Dublin is an exciting and beautiful place to visit. Alive with music, history and literature, it has many varied festivals and celebrations throughout the year waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. Here are just a few suggestions for those visiting the city.
The Dublin Dance Festival takes place in May from the 11th to the 26th. It is an international festival celebrating and promoting the best of contemporary choreography from around the world.
The festival was established in 2002 but only became a yearly event in 2007. It had previously been biennial and is the premier dance event on the Irish arts calendar. Festival passes are available for €220 but there are limited early-bird passes for €180. Tickets can also be booked at the venues.
For those of a more literary bent, there is the chance to Discover Dalkey’s Literary Gems at Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre. This new event has readings and short plays from works by local authors, from Maeve Binchy to James Joyce.
The event runs from 14th May to 23rd June with shows on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Tickets are €8 and can be booked through the Centre. There is also a free guided literary walk on the days of the shows for participants.
At Dublin’s only race course, Leopardstown, there is a series of racing and boutique musical events throughout the summer, from 8th June until 16th August. The festival only began in 2011 and will have a different line-up of acts appearing each year. Tickets are €15.
Another event taking place through the summer is the Summer of Heritage programme, from 27th June until 2nd September. The programme has been running for five years and has been expanded, with many activities for adults and children.
The main attractions of the programme are the tours of historical sites in the county. These tours are interesting and informative and feature living-history performances from professional actors in period costume. Best of all, the programme is free for everyone.
Started in 1970, the Liberties is one of the oldest festivals in Ireland. It is named for the area in the south-west part of Dublin’s inner city, a place steeped in history. The name originates from the 12th century – jurisdictions tied to the city but outside its walls were called Liberties by the Anglo-Normans.
The Liberties Festival is one of the highlights of the summer. It boasts a wide range of sporting and community events that the whole family can enjoy. There is also an arts and multi-cultural programme that features literature, music, dance, comedy, film and visual art.
The festival only lasts a few days, from the 18th to the 22nd of July. Fortunately most of the events that take place are free, which is a tradition for the Liberties Festival.
Running for 18 years and the largest multi-disciplinary arts festival in Ireland is the Absolut Fringe Festival. Up to 650 events are staged in over 40 venues and, unlike many other fringes in other countries, it is a wholly curated festival.
The Absolut Fringe is a showcase for fresh new Irish arts companies as well as the best international touring dance and theatre shows. A city-wide event, it runs from the 8th to 22nd September. Ticket prices vary depending on the show and venue.
For an event with a difference, there is the International Puppet Festival. It has been running for over 20 years and features performances from local and international puppeteers. The festival takes place from the 19th to the 28th October and ticket prices vary.
From April through to October in Dun Laoghaire, the Pavilion Quarter is hosting a multitude of events for all the family. These include fireworks, street entertainment and music, as well as free food samples from local restaurants. The events are free, but times and dates vary.
With such a wide array of things happening all year long, the only difficulty when visiting Dublin will be trying to decide what to do.