Inside information & tips on what to see, do, eat, & special places to stay; Ireland, London & beyond!
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Spectres at Halloween at loftus Hall  Pic by Gerry Browne

Spectres at Halloween at Loftus Hall! Pic by Gerry Browne

Loftus Hall stirs Samhain spirits!

If you saw my article on the many events on for Halloween this year in Ireland, you saw me mention spooky all-year-round Loftus Hall. They’ve given me some more information on the spectral goings on, as well as the adult tours for Halloween at Loftus Hall. Check it out!

Spectral phenomena expected at Loftus Hall’s Halloween experience

Loftus Hall, in Co. Wexford, will celebrate Samhain, and as Ireland’s most haunted house, you can expect to experience some eerie encounters and hear some ghostly tales from Loftus Hall’s past.

For many of us, Halloween conjures up images of trick or treating, dressing in ghoulish costume, pumpkin carving or bobbing for apples.

However, these contemporary Halloween activities are based on practices dating back to the darker origins of Halloween, or Samhain.  Around 2,000 years ago in Celtic Ireland, Samhain was the division of the year between summer and winter.  During Samhain, the divide between this world and other domains was at its thinnest which gave spirits greater opportunity to pass through to this world.

Frightening goings-on at Loftus Hall, Ireland. Pic Gerry Browne

Frightening goings-on at Loftus Hall, Ireland. Pic Gerry Browne

Nestled on the Hook Peninsula in Co. Wexford in barren and austere surroundings, Loftus Hall’s heritage dates back 665 years to 1350. It is now a magnet for tourists, historians, and paranormal enthusiasts, who continue to document evidence of frequent paranormal activity in the house. Highlighting some of this activity, Loftus Hall will feature on TV3 this Halloween, with a fascinating account of an Irish Ghost Hunters Investigation.

According to Aidan Quigley, Owner of Loftus Hall, Loftus Hall is a very special, but unpredictable, place to be during Samhain. “We observe strange phenomena in the house throughout the year, but at Halloween, the house often surprises us.”

“At Loftus Hall, there is no need for overstated gory props or effects.  The house has a very twisted and tortured history, and so naturally speaks for itself. We have had reports from many ghost hunting groups and spectre seekers who recount rather unsettling results, such as significant temperature drops, particularly in the Chapel and Tapestry Room, and spikes in electro-magnetic fields, indicating an unseen energy source. Visitors to Loftus Hall continually experience and qualify these findings, and many encounter things that they can’t quite explain. ”

The Loftus Hall Samhain Tours open to the public from October 17th and visitors should expect some strange and inexplicable goings-on.

It’s not only ghost hunters who have documented ethereal activities at Loftus Hall.  Following last year’s viral “ghost photo” which hit the international headlines when tourist Thomas Beavis snapped what appeared to be a ghostly apparition in the porch way of the Hall, another visitor to Loftus Hall, Tara McMeel also captured some strange ghostly apparitions in a “selfie” shot.

The continuous visitor feedback regarding unnatural experiences, and tangible captures of evidence such as this, keeps world-wide curiosity rife about Loftus Hall and its ominous past.

Mr. Quigley revealed, “Without giving too much away about the newly designed family or adult Samhain tours, I can confirm they will both feature the re-enactment of the much heralded, infamous “dark stranger” episode. Charles Tottenham Loftus, the then custodian of the Hall in the 18th century, invited a stranger to play cards.  During the card game, as his daughter Anne who was captivated by this stranger, bent to retrieve a fallen playing card, she discovered that the invited guest had cloven hooves.  The stranger flew into a fiery rage, crashing through the roof leaving in his wake a smell of sulphur and brimstone, and the very same roof has been irreparable ever since. This Legend is synonymous with Loftus Hall, and is a fundamental part of the houses spectral history.”

If you want to experience Samhain in an authentic haunted house, Loftus Hall Hall’oween tours commence from October 17th with a range of family tours each day, adult night tours on October 24th, 25th, 30th and 31st, and the ultimate Halloween Paranormal Investigation Lockdown on the 7th November.

 

To find out more about the Daily Halloween Tours, Adult Night tours, or the Loftus Hall Halloween Lockdown at Loftus Hall visit www.loftushall.ie or call 051 397728

I’m going to a tour for Halloween at Loftus Hall myself on Saturday the 23rd, but it will be a daytime one, suitable for children & scardy cat adults! Will let you know how I fare. 😀 Keep an eye on my Twitter @VibrantIreland and Periscope @VibrantIreland


October is a terrific month to be in Ireland! SO many festivals!

And I don’t just mean the fantastic Halloween festivals, there are many, many others. I made a podcast to tell you about some of my Top Picks for October in Ireland, but in the few days after I became aware of a few more I’d like to mention. So, read on & then have a listen to the others on the podcast. Enjoy your October in Ireland 😀

Cloughtoberfest Gypsy Jazz & Swing

Gypsy Jazz Cloughtoberfest by Eoin Campbell at justmultimedia https://instagram.com/justmultimedia/

Gypsy Jazz Cloughtoberfest by Eoin Campbell at justmultimedia 

Cloughtoberfest is Ireland’s annual festival of “Hot Club” Gypsy Jazz and Swing celebrating the legacy of Django Reinhardt. It takes place in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary, and the combination of the cosy village setting with a host of lively international musicians makes for quite a unique atmosphere!
This year, the festival is celebrating its 5th anniversary by extending the festival for an extra day… which means even more amazing, uplifting music, workshops and free fringe events right through the October Bank Holiday weekend. Concerts are all held in the intimate setting of Cloughjordan House, bringing together some of the world’s finest guitarists… and if you play yourself, you might just be invited onto the stage! After the concerts there are legendary jam sessions going on into the wee small hours, where you get to play right alongside the festival stars.
All-Stars invite the audience onto the stage at Cloughtoberfest 2013 (c) by Patrick Bridgeman at Best Self

All-Stars invite the audience onto the stage at Cloughtoberfest 2013 (c) by Patrick Bridgeman at Best Self

There’s lots more music to enjoy at “Trad Manouche” sessions all around town where Gypsy Jazz meets local Trad, “Devlesa”, a gypsy campfire BBQ, or you can brush up your guitar or violin skills at a music masterclass with one of the headline performers. The fringe programme also includes swing dance, film shows and much more to keep you busy. With a great selection of fine Irish foods and craft beers to keep up your strength, this weekend is the perfect autumn pick-you-up to keep you swingin’ right through the winter!

This will be the final outing for this quirky festival, so make sure you don’t miss out.  Full details, ticket bookings etc. can be found atwww.cloughtoberfest.com

My podcast is below, and underneath that is a quick listing of even more October festivals in Ireland

Top Tips for October Events in Ireland

The Belfast International Arts Festival 9 October to 1 November 2015

Cuisle: Limerick City International Poetry Festival 14 October to 18 October 2015

The Waterford Festival of Architecture  13- 18 October 2015 (check out the interesting guided walks!)

The Imagine Arts Festival in Waterford, 15 October to 25 October 2015

The Cork Jazz Festival 22 October to 26 October 2015

Links for festivals mentioned in the podcast:

Savour Kilkenny

The Burren Winterage Weekend

Wexford Fringe Festival

Many Halloween Festivals can be found here

Spirits of Meath

What will you do this October in Ireland?

 


Are you a cultural adventurer?

Are you a cultural adventurer?
(Note: this is not a real child- it’s a Patricia Piccinini sculpture!)

Are YOU a Cultural Adventurer?

Do you have a healthy curiosity and enjoy seeing, hearing, experiencing, or trying new-to-you things?

Then you may well be a cultural adventurer!

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines cultural as:

: of or relating to a particular group of people and their habits, beliefs, traditions, etc.

: of or relating to the fine arts (such as music, theater, painting, etc.)

Culture certainly includes food, craft, film, and ways of interacting with nature, though sometimes these aren’t the first things that come to mind when we think of the word. Additionally, we often don’t associate the word adventure with culture. But perhaps we should!

Cultural adventure; exploring Architects of Air's multicoloured luminarium

Cultural adventure; exploring Architects of Air’s multi-coloured luminarium.

Merriam Webster has this to say about adventure:

: an exciting or remarkable experience <an adventure in exotic dining>

So I reckon, that if you are a curious person who finds it exciting/stimulating to experience cultural things, you are a cultural adventurer. You may not be adventurous in lots of cultural aspects– maybe you’d go hear some modern experimental music, see a play by an ‘unknown’ playwright, or join in an art-felting workshop, but you’d never want to try unusual foods (see below!)– but, sure, we all have different interests and joys. In my definition a cultural adventurer is someone who is excited about at least one aspect of culture, and is willing to explore something a bit different within it from time to time.

So, what events are on, what’s happening, what’s buzzing that may be of interest to us cultural adventurers?

I’m going gather the scoop and let you know! I’ll be doing new monthly posts on my picks for all you Cultural Adventurers. You’ll be able to find it here on vibrantireland.com under the Cultural Adventurer tab.

If you can’t wait for the first Cultural Adventurer specific post, you will find some general event picks & my podcast on October festivals (mostly non-Halloween ones,) here. One mentioned there that might quite interest some of you cultural adventurers who desire a good dose of the countryside, is the Burren Winterage Weekend, on now; do have a look.

If you have an event, show, exhibition, book, film, workshop/class or such that you think may be of interest to cultural adventurers, do let me know. You can let me know at helloATvibrantirelandDOTcom. Thanks!

Happy Adventuring! PS: Eating bull penis, a traditional food of Poland, was a cultural adventure too far for me. But Suzanna of Zwartbles Ireland, in true cultural adventurer style, had a nibble. In fact, she ate the whole slice! A good bit of fun at Waterford Harvest Festival 😀


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

>> BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW <<

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 www.pumpkinfestival.ie

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.

See www.huntingtoncastle.com 

 

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: shankillcastle.com/scarefest2015/  

Too Scary? How about a gentle Halloween Spooktacular?

HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR 2015

Friday 23rd October – Sunday 1st November

Limerick Spooktacular viaHalloween events Ireland halloweenspooktacular.ie

Limerick Spooktacular via halloweenspooktacular.ie

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: halloweenspooktacular.ie

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!

Picture


DRACULA’S DUBLIN!

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

 

DRAGONS!

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! 

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/www.barrycronin.com

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

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/www.barrycronin.com 087-9598549 info@barrycronin.com

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

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!

***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! 

 


Did you see any Super Blood Moon Ireland photographs on Twitter?

We were so lucky in Ireland to have mostly clear skies for the SuperMoon and Blood Moon eclipse!

I’ve gathered up some ace photos from the night so you can see them all in one place. I’ve also a tiny video clip I made in the Storify section below, and if you’d like the see the whole video I’ve popped it in at the bottom of this supermoon photo post 🙂 NOTE: Will pop it in shortly– poor data connection not allowing upload at the minute.


Star of the Sea play by Moonfish Theatre

Star of the Sea, Moonfish Theatre

Star of the Sea, a play based on Joseph O’Connor’s award winning novel, is Moonfish Theatre’s latest production.

You will have a good chance to see it this Autumn, as the play is touring around Ireland, including Dublin as part of Dublin Theatre Festival. Star of the Sea was a sell-out hit at Galway International Arts Festival last year and there’s a fantastic buzz about the fact it’s touring & coming to the Theatre Festival.

Star of the Sea addresses the complexity of the Famine, and the individual tragedies that are often lost among statistics. As well as capturing the epic nature of O’Connor’s book, it breaths a new life into the characters through the use of languages, traditional song and movement. It’s told in English and Irish, and is totally accessible to all, even those with no Irish.

 

What the critics said about the Star of the Sea play:

“A lesson in theatre magic … captures an extraordinary and devastating story” Irish Daily Mail * * * *

“Gorgeously assembled theatre” Irish Times * * * *

About the production:

In 1847 the famine-ship Star of the Sea sets sail for New York.  Among the passengers are those with secrets to hide – a silent maidservant, a ruined landlord, and an infamous murderer. Using Moonfish’s signature bi-lingual style, the journey comes to life as six performers blend projection, physicality, live sound effects and music to conjure the worlds of the characters on a bare stage.

See what Joseph O’Connor, author of the original Star of the Sea novel, has to say about why he allowed Moonfish Theatre to make this adaption from his book when he had turned down so many others:

 

STAR of the SEA – National Tour 2015

An Taibhdhearc, Galway – September 16th – 19th – Book tickets for An Taibhdhearc
Draíocht, Blanchardstown, Dublin (as part of Dublin Theatre Festival) – September 24th – 26th – Book tickets for Draíocht
Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar – October 1st – Book tickets for The Linenhall
Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny – October 3rd – Book tickets for the Watergate Theatre
GB Shaw Theatre, Carlow – October 7th – Book tickets for Visual / GB Shaw Theatre
Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge – October 9th – 10th – Book tickets for Riverbank Arts Centre
Siamsa Tíre, Tralee – October 14th – Book tickets for Siamsa Tíre
The Source Arts Centre, Thurles – October 17th – Book tickets for the Source Arts Centre
Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo – October 21st – Book tickets for the Hawk’s Well Theatre
Solstice Arts Centre, Navan – October 24th – Book tickets for Solstice Arts Centre

 

Keep up with Moonfish Theatre here:

Website: www.moonfishtheatre.com

 
Funded through an Arts Council Touring Grant, with support from Foras Na Gaeilge and Galway City Council.  Moonfish Theatre Company is a member of Ag Roinnt, a Branar Téatar theatre resource sharing initiative funded by the Arts Council.

The joys of rural Ireland: 3 videos; snippets of wildlife, farm life, & seaside life 

From the interactions via Vibrant Ireland I know many of you feel that rural Ireland is special. All the amazingly varied shades of green (did you know the human eye can see more shades in green than any other colour?), the abundant rainbows, the animals & the landscape speak to us in a manner that manages to both relax and invigorate.

we see the most shades of colour in green

Lately I’ve started recording some videos; I generally share them on the Vibrant Ireland & Travel Facebook page first (do give it a Like if you haven’t already, thanks!) Here are a few recent clips featuring some delights of the Irish countryside: wildlife in the form of playful Pine Martens, farm life in a modern horse round-up (see if you can spot the rainbows), and seaside life along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way on Loop Head peninsula in county Clare. I hope you enjoy!

Elusive Pine Martens, playing! Video:

“The pine marten is considered one of the rarest and most elusive wildlife species in Ireland. Once common throughout the country, by the 20th century the species had become extinct from the majority of Ireland, surviving only in a few isolated and fragmented populations mainly in the west.” Read more of the information on Pine Martens at mammals-in-ireland.ie  I have been lucky enough to see them a few times this summer, especially this pair here. I think they may be youngsters? Any pine marten experts reading that may know, do tell, thank you! One recent morning we were thrilled to see them playing jump & hide on our wall! Here’s the video clip:

 

Irish Rainbow by Vibrant Ireland

Look up! there are plenty of rainbows in Ireland 🙂

 

Farm Life: horses & rainbows! Video:

Come to Ireland and chances are you’ll see a rainbow at some point. This past week has seen plenty as the weather does its characteristic frequent changes from sunshine to showers to sunshine again. Along our country laneways, under a rainbow filled sky, horses were being moved from one field to another a few miles down the road. Can you spot the rainbows in the video? They are more vivid in person, so when in Ireland, keep your eye on the sky 🙂

 

Seaside Life; Wild Atlantic Way video:

Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way route stretches for 2,500 kilometers along the western side of the country. Lots of you know of the Cliffs of Moher along the route, but did you know that Loop Head has stunning sea cliffs too? And it is very much less crowded than the Cliffs of Moher. If you enjoy getting off the massive tourist-bus track, you won’t go wrong spending time exploring the Loop Head peninsula. Maybe even take the plunge into the sea as these kids & adults did near the natural Bridge of Ross! We brought our dog Jessie along, but she preferred to watch the waves rather than swim. Jessie also wanted to go see the Holy Well on Loop Head, but her big Rottweiler chest was too wide to pass through the gap in the rocks! This photo was taken right after she nearly got stuck– the incident was funny after I got over the moment of panic that she was permanently wedged in!

Jessie wanted to go see the Holy Well on Loop Head, but was too wide to pass through the gap in the rocks. took this right after she nearly got stuck-- was funny after I got over a moment of panic that she was permanently wedged in!

Jessie & Loop Head holy well rocks

This was my first visit to Loop Head, but I’m certainly coming back to explore its wild & wonderful natural life and scenery in the different seasons. Plus, you can go dolphin watching!

TIP: We loved Kilbaha Gallery & Crafts; do stop there for a browse and lovely coffee & cake or bit of lunch. Be warned you will likely be tempted if you love books on the areas you visit- I had to restrain myself; so many with beautiful photos, about the local flora & fauna, history and so on. I was very good and just got one book this trip..and one print from a local artist..and one…well, you get my drift! 😀 The gals there are so very nice, and you can get a flavour for the welcome & friendliness and over on their Facebook page, where you can also check with them if you’ve any questions about opening times as this can vary with the seasons.

 


Loftus Hall, Ireland's most haunted house!

Loftus Hall, Ireland’s most haunted house!

Battle Cries at Loftus Hall

Ireland’s most haunted house celebrates its rich and bloody heritage.

Here’s another reason to head out to Wexford’s wild & wonderful Hook Peninsula— Loftus Hall is having a new festival! They’ve told me & I’m passing it on to you:

It was 845 years ago when Raymond Le Gros brought his ships to Baginbun Head, Fethard, County Wexford. Instructed and equipped with just 10 knights and 70 archers by Strongbow, it seemed unlikely that this humble beginning of the Norman Invasion of Ireland would be successful… but never underestimate a Norman, especially not Raymond Le Gros! To celebrate this momentous and pivotal point in Ireland’s history, “the creeke of Baginbun, where Ireland was lost and won, Loftus Hall will be hosting “A Norman Knight” The Raymond Le Gros Festival, on Saturday the 5th & the Sunday 6th September, 2015.

With the Hall’s own 666th year Anniversary looming in 2016, this is set to be just the beginning of Loftus Hall’s up and coming varied offerings. “The scale of potential here at Loftus Hall is immense”, claimed Anne Power, a Loftus Hall staff member. “We are really looking forward to developing Loftus Halls historical offerings over the next 18­24 months, whilst maintaining the strides we have made this year into the more paranormal side of the Halls attraction. With Halloween just around the corner too, there’s always something exciting and different going on at Irelands most haunted house, Loftus Hall: and that’s what makes it such an amazing place to visit again and again.”

Redmond hall; before it was Loftus hall

Redmond hall; before it was Loftus hall

Loftus Hall, originally Redmond Hall, was built by direct descendants of Raymond Le Gros. Situated on the beautiful & wild Hook Peninsula in county Wexford, Loftus Hall welcomes all for this new and exciting festival. As well as Loftus Hall’s daytime house tours, visitors will be able to: explore a Norman village in the walled gardens, enjoy archery demonstrations,hear traditional music, and on the Saturday night, be a part of a battle banquet and slavery auction. (!?)

The owner of Loftus Hall, Aidan Quigley, has a strong passion for this period of history and its inextricable connection with Loftus Hall. “This festival will be a fitting way to end our 2015 summer season. Raymond Le Gros is an extraordinary character from Ireland’s history, and played a crucial role in the Norman Invasion of Ireland. The heritage of the Hook Peninsula is unbelievably rich, and it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to share this with visitors from Ireland and overseas.”

 

Waterford Living History group will be at Loftus Hall

Waterford Living History group will be at Loftus Hall

Loftus Hall owners and staff are delighted to involve a local Norman reenactment group, Waterford’s Living History group, in the “A Norman Knight” festival. As well as setting up a Norman village in Loftus Halls walled gardens, they will be on hand to share all they know about the Normans; how they fought, lived, and how they were so successful.
One of the founding members of Waterford’s Living History group, Darren Golding, is extremely excited to be taking part in this festival. “From the very first inception of the
Waterford Living History group three years ago, we have been trying to find a way of including the first Norman landing into our activities. So when Loftus Hall contacted us, we jumped at the opportunity. It will be a fantastic event in a spectacular location.”

Loftus Halls “A Norman Knight” The Raymond Le Gros Festival will take place on Saturday the 5th and Sunday 6th of September 2015 at Loftus Hall, Hook Head, County Wexford. To find out more visit www.loftushall.ie or call 051 397728.

PS: Did you know that you can Whale Watch in the Hook Peninsula area? You can even go on a whale watch boat tour at certain times of year. It’s fantastic 😀


Waterford served up on a plate at Waterford Harvest Festival

Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. Paul Power, Head Chef, Bellissimo and Emma Lye (11) getting ready for the “EAT Waterford” Marquee on the Mall event, which will take place during the Waterford Harvest Festival, which runs from September 11th to 13th. EAT Waterford, an exciting collective of Waterford restaurants, will offer diners a five course tasting menu, prepared by the participating restaurants using fresh, seasonal ingredients, sourced from local producers. www.waterfordharvestfestival.ie Pic Patrick Browne

Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. Paul Power, Head Chef, Bellissimo, & Emma Lye (11) get ready for the “EAT Waterford” Marquee on the Mall event.
Pic: Patrick Browne

Waterford Harvest Festival 2015 promises a congruence of sights, sounds, tastes and aromas with cookery demonstrations, foodie films, tastings and workshops, all making Waterford City one big street party for Harvest weekend!

It’s that time again! I’ve been to this tasty food festival many times, and enjoyed every mouthful. Now I’ve been give the scoop on what’s planned for 2015. The Sea Gardener sounds especially interesting. I’ve made dishes with seaweed & done seaweed foraging myself & I recommend that you check out this stall and find out a bit more.

With a tasty, jam – packed program of events scheduled for Waterford Harvest Festival 2015 September 11 to 13, an exciting collaboration of Waterford restaurants is flying the flag for local producers.

This food festival has an emphasis on all things fun, food and family.  The wide and eclectic programme of free events for all includes:

The Festival Market on the Mall

Farm to Fork, The Big Taste

Enterprising Food Market

Trad Craft Corner

Harvest Time in the Garden

The Ballybricken Festival Fair

Harvest Kitchen

Play ‘n’ Picnic in the Park.

The premise of this year’s Harvest Festival is Waterford Food Heroes and “EAT Waterford”, a collective of Waterford restaurants and hotels will champion the best of local produce.  Set in the Marquee on the Mall, in the heart of the Viking Triangle, diners will be able to enjoy a five course tasting menu, prepared by the participating restaurants using fresh, seasonal ingredients, sourced from local producers.

The Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. Harvesting the sea in Waterford are Marie Power, aka The Sea Gardener, foraging with helpers Katie and Harry Earl on Garrarus beach Tramore Co. Waterford

The Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. Harvesting the sea in Waterford are Marie Power, aka The Sea Gardener, foraging with helpers Katie and Harry Earl on Garrarus beach near Tramore in Co. Waterford.

The group’s food philosophy and how EAT Waterford is committed to shining the spotlight on Waterford as a burgeoning food tourism destination was explained by Paul Power, Head Chef with Waterford’s Bellissimo Restaurant, a member of EAT Waterford. “The last ten years have seen an exciting, passionate food movement in Waterford.  There has been the development of a food philosophy that values local and regional produce and from that ensures the best dining experience for customers.”

“Waterford and its surrounds are spoilt with a fantastic array of great growers and producers and, of course, natural resources, so there is no excuse for restaurants to provide sub-standard dining experiences.”

All of the EAT Waterford restaurants are ardent supporters of artisan producers and there is currently an exciting cohort of such producers in Waterford.  The home of the blaa, rashers and even the humble cream cracker has inspired a generation of local producers of great meat, seafood, breads, vegetables, beer and spirits.

“EAT Waterford was formed earlier this year to harness local restaurants that adhere to a similar food philosophy and those that recognise the value of working together to raise the profile of our vibrant restaurant scene.”

The EAT Waterford Marquee on the Mall takes place throughout Waterford Harvest Festival 2015 with sittings at 7pm on Friday, September 11th, 1pm, 5pm and 8.30pm on Saturday, September 12th and 2pm and 4.30pm on Sunday, September 13th.

Tickets, at €35pp, can be purchased from participating restaurants; Loko, La Boheme, L’Atmosphere, Bellissimo and Zak’s Restaurant (Athenaeum House Hotel).

Launched in Spring 2015, EAT Waterford offers locals and visitors alike a comprehensive insight into the world class dining experience available in Waterford city and surrounds.

An informative downloadable guide on www.eatwaterford.ie provides details such as theme, price range, menu options, and accessibility.  The restaurants involved in the initiative range from classical French fine dining to traditional Asian cuisine and casual American style dining to time-honoured fresh Irish fayre.

According to Fiona McHardy, CEO of The Viking Triangle, Waterford’s cultural and heritage quarter, “This collaboration is an exciting example of the strength of co-working and what can be achieved by businesses who ordinarily compete with each other to attract visitors to our city.  In essence, the businesses, tourists and locals will all benefit.”

 The Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. Harvesting the sea in Waterford is Marie Power, aka The Sea Gardener, foraging on Garrarus beach near Tramore in Co. Waterford. Pic: Patrick Browne

The Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. Harvesting the sea in Waterford is Marie Power, aka The Sea Gardener, foraging on Garrarus beach near Tramore in Co. Waterford. Pic: Patrick Browne

The Sea Gardener

One of the most interesting and original participants in this year’s Waterford Harvest Festival is Tramore woman Marie Power.

Marie Power, aka The Sea Gardener, is a Waterford-based seaweed forager, educator, food producer and author of a cookbook and foraging guide called “The Sea Garden.” Marie will be educating the public about the benefits of seaweed and showcasing her latest products as part of the Waterford Chamber Skillnet Big Taste tent in the city centre.

Research shows that seaweeds are rich in such compounds and, by virtue of their abundant availability in the marine ecosystem, they have the potential to become an excellent source of properties such as polysaccharides, omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids, vitamins and minerals.

The Sea Gardener launched a range of healthy protein snack bars in 2014, and soon after, a savoury caponata, all containing her own special blend of seaweeds. These innovative and tasty foods are broadening the appeal of seaweeds and are now stocked in stores in Waterford, Cork, Wexford, Kilkenny and Dublin.

Marie has always been interested in wildlife and she now combines her passion for food and ecology in The Sea Gardener business. “We are interested in the source of our food and in making the link between the origin and consumption of food as short and simple as possible.” The business is growing rapidly, with interest in foraging, cookery, healthy eating and food provenance appearing to be the main drivers. Seaweed has always been part of Co. Waterford and Ireland’s food heritage and is undergoing a revival of interest – The Sea Gardener has now made it look and taste good for a wider public!

All roads lead to Waterford from September 11th to 13th, 2015  If you want to know more, the Waterford Harvest Festival full programme of events is available on www.waterfordharvestfestival.ie

Be sure to keep up to date on all things Harvest Fest by checking it out on Facebook and Twitter #WaterfoodHeroes and #WhattheFork

If you’d like to see posts on past Waterford Harvest Festivals, here are Waterford Harvest Festival 2011, Waterford Harvest Festival 2012  & here & here and  here is Waterford Harvest Festival 2014 


Summer festivals in Ireland -- Sunflower Fest in Lisburn & More!

Summer festivals in Ireland — Sunflower Fest in Lisburn & More!

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!

Plein Air Painting Festival in Wexford Ireland 2015

Plein Air Painting Festival in Wexford

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

 

Summer festival fun in Lisburn

Summer festival fun in Lisburn

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.”

Website: birrvintageweek.com

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

Music in Lisburn ©Brian Thompson Photography

Music at Festivals Lisburn ©Brian Thompson Photography

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.

Hilden Beer & Music Festival

Enjoy a tipple at Hilden Beer & Music Festival

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!

Music at Hilden Beer & Music Festival

Music at Hilden Beer & Music Festival

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

 

The Claire Lynch band will play Dunmore East Bluegrass summer festival in Ireland

The Claire Lynch band will play Dunmore East Bluegrass summer festival in Ireland

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 bluegrass@eircom.net 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?

The Viking invasion festival in Spain

The Viking invasion festival 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 🙂