Your guide to the Emerald Isle's annual events
Ireland: few countries evince such overwhelming expectations of a warm welcome, comradely natives and a raucous old time. The Emerald Isle is renowned as a hotbed of conviviality, with patrons from Sydney to San Francisco getting in on the act, painting the town green on St Patrick’s Day every March 17th. You'd be hard pressed to find a visitor to fair Eire who doesn’t speak fondly of its rugged landscape, tightknit towns and vibrant cities. Visitors flock to this island for all kinds of reasons; to golf, walk or party; for sporting events, festivals and concerts.
Visit Ireland at any time, and expect to enjoy the holiday of your dreams. For such a modest country, it might come as a surprise to learn just how much is going on here throughout the year. There’s no shortage of annual events and attractions to take in, and you can find the perfect base for any trip at HomeAway Holiday Rentals. Whether visiting for the music, the arts or simply the good old-fashioned craic, we have a plethora of affordable Ireland rental properties to cater for your every need. Before you book up, however, plan ahead for your Irish adventure with our guide to the country’s top events.
Ireland: the events you can’t miss
Everyone and their mother - and, for that matter, their auntie - is well aware of St Patrick’s Day and what it involves: you know, consuming vast quantities of Guinness and spinning strangers round a dance floor to the strains of a fiddle? Recent years, however, have seen the Black Stuff celebrated with its own unique event: starting in 2009 to mark the 250th anniversary of Arthur Guinness’ eponymous creation, Arthur's Day has seen internationally-renowned artists such as Tom Jones and Biffy Clyro pack out venues across all 32 counties in the past. So as the country descends into a sea of black madness on September 26th, you can say "Bottoms up!", but remember to drink responsibly!
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The younger sister of Scotland’s renowned T in the Park, Oxegen has risen through the ranks to firmly cement its place as Ireland’s biggest and most mainstream music festival. Running contemporaneous to the Scottish event, and typically boasting many of the same A-list acts, the July festival has seen international megastars like Eminem, The Who, Foo Fighters and Lady Gaga take to the stage since its inception in 2004: its stature means that an impressive bill is virtually guaranteed every year. Music lovers would be well advised to pack both wellies and sun cream, though - the Irish summer is as unpredictable as any other in our neck of the woods!
Probably one of the smallest, least-publicised and, well, most bizarre events to be held in Ireland is Tedfest. Forget all that, though; this is quite possibly the most offbeat fun you'll have on a small island in the Atlantic. Set up by devotees of legendary ‘90s sitcom Father Ted, this three-day celebration of all things Ted (and lunacy) is held on Aran Mor Island, or Craggy Island as fans of the show will remember. Even for those not familiar with Dougal, Father Jack and co, the concepts of Priest vs Nuns beach volleyball, the “Lovely Girls” competition and annual Buckaroo championship are fairly self-explanatory! Leave your reservations on the mainland and expect the unexpected.
Galway Arts Festival
The largest and most significant festival of its kind in Ireland, the Galway Arts Festivals affords visitors a rare opportunity to immerse themselves in multiple aspects of the country’s culture. Running for 14 days in the summer, the festival has in recent years experienced a surge of visitors from abroad. They come to watch international and local talent, not to mention to sample a mixture of visual arts, indoor theatre, workshops and comedy. Galway itself is something of a dynamic city, punctuated by winding medieval streets and eye-catching architecture: when the formal entertainment stops, you’ll have plenty to keep you amused.
For nature lovers, a trip to the Bloom Festival, or Bloom in the Park, is as good a reason as any to visit Eire. The event lasts for five days, and is held in Dublin’s Phoenix Park just as summer approaches. The Bloom Festival is a gala in honour of everything related to flora and fauna. A wander around the park will reveal a seemingly infinite number of wonderfully tended mini gardens, craft stalls and floral displays to be admired by those of a green-fingered persuasion. Even if gardening isn’t strictly your thing, you can gorge till your heart’s content on one of the many culinary delights on offer in the Food Village.
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