8 of The Best Family Friendly Festivals in Ireland This Autumn 2016

Autumn 2016 in Ireland

8 Family Friendly Festivals You Should Know About 

Ever since junior came on board our little boat called ‘Life’s Adventures’ last March 2015, and I suppose even on the lead up to being a mother, I’ve had my ear to the ground for family friendly festivals here in Ireland. I’m a culture, art, music and food lover so it goes without saying that our little bundle of joy, Smith, will be introduced to all of the above throughout his childhood. I hope it’ll expand his mind, make him yearn to learn, travel wide and be a well-rounded individual with a lust for life. At 18 months old, he’s the light of my life adventure, and he gives me a lust for life every morning I see his little face.

… But less about my happiness as a parent and more about your happiness as a visitor to the next Family Friendly Festival available to you.

I’m keeping the descriptions of the featured family friendly festivals short and sweet in this listings post as I do have a tendency to get over excited and ramble on about an event. However I’ve included links to the official websites for you to find out more and explore the festival programmes. Do remember that planning is worth your time. Prevent disappointment by double checking dates and times, booking requirements and suitability for your family members or group.

 8 of The Best Family Friendly Festivals in Ireland This Autumn 2016

Festival: Waterford Harvest Festival

Date: Friday September 9th – Sunday September 11th

Where: Waterford

Official Website: www.waterfordharvestfestival.ie

Food glorious food. From a Festival Market to a Food Village. From GIY to a Harvest Kitchen. From Art to Fairs, it appears that the Waterford Harvest Festival is the place to be this weekend. A family friendly festival that encourages even the youngest amongst us to join in. Check out the Junior HQ workshops and activities which range from ‘Baby Massage’ demo’s to ‘Make Your Own Pizza’ classes.

8 of The Best Family Friendly Festivals in Ireland This Autumn 2016

Festival: Culture Night 2016

Date: Friday September 16th

Where: Nationwide

Official Website: www.culturenight.ie

Getting bigger and better every year, Culture Night is a national celebration of culture, which means that you don’t necessarily need to be in a big city to enjoy the festival. Celebrated at over 40 locations throughout Ireland, there will be 3000+ FREE EVENTS taking part in over 1400 venues. AMAZING! and of course many if not most events will be family friendly!

8 of The Best Family Friendly Festivals in Ireland This Autumn 2016

Festival: BlueFire Street Fest 2016

Date: Saturday September 17th

Where: Smithfield, Dublin

Official Website: www.bluefiredublin.ie

The message BlueFire aims to deliver to those who witness their festival is ‘You can travel the world on your doorstep’. So when you step into Smithfield Square on September 17th, expect a FREE Arts Festival for all the family to enjoy that includes cultural qualities from around the world. From song and dance to music, BlueFire is growing year on year and celebrating national and international culture as it does.

8 of The Best Family Friendly Festivals in Ireland This Autumn 2016

Festival: Irish Hot Air Ballooning Championships

Date: Sunday September 25th to Friday September 30th

Where: Five Locations in Galway

Official Website: www.irishballoonchampionships.com

This year will be the 46th Irish Hot Air Balloon Championships. In Hot Air Ballooning talk it’s referred to ‘The Irish Meet’ and it’s the longest running national ballooning event in the world! There are a total of 40 ballooning teams involved and it is sure to be a sight for sore eyes! Bring a camera but most importantly connect with the championships for time updates, because it will all be reliant on the weather, and we know what Irish weather is like!

8 of The Best Family Friendly Festivals in Ireland This Autumn 2016

Festival: Baboró International Arts Festival for Children 2016

Date: Monday October 17th to Sunday October 23rd

Where: Galway

Official Website: www.baboro.ie

This is the 20th Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. Booking and ticket purchasing for events is essential. This children’s festival is suitable from babies aged one and upwards, which makes it very special. There are also a number of workshops and events for adults. Expect some of the most imaginative Irish and international work from Ireland, Holland, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Denmark and the UK. This family friendly festival celebrates imagination through seven days of theatre, dance, music, puppetry, film, animation, exhibitions, talks and workshops, throughout various Galway venues.

8 of The Best Family Friendly Festivals in Ireland This Autumn 2016

Festival: Knocknagoshel Halloween Festival 2016

Date: Sunday October 30th

Where: Knocknagoshel, Kerry

Official Website: knocknagoshelhalloweenfestival.weebly.com

Let me set the scene, and I quote from the official Knocknagoshel website “Where ghouls roam and demons leap, where cuts and sores begin the weep, And as life fades just before you’re dead, the hordes of maggots will eat your head” Knocknagoshel will be celebrating their 23rd festival this year and it’s sure to be frightfully ghoul’d!

8 of The Best Family Friendly Festivals in Ireland This Autumn 2016

Festival: Dragon of Shandon Festival 2016

Date: Monday October 31st

Where: Cork City

Official Website: www.dragonofshandon.com

Dragon of Shandon is definitely a parade not to be missed if you’re in Cork City! Dragon of Shandon was founded in 2006 by Cork Community Art Link so it’s celebrating 10 years this year. Collaborating each year and throughout the year with a number of individuals, artists, youth clubs and local community groups, means that Dragon of Shandon is a community affair by the people for the people to celebrate Samhain, the living and the dead.

8 of The Best Family Friendly Festivals in Ireland This Autumn 2016

Festival: Bram Stoker Festival 2016

Date: Friday October 28th to Monday October 31st

Where: Dublin City

Official Website: www.bramstokerfestival.com

This year will be the fifth Bram Stoker Festival in Dublin City. Brought to us by Dublin City Council and Fáilte Ireland, the festival is a celebration of all things Bram Stoker. Events are spread over four days and include both day and night events, meaning events to suit all the family and then adults alone. Some events and activities are FREE others will involve booking. The new programme for 2016 should be published soon so keep an eye out … personally I can’t wait to get my fangs on it!


8 of The Best Family Friendly Festivals in Ireland This Autumn 2016

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Edwina O'Connor
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1 Comment
  1. Hi there! We’d love you to give a mention to the Aisling Children’s Festival in Longford. We are now in our 19th year – it’s a week-long arts festival for children running throughout Co. Longford every October, kicking off with a free family fun day on 23rd October and running until 29th Oct 2016. There are theatre performances throughout the week including The Secret Life of Suitcases on 25th Oct, Fidget Feet Aerial Dance on 25th Oct and Graffiti Classics on 28th Oct. – tickets (all €5) bookable through Backstage Theatre. Arts and crafts workshops on throughout the week, music, photography, art competition – way too much to mention here. Check out our FB page Aisling Children’s Festival and website http://www.aislingfestival.ie. Thanks!