What’s happening around Ireland in June? As usual, there are lots of great festivals.
Here are a few of the best…
Cork Harbour, Co. Cork – May 28-June 1
Cork has a long maritime tradition, which is celebrated in this annual week of special events, races, exhibitions, and fun. There’s plenty for all the family, from guided tours of Irish naval vessels to circumnavigating central Cork City by kayak, with great music, food and drink on hand. The highlight is An Rás Mór, the big race, in which all manner of sea-going craft compete across a variety of distances: restored curraghs, yachts, long racing boats, and tiny kayaks.
Carlingford, Co. Louth – June 6-8, 2014
Based on the Irish epic saga An Táin Bó Cúailgne (The Cattle Raid of Cooley), this 3-day festival recreates a portion of the march from Agree to Carlingford, with re-enactments, entertainment and craic along the way. If you don’t want to walk, simply enjoy the fun in Dundalk or Carlingford along the way.
Carlow, Co. Carlow – June 6-15, 2014
Since starting out as a local festival championing the spoken word and the Irish language, the Carlow Arts Festival, also known as Éigse (Irish for a poetry gathering), now showcases all the arts, being particularly strong in visual arts.
Clonegal, Co. Carlow – June 7-8, 2014
Bringing together 50 leading historians for Ireland and the UK, the History Festival of Ireland is a must for anyone interested in delving deeply into Ireland’s often-contentious past. Another offshoot of Éigse Carlow, the History Festival of Ireland is now in its third year.
Belfast, Northern Ireland – June 9-15, 2014
A who’s-who of contemporary Irish writers descends on Belfast in early June for the city’s annual book festival. Given the wealth of great poets from the region, the festival is particularly strong on poetry with events featuring former British Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, Paul Muldoon, and an annual poetry slam that gives a stage to some of the newest and most-exciting young voices in poetry.
Dublin City, Co. Dublin – 12-15 June, 2014
Twenty top restaurants will be competing to delight the senses in this 3-day festival of fine food, beverages, and solicalizing. 100 food producers from around the country will also be showcasing their wares in the beautiful surroundings of the Iveagh Gardens.
Drogheda, Co. Louth – June 13-15, 2014
A newcomer on the festival circuit, the Irish Maritime Festival takes place in the historical port of Drogheda, Co. Louth, and features a variety of events on the River Boyne and in the harbor. Tall ships are visiting, races will be held, plenty of food and entertainment will be on hand to celebrate the city’s maritime heritage.
Borris Co. Carlow – June 14-15, 2014
An offshoot of Éigse Carlow, The Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas brings novelists, poets, journalists, film directors and other leading minds together for a week of panels, lectures, and discussions about the written word and the power of ideas. The events tend not to end so much as adjourn into the local pubs at the end of the day, with featured authors and audience debating things long into the night.
Fota Island, Co. Cork – 19-22 June, 2014
The pinnacle of the golfing calendar in Ireland, the Irish Open rotates around different courses every year. This years it’s the turn of the Fota Island Resort course in Co. Cork. Pro tip: the best tickets prices are for the Pro-AM on Wednesday, June 18.
Killarney, Co. Kerry – June 20-22, 2014
There are over 80 walking festivals around Ireland, and the Killarney Walking Festival is the new kid on the block. Offering guided walks in some of the most picturesque of Ireland’s mountains, including our largest, Carrantuohill, it’s sure to be a popular festival. There are hikes planned for every age group and level of difficulty, and plenty of nearby spas to soak away aches and pains afterwards, before refueling in front of a comfortable fire.
The Curragh, Co. Kildare – June 27-29, 2014
The Irish Derby is one of the calendar’s premiere race meetings. The Curragh Racecourse is the epicenter of horse racing and breeding in Ireland, and the 3-day Derby Festival combines racing with gourmet food and live music. This is the place to see and be seen, with many people vying for the Most Stylish Lady title on the Saturday.
Did I miss any? Leave suggestions in the comments.