The Irish have a well-deserved reputation for being a fun-loving bunch. Renowned worldwide for their party attitude and witty repartee (locally known as ‘craic’) it’s no wonder that 34.5 million Americans claim to have Irish ancestry. Whether that’s wishful thinking or perfectly accurate, one thing’s for certain: if you’ve booked flights to Ireland you’re bound to have a good time. And what better way than to party like a local at some of Ireland’s top festivals?
St Patrick’s Festival
If you really want to celebrate Ireland’s biggest party, forget Chicago and New York: find yourself some flights to Dublin. Nowhere in the world celebrates Ireland’s patron saint like the Irish themselves, and with over 4000 performers taking part in street theatre, treasure hunts, nighttime extravaganzas and more you’re bound to have your breath taken away this March. Don’t miss the world famous St Patrick’s Day parade at the culmination of the festival on March 17th.
The Cat Laughs
If there’s one thing the Irish are known for, it’s for their sense of humour. It’s no wonder, then, that Kilkenny is home to one of the world’s best comedy festivals: The Cat Laughs. Featuring local and international comics, the Cat Laughs festival takes place over the June bank holiday. This year festival goers can expect shows from Sarah Millican, Ardal O’Hanlon, and Greg Davies.
Festival of World Cultures
Held each July in the port town of Dún Laoghaire, the Festival of World Cultures aims to educate and inform whilst promoting cultural diversity. Join in with workshops, sample international foods, listen to world music, and have a generally cracking time. The festival attracts over 250,000 people each year, and the majority of exhibitions are free.
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann
Aiming to set standards in traditional Irish music, the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (Festival of Music in Ireland) has been showcasing the best of Irish music through competitions since 1951. Like the Olympics, competitors qualify from county, provincial, and national levels to be named the best in their game. Concerts, ceilidhs and street sessions accompany the contests which can run into the wee hours of the morning.
Cork Jazz Festival
One of the top three jazz festivals in the world, the Cork Jazz Festival attracts around 40,000 visitors each October bank holiday. During the festival, jazz musicians perform in local bars and clubs as well as in exclusive concerts; the perfect backing for enjoying a pint of Guinness.