Schools are out, the sun is shining, and July is — among other things — the season for arts festivals!
Castlebar, Co. Mayo – July 3-6, 2014
The oldest walking festival in Ireland, the Castlebar International Four Days’ Walking Festival bills itself as “the ideal opportunity to walk and talk, to discover and share the bogs, rivers, mountains and unspoiled beauty of the West of Ireland with kindred spirits.”
Trim, Co. Meath – 4-7 July, 2014
The Swift Satire Festival’s organizers describe their festival in simple terms: “We try to emulate Swift’s achievements by giving satirists a platform to hold a mirror up to society.” It’s really quite a unique date in the summer festival calendar, bringing together historians, comedians, astute observers of contemporary politics, and award-winning writers, for a thought-provoking and hilarious few days in beautiful small town.
Miltown Malbay, Co. Cork – July 5-13, 2014
Not a festival per se, Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy is Ireland’s largest traditional music summer school. A thousand students from every part of the world attend daily classes in Irish music, song and dance, taught by some of the finest exponents of the traditional arts. Non-students can enjoy recitals, performances, lectures and céilithe during the height of the summer school.
Bantry, Co. Cork – July 6-9, 2014
Despite there being several great literary festivals in Ireland’s South West corner, the West Cork Literary Festival manages to go beyond the usual suspects. There’s a very healthy mix between writers with their first book, and veterans who’ve seen it all, workshops for those learning their craft, and free readings for casual readers and the curious.
Galway, Co. Galway – July 8-12, 2014
The Galway Film Fleadh (festival) welcomes “a mad diversity of filmmaking from around the world.” Hollywood stars rub shoulders with film buffs, critics, student directors and industry pros from around the world in what must be the most-low-key film festivals anywhere, yet which also manages to boast one of the more astute audiences.
Castlecoote House, Co. Roscommon – July 9-11, 2014
A celebration of the multi-talented Percy French, poet, playwright, songwriter, actor, and editor. For anyone with an interest in Irish history in general or the writings of Percy French.
Letterkenny, Co. Donegal- July 12-26, 2014
Two weeks of music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, circus and carnival on Ireland’s North West Atlantic seaboard.
Galway City, Co. Galway – July 14-27, 2014
Billed as “A creative collison at the edge of Europe,” the Galways Arts Festival is the benchmark against which all other Irish arts festivals measure themselves. Galway’s world-class theatre scene is bolstered by musicians, actors, writers, acrobats, and other diverse artistes from around the world to turn Galway into Ireland’s artistic capital for two weeks. Don’t miss the street theatre and parades, they’re always spectacular!
Boyle, Co. Roscommon – July 24- August 2, 2014
Boyle is developing its own summer arts festival, one that’s particularly strong in comedy, which is fitting for the setting for the hit sit-com Moone Boy. The festival is quite family focused, so there’s lots for everyone.
Sligo, Co. Sligo – July 27-August 8, 2014
“A unique blend of learning, art, and fun” is how the Yeats International Summer School describes themselves. For fans and students of Yeats, it’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the great poet’s work and for writers it’s a chance to participate in workshops with leading contemporary authors. There is also a lecture series, for those who want a little culture added to their sightseeing.
* Unlike other festivals, admission to individual events is for members/season-ticket-holders only, so check out their website and decide if you want to invest the time and money to get the most out of the Summer School.
Ballybrit, Co. Galway – July 28-August 3, 2014
The seven days of the Galways Races Summer Festival attracts people from all over the country for one of the best weeks of racing on the calendar. Maybe not the most family-friendly race meeting, as the crowds are huge, but it’s a great party atmosphere with great racing.