Project Award scheme.

Fortissimo photo by Pierce Cody

Fortissimo photo, Pierce Cody


Monday 23rd June @ 10pm, door 9:30pm.  Free but ticketed.

At Elizabeth Fort, Barrack St,  Cork

Find out more about Cork Circus Factory

Find out about the festival


Kinsale Start of Wild Atlantic Way IrelandKinsale is hailed as a brilliant food town, and now also as the start of the Wild Atlantic Way.

I asked Twitter for tips on where to eat & what to see in Kinsale, and in nearby Bandon. Below is a selection:

@VibrantIreland Fishy Fishy, and Jim Edwards for a nice steak! Enjoy. Love #kinsale Pier House is fab accommodation in Kinsale also!

There were many other tweets recommending Fishy Fishy, but the feeling wasn’t unanimous.

@VibrantIreland @Hushabye_Farm jim Edwards pub is good. Ate in fab place called zuul’s last yr. was disappointed in fishy fishy

She wasn’t the only tweeter feeling a bit let down- the Fishy Fishy hype is huge & prices not small either; Siobhan had another Fishy Fishy tip: try Fishy Fishy’s own Chippie if you’re on a budget. Great idea!

Driving the Wild Atlantic Way is high on the agenda:

@VibrantIreland out at the old head of Kinsale if you take a drive out there. #kinsale Enjoy your Cork trip!

As well as scenic drives, in-town walking tours in Kinsale also got mentioned; there are 2 top ones: Historic Strolls  and Kinsale Heritage Walks.

@VibrantIreland total waste so! I love the Bulman & apparently the Black Pig (?) is really great. Don’t miss Charles Fort – fascinating!

I got private messaged praises for Finn’s Table, Bruno’s, Lemon Leaf Cafe cakes, and the Black Pig Wine Bar, too.

@VibrantIreland – Kinsale recommendations: a Guinness in The Bulman; seafood chowder in the Blue Haven; coffee & cake in the Lemon Leaf Cafe

If you want to check out what’s on gig-wise & more, here’s a tip:

@VibrantIreland Check out our Advertiser & Guide to What’s On in#Kinsale  We also print Map with lovely walks. Enjoy!

For Bandon, there were good words for Chapel Steps,

URRU, the Farmers Market Bandon on Sat a.m, and Duchess Tea Rooms for a cuppa and cakes.

@VibrantIreland in Bandon @poachersInn great foodie pub.@urrubandon for deli needs. You can walk it off on Graham Norton walk @grahnort

Heading east for a drive, Fort Camden got a shout:

@VibrantIreland Fort Camden in Crosshaven near Kinsale is pretty new. My bro’s & Gfather tell me its well worth trip …

And a bit west of Kinsale, Diva’s in Ballinspittle was given a Twitter thumbs up.

The Coach House, Bandon, Ireland. from Sykes Cottages

The Coach House, Bandon, Ireland. photos via Sykes Cottages

Now, here’s the sad (for me!) part. We had a weekend lined up at this charming former Coach House in Bandon, but a serious car breakdown made us miss out! Still, I want to give you the scoop on this little gem. It’s situated behind the owner’s Georgian home, and is just a five minute walk to the centre of Bandon town. Perfect for couples as a cozy getaway…*sigh*…

I’d had a look through Sykes Cottages large UK & Ireland selection (which is really good! Irish cottages, specifically, here) and chosen the Coach House because it was so cute for just the 2 of us, and was a handy base for exploring the first part of the Wild Atlantic Way, or even Cork City. But it was not to be- THIS time. We will try again- how could we not with all the great tips we got whetting our appetite!

Have YOU got any tips for the area? Fill us in!  The comment section is below this post. Thanks!


GLOW Cork Christmas Ireland

GLOW Cork Christmas- magical!

It IS the most wonderful time of the year!

Well, I think so, and I know many of you feel the same way.

So, I’m sharing several of the holiday events that are on all over Ireland (stay tuned for even more,) and this one, Glow, in Cork sounds magical! I’ve not been to Glow before, but it sure is tempting- Cork’s a great city, and since I’m just a big kid at heart I really want to go to the Faery Village!

Here’s the scoop:

Cork City will Glow like never before!
at ‘Glow’ – A Cork Christmas Celebration

~ A round-up of all to see and do in Cork pre-Christmas ~

For festive fun in the run up to Christmas, head to Cork City for Glow, A Cork Christmas Celebration, which runs from 29 November to December 23rd.

The festival has something for everyone, from a mystical fairy village for kids, to local artisan Food Markets, a 30 metre Ferris Wheel, vintage carousel, fantastic shopping and entertainment galore.  Cork City will glow this Christmas like never before.  See or Facebook for more information, but for now here’s a roundup of all to see and do in Cork this Christmas, plus a video teaser: [youtube_sc url=”” title=”Glow%20Cork%20Christmas%20ireland”]

Enter an enchanted Faery Village – Tir na Nollag

Tir na Nollag, a magical ‘faery’ village created by Dowtcha, will open free of charge for all at Bishop Lucey Park in the heart of Cork City Centre for the duration of the Glow festival. Larger than life toy soldiers will guard a fort which hides this enchanted village.  As visitors step into the Christmas fairytale, they will be greeted by magical faery inhabitants as they wander around a faery woodland where the Spirit of Christmas lives.  The woodland will be filled with faery houses, magical forest creatures, a Christmas throne and sleigh, a magical well, and the charm of childhood imagination brought to life.  Make sure you peek through the windows in the faery village hall to see a magical world where Geese come to life in the fountain, snowflakes fall and faeries fly.

GLOW Cork Christmas Ireland

photo via

Original traditional Irish music has also been composed for Tir na Nollag so that visitors truly feel transported to magical place.  Not only that, but kids will be able to post their letter to the North Pole, sprinkled with magical faery dust to ensure their wishes come true.  Open from 4-8pm for the four weekends in the run up to Christmas, the journey through the park will take approximately 20 minutes.


Enjoy Cork’s Christmas Culinary delights – Food Markets

Cork is renowned as the culinary capital of Ireland, so there’s no better place to sample tasty tidbits from local food producers than at the Glow Christmas Food Market on the Grand Parade, or at the nearby permanent famous food market, The English Market.  From crepes and gourmet sausages to locally produced spiced beef, poultry, cheese, vegetables, breads, and fresh organic herbs, there’s something to tantalise all taste buds.  This outdoor food court also has a seating area so you can relax and take in the atmosphere. Make sure you also savour some of Cork’s fantastic restaurants during your stay.


Come to Cork to shop this Christmas

From high street shops, boutiques and quirky gift shops, there’s something special about Christmas shopping in Cork.  Everything is within a few minutes’ walk as it’s a very compact city, the locals are renowned from their friendliness, and the city has the most individually owned shops in the country, which means you have a better chance of finding something unique.


Family Fun

There are two fantastic pantomimes in Cork this Christmas that are sure to keep the kids happy.  Oh yes they will!  Aladdin is running in Cork Opera House, while Jack and the Beanstalk is on in the Everyman Theatre.

For more details, please visit or

Presented by Cork City Council.  Sponsored by Cork’s 96FM.

Will we see you at the Faery Village? 🙂 Happy Holidays!

 Ireland’s Family CycleFest 2013

Fuzzy dog rides a bike with training wheels

Will there be any dogs on bikes at the fest, I wonder 🙂

Here’s a weekend event that sounds jam-packed with fun!  The Family CycleFest at Millstreet Country Park, Cork  is on the 24th & 25th  August, and if we were in the area we’d certainly go. In fact, it would be a great excuse to go on a dog-friendly weekend away, and stay at the nearby Mountain View B & B, which has tempted us for ages. They sound so warm and welcoming– plus you can have up to 4 well behaved dogs in your room. Perfect! You can follow their entertaining Facebook Page, where they often post special offers. It was through their page that I first heard of Millstreet Park, as there are areas in the park where you can have on-lead dogs. Anyhow; about the Family Cycle Fest– I’ve been sent some info, so have a read:

Millstreet Country Park is embracing all things cycling 24-25 August! All ages and abilities should find something to enjoy during this varied weekend. As well as the Brennan brothers launching the fantastic new cycle trails, there will be workshops and training on a range of topics such as bicycle repair, maintenance, and safety, fun events, and a chance to see  bicycles of every description on show throughout the Festival.

Francis Brennon launches the Family CycleFest at Millstreet Country Park, Cork

Francis Brennon launches the Family CycleFest at Millstreet Country Park, Cork

The new bike trails at the 500-acre park have been meticulously laid out following a collaboration with experienced course designers and experts from similar cycling venues, allowing pedal pushers of all ages and abilities to view the Park’s most scenic aspects. The trails (5kms & 10kms in length) range from relaxed, off-road low land trails suitable for all, to more rugged and challenging terrain, all of which experienced cyclists will enjoy.  Thrill seeking cyclists have the opportunity to tackle some of the invigorating hill climbs, whilst taking in the magnificent backdrop of the Boggeragh Mountains, admiring breath-taking views and the Kerry Mountains in the distance. The flora and fauna of the Park will encourage cyclists to stop and observe- for example the herd of almost 250 red deer grazing contentedly in paddocks, and the many archaeological sites scattered throughout the Park.

Events include a Cycle Quest treasure hunt, Kids Cycle Time Trials, High Nelly and Mountain Bike Workshops, plus lots, lots more. The festival will feature exciting displays of a variety of bikes, showing the history of its progress from the penny farthing, through to the electric bike. Limerick based business High Nelly Bikes will also be on hand showcasing an eclectic array of bikes which were showcased recently on RTE’s Nationwide.  Members of the public who own a High Nelly, a Penny Farthing or the highly unusual Ingo bicycle are welcome to come and display their bikes at the festival.

All that heart-healthy cycling can build up an appetite, so families can enjoy a bite to eat at Millstreet Country Park’s on-site restaurant Nibbles@The Park. Nibbles is run by the award-winning chef Eleanor Leahy and houses an artisan food shop with the best in local produce. Those with an interest in the traditional Irish culinary arts can stop in and sample some of the delectable offerings, including the Park’s signature venison burgers.

Former Miss Cork, Mairead O' Farrell explores Millstreet Country Parks Cycling Trails, ahead of Ireland's first Family CycleFest taking place at Millstreet Country Park on the 24/25th of this month.

Mairead O’ Farrell explores Millstreet Country Parks Cycling Trails

CycleFest Programme of Events

Saturday, 24 August

Cycle Quest  (bike treasure hunt)

Kids Cycle Time Trials (bikes and tricycles. Must have your own bike)

Face Painting    Bouncing Castle    Barbeque

Walking Trails

Leisure Bike Trails 5k ( Adult bikes for hire or bring your own)

Mountain Bike Trail 10k (bring your own).

Sunday, 25 August

High Nelly Bicycle Workshop including electric folding Bikes ( Marty Mannering Cappamore Co. Limerick)

Mountain  Bike Workshop ( Pat O’ Connor Killarney)

Working Forge ( Artist Blacksmith J. J Bowen Bantry)

Spinning Demo plus Nutritionist talk.

Butter-making in the Old Cottage

Weaving and Wool Spinning Work

Willow Basket Weaving.

Launch of Mountain Bike Trails by the Brennan Brothers ‘ At Your Service’

Mountain Bike Trail Individual Time Trials 10K.

Vintage Mercedes Cars on Display.

Bouncing Castle

Face Painting



For more information visit;

So, there you have it! Go get on yer bike!! 🙂

Have fun!



upstairs in the Glucksman Gallery


If you enjoy beautiful green surroundings, stunning buildings, and fascinating art, you’d do well to pencil The Glucksman Gallery in to your Cork City plans. Located in the park-like UCC campus, the Gallery is just a short stroll away from the main B&B/GuestHouse/Hotel areas.

We went to see the Josef Albers exhibition (2012), and having never been to the gallery before, I didn’t know what to expect; what I found really impressed. We strolled through the Western Road gate along the riverside, where a family was feeding ducks & swans, onto lush green grounds with lovely old stone buildings. A cliched idyll come to life!

The river Lee at UCC’s Western Gate

The Gate Lodge & door of the same. Quite romantic!
Click for a map & virtual tour of  campus.

Up the path a bit you will find The Glucksman Gallery on your right.  Modern architecture can be a bit of a surprise after the preceding surroundings, but it was exciting! The grey stone and soft green glass harmonised well with the surrounding buildings and parkland, and especially once inside the galleries I think many people must fall in love with it.

Glucksman Gallery was perfect for showing the works of Albers, which are strongly geometric. I felt the building mirrored them wonderfully, and the light coming through the windows the day we visited (see my opening photo) had the sort of numinous quality associated with stained glass, which Josef Albers worked with so beautifully.

For current exhibitions and events, follow @Glucksman on Twitter or like them on Facebook. On their website you can also download Glucksman’s new program when it is available- and if it is anything like this past one, there will be lots of events, workshops, talks & kids’ activities to choose from. You’ll want to go to lots of things, not just the exhibition!

Extra  Niceties- Sunday
There is a cafe at Glucksman which, happily is open from noon on Sunday, (not many cafes are) and you can relax there having a bite or a drink until the gallery opens at 2 on Sundays. We didn’t eat, but had coffee and enjoyed the birdsong & view on the outdoor terrace. One tip I can give you is that instead of using the toilets in the cafe, go out into the lobby & head down the stairs to those (see photo to left) lovely tiled toilets– the cafe toilet is definitely the ‘ugly sister’ compared to these 🙂

     Perhaps next time we visit Cork City & The Glucksman Gallery, we’ll have a bite to eat  so we can let you know our thoughts. I hope you get to enjoy the green UCC campus (green as in enviromental, too- it is the world’s 1st Green Campus,) and visit the the Glucksman Gallery during your Cork visit.
Let me know of  Cork gems you love; tweet me at @vibrantireland   Thanks!

Cork City centre on  Midsummer Festival Sunday
Firstly you should know that Cork is a city where there’s always lots happening– except on Sundays! Mainly Sunday mornings; and as a visitor, chances are that you may be there on a Sunday. We’ve had 2 recent 24 hr visits to Cork City (Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon) and we’ve had a lovely time; here are a few tips for you:
·         The English Market has a great atmosphere, & is a fantastic place for food lovers to wander, salivate, and indulge- but be warned: CLOSED Sundays. We’ve eaten in The Farmgate Cafe there for lunch (open for breakfast & lunch only) and it is very good!
·         Stay in a place that has a good breakfast & an unhurried check out time, because on Sunday mornings, not much is open. If funds stretch to it, stay B&B at the 5 star Hayfield Manor- they must have the most WONDERFUL breakfast in all of Ireland! With spa, lounge area & more, Hayfield Manor is a perfect place to relax away a Sunday morning waiting for Cork to open up.
Beautiful presentation of fresh breads at Hayfield Manor
·         If your budget doesn’t stretch to that (& ours doesn’t usually!) look to pick a place where you’ll feel comfortable having a leisurely morning, especially if it is raining. Most shops & cafes don’t seem to open until noon at the earliest, so you could wind up like us on a past trip- wandering the streets for a few hours. (Not so fun if raining!)
·         Cork Coffee Roasters on 2 Bridge Street has good coffee, & is open on from 9a.m. Sundays, but be warned-it is small and very busy then, as you can imagine!
Lovely UCC campus, home to the beautiful, modern, Glucksman Gallery.
·         A good few museums, galleries, & other places of interest in Ireland can be closed Sundays, & some Mondays; so check their opening times when planning your visit.  In Cork City, for example the impressive Glucksman Gallery opens Sunday at 2, their cafe at noon, (both closed Mondays) but the Crawford Gallery is closed Sunday.
·         Blackrock Castle & Observatory is a couple of miles outside the City, & opens at 10 on Sunday.  (Quirkily, open at 11 on Saturday.)They’ve also lots of things aimed at children, & the cafe there has been recommended to me, although we’ve not been to this attraction yet.
We saw Rian at the Cork Opera House- loved it! And when in Rome 😉
·         Whatever night you are staying in Cork, check what is on at Cork Opera House! They seem to have something on most nights, music, film, theatre, comedy & more. You’ll still have time to head out to the pub afterwards if you’d like!
Cork City Centre, Midsummer Festival Food Market (& Anam Cara B&B room)

·         Check local websites and twitter feeds like @CorkBuzz1and @WhazOnCork to see what’s going on when you plan to be in Cork. During our past trip, Cork Midsummer Festival  was on, so their outdoor Food Market was up Sunday morning. As it was a sunny day, we got to enjoy tasty local/street food, sit in the sun & people watch as we waited for Glucksman Gallery to open. (I’ll write a post on Glucksman soon.)

·         Have a gander at Cork man Liam’s suggestions for things to do in Cork– there are ideas that would be good for a Sunday morning. I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg during my visits, there is so much more!
What tips have YOU got? I know there must be loads more out there, & not just for Sundays! Please leave your tip in the comments, or tweet me at @vibrantireland, & I can add it to this post. Thanks! Susan
Here’s a great tip from TheGManWorld

Don’t forget @triskelcork home to Gulpd Café, Plugd Records, independent cinema & more!
— The G-Man (@TheGManWorld) July 4, 2012

@VibrantIreland Amazing place.Crazy how few people know about it.Great cinema,amazing gigs,choc Beamish cake,records,exhibits and more
— The G-Man (@TheGManWorld) July 4, 2012

Chocolate Beamish cake?!! You better check out Triskel in Cork! 🙂

PS if you love eating gorgeous, different, food– have lunch or dinner at Cafe Paradiso. It has been wonderful both times we’ve gone! (Note: lunch Fri & Sat only, closed Mon)

Photos don’t do Cafe Paradiso’s food justice! AND we ate some before we remembered to snap 🙂
Happy Cork Visiting!
WhatToSeeInIreland WhatToEatInIreland

Are you ready to be tempted?

If you are looking for a special place to stay in Cork, Ireland, I wholeheartedly recommend Hayfield Manor.

Hayfield Manor, Cork, Ireland

Hayfield Manor, Cork, Ireland. AMAZING breakfast!


Hayfield Manor is a 5 star independent luxury hotel right in Cork City, and even if you are like my husband and me, who normally wouldn’t splash much cash for a hotel, a stay here is well worth saving for. In truth, I was a bit nervous that I might feel out of place, that it might be snobby ….but I am happy to say I was completely wrong! The staff are all so very welcoming, genuinely warm and helpful–they made the beautiful period manor house more than just a lovely place–they made it a wonderful experience.

A few days after our stay, Hayfield Manor put out this video ( watch at the end of this post)– and yes, everyone is that nice! Have a watch and you will get a look at and a feel for this special place to stay.



Aside from the staff, the highlights of our short stay were:

1. The incredible breakfast– it was presented so very beautifully, and the dining room took my breath away! We were like kids in a candy shop with the selection- I may have been slightly giddy! 🙂 In addition to anything non-cooked you could possibly desire on the buffet, there were all sorts of cooked breakfast items on offer as table service. And so tasty!

 2. The very big, comfortable bed. (Did you see how small Terry looks on it in the photo collage?) I have back problems and often am not comfortable on normal beds, but I slept like a log in Hayfield Manor’s.


Don’t Miss

We stayed just one night, and weren’t really thinking about the pool & spa that are part of Hayfield Manor– mistake! Terry is a fitness trainer, and when he realized they had a personal trainer, pool and more, he called in to the spa to look around. After a nice chat with the staff there he was very sorry he didn’t plan enough time to have a go. Luckily, Hayfield does a nice amount of special offers and packages, so we can save for another visit to fabulous Cork City & Hayfield Manor!

See you there? 🙂

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