Ireland's Fall Festivals

Guinness & oysters. By minwoo.

It is no secret that Fall is my favorite season. Living in Atlanta with a seemingly endless hot & humid summer, the cool air of Fall is a welcome relief. It’s also my favorite time to visit Ireland--the weather is generally really nice, less crowds than summer and it’s the season that hosts some of the most wonderful festivals in Ireland!

On the food front, September visitors can head to the bohemian city of Galway to attend the famous Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival (Sept. 25- Sept. 27). This festival, celebrating its 61st year, is the oldest oyster festival in the world. People from all over the globe descend on Galway to sample the world famous Galway oyster! Festival attendees of all ages can participate in this fun-filled celebration that includes live music, cooking demonstrations, oyster festival parade, World Oyster Shucking Championships, Mardi Gras ball, and of course, all the oysters one can eat--packed into 3 days! Check out the festival highlights from 2014: 

In the spirit of seafood, visitors to Northern Ireland can visit the beautiful village of Hillsborough which hosts the Hillsborough Oyster Festival (Sept. 1- Sept. 6) complete with golf tournament, soapbox derby, oyster ball, oyster eating championship, antique car show, pop-up gourmet restaurant and much more! In October, the picturesque seaside resort of Kinsale (hailed as the gourmet food capital of Ireland) holds the “Kinsale Gourmet Festival” (Oct.9- Oct. 11) while Kilkenny host the 9th annual “Savour Kilkenny Festival of Food” (Oct. 23- Oct. 26).

Did you know that Ireland invented Halloween? The festival has Celtic pagan roots that date back about 2,000 years. Fans of this holiday will love the Bram Stoker Festival (Oct. 23 – Oct. 26) honoring the Dublin-born author of Dracula. Join a city full of costumed revelers as Dublin goes red for three nights with literary events, ghost walks & tours, movie screenings and a Gothic Ball! For a closer look a this ghoulish and super fun event, check out this video: 

Credit: Discover Ireland

Lovers of music and jazz can’t miss the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival  held Oct 23 – Oct. 26 in Cork city. This internationally renowned festival, founded in 1978, features over 1,000 musicians in dozens of performances at 70 venues citywide and is one of the jewels in the crown of Irish festivals. Over the years, noted musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald, Wynton Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson are but a few who have played at the Cork Jazz Festival. 

These are just a small sample of Ireland’s Fall festivals—many towns or city hosts their own unique celebrations  throughout the year--There is something “always on” in Ireland!