Inside information & tips on what to see, do, eat, & special places to stay; Ireland, London & beyond!
Vibrant Ireland

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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?

 


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! 

 


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 😀


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 🙂


Art In The Open.Paint Out!

Europe’s largest Art in the Open Festival to take place in the Southeast of Ireland

Go see! Folk from all around the world are coming to Ireland for this unique art festival. I’m quite excited that one of the paint out locations will be here in medieval Graiguenamanagh! If you haven’t visited Graig yet, here’s what Art In The open have to say:

Graiguenamanagh or Graignamanagh (Irish: Gráig na Manach, meaning “village of the monks”) is a town in County Kilkenny, Ireland. It is located on the R705 regional road by the border with County Carlow on the River Barrow at the foot of Brandon Hill. It is home to Duiske Abbey, the largest and perhaps the finest of the thirty-four medieval Cistercian abbeys in Ireland.
This pretty medieval village nestles in the beautiful river Barrow valley about 6 miles north of the Coachouse. It has been called Ireland’s best kept secret and is a veritable treasure trove of varied scenery, ancient buildings, canal boating, river and hill walks, crafts, traditional pubs restaurants.

dog waiting outside Coffee on High cafe, Graiguenamanagh Ireland

Will you bring me out a treat? Waiting patiently at Coffee On High, Graiguenamanagh.

The Graig Paint Out will be Tuesday, 29 July, 2014 and be sure to pop into some of Graig’s treasures like Cushendale traditional woollen mill. You can get local & Irish made products there, in Duiske Glass, and scrummy local food products & local craft in Coffee On High cafe. Be sure to look for Graiguenamanagh man Edward Hayden’s fab cookbook on sale there; Edward’s one of Ireland’s top celebrity chefs as well as being a genuinely nice guy!

TIP:  Cushendale closes for lunch 1230-130, and sometimes Duiske Glass, too, so that maybe a good time to go to Coffee On High 😀

If you’d like to check out other posts on Graiguenamanagh, they are here.

Here’s the scoop on the Art in the Open festival:

Thousands of pieces of art will be created at paint out locations across the Southeast of Ireland next week as Europe’s largest outdoor Art Festival ‘Art in the Open’ takes place from Monday, July 28 until Monday, August 4.

 A huge number of well known international artists will descend on the Irish countryside next week, with artists attending from twelve different countries including Russia, Sweden, Jamaica, Israel and many parts of the U.S, Europe and all across Ireland to participate.

The concept of an Art in the Open festival is that all of the work is created outdoors, on location. Artists arrive at a ‘paint-out’ site with blank canvases, these canvases are stamped on the back acknowledging the artist is starting from scratch and over the next couple of hours at the ‘paint-out’ location the artists attempt to capture the light and the atmosphere of the Irish countryside.  At the end of the festival, the best 250 paintings are selected for a massive exhibition with artists competing for over €5000 in awards.

The public can watch the creative painting process at any of the six Art in The Open paint-out locations across the Southeast:

Courtown, north Wexford: 28 July
Graiguenamanagh, county Kilkenny: 29 July
Enniscorthy in Wexford: 30 July
the village of Ballyhack, county Wexford: 31 July
Clonegal in county Wicklow: 1 Aug
and Wexford town,: 2 & 3 Aug, and where on Saturday 2nd the registered artists and the public will compete in a Charity Quick Draw at1pm in the Selskar area, with the funds going to Wexford Hospice HomeCare.

Some of the festival highlights include a free lecture at the world renowned Wexford Opera House by Spanish artist, Paloma Pelaez Bravo on Bank Holiday Monday, August 4th. Painting workshops and demonstrations with well-known international artists, including Dot Courson (Mississippi), Valerie Craig (Philadelphia), Billyo O’Donnell (Missouri), Aaron Schuerr (Montana) and Antti Rautiola from Finland to name just a few.

Commenting on the upcoming festival Chairperson, Neil O’Keeffe says,

“We are overwhelmed with the level of interest that the festival has received from artists and the public who love to watch the creative process and who look forward to the exhibition. Up to 180 artists will take part and all of these artists will create numerous pieces of art ‘live’ during the festival, they will then choose their best pieces to exhibit at the end of the festival, culminating in an art exhibition of 250 pieces which will be open to the public to view at Whites of Wexford.”

The Art in the Open festival runs from July 28 to August 4

I’ve included their Art in the Open video from 2013 below, and  for further details see www.artintheopen.org

PS: there’s LOADS on this end July & start August in Ireland. Click here to see some more events you may enjoy.


Blue Raincoat Theatre Co_ A Brief Taste of Lightening at Tread Softly festival

Blue Raincoat Theatre Co A Brief Taste of Lightening. On at Tread Softly festival, Sligo

Wondering what’s on?

Flea markets, battle reenactment, art exhibits, paint-outs, craft talks, music, fashion & family fun–it’s all happening!

I’ve had some interesting events notices land in my email from all over Ireland, & I figured I better pass ’em on so you can sort out your calendars before its too late. Whether you’re looking for things to do when visiting Ireland over the next few weeks or are looking for a local day out, peruse & choose! 😀

 

To start off with, in Kilkenny you can enjoy exhibits of craft, and art:

 

EXHIBITION: Up From Earth Show NCG Grads 2014 'Up from Earth'

18July–3 August

An exhibition of ceramics from the students of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramics Skills & Design Course, curated by Gus Mabelson. Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramics Skills & Design Course is a unique two-year intensive programme designed to equip graduates with the practical skills to
 develop careers in the ceramics industry.

Located at the beautiful Island Mill, Thomastown, this extremely successful course has established an excellent reputation in the industry both nationally and internationally, and many of its graduates have gone on to establish international careers. The biennial graduation exhibition is an opportunity to spot stars of the future. Up From Earth will be launched by Jack Doherty, internationally renowned ceramicist, at 6.30pm on Friday 18 July.

LATE DATE: Meet the Makers

DCCoI Ceramics Course 2014 graduates with Tutor Gus Mablesonhttps://pixel-design.createsend.com/campaign/content/edit/cede9b82d6821fc5?origin=Default#

Thurs 24 July, 6.30pm

An informal evening of discussion and sharing with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramics Course Graduates, class of 2014. Each maker will chat through their practices and processes focusing on the works in the exhibition. Meet the makers and have a glass of wine.

National Craft Gallery, Castle Yard, Kilkenny FREE


Felicity Clear

Drawings Plans Projections

June 14 – July 27, 2014

The Butler Gallery is delighted to present Drawings Plans Projections, an exhibition by Felicity Clear, which includes wall drawings, structures and animation.

Clear’s earlier work included precise large-scale drawings using graphite and acrylic on paper of high-rise modernist building schemes, suburban parking lots, and ghost cranes hovering over building sites with wide empty skies. These drawings were occasionally populated by trees but rarely ever with people.

Clear has made a shift in her practice in the past few years,and broadened out into more abstract ideas of structure, stability and failure. The recent drawings describe structures that are untenable, and ambiguous as to their beginning, middle and end. The process begins with the making of small-scale simple wooden structures that are intuitive and quickly constructed and reference architectural models. Studio lights cast two-way shadows of the models back onto paper, which are then drawn in pencil. Clear expands upon her process:

Felicity Clear at Butler GalleryWhen the structures are taken away there is a gap in perspectival logic, which makes the drawings difficult for the eye to interpret.  There is also a good deal of repetition in the work; repetitive pencil marks and repetition in the making of the models, where there is a potentially infinite supply of different solutions in a never-ending pursuit of an impossible or undeclared goal.

Clear has become interested in the use of projection to generate large wall drawings. This led her in a whole new direction, involving screen and moving image, and ultimately towards the use of animation to fulfil new ideas.  In a work entitled ‘Blueprints’, three structures revolve through space in a stop-go animation. In its making each element has been drawn, rubbed out and drawn again, moving slightly each time. Eventually the drawings form a loop and appear to be revolving again and again, with each individual drawing leaving a trace, referencing the handmade.

A large-scale drawing, ‘here’s the thing,’ flows down the wall and out onto the gallery floor leading the viewer inwards to consider its multiple drawing propositions. The varied structures, which have become more complicated and self-contained over time, cast myriad shadows back onto the drawing, distorting our perceptions. It is not clear where light ends and wall begins.

In Drawings Plans Projections, we survey Clear’s ideas at work and at play, punctuating the galleries with experimentation, whimsy and skill.

Felicity Clear is from Greystones, Co. Wicklow but lives and works in Dublin. After receiving a degree in Natural Science from Trinity College Dublin, she went on to study Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design from which she graduated in 1991. She received an MA in Visual Arts Practice in 2007 from Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design. Clear has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally and has had solo exhibitions at the Rubicon Gallery and The Lab in Dublin, the Mermaid Arts Centre in Wicklow, the Galway Arts Centre, and The Drawing Project, Dún Laoghaire. She has also been included in group exhibitions at Limerick City Gallery, Crawford Art Gallery, Irish Museum Of Modern Art, National Gallery Of Ireland, Contemporary Arts Society London and the Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum.Her work appears in many private and public collections including, the Arts Council Of Ireland, Goldman Sachs UK, KPMG, Office Of Public Works, Dublin Institute Of Technology, RTÈ, Tralee RTC, Allied Irish Bank, Irish Contemporary Arts Society and private collections.

www.felicityclear.com

Butler Gallery at The Castle, Kilkenny, Ireland

t: + 353 56 7761106  e: info@butlergallery.com  www.butlergallery.com

flower carlow garden festival

Don’t forget to check out Kilkenny Arts festival, 8-17 August, too!

Staying in the sunny southeast, in county Carlow you can feed your flower fetish and enjoy gorgeous gardens at the Carlow Garden Festival– I’ve a whole post on it, with how to win tickets & other prizes, here.

And in county Wexford, there’s tons on too:

 

Art in the Open Festival  2014

Wexford will host Europe’s largest outdoor Art Festival as ‘Art in the Open’ takes place from July 28 until Aug 4.

Six spectacular ‘Paint-outs’ are the core of Art in the Open Festival where artists will take to some of the Southeasts most stunning scenery, charming villages and historic towns including Courtown, Graignamanagh, Enniscorthy, Ballyhack, Clonegal, and Wexford Town, where they will create a masterpiece of the vista.

Art In The Open. The festival culminates in a giant exhibition of all the pieces created, featuring 2,500 paintings exhibited in Wexford town. Festivalgoers can join the artists or observe the creative process, enjoy workshops, a quickdraw or a painter’s pint.

For further details see visitwexford.ie

 

 

Vinegar Hill Battle ReEnactment, Aug 1- 3

Witness history unfold this August Bank Holiday weekend and make tracks for Enniscorthy as the town hosts Ireland’s largest Battle Reenactment. Vinegar Hill is the venue for a free re-creation of the 1798 Battle of Vinegar Hill.

Experience life as an 18th Century redcoat, learn about the heroic pikemen of ’98, or see blacksmiths preparing for battle. Why not even enlist to take part and re-live a momentous scene from Irelands’ history books.Battle Vinegar Hill Battle Reenactment

See www.visitwexford.ie

Gorey Market House Festival – August Bank Holiday Weekend 2014 – July 31 to August 3.

The very best in music, fashion and family fun. North Wexford’s premier open air Festival is even bigger and better this year with Live outdoor music from Jack L, Corner Boy, White Chalk and Riptide Movement. Plus, exhibitions, tons of kids fun, market day, Ireland’s only open air street fashion extravaganza with Brendan Courtney and lots more.

It’s a festival for all the family over the August Bank Holiday Weekend. Check out the fun Jam ‘N’ Jam competition featuring three categories ‘Best Strawberry’, ‘Best Raspberry’ and ‘Best Unusual Combination.’ Irish food writer Biddy White Lennon will award a prize of €100 for the 1st place entries, €50 for 2nd place and a Jam making kit for 3rd place. The pot of jam dubbed ‘Best in Show’ will win the overall prize of €200.

See www.visitwexford.ie

Head to the wild & beautiful northwest and you can Tread Softly at the fabulous Yeats festival (dedicated post here,) or find some vintage treasures at the Sligo Flea Market:

Sligo Flea Market, 19 July

Are you hunting for something unique? A special dress for your upcoming Debs, or have a summer event coming up? Look no further as Sligo’s only indoor vintage, vinyl and craft market returns to The Model on 19 July for the second of a trio of markets taking place throughout the summer. Stallholders will be selling one of a kind vintage dresses from the 1950s to the 1970s, with costume jewellery to match!

sligo flea market 2The spacious, cool interior of the historic Model building is perfectly suited for comfortably browsing the stalls of vinyl records, local crafts and illustrators, bric a brac, costume jewellery and vintage clothing.

The market will be open to the public between 12-5pm, there is free Wi-Fi in the building, and after an afternoon of browsing and buying, visitors can unwind at The Model Café, located in the bright central atrium of The Model.

If you’d like to apply for a stall, we are currently accepting applications for our final summer market (23 August). Visit our Facebook page at Facebook.com/SligoFleaMarket

You can follow the activity of the Sligo Flea, from stallholders, live updates and all the latest news, on Facebook, instagram and twitter, and by using the hashtag #SligoFlea

 

In the lake studded county of Cavan, you can catch the Cavan Theatre Festival:

Cavan Theatre Festival will host a four day theatre festival from 17th to 20th July 2014. Officially launched at the Abbey Theatre, during the celebrations of World Theatre Day on 27th March, it will provide a new and ambitious platform for theatre artists both local and national to perform and network. Some Flood at Cavan Theatre festival

Cavan is a county buzzing with arts and culture, the Cavan Theatre Festival’s Kieron Smith (Artistic Director) and the Cavan Theatre Festival team are aiming to showcase some of the best plays produced nationwide.

Kilkenny’s Devious Theatre Company will be opening the festival with Some Flood. Terry and I saw this in Kilkenny and we quite enjoyed it– do go! You can download the full theatre festival program over on This is Cavan and check out the Cavan Theatre Festival’s Facebook page, too. (I found their website didn’t work well for me..)

And if all these fab events leave you in need of a refreshing break, well, I can tell you from experience that Cavan’s historic hotel & spa gem, Farnham Estate, will see you right! Enjoy filling your calendar with fun 😀

treatment room, Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Cavan

One of the treatment rooms, pic via Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Cavan.


Lamb traffic jam in the Kilkenny hills, Ireland

Lamb traffic jam in the Kilkenny hills, Ireland

It’s cool to be part of this herd!

People from all over the world will be heading to the fun-filled Golden Shears Sheep & Wool Festival May 22-24 2014. You should, too!

Ireland has scored an international coup with individual competitors and teams from China and Russia now registered to travel and compete at the 16th Golden Shears World Sheep Shearing & Wool Handling Championships, a unique festival of farming and family fun will have 300+ competitors from 30 different countries compete over four days of wooly fun. 6,600 sheep, provided by farmers in Wexford and countrywide, will be specifically treated and prepared for shearing during the Championships!

The Cat Shepherd of Zwartbles Ireland

The Cat Shepherd of Zwartbles Ireland

If you follow The Cat Shepherd and/or Suzanna from Zwartbles Ireland, be sure to go on the weekend, as she’ll be there with her special wool blankets and some of her wonderful photos of the Farm & the animal characters there. I’m also excited to see Wexford artist & maker Roisin Markham’s exhibition From Sheep To Frame. The Golden Shears Festival in Gorey is going to be some fun, and my tip would be to have a county Wexford holiday break and combine Golden Shears with the Wexford Food and Wine Festival on in Wexford town. Sunny Southeast  Ireland vacations are tops!

More about Golden Shears Ireland 2014:

Activities highlighting the best of Irish agriculture, heritage, food and music from the 22nd to 25th May in Gorey include Sheep Breed Shows, the ICM FBD Young Shepherd Competition, sheep dog trials, Queen of the Wool pageant in conjunction with Macra na Feirme, vintage display, arts and crafts marquee, photography and design hall, dog show, children’s entertainment, wool and felt demos, as well as local and national businesses trading goods from Thursday to Sunday.

To add to this, a number of tailored Irish Cultural heritage demos by Visit Wexford are scheduled. The GOOD FOOD IRELAND® VILLAGE will highlight Ireland’s Culture through its food where visitors can experience a real taste of Ireland and meet the people behind the products.

The GOOD FOOD IRELAND® VILLAGE will be the place to chill out, meet new people and share food with friends and family. Visitors will be able to have a “dine around Ireland” experience and savour the taste and flavours of the very best of Irish food. Visitors will not only enjoy top quality Irish food but meet the people who grow, rear, make and cook the food of our country. Chefs, cheese makers, chutney makers and bakers will all assemble to serve and showcase Irish food.

Golden Shears Ireland 2014The village will be open from 8am to 5.30pm Thursday to Sunday and until 9.30pm on Saturday. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, teas, coffee, ice creams and treats can all be purchased in the village throughout the day. The cookery demonstration theatre will feature cookery demos and talk from Ireland’s leading chefs and local food heroes over the four main festival days.

Events will take place on a 25 acre site on the outskirts Gorey town, adjacent to the Amber Springs Hotel. Located, just off the motorway and minutes from the railway station, the venue can be reached in just over an hour from Dublin airport and is only 60km from Rosslare Ferry Port. Accommodation is listed on the website below.

Tickets from €10 are available online at www.goldenshearsireland.com and children under 12 go free with an adult.

 


Texel sheep nuzzle each other at Golden Shears ireland competition

it’s all smiles & nuzzles during the Texel sheep competition during Golden Shears Ireland

Chances are when you think of Ireland, you picture a sheep.

And when you think of fun, you picture, ummm, not a sheep, right? But during the Golden Shears Ireland Festival you should picture ’em together!

Here are 3 really cool things about sheep shearing you mightn’t have known: 

sheep - shearing men Golden Shears Ireland

Sheep shearing- who knew there’d be so many sweaty muscular men!

1) It is actually quite exciting! The element of ‘danger’ with a sharp blade & a possibly recalcitrant sheep. Ok, it’s not as exciting as, say, bull riding, but, well, see #2:

2.) Let’s be frank– some of the men are hot! And sweaty & hot! Plus, if you develop a farmer fetish, there’s a book just for you: Would You Marry A Farmer. (More on this below)

3.) At a sheep-shearing festival there’s actually much more than just sheep! 

 eating a  Jane Russell handmade Irish sausages & black pudding Blaa

The Jane Russell handmade Irish sausages & black pudding Blaa was a big hit with Terry!

The Golden Shears festival is running 22-25 May, 2014, so head over to Gorey in co Wexford to check it out. Go on an empty tummy, particularly if you like lamb, as there’s tasty hot food from a nice selection of Good Food Ireland restaurants & food producers.

As well as the competitions in sheep shearing & wool handling, breed showing, shepherding, and sheaf-throwing, you’ll find wool-based art & craft along with stands selling items for farming, family, & fun.

It’s an interesting visit for all the family, and children under 12 go free. Adults €10. Parking is also free, & there’s a free shuttle bus from the car park to the festival. Do wear your wellies, as it is a typically Irish muddy outdoor setting 🙂

Below are photos from our visit, and if you aren’t in Ireland or close to Wexford to visit for yourself, you can also watch a live feed of the competitions here (Sunday 7.30am-6.30pm.) Donegal man Ivan Scott won his 8th All-Ireland Shearing Championship in a row here earlier, and *added bonus* many of these shearers are quite easy on the eye!

When you’re at the festival don’t forget to keep an eye out for Suzanna of Zwartbles Ireland/the owner of The Cat Shepherd (don’t tell him I said he was owned!) doing some raw wool spinning.

PSST– hover over the individual photos for the captions.

Lorna, pictured below with her book, may be the woman to chat to if you find yourself fantasizing of farming fellas. You can get the low-down on what it’s really like in her book, Would you Marry A Farmer? 


Wexford food and Wine Festival. Pictured at the launch of the sixth annual Wexford food and Wine Festival are Lucia Goggins age 7,  Sophie Rose Connolly age 5 and Charlie Grannell age 6 from Discovering Drama in Wexford, Ireland Picture: Patrick Browne

Wexford Food and Wine Festival 2014 Ireland. Lucia Goggins, Sophie Rose Connolly and Charlie Grannell Picture: Patrick Browne

Charming seaside town? Check. Friendly folk? Check. Great food & wine? Check!

The Wexford Food and Wine Festival 2014 is serving up a fantastic weekend 23-25 May.

There will be lots of scrumptious food on offer in the stalls, and fab events, too. The Irish Craft Beer & Food Matching event sounds great. It’s on at the  Cistín Eile Restaurant, which is very good. Or so I’ve often been told– we tried to get a meal there during our last Wexford Food Festival visit but it was booked up– so; TIP: if you’d like a meal there plan ahead.

Whether you’re in Ireland on vacation or you’re just enjoying a day trip, check out the festival and all the tasty delights:

The festival has a fun filled menu with over 50 events celebrating the county’s superb and thriving food scene. There will be plenty on offer for all tastes young and not so young, with mouthwatering demonstrations & workshops plus family fun activities and entertainment. Here are some of the highlights- do also check the full programme of Wexford Food and Wine Festival here.

 

 Friday Evening: Seafood & Singing

The festival opens Friday, May 23 with an evening of ‘Sea Shanty’ and fish at Greenacres Gallery. Peter Caviston, Fishmonger of Glasthule and the Dublin Male voice choir ‘Brook Singers’ join forces for an evening celebrating Seafood.

 

Saturday and Sunday Fun & Food

On Saturday and Sunday, guided foraging takes off at 9.45am from The Raven in Curracloe with the excursion guided by the Blackstairs Eco Trails.

If you’d rather hear about foraging then join cook and author of ‘Wild Food’ and judge of ‘The Great Irish Bake-Off’ Biddy White Lennon who will discuss ‘Foraging for Fun’, where and when to forage for wild food in spring and early summer at 1pm on Saturday.

If it’s the food you are planning to enjoy on Saturday evening you can’t go wrong by heading to Wexford Boat Club for a Festival Hog roast and BBQ or take in the highlight of the Food Festival at the open air Food Producers Market at Selskar Square and South Main Street in the heart of Wexford town. A host of outdoor food producers featuring local, regional and Welsh artisan produce. Food producers and growers will display fresh produce ranging from breads, cakes, ice cream, seasonal fruit including Wexford’s famed strawberries, eggs, cheese meat and much more! To add to the festival atmosphere a tasty side helping of family entertainment will also be provided. This market will also be open on Sunday, May 25.

If you’d like to get involved in the cooking process head to the Irish National Heritage Park where visitors have the opportunity to experience an ancient cooking method used by our ancestors; Fulacht Fiadh. Dating back to the early Christian age skinned animals were wrapped in straw and placed into a pit of boiling water which had been heated using rocks from a fire. It has been discovered that this ancient cooking method is very similar to that of our modern ovens – 20 minutes to the pound and 20 minutes over! Visitors will have the opportunity to taste meat cooked in this traditional method.

 

Irish Craft Beer!

More festival cheer is to be found with a good helping of Craft Beer, at the ‘Irish Craft Beer & Food Matching’ 2pm on Saturday 24 May with Cuilan Loughnane of White Gypsy Brewery and Warren Gillen of Cistín Eile Restaurant. Cuilan is one of the early pioneers of Irish brewing and has built up a great reputation for his quality beers, recently bottling for the restaurant trade. Many of the same principals can be seen in at Cistín Eile. Warren too prides himself on sourcing his ingredients from local artisan producers and has also built up a reputation nationwide for his contemporary Irish food. This event is a must for anyone who appreciates high quality food and beer using locally sourced ingredients.

 

Wine!

Greenacres Restaurant, winners of numerous awards including Food and Wine Magazine, ‘Best Wine Experience,’  will host some key sommeliers for the festival weekend.  Philipe Germain from Chateau de la Roulerie vineyard whose origins date back to the 11th century, Bertrard from Domaine Deshaires of Pouilly Fuisse and Pascual Toso Tasting and Frank Kinneen The Vineyard, Galway will all be on hand to share their expect wine knowledge.

 A series of GIY workshops, Composting workshops and Beekeeping workshops will also be available throughout the weekend.

For further details on Wexford see www.visitwexford.ie  You can also find the full festival program at Wexford Food Festival

Looking for more fun things to do in Wexford & Ireland’s sunny southeast? Here are some great ideas for all ages!