Festivals this June 2018 on the Island of Ireland
Between the torrential rain days we’ve had blissful blue skies here in Ireland this May 2018. Yep summer is here. The trees are green, the flowers are blooming. The country is awash with two types of tan, the fake, and the farmers, I’ll hold my hand up to the later, proudly. People are busily making vacation and staycation plans, and the kiddies are itching to be free, because in a matter of weeks ‘School’s out for the summer’.
And speaking of school. Do you remember learning the provinces and counties of Ireland in school? I still do after all these years, and that’s saying something for my teachers skills because what with two boys aged three and under, I barely remember what day it is some weeks. Anyhoo here they are – and you should brush up, because from now on my ‘What’s On: Festival’ posts will feature my top picks from each province (seemed a good idea at the time of writing).
The twelve counties of Leinster are Louth, Meath, Westmeath, Longford, Offaly, Laois, Kildare, Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny. The six counties of Munster are Kerry, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Tipperary and Clare. The five counties of Connacht are Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, and Roscommon. The nine counties of Ulster (including the six counties that make up Northern Ireland) are Donegal, Derry/Londonderry, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Monaghan and Cavan.
My Top Festival Picks in Leinster this June 2018
Where: Beaulieu House, Drogheda, Co. Louth
When: June 1st – June 3rd
“Vantastival is a gloriously independent, award-winning festival which will take place at Beaulieu House this June bank holiday weekend, on the sloping banks of the river Boyne.
Music fans and campervanners flock to this unique family friendly event for its fantastically diverse line up, super-friendly vibes, and quirky extras. Other attractions include gourmet food stalls, festival traders, scheduled kids’ activities, arts, crafts and many other fun and novel additions, ensuring that Vantastival has something for everyone, with or without a camper van!” (vantastival.com)
Festival: Carlow Arts Festival
Where: Various Venues, Carlow
When: June 6th – June 10th
“Carlow Arts Festival marks a special time in the town’s annual calendar, providing an opportunity for everyone to experience something out of the ordinary, soak up the celebratory atmosphere and be part of the thrill of knowing that in the hands of exceptional artists anything is possible.
The idea of reaching out is at the centre of this years programme and we are proud to be presenting some of the most exciting and innovative artists working nationally and internationally from as far afield as Canada to as close at hand as Carlow.
Key to the festival is a deeply held belief that the arts are for all of us, and that nobody should be left out of the exceptional experiences it can provide. This is why we work hard with funders and supporters to present over 75% of the programme for free, and have developed a new Pick Your Price initiative.” (carlowartsfestival.com)
Festival: Bloomsday Festival
Where: Various Venues, Dublin
When: June 11th – June 16th
“Bloomsday celebrates Thursday 16 June 1904, the day depicted in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The day is named after Leopold Bloom, the central character in Ulysses. The novel follows the life and thoughts of Leopold Bloom and a host of other characters – real and fictional – from 8am on 16 June 1904 through to the early hours of the following morning.
Celebrations often include dressing up like characters from the book and in clothes that would have been the style of the era. One of the hallmark fancy dress items of Bloomsday is the straw boater hat. Celebrations come in many different forms like readings, performances and visiting the places and establishments referenced in the book.” (bloomsdayfestival.ie)
My Top Festival Picks in Munster this June 2018
Where: Various Venues, Killorglin, Kerry
When: June 1st – June 4th
“K-FEST, a dynamic arts festival with an emphasis on emerging artists, uses unoccupied spaces in Killorglin, Co. Kerry, transforming vacant retail outlets, deserted buildings, and even domestic homes into curated bespoke pop-up galleries and venues over the June Bank Holiday weekend.
Organised by a group of passionate and committed artists, business people, educators, and volunteers from all walks of life, the K-FEST team hosts more than 60 events in addition to a gallery trail, including live music performances by dozens of up-and-coming bands and musicians, as well as spoken word, drama, comedy, short films, street entertainment, and activities for kids and families.” (kfest.ie)
Festival: Cork Midsummer Festival
Where: Various Venues, Cork
When: June 15th – June 24th
“Cork Midsummer Festival is an annual multi-disciplinary arts festival that uses the city as its backdrop and inspiration. It provides high-quality arts events, both national and international, for audiences of all ages.
Its programme provides opportunities for significant public participation and engagement, supports the development of emerging artists across all art forms, and provides a unique platform for work by local and national artists.” (corkmidsummer.com)
My Top Festival Picks in Connacht this June 2018
Festival: Give It A Go! Achill 2018 !!
Where: Various Locations, Achill
When: June 7th – June 10th
“Achill Island, being the beating heart of the Wild Atlantic Way, will again host the Give It A Go Festival. This event gives visitors and locals alike, the opportunity to experience taster sessions of various activities …..They can “Give It a Go”!
Activities offered will certainly get your adrenaline pumping; they include those on water…Kitesurfing, SUP, Surfing, Kayaking; those on land … Hill Walking & Mountaineering, and a guided walk through the Deserted Village, pitch & putt; to those of a more relaxing nature ….. a seaweed bath and finally to whet your appetite a demonstration of preparing & tasting session of locally smoked salmon. However, if you feel like just chilling out why not visit our local Aquarium and Visitor centre, where the only effort required is to tickle the tummy of a fish. This activity packed weekend will take place from Thursday 7th June to Sunday 10th June inclusive.” (achilltourism.com)
Festival: SeaFest 2018
Where: Various Locations, Galway
When: June 29th – July 1st
“A weekend of fun, family friendly events lay in wait for you at SeaFest. Discover all about our oceans, including the creatures that live beneath, how we explore our seas, the ships that transport us and the fascinating tales from the deep.
Take part in interactive activities, watch demonstrations and go onboard a ship. The festival covers all things marine – from seafood cookery to science, cultural history to deep-sea exploration and much more!” (seafest.ie)
My Top Festival Picks in Ulster incl. Northern Ireland this June 2018
Festival: Sea Sessions Surf & Music Festival
Where: Bundoran, Donegal
When: June 22nd – June 24th
“Winner of IMRO live music festival, at the 2017 awards, Sea Sessions is one of Ireland’s most highly respected festivals and is widely recognised as being the country’s premier music, camping and surfing life-style event. It sold out to capacity crowds each year and continues to grow in popularity.
In 2015, 2016 & 2017 the festival sold out weeks in advance. Sea Sessions has played host to such luminaries as Primal Scream, Paul Weller, Tinie Tempah, Bastille, Seasick Steve, Example and The Coronas to name but a few. Situated right on beach in Bundoran, the capital of Irish Surfing – it is the only event in the country bringing together the unique lifestyle aspects of surfing, music, skating, BMX, beach sports and more, into a three-day camping festival.” (seasessions.com)
Festival: Belfast Photo Festival Compact
Where: Various Venues, Belfast
When: June 7th – June 30th
“The compact edition of the Belfast Photo Festival aims to develop the careers of photographers. Launching the first conference focusing on the power of photography and it’s important role across the creative industries, the festival also hosts a range of exhibitions across the city alongside educational workshops for young people aged 14 – 20.”
This year the festival has taken its inspiration from the interplay between music and photography in both its exhibitions, talks and workshops. (belfastphotofestival.com)