Traditional Irish Festivals


You could be forgiven for thinking that Ireland is the home of the festival, and we won’t argue with that. There’s always something either going on right now or to look forward to. 

Here, we’ve highlighted just a few but there are plenty more, celebrating all aspects of Irish life and tradition. 

Fleadh Cheoil 

August brings the Fleadh Cheoil, the biggest national Irish music festival celebrating traditional Irish music, singing, and dancing. Competition is a big part of the Fleadh, between the winners of local competitions across Ireland.

Fleadh Cheoil is famous for its street performances, concerts and well-known, big-name acts. From pub sessions to street parades, there’s something to entertain everyone. 

This year (2023) it’s back in Mullingar, County Westmeath, coming full circle to where it started in 1951. 

Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking

This month-long festival of matchmaking fun and romance draws people from all over. They’re not necessarily looking for a spouse anymore, but they’re certainly looking for dancing and music. There’s plenty to be had in pubs and hotels across the town of Lisdoonvarna.

Running through September every year, events commonly kick off in the morning and carry on through the day and night, attracting people of all ages. Whether you hope to find your soul mate or just want a mighty fine time from horse racing to country music, this is a fun and rousing festival to take part in.

Puck Fair

Traditional Irish Festivals

Looking for something a bit different in an Irish festival in August? Puck Fair in Killorglin, County Kerry, is the one you won’t forget.

Thousands come to see the goat, a wild beast taken from the local surrounding hills and crowned king for the duration of the festival. There’s live, traditional music, open-air concerts, dancing, and theatre along with cattle and horse fairs over two days. 

Puck Fair is great for family entertainment too, with workshops and circus acts. For a little town, Killorglin knows how to organise a proper festival. And don’t worry about the goat. He’s well looked after and released when he’s played his part.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin

Traditional Irish Festivals

Celebrated across the world, St. Patrick’s Day is the one everyone knows about. The parade in Dublin is the place to be for a proper, exciting festival experience.

The Dublin street parade is always a spectacle not to be missed: colourful, musical, entertaining, and professional, representing diverse sections of the community from marching bands to dance troupes and everything in between. It’s massive, with thousands lining the streets to enjoy the traditions of music and visual storytelling in various entertaining and uplifting pageants.

And whatever else you do, don’t forget to pop into The Temple Bar Pub for oysters and Guinness served up with a warm Irish welcome.

Cork Jazz Festival

Jazz lovers get an annual treat with the Cork Jazz festival. Expect new faces, established big names and a programme of jam sessions across the city that get better every year since it started in 1978. Book your tickets and get ready for this stupendous weekend event in late October.

Galway Oyster Festival

Traditional Irish Festivals

Another weekend not to be missed is the Galway Oyster Festival. Fun for everyone, but particularly for seafood and oyster fans. 

The festival gets going straight away with the International Oyster Opening Championship on Friday night. From there it just gets better, right through to the Oysters Masquerade Party. 

In between expect plenty of fun, frolics and family entertainment all adding up to a splendid way to spend the weekend in September.

And if you enjoyed the Oysters in Galway, make sure to check out the Oysters and Guinness in The Temple Bar Pub.

The Cat Laughs Festival

For those who enjoy a bit of comedy, The Cat Laughs Festival is written in all caps in their diary for the June Bank Holiday weekend. 

Starting out small in 1995, the Kilkenny Cat Laughs Festival is now one of the most popular in Ireland. Irish and international comedians take to the stage to entertain, with some of the biggest names supporting and joining the fun. The whole festival is renowned for being a relaxed and friendly affair, without competition or recordings. It’s just for fun and everyone, on stage or off, loves it.

Get your diaries out and pencil in your favourite festival dates. If you’re coming to Ireland, you won’t want to miss out of the fun. 

And of course, you get to see some of the loveliest places around the country, soaking up the culture, the arts, the architecture, gardens and beaches, in between festival events.