Destination Ireland

St. Patrick's Festival - Ireland's  Festival of Festivals

17 March 2024


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Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every year on March 17, the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. St. Patrick’s Day 2024 will take place on Sunday, March 17. Ireland have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

The St. Patrick’s Feast

St. Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to the people. In the centuries following Patrick’s death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more rooted in the Irish culture. Perhaps the most well-known legend of St. Patrick is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.

Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place not in Ireland but in America. Records show that a St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. The parade, and a St. Patrick’s Day celebration a year earlier were organized by the Spanish Colony's Irish vicar Ricardo Artur. More than a century later, homesick Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched in New York City on March 17, 1772 to honour the Irish patron saint. Enthusiasm for the St. Patrick's Day parades in New York City, Boston and other early American cities only grew from there.

St. Patrick's Day Celebrations Around the World

Today, people of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, especially throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world in locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore and Russia. Popular St. Patrick’s Day food feasts include Irish soda bread, corned beef, cabbage and champ (a blended green onions or scallions with creamy mashed potatoes). In the United States, people often wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day has traditionally been a spiritual and religious occasion. In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use interest in St. Patrick’s Day to drive tourism and showcase Ireland and Irish culture to the rest of the world.

Leprechauns In St. Patrick's Day

One icon of the Irish celebration is the Leprechaun. The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.” Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies.Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure. Leprechauns have their own holiday on May 13 but are also celebrated on St. Patrick's, with many dressing up as the wily fairies.

The Evolution of St. Patrick's Day Celebrations

Over the next 35 years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, prompting the rise of so-called “Irish Aid” societies like the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Hibernian Society. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes, which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies and drums.In 1848, several New York Irish Aid societies decided to unite their parades to form one official New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Today, that parade is the world‘s oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States, with over 150,000 participants. Each year, nearly 3 million people line the 1.5-mile parade route to watch the procession, which takes more than five hours. Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Savannah also celebrate the day with parades involving between 10,000 and 20,000 participants each. In 2020, the New York City parade was one of the first major city events to be cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; it was again cancelled in 2021. The parade in New York and others around the country returned in 2022. 

The Life Story of St. Patrick of Ireland

St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland was born into either a Scottish or English family in the fourth century. He was captured as a teenager by Niall of the Nine Hostages who was to become a King of all Ireland. He was sold into slavery in Ireland and put to work as a shepherd. He worked in terrible conditions for six years drawing comfort in the Christian faith that so many of his people had abandoned under Roman rule. Patrick had a dream that encouraged him to flee his captivity and to head South where a ship was to be waiting for him. He travelled over 200 miles from his Northern captivity to Wexford town where, sure enough, a ship was waiting to enable his escape.

Upon arrival in England he was captured by outlaws and returned to slavery. He escaped after two months and spent the next seven years travelling Europe seeking his destiny. During this time he furthered his education and studied Christianity in the Lerin Monastery in France. He returned to England as a priest. Again a dream greatly influenced him when he became convinced that the Irish people were calling out to him to return to the land of his servitude. He went to the Monastery in Auxerre where it was decided that a mission should be sent to Ireland. Patrick was not selected for this task to his great disappointment. The monk that was selected was called Paladius, but he died before he could reach Ireland and a second mission was decided upon.

Patrick was made a Bishop by Pope Celestine in the year 432 and, together with a small band of followers, travelled to Ireland to commence the conversion. Patrick confronted the most powerful man in Ireland, Laoghaire, The High King of Tara as he knew that if he could gain his support that he would be safe to spread the word throughout Ireland. To get his attention Patrick and his followers lit a huge fire to mark the commencement of Spring. Tradition had it that no fire was to be lit until the Kings fire was complete, but Patrick defied this rule and courted the confrontation with the King. The King rushed into action and travelled with the intention of making war on the holy delegation. Patrick calmed the King and with quiet composure impressed the King that he had no other intention than that of spreading the word of the Gospel. The King accepted the missionary, much to the dismay of the Druids who feared for their own power and position in the face of this new threat. They commanded that he make snow fall. Patrick declined to do so stating that this was God’s work. Immediately it began to snow, only stopping when Patrick blessed himself.

While still trying to convince the King of his religion, Patrick grasped at some Shamrock growing on the ground. He explained that there was but one stem on the plant, but three branches of the leaf, representing the Blessed Trinity. The King was impressed with his sincerity and granted him permission to spread the word of his faith, although he did not convert to Christianity himself. Patrick and his followers were free to spread their faith throughout Ireland and did so to great effect. He drove paganism (symbolised by the snake) from the lands of Eireann. Patrick was tempted by the Devil whilst on a pilgrimage at Croagh Patrick. For his refusal to be tempted, God rewarded him with a wish. Patrick asked that the Irish be spared the horror of Judgement Day and that he himself be allowed to judge his flock. Thus, the legend that Ireland will disappear under a sea of water seven years before the final judgement, was born.

Patrick died on March 17th in the year 461 at the age of 76. It is not known for sure where his remains were laid although Downpatrick in County Down in the North of Ireland is thought to be his final resting place. How he became a Saint, was simply due to the era he lived in. During the first millennium, there was no formal canonization process in the Catholic Church. After becoming a priest and helping to spread Christianity throughout Ireland, Patrick was likely proclaimed a saint by popular acclaim. His influence is still felt to this day as Nations the world over commemorate him on  March 17th of every year.


Cliffs of Moher- The Cliffs' Many Folklegend Stories

14 January 2024

County Clare, Ireland

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The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most famous natural attractions. Located on the western coast of County Clare, they stretch for about 8 kilometers (5 miles) along the Atlantic Ocean. The cliffs rise to heights of up to 214 meters (702 feet) at their highest point, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean, surrounding countryside, and the Aran Islands.

The Cliffs of Moher are renowned for their rugged beauty, dramatic cliffsides, and diverse birdlife, including puffins, gannets, and guillemots. They have been featured in numerous films and are a popular visitors’ destination, attracting over a million visitors each year. Visitors can explore various viewpoints, walk along designated pathways, and visit the visitor centre to learn more about the cliffs’ geological significance, wildlife, and cultural history.

Cliffs of Moher Visitors' Centre

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre in County Clare, Ireland, was developed on the concept of a subterranean building, taking its design and influences from the natural materials and forms of the area in order to minimise its impact and footprint on its visually prominent rural landscape setting.

Given the unique and sensitive nature of the site, the main priority for the design was the use of the existing landscape and organic forms, taking precedence over any building to be located there. The development would not compete with, nor distract from, the natural attraction of the ‘Cliffs’.

The resultant building has no façades as such, with the exception of the south facing ‘elevation’, where only the entrance doorway and the organic forms of the upper restaurant windows are expressed. The main entrance has been discreetly set into the remodelled landscape so that it is only visible immediately upon approach.

The O'Brien Tower

The Cliffs of Moher have long been admired for their scenic beauty, but few know much about the man who first promoted tourism to this inspiring place. Cornelius O’Brien, a benevolent local landlord, was the first to formally recognise the cliffs as a tourist destination. Samuel Lewis reported in 1833 that O’Brien was erecting ‘an ornamental building in the castellated style for the accommodation of visitors to this bold and iron-bound coast, from which is obtained a magnificent view embracing nearly the whole line of coast from Loop Head to the northern extremity of the bay of Galway, together with the Arran Isles and a vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. In order to make the cliffs accessible, safe and attractive, O’Brien also built stables and an iron picnic table for the convenience of visitors, whom he frequently entertained at Birchfield, his nearby estate. His only surviving son, George, continued his father’s hospitality to strangers. Cornelius O’Brien (c. 1782–1857) was born around 1782 at Birchfield, Liscannor, Co. Clare, the third son of Henry O’Brien of Birchfield and Ennis. He was educated by Stephen O’Halloran in Ennis, entered the King’s Inns, Dublin, in the Hilary term of 1803, and graduated as an attorney in the Easter term of 1808. He was a proctor, solicitor and magistrate for County Clare, with a business address in Dublin. Throughout his career, however, his primary place of residence was his estate at Birchfield. (National Library of Ireland)

Head of the Old Sea Witch – Hag’s Head

There was once a hag or witch whose name was Mal. She was madly in love with the great Irish hero Cú Chulainn. However sadly Cú Chulainn did not like Mal back. Bound and determined Mal kept following Cú Chulainn, hoping to tell him how much she loved him and Cú Chulainn kept running away from her. He went all the way to the Loop Head!  When Mal and Cú Chulainn were standing at the end of the land and she thought she surely had him then, he jumped all the way back to the Cliffs of Moher! Mal tried to follow behind but the wind was against her. She dashed tragically to pieces at Hag’s Head and her blood stained the sea all the way to the Cliffs of Moher. Or so the story goes...

The Myths and Legends of the Cliffs of Moher

According to folklore, the cliffs are said to be home to otherworldly beings and mystical creatures. These captivating myths and legends added an extra layer of enchantment to the already splendid and inspiring Cliffs of Moher, appealing the imagination and leaving visitors with a sense of wonder and mystery. The cliffs are also drenched in tales of ancient warriors, witches and giants, with a sense of wonder and mystery as they stand on the edge of this dramatic natural masterpiece.

The Witch’s Unreciprocated Love

The legend stated that a witch named Mal became infatuated with Cú Chulainn, the valiant warrior of the Red Branch. However, Cú Chulainn did not reciprocate her feelings. Undiscouraged, Mal relentlessly pursued him throughout Ireland. Eventually, the chase led them to the southern region of the Cliffs of Moher, near the mouth of the Shannon River, where Cú Chulainn leaped onto an island known as Diarmuid and Grainne’s Rock. Persistent, Mal attempted to leap to the island as well, propelled by a gust of wind. Seizing the opportunity, Cú Chulainn swiftly jumped back to the mainland, but Mal, relying on the wind’s assistance from the previous leap, fell short. Tragically, she crashed into the rocks below, staining the bay with her blood and giving rise to the belief that the bay was named after her, known as Malbay. Known today as Miltown Malbay. The rocks, now known as Hag’s Head, are said to bear the profile of Mal, forever carved in their form, serving as a lasting reminder of the legend to this day.

The Mermaid of Moher

In the legend of the Mermaid of Moher, a local fisherman reeled upon a mermaid’s presence while casting his line near the Cliffs of Moher. Intrigued, he engaged in conversation with the mystical creature. As they conversed, the fisherman noticed a magical cloak resting near a rock nearby. This cloak was essential for the mermaid to return to the sea, as she needed to wear it. However, his desire for her magical cloak quickly consumed him. Seizing an opportunity, the man snatched the cloak and hurriedly made his escape to his home, carefully concealing the precious item. Desperate to regain her cloak and return to her ocean home, the mermaid pursued the man to his house. However, despite her thorough search, the cloak remained hidden from her grasp. Left with few alternatives, the mermaid agreed to marry the man, and together they would go on to have a son and daughter. Yet, the mermaid’s longing for her lost cloak persisted. Years passed, and one day, while the man was away at sea, the mermaid discovered the hidden cloak. Grasping the opportunity to reclaim her freedom, she swiftly returned to the sea, vanishing without a trace. Neither the man nor their children would ever lay eyes upon her again, forever left with the memory of the mermaid who slipped away.

Leap of Foals

With the arrival of Saint Patrick and the spread of Christianity in Ireland, the influence of the Celtic pantheon, the Tuatha De Danann, gradually faded. Feeling resentful towards the rising prominence of the new faith, the deities of the Tuatha De Danann transformed themselves into horses as an act of protest. They sought refuge in the caves of Kilcornan, where they remained concealed for countless centuries. Eventually, after a prolonged period of darkness, seven foals emerged from the caverns. However, disoriented by the sudden exposure to sunlight, the frightened foals galloped recklessly along the cliff’s edge, tragically meeting their death as they plunged into the depths below. The location where this fateful event occurred is now known as Aill Na Searrach, or The Cliff of the Foals.

The Lost City of Kilstiffen

The city has also been called Cill Stuifin, Kilstpheen, Kilstuitheen, Cill Stuithin, and Cill Stuifin. The city sank when the chieftain lost the golden key that opened the castle doors. The city is said to remain underwater until the key is returned, which has yet to happen. Most legend story say the key lays under the ogam-inscribed gravestone on Slieve Callan, east of Milltown Malbay while others claimed the key was in a lake on top of a mountain. Many have claimed to see the city shining below the surface while others say the city rises every seven years. The legend has it that if someone witnesses the city above water they will die before it rises again in seven years. Within the reef of Lisacannor Bay, there are submerged forests and bogs, which many believe to be the basis for this legend.

Giant's Causeway- The Natural Wonder of Northern Ireland

09 December 2023

Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland

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About Giant's Causeway

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Giant’s Causeway is a cliff of basalt columns ( basalt, an igneous rock formed from rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magnesium and iron), along 4 miles (6 km) of the northern coast of Northern Ireland. It lies on the edge of the Antrim plateau between Causeway Head and Benbane Head, some 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Londonderry. There are approximately 40,000 of these stone pillars, each typically with five to seven irregular sides, projecting out of the cliff faces as if they were steps edging into the sea. It is believed that the formation 50 to 60 million years ago, during the Paleogene Period, the Giant’s Causeway resulted from successive flows of lava inching toward the coast and cooling when they contacted the sea. Layers of basalt formed columns, and the pressure between these columns sculpted them into polygonal shapes that vary from 15 to 20 inches (38 to 51 cm) in diameter and measure up to 82 feet (25 metres) in height. They are arrayed along cliffs averaging some 330 feet (100 metres) in elevation. The features of the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast site and in particular the strata exposed in the cliff faces, have been key to shaping the understanding of the sequences of activity in the Earth’s geological history.

It was first documented in 1693, the formation has been intensively studied by geologists. The Giant’s Causeway and its coastal surroundings were bestowed to the National Trust (a British organization that promotes the preservation of natural and architectural wonders) in 1961. Subsequently, the site was extended to some 200 acres (80 hectares); it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986. It is protected not only for its beauty but also because its cliffs, seashores, marshes, and grasslands are home to some 50 species of birds, as well as to more than 200 species of plants. Humans settled around the Giant’s Causeway in the 19th century, but the site is now uninhabited. It does, however, attract some 300,000 visitors annually. Deriving its name from local folklore, it is legendary to be the work of giants, particularly of Finn MacCumhaill (McCool), who built it as part of a causeway to the Scottish island of Staffa (which has similar rock formations) for motives of either love or war.

Source: UNESCO and Britannica

Wonderlights - The Magic of Winter 

10 November 2023 - 02 January 2024

Malahide Castle, Malahide, Ireland

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Wonderlights is an fascinating evening display for all the family, taking you on an splendid and inspiring walking trail through the illuminated gardens of Malahide Castle. Visitors can expect a magical blend of lights, colour, nature and sounds. The experience will captivate all ages – perfect for families, couples and group of friends. Prepared to be stunned by Ireland's largest ever light show, as Wonderlights returns to Malahide Castle from 10 November 2023 to 2 January 2024.

The organizers are pleased to announce the theme of our new 2023 show, Wonderlights Presents: The Magic of Winter. Amidst the crisp winter air, immerse yourself in The Magic of Winter where life waves in unexpected ways. Witness the incredible transformation of nature as it comes alive with vibrant colours and magical creatures. Admire the captivating dance of light that illuminates the darkness, creating a symphony of beauty and wonder.

Featuring brand-new magnificent displays that will leave yourself in astonishment, alongside some of the beloved classics that have captured hearts before, this experience has something for all ages. This year, join the crowd and light up your senses. Check the event website for tickets sale, sign up to the priority list to be the first to hear about exclusive discounts, competitions and many more.

Malahide Castle

The Malahide Castle, parts of which date to the 12th century, lies close to the village of Malahide, 14 km north of central Dublin in Ireland. It has over 260 acres of remaining parkland estate, forming the Malahide Demesne Regional Park. In 1185, King Henry II gifted the Malahide lands to his loyal subject Richard Talbot. Ever since, the village of Malahide and the Talbot family have been complexly linked. Generations of the Talbot family lived in the castle for an incredible 800 years, giving it a great many stories to tell. The original castle built on the Malahide Castle grounds was actually a wooden fortress, which was then transformed into a stone structure on the very same site as the castle stands today. Over numerous years, rooms were added and  fortified until the castle took on the form it retains now.

The family resided peacefully in the castle for 800 years, with the exception of a brief interruption between 1649 and 1660. This is when the castle was seized by Cromwellian soldiers. During that period the castle was occupied by the Lord Chief Baron of Ireland, Myles Corbet. 

Lord Milo Talbot was the final Baron of Malahide, who lived in the castle until his passing in 1973. Rose, the baron’s sister then inherited the castle before selling it to the Irish State in 1975.  Over the years, this castle near Dublin, Ireland has played an important role in political and social events. As well as welcoming local and international honorary guests. The Talbot family spent centuries collecting and curating the incredible collections of art and furniture that can be seen in the castle today. It’s an exciting and unique glimpse into the life of Irish nobility. 

Expect to spend your time admiring the masterpieces that are hung up all around the house. Admire the antique furniture and see the famed Talbot coat of arms in every form. See the many portraits of those who once lived in the castle, and take a peek into some of the master bedrooms. You’ll also get to explore the Victorian-style nursery and its vintage toy collection. Take a stroll around the beautifully manicured gardens while soaking in the floral scents.

PucaFestival 2023

27th October - 31th October, 2023

Athboy, Co. Meath, Ireland

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Púca is back and out to make Mischief this Halloween!

The Púca Festival returns to the festivals hubs of Trim and Athboy from the 27th – 31st of October 2023. With an incredible line-up of acts and events announced already and more to follow, be sure to check in regularly, follow our social media channels and subscribe to our email newsletter to be the first to know about everything that’s planned for this year!

When light turns to dark and the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead thins, the creatures of Samhain, Ireland’s ancient Halloween tradition, come to life. Roaming the darkness like a shadowy spectre, the shape-shifting spirit of Púca comes alive! Changing the fortunes of all who cross her path as she transforms the night into a colourful playground of hallowed celebration.

Through the spectacular nights at Púca Festival, we salute the Halloween spirits through folklore, food, myth and music reopening the pathways of reflection and celebration carved by travelers over 2,000 years ago.

Where Halloween's Story Began

Evidence gathered from archaeology digs, legends, myths and Celtic history have all been examined to unearth the story of the authentic origins of Halloween in Ireland. According to Irish folklore, Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic tradition of Samhain. The old Irish for ‘summer’s end’, Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the start of the New Year. The Púca Festival town of Athboy is an important hub of Halloween tradition. Old manuscripts tell us that Tlachtga or The Hill of Ward, was a site of great Samhain gathering.

It was at Tlachtga that the ancient Irish lit a fire from which all the fires in Ireland were rekindled. Recent archaeological excavations there suggest this ancient hill was used for feasting and celebration over 2,000 years ago, and to this day the Boyne Valley remains one of the many important historical sites of Halloween tradition in Ireland. Each of these sites has its own story, one being that every Samhain a host of otherworldly beings emerge from Oweynagat (cave of the cats) at Rathcroghan in County Roscommon.

The belief in the closeness of the Otherworld and the return of the Dead was associated with Halloween. Wearing costumes and masks offered protection. The fairies couldn’t abduct you and you got to frighten your neighbours. Tricks were played on the unsuspecting, which may be the origin of the ubiquitous trick or treating.

5 reasons you’ll love the Púca Festival

A supernatural celebration of storytelling, music, food, mischief and spectacle in Ireland’s historic Boyne Valley

1. It's inspired by Irish folklore

It is said that Halloween is a time of transition, when light becomes dark, the veil between our world and the next comes down and rules can be broken. This is when the Púca comes to life. A púca is a mysterious creature from Ireland's folklore who can change the fortunes of anyone who meets it. It is this spirit of unpredictable energy that inspires the annual Púca Festival, which takes place across the towns of Trim and Athboy in County Meath, in Ireland’s Ancient East.

2. It takes place in historic locations

The Púca Festival takes place in some of the island of Ireland’s most celebrated sites. The Hill of Ward (Tlachtga) in Athboy, County Meath, was the site of a great Samhain gathering where the ancient Irish lit a fire from which all fires in Ireland were rekindled. And the ruins of nearby Trim Castle, Ireland’s largest Anglo-Norman fortress will form the perfect backdrop for spectacular projections, storytelling, music, comedy, food and drink from the 27-31 October.

3. It's in Ireland – the home of Halloween

The Hill of Ward (Tlachtga) in County Meath was one of the earliest sites to host the festival of Samhain, which celebrated the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. At this sacred place, the Celts extinguished the old year’s flames and lit the ceremonial fire to welcome in the new season.

4. It's got an amazing line-up of events

Well, it is Halloween in Ireland, so you should be prepared for anything. Púca presents three breathtaking days and four spectacular nights of music, myth, food, folklore, fire, feasting and merriment across the towns of Trim and Athboy. Contemporary Irish acts reignite Celtic traditions through incredible music and live performances. And when the veil between worlds grows thin, all kinds of spirits and magical creatures may appear as you wander around these ancient places!

5. And the food is great!

The Boyne Valley has become a hub in Ireland's flourishing artisan food scene. Seeing as the Púca Festival is based in Trim and Athboy, it offers the perfect opportunity to sample the craft beers, farmhouse cheeses and locally produced charcuterie that have helped the region make its mark in the culinary world. Of course, while you're here, you must try out some of Ireland's favourite Halloween recipes, such as barm brack (fruit cake) and colcannon (mashed potato, cabbage and lashings of butter). These foods often contain items that can foretell your future such as a ring (married in a year) or a coin (wealth) so chew with caution!

Bram Stoker Festival 2023

27th October - 30th October, 2023

Dublin, Ireland

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About Bram Stoker Festival

Bram Stoker Festival celebrates the legacy of one of Ireland’s most beloved and iconic writers. Now entering its tenth year, the festival draws inspiration from Stoker, his life, his work, the Dublin of his time and celebrates the Gothic, the supernatural, the after-dark and the Victorian.  Over the years, we’ve presented major outdoor spectacles and installations; intimate experiences on hallowed grounds; world premieres of new scores for classic films and award winning theatre productions; outdoor circus at night in dark, foreboding forests; comedy in nightclubs; choral ensembles in darkened libraries; food tours where participants dined on custom menus; elaborate banquets in sacred crypts. We’ve taken over cathedrals, parks and squares; entertained thousands of Dubliners and visitors with parades, fire gardens and illuminated, water-based installations; delved into Stoker’s literary impact, dissecting everything from his life and city to his work as a critic and entertained little monsters with kid-friendly discos, workshops, face-painting, performances and more at Stokerland and beyond.  In 2023, you can expect more deliciously dark treats on the streets and in venues across Dublin.


If you have the ability to turn off everything you know about the count and just experience the book as Stoker intended, it’s actually a good story with some interesting high points. For example, the narrative is told through a series of diaries, journals and letters. This gives us an interesting first hand insight into all of the characters as they discover and experience the horror of Count Dracula’s actions. While we go in knowing exactly who Dracula is, the characters have to be convinced of the monster. We expect the fangs, they don’t.

Galway International Arts Festival

County Galway, Ireland

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The Galway Arts Festival  was founded in 1978 by University College Galway's Arts Society in cooperation with community activists from the Galway Arts Group. The first festival was illustrated in local papers as "Galway Arts Society's Week of Craic". Their original budget was €1000 of Arts Council Funding and most of the artistic events were staged in an arts centre that now houses Sheridan's Cheesemongers. The Galway Arts Festival was changed in 2014 to the Galway International Arts Festival to highlight the diversity of participants to the festival. The change of the name also facilitated the vision of the festival as a producing body, creating works that tour internationally. The multidisciplinary Galway International Arts Festival takes place each July in Galway, Ireland and crosses a range of art forms. The festival programme includes Irish and international work of the highest quality, featuring theatre, music, visual arts, opera, street spectacle, dance, discussion and comedy.

County Galway

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Galway is the largest county in Connacht, and the second largest county in the whole of Ireland and county town is also called Galway. It is the fourth largest city in Ireland  and in the west of the county is Clifden, the most notable town. The east of the county has a number of large towns including Athenry, Tuam, Gort and Ballinalsoe. Galway in Irish term Gaillimh, a city, seaport, and county town Galway seating west of Ireland and located on the northern shore of Galway Bay.

After the building of the city’s walls by Anglo-Norman settlers (c. 1270), Galway developed as a commercial centre and had considerable trade with Spain. Following English conquest, power within the city was distributed to 14 families of English lineage—the so-called “Tribes of Galway”, leading Galway to be called the “City of the Tribes.” The charter of incorporation given by Richard II reigned in 1377–99  was extended in 1545 to give the port jurisdiction over the Aran Islands, located 20 miles (30 km) southwest; it permitted export of all goods except linens and woolens. The town and land within a 2-mile (3-km) radius were established as a county by charter in the reign of James I (1603–25). The town was captured by parliamentary forces during the English Civil Wars (1642–51) and again during the campaigns of William III.

The chief exports are wool, agricultural produce, marble, china, and various metals. It is the leading manufacturer of  ironwork, computers, electric motors, medical instruments, and sports equipment. Tourism is also an important source of county revenue and  shipping service connects Galway with the Aran Islands. There are remains of a Franciscan friary, founded in 1296, and Galway is the centre of a Roman Catholic diocese. St. Nicholas’s Church dates from 1320. University College, founded in 1849 as Queen’s College, received a new charter in 1908 as a college of the National University of Ireland. The city has several theatres, including the world-renowned Druid Theatre and An Taibhdhearc, Ireland’s first Gaelic theatre. The city also hosts the annual Galway Arts Festival and oyster and horse-racing festivals. During the late 20th century Galway was among the fastest-growing cities in Europe.

Glimpses of County Galway

Earagail Arts Festival in County Donegal

County Donegal, Ireland 

Earagail Arts Festival is presented in a bilingual  Irish and English language, multidisciplinary arts festival which takes place every July throughout County Donegal on the North West Atlantic coastline of Ireland. The Earagail Arts Festival is a venue-based music and arts festival with varied and alternative music, visual arts, circus and theatre programmes alongside spoken word, film, family and children centred events. The festival brings inspiring performers to this captivating European frontier, showcasing artists from the area and provide opportunities for cultural exchange. It employs a range of venues from purpose built theatres and galleries, to village halls and outdoor venues created for the occasion, serviced by professional technical staff and production management. The level of genuine positive feedback from artists and audiences alike is testament to the festival's core belief in ensuring the best quality experience for everyone. From movie screenings in forests and castles to innovative theatre, street arts and circus in gardens, parks and state of the art venues, the festival's unique programme reaches out across County Donegal. Earagail Arts Festival was winner of Outstanding Contribution to the Local Economy Award 2010 Enterprising Donegal Business Awards and winner of Carlton Best Programme Award 2009 Association of Irish Festivals and Events

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County Donegal is named after the town of Donegal  from Irish Dún na nGall 'fort of the foreigners', in the south of the county. It has also been known by the alternative name County Tyrconnell (Tír Chonaill, meaning 'Land of Conall'). The latter was its official name between 1922 and 1927. This is in reference to the túath or Gaelic kingdom of Tír Chonaill which the county was based on, and the earldom that succeeded it. County Donegal was the home of the once-mighty Clann Dálaigh, whose best-known branch was the Clann Ó Domhnaill, better known in English as the O'Donnell dynasty. Until around 1600, the O'Donnells were one of Ireland's richest and most powerful native Irish ruling families. Located in the northwest corner of Ireland, Donegal is the island's northernmost county. In terms of size and area, it is the largest county in Ulster and the fourth-largest county in all of Ireland. Donegal has a wide variety of habitats, and over half of Ireland's plant and animal species can be found within the county. Approximately 11.4 per cent of the county is covered in forest, which is about the national average. Forest cover is not evenly spread across the county and some areas, such as Pettigo and around Lough Derg, are very heavily forested, while more exposed coastal and upland areas are virtually barren. Around 65 per cent of Donegal's forests are publicly owned.

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Cairde Sligo Arts Festival 2023

County Sligo, Ireland

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The Cairde Sligo Arts Festival, by the creative energy of Ireland’s Northwest, is a unique coming together of artists and audiences, celebrating imagination and shared experience. Cairde Sligo Arts Festival has become one of the foremost cultural events in the region with a diverse and multidisciplinary lineup of music, theatre, dance, literature, visual art, circus, street art and more. Cairde brings together an eclectic and dynamic mix of local, national and international acts, including four new world premieres taking place and a variety of free and ticketed events. The festival offers a platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their work and at the same time showcasing the distinctiveness of Sligo – beautiful, raw, wild and creative.

County Sligo is located on the North West coast of Ireland, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean 130 miles from Dublin, Ireland’s capital city. The county also has a number of sizable towns, the  Ballymote, Grange, Collooney, Enniscrone, and Tubbercurry.

Sligo is situated on the Wild Atlantic Way and is known as the “Land of heart’s desire”, as world renowned for the beauty of its landscape and the warmth of the people. The scenic mountains, lakes and beaches present a range of activities for all choices like  golf, fishing, horse riding, cycling, walking, sailing, swimming and surfing. Visitors can also enjoy an array of archaeological and burial sites of the megalithic age. Carrowmore is one of the oldest Stone Age cemeteries in Europe, while Knocknarea mountain is home to the tomb of the legendary Queen Meabh. The other proof of early settlements in County Sligo can also be found on Inishmurray Island and  Drumcliffe

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The Bloom Festival Ireland 2023

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