Summer festivals in Ireland are an excitingly varied bunch. From motorcycles to plein air painting, family fun, bluegrass or beer, here are eight epic Irish events.
PS, if you are seriously missing the scorching sun, I’ve thrown in two interesting festivals in Spain 😀 Enjoy!
Europe’s largest ‘Art in the Open’ Festival commences in Wexford
Many scenic vistas in the Southeast will be captured by some of the world’s finest ‘Plein Air’ artists this week as Europe’s largest outdoor painting festival Art in the Open runs now til August 3 2015.
A large number of high profile international artists have descended on County Wexford coming from thirteen countries including Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden and of course the US, UK and Ireland to compete for up to €5,000 in awards. The paint-out Artists can enter two paintings for the Gala Exhibition and these will be on display at in the Old Library in Wellington Place, Wexford town centre Sunday 2nd August at 3pm.
The Art in the Open festival is based on the concept that all work is created outdoors at a daily paint-out location. Artists must register at each paint-out with a blank canvas which is stamped daily and over the next few hours must capture their own image of the beautiful surroundings.
The public are encouraged to watch this creative process at any of the six paint-out locations, including the infamous Hook Head, the fishing village of Kilmore Quay, the historic Wells House near Gorey and the Viking town of Wexford or enjoy the Charity Quick Draw which will take place at Wexford’s Bullring on Sunday 2nd August at 1pm. The public are welcome to join in this fun event for a €5 registration fee. Proceeds will go to the Windmill Therapeutic Centre.
Other highlights of the festival include a free lecture by Sinead Rice of the National Gallery of Ireland at the National Opera House on Bank Holiday Monday, August 3rd. Several workshops and demonstrations take place throughout the week by well-known international artists, including Leon Holmes from Australia, Vincent Crotty from the USA, Antti Rautiola from Finland and Rachel Personett from the USA.
See more at artintheopen.org
Birr Vintage Week
“Turn back time in the beautiful Georgian heritage town of Birr! Revel in its contemporary culture with a dynamic range of vintage and modern events for all ages during the Annual Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival 31 July – 7 August 2015.
The all-inclusive programme includes the fantastic opening parade with its display of vintage, equestrian and community entries; artisan and craft market; the Ormand Flying Club’s Annual Fly-In and display; the Olde Time Traditional Fair; busking competition; free children’s events; antiques and fine art fair; a donkey derby; live music; sporting and literary events; nightly pub entertainment; and a spectacular fireworks display which will illuminate the skies above the town.
The Arts play a central role with a visually stunning and exciting visual arts trail, theatre performances, contemporary dance classes, film screenings and workshops in various mediums taking place across the town. With annual favourites and new events, vintage flavour and modern entertainment throughout, Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival promises to be an exciting and vibrant event celebrating this charming town’s heritage and culture.”
Feakle Traditional Music Festival
5 – 10 August, 2015
In the little village of Feakle, County Clare, a traditional music festival started almost 30 years ago. It tapped into the area’s amazing wealth of local talent, and Feakle is now recognized internationally by those in-the-know as a centre of traditional music in Ireland. The festival is packed with workshops for musicians, and sessions all week for those of us who just love to listen. 🙂 East Clare is a beautiful area full of quiet lakes, gorgeous green hills, charming boreens lined with hedgerows & stonewalls, and traditionally cut bogs — yet it is off the beaten tourist track; perfect for getting into the heart of ‘authentic Ireland.’ Come explore!
See more at: feaklefestival.ie
Summer in Lisburn
Don’t forget Northern Ireland on your quest to experience summer festivals in Ireland! There’s a jam-packed end of summer festival season in Lisburn, starting on 3 August 2015.
If it’s action you’re after, why not head to Lisburn from Monday 3rd August to Saturday 8th August for a week of exhilarating motorcycle race events at Dundrod, culminating in the international Grand Prix, the world’s fastest road race. With vantage points both inside and outside the circuit, the Ulster Grand Prix is fun for all the family.
Lisburn also plays host to incredible local and international music talent this summer. This year’s Sunflowerfest brings British band Dreadzone, rap rock band Senser and a host of other artists and performers to Tubby’s Farm, Hillsborough.
The Hilden Beer and Music Festival is not to be missed. Hosting three stages and stocking over thirty ales, stouts, lagers and ciders sourced from the UK and Ireland, the three-day open air festival is held on the grounds of Hilden Brewery in Lisburn, the oldest independent brewery on the island of Ireland. Interesting- I must check this out myself!
Are you more of a foodie than a groupie? Well, Lisburn tells me they have it all and it’s the best around. From the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival (Tuesday 1st – Sunday 6th September) to a family day at Ballance House’s Raspberry and Tea Day, there are all kinds of delicious, beloved and brand new foods to taste. If you are just out and about in Lisburn, there are plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants, or if you’re feeling like splurging pop into one of the city’s many trendy boutiques.
Contact Lisburn Visitor Information Centre on 028 9266 0038 for details on events, attractions, activities, shopping and hospitality in the area. Visit the Lisburn & Castlereagh website, Like on Facebook or follow on Twitter
Terryglass Arts Festival
12 – 15 August 2015
Terryglass Arts Festival is known for its innovative arts programme, and they’ve a huge amount of workshops available- over 70! Definitely book early, as these fascinating & fun workshops will fill up quickly (see a few below.)
Other highlights include: Paddy Casey, Blood Red Mountain Band and Molly Sterling. For theatre fans there is ‘Back Seat’ and for Art lovers this years festival features Michal Ray’s ‘Nest’ and Paraic Leahy’s ‘Creatures of Costume’ exhibitions. Family entertainment includes Fidget Feet, Jack Wise, Niall de Burca, Dabbledoo and a Fireworks finale.
Here is a sampling of the fab workshops:
Science Soup – Stir up some trouble with alien mixes! Prepare things that go bang, and some other strange fixes! Measure things that go fizz and some more that go slop, and finish it off with some things that just pop! (Wear old clothes)
Alien Slime – A fun science workshop that investigates alien life. Make the slime and the aliens that would live in it!
Shadow Play with Joanna Williams from Little Bigtop– Join Joanna Williams to explore and play with shadow. Participants will learn how to make a shadow grow and shrink, explore the shadow effects of different materials and find out how to make simple shadow puppets using coloured gels.
Pallet Furniture & Sign Design– Work with local carpenter, Dave Corboy from Revived and Retro, to design something creative and useful which will be displayed in the village during the remainder of the festival. Materials supplied.
Head over to the county Tipperary side of lovely Lough Derg and experience one of the most creative summer festivals in Ireland!
See more at www. terryglassartsfestival.ie
Bluegrass in Dunmore East – 21 years and going strong; Guinness International Bluegrass Festival returns to its roots for 2015
The 21st Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival kicks off on Thursday, August 27th and heralds the start of three days of dozens of bands, playing over 50 gigs in the villages’ pubs, restaurants and hotels.
Fans of bluegrass, honky-tonk, blues, country, and rhythm ‘n’ roots are in for a musical treat as the Guinness International Bluegrass Festival returns for the 21st year this summer!
The picturesque Co. Waterford seaside village Dunmore East hosts the Bluegrass Festival from the 27th to the 30th of August, and the 2015 line-up is as impressive as ever.
Credited by Dolly Parton as being “one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today,” Claire Lynch will be at the festival for the first time. Having won a host of music awards, along with two Grammy nominations, Claire developed her love of bluegrass and country music when she moved from New York to Alabama at the age of 12.
In the 1970’s Claire fronted the Front Porch String Band, until forming her own Claire Lynch Band in 2005. Since then Claire and her band have consistently been in demand with festival audiences across the US.
“Claire is a pioneer of bluegrass and country music and we are delighted that she will be playing at the International Bluegrass Festival in Dunmore East,” Festival founder and organiser, Mick Daly said. “Not only has she a couple of Grammy nominations, Digital Journal placed her in the Top Ten of “Most Angelic voices of our time”, putting her on an equal footing with music legends such as Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss.”
Big name Irish, European and American bluegrass acts playing free gigs include Demolition String Band (USA), New Section (Cze), Cup O’ Joe (Northern Ireland), The Mons Wheeler Band (NI), the Down and Out Bluegrass Band (NI), Land’s End (UK / Ire) and Irish bands Jigjam and Barefoot.
Another American band making their Dunmore East debut is Whiskey Deaf, made up by Annie Staninec and John Kael. Born and bred on bluegrass music, Staninec has toured the world, featured on countless albums with renowned country, Cajun and blues artists. Kael, an established songwriter, has been playing bluegrass guitar, mandolin, banjo and bass for over twenty years. His award winning song “Handmade Cross”, features on Grammy nominated album, Hard Love, by Doyle Lawson.
Whilst the Claire Lynch Band will play a ticketed intimate gig on Sunday, August 30th, all the other events throughout the village are free.
For more information about the 21st Guinness International Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival line-up in Co. Waterford visit www.discoverdunmore.com.
For ticket information and bookings for The Claire Lynch band, email firstname.lastname@example.org or Discover Dunmore on Facebook and Twitter.
BUT… I need heat and tons of sun, I hear some of you cry! Ok then, what about these 2 unusual summer festivals in Spain?
Some of the most fascinating festivals that are celebrated in Spain are re-enactments. Every year, on the first Sunday of August (this year on the 2nd of August), the residents of Catoira (Pontevedra, Galicia) stage a spectacular re-enactment of the Viking invasions that occurred a thousand years ago.
The climax of the Viking Festival from Catoira is marked by the arrival of the “invaders” on board a replica 11th-century Viking vessel with the goal of capturing Torres del Oeste Castle, a fortified structure from the 11th century that is one of the most important archaeological and historical legacies in Galicia. Local residents try to resist and attack in festive atmosphere, where the participants end up completely soaked with wine. Folk groups, a picnic with octopus, grilled sardines, pies… and the pleasant sound of typical bagpipes in the background add charm to this fiesta.
A different kind of battle, although not exactly a re-enactment, takes places every year in Buñol (Valencia). “The Tomatina” tomato festival originated from a children’s fight in 1945 and has been celebrated ever since on the last Wednesday of August (this year on the 26th of August). Participants have a wonderful time throwing tomatoes at anything that moves. Save the date, if you want to paint the town red in your next visit to Spain.
So, which summer festivals in Ireland will YOU go to? Are you tempted to also top up on your sunshine in Spain? Hope you can enjoy the best of both 🙂