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25 Irish Festivals That Should Really Be On Your Summer Bucket List

By Jen

June 19, 2018 at 2:28pm


It is time.

The evenings are getting longer, we've had our first canal weekend, and we are giddy with excitement at the promise of long summer days.

Festivals are synonymous with the summer in Ireland so we put together the best festivals that you should hit this year.

Adventure Festival

4th-5th August

Unleash your hidden adventurer this August at the 53 Degrees North Adventure Festival in Blessington, Co.Wicklow this August.

"Dive into wild experiences, surrounded by others that share the same energy and zest for life"....or at least, give it a go, have a laugh with your friends and try not to die as you attempt to get your totally unfit ass up a mountain.

Did we mention the on-site bar, including a local craft beer brewery and local whiskey brand, and the food which will cover all tastes from BBQ and Burritos to Vegetarian and Pizza?

Sounds class.

Kilkenny Roots Festival

4th-7th May

Celebrating 21 years this year, this festival has seen many greats acts like Ray La Montagne, Chuck Prophet and many more. This year festival goers will be treated to Darlingside, Seamus Fogarty, and Molly Tuttle, to name but a few.

Life Festival

25th-27th of May

If electronic music is your thing then you can't miss Life Festival, the three day open air weekend showcases the finest electronic artists. Set in the stunning surrounds of Belvedere House and Gardens, you can relax in the sun by the lakeside stage, or bask in the glory of the main arena to the soundtrack of Fatboy Slim, Jeff Mills, Armand Van Helden, Adam Beyer and more.

Forbidden Fruit

2nd-4th June

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Located in the grounds of Dublin's Royal Hospital, Kilmainham. Ticket holders will be treated to Richie Hawtin, Bonobo, Justice and Four Tet on Saturday and Sunday.

Monday has a more indie rock feel to it with Grizzly Bear, Warpaint, Spoon, and The War on Drugs taking to the stage.

Body & Soul

22nd-24th June

One of Ireland's most beloved festivals takes place again on the grounds of the stunning Ballinlough Castle. This year's event will be headlined by Swedish electronic goddess Fever Ray, AKA The Knife's Karin Dreije, who'll also be curating the Friday night bill. Elsewhere, revelers will enjoy the usual mix of offbeat Irish and international acts from the folk, indie and electronic scenes, including Jon Hopkins, Chronixx, Shamir, Saint Sister, Baxter Dury, Chronixx, Paddy Hanna, Shame, Susanne Sundfør, Lankum, Paddy Hanna, Shamir and many more.


June 1st-3rd

Picture credit: Vantastival

Located in the beautiful Beaulieu House and Gardens in Co. Louth, this family friendly festival does things slightly differently with its emphasis on the campervan lifestyle. Don't worry though - there is a campsite for those without a van.

Acts this year include La Galaxie, The Stunning, RSAG, Hot Sprockets, Loah and many more.

AVA Festival

June 1st-2nd

Photo credit: AVA Festival

AVA (Audio Visual Arts) Belfast is a two-day grassroots festival and conference that celebrates and develops the electronic music and digital visual arts scene that has emerged in recent years.

Line up includes KINK, Floorplan, Larry Heard and Hunee.

Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival

June 8th-10th

Head to the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival where over three days, there’ll be a load of gigs, plenty of massive sessions, as well as masterclasses and workshops. Almost everything is free and in local pubs for the most part.


15th-30th June

This is an outdoor music event held at Custom House Square in Belfast spanning almost two weeks. This year you will get to see Liam Gallagher, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Carl Cox, Picture This and the Script.

Sea Sessions

22nd -24th June

Photo credit: Sea sessions 

Songs, surfing and sessions on the coast of Donegal, what more could ya want? The lineup for this year has some pretty big acts including Rudimental, Dizzee Rascal and Walking on Cars. It also has lots of activities like beach soccer, ultimate frisbee and tag rugby...that's pretty decent for just over €100 quid for the three days.

B.A.R.E in the Woods

6th-7th July

This music and arts festival takes place in Borris House, Co. Carlow. This year's lineup includes D12, God Is An Astronaut and Gok Wan.

Willie Clancy Summer School Festival

7th -15th July

Photo credit: Willie Clancy Summer School

Get in touch with traditional Irish heritage and head to the the beautiful coastal town of Milltown Malbay in the west of Co. Clare, right by Spanish Point.

Every day there are tonnes of workshops and masterclasses for any musicians looking to improve. But it's at the night sessions that the place truly comes alive as every building along the main street of the village is packed with people performing Irish dancing and traditional Irish music.

Don't be surprised if it's still going strong as the sun rises over Spanish Point but you can be sure everyone is ready to go for the early morning workshops. Hardcore.


7th-8th July

Returning to its home of Kilruddery Estate in Bray, Co. Wicklow with a line-up that is sure to keep rock fans and 90's babies happy. We're talking Fun Lovin' Criminals, Heather Small, HamsandwicH, The Riptide Movement and more.

Lookout for new additions this year including a Live Lounge, the Hardy Har Comedy Club and the Groove World of Magical Mystery for all the smallies.

Earagail Arts Festival

7th -29th July 2018

Photo credit:Earagail Arts Festival

Taking place on the Wild Atlantic Way in County Donegal, this bilingual (Irish and English language), multidisciplinary arts festival is venue-based and celebrates visual arts, circus, eclectic and alternative music, and theatre programmes alongside the spoken word and much more.

Galway Arts Festival

16th -29th July

This multidisciplinary festival helped put Galway on the map for European Centre of Culture awarded last year. It covers a range of art forms, including theatre, dance, music, opera, street spectacle, visual arts, discussion and comedy.


13th-15th July

Photo credit: Longitude

This three day festival in South Dublin brings together some of the biggest acts in music every year. This year's lineup includes Solange, Cardi B, Post Malone and J.Cole plus many many more.


3rd -5th August

Photo credit: Indiependence

Revelers descend on Deer Park every August for a mighty session and to listen to a wide variety of musicians. Headliners Jake Bugg, Primal Scream and Walking on Cars will perform alongside comedy acts and spoken word artists. There is something for everyone at Indiependence.

Fleadh Cheoil

12th-19th August

Picture credit: Fleadh Cheoil

The Fleadh is a competition for amateur musicians, it's a holiday and a massive seisiún. Classes are held for all ages and abilities, historical and walking tours are held for visitors as well as markets and street performances.

The evening is usually spent crammed into tiny cosy pubs for a feed of pints and the ceilí. This festival celebrates Irish culture so it's overflowing with pride as well as pints.


3rd-5th August

For all those that think Electric Picnic has become too mainstream, too big, or too young then this might be the festival for you. Brought to you by Pod, the organisers of Electric Picnic, this new, three -day event will see Fleet Foxes, Roisin Murphy, Underworld and Chaka Khan take to the stage at Curraghmore House in Co. Waterford.

Another Love Story

17-19th August

Picture credit: Another Love Story

This bespoke weekender is a celebration of friendship, music, discussion, film, yoga and food on the grounds of Killyon Manor in Meath.


24 - 26th August

Small but mighty, this 3 day music festival is back for its 6th year in Waterford city. This year's headliners include Basement Jaxx, Sister Sledge and Rudimental. Oh, and the tickets are only €46 yo-yos per day!

Electric Picnic

31st August -2nd September

Photo credit: Electric Picnic

This list wouldn't be complete without the Picnic entry. This Stradbally shindig is considered the best on the Irish festival circuit by many festival-goers.

Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival

31st August-30th September

The Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival is now in its 151st year - yes, you read that right. Attracting nearly 60,000 people from all over the world every year for the music, dancing and of course, the chance to find a soulmate.

They even have a third generation match maker on hand to help you find your one true love. Ditch the dating apps and head to Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoonvarna!

Dingle Trad Fest

6th-9th September

Photo credit: Dingle Trad Fest

National and internationally acclaimed performing artists descend on Dingle to showcase modern and original talents.

Prepare to dance on the streets and listen to some daycent spoon playing. Oh and pints. Sure isn't there always pints?

Okay, we know this one isn't in the summer - but it's imperative you add it to the bucket list...

Other Voices

Early December

This magical Dingle festival celebrates Irish music. It calls itself a musical pilgrimage for the soul and we have to agree. Book your accommodation early though because it always sells out.

If anyone manages to make it through this list, I'll give them a tenner!

READ NEXT: QUIZ: Can You Name These Ten Irish Songs From Our Tricky Descriptions? (Part 1)


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