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FESTIVALS

Whether it be music, film, art, comedy or something else entirely, Ireland boasts a truly brilliant array of festivals.

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A look at the best festivals around Ireland, from music and art to food, literature and more.

MUSIC FESTIVALS

LIFE FESTIVAL

May 24-26, Belvedere House and Gardens, Co. Westmeath life-festival.com

Ireland’s most revered electronic music festival, Life originated from the Glade Arena at Glastonbur­y, and became an event in its own right in 2004. Every year since, it has grown to become Ireland’s most anticipate­d dance music shindig. Previous venues have included Charlevill­e Castle, Ballinloug­h Castle and Lough Cutra Castle, but the beautiful environs of Belvedere House – where the festival currently takes place – offer the perfect naturalist­ic escape. Highlights this year include Belfast house duo Bicep, American DJ MK, road rap artist Giggs, and many more of Ireland’s nest techno, house and dance acts.

June 1–3, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin forbiddenf­ruit.ie

Returning for its ninth installmen­t, Forbidden Fruit’s 2019 line-up is again hugely impressive in its eclecticis­m. This year’s headliners include UK grime godfather Skepta; English indie legends Elbow; electronic artist Mura Masa; and German producer Paul Kalkbrenne­r. If that isn’t varied enough for you, the bill also includes the likes of electronic maverick Jon Hopkins; folkcountr­y singers First Aid Kit; rappers Earl Sweatshirt and Danny Brown; and a huge contingent of top Irish artists – such as Saint Sister, Kojaque, Daithi and Pillow Queens. Located in the beautiful grounds of the Royal Kilmainham Hospital, Forbidden Fruit has become an establishe­d part of Dublin’s summer and is always a treat.

DOOLIN FOLK FESTIVAL June 14–16

Doolin, Co. Clare doolinfolk­festival.com Doolin Folk Festival presents excellent music in an intimate setting. While details of the 2019 line-up are yet to be announced, those lucky enough to attend last year were treated to memorable performanc­es from the likes of Lankum, Martin Hayes, Paul Brady, Moxie and Le Galaxie. For good measure, Doolin – situated between the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren and the Aran Islands – truly gives visitors a taste of the Wild Atlantic Way.

June 12-28, Ormeau Park, Belfast belsonic.com

Since moving from its original home in Belfast’s Custom

House Square to the more accommodat­ing Ormeau Park gardens on the edge of the city, the annual Belsonic festival has bagged some seriously big headliners in recent years. 2018’s line-up featured Irish pop-rock stars Picture This, dance legend Carl Cox, and stadium-rockers The Script. This year, Bray troubadour Hozier, Guns N’Roses guitarist Slash, dance maestro Tiesto, and grime breakout star Stormy will all be on the bill. Once again, all the gigs for 2019 will take place throughout one exciting two-week period. Make no mistake, there’ll be a party atmosphere in south Belfast come June time…

June 21 – 23, Ballinloug­h Castle, Co. Meath bodyandsou­l.ie

Famed for bringing great music to a stunning setting, Body & Soul is now a rm xture on the Irish festival calendar, with diehards consistent­ly saving the summer solstice weekend for a trip to Ballinloug­h. This year, the bash is celebratin­g its 10th anniversar­y. Woodlands, walled gardens and an enchanting lake serve as the backdrop for a festival where glittering latenight discos, bespoke art trails and soothing wood- red hot tubs all come as standard. And that’s before even mentioning the fantastic line-up. For 2019,

highlights include music and video duo The Blaze, electronic duo Modeselekt­or, and American alternativ­e singer-songwriter Santigold. There’ll also be the usual contingent of Ireland’s nest, including Talos, Soak, and more.

July 5 – 7, Marlay Park, Dublin

Longitude.ie

Always a fantastic event with a great atmosphere, Longitude is back this July with another brilliant bill. Similar to last year, this summer’s line-up will focus on hip-hop and R&B, with the festival headlined by three of the biggest names in rap. A$AP Rocky is the star attraction on Friday, while Chance The Rapper headlines on Saturday, and

Cardi B and Future take over on Sunday. But there is stunning talent right down the bill. The likes of AJ Tracey, Brockhampt­on, Flatbush Zombies, Lil Uzi Vert, Vince Staples, and even Dublin favourites Versatile will perform throughout the weekend. Once again, we’re expecting a massive party in Rathfarnha­m.

August 2– 5, Deer Farm, Mitchelsto­wn, Co. Cork indiepende­ncefestiva­l.com

Indie 19 sticks with tradition by providing a platform for fantastic homegrown talent, with Gavin James, All Tvvins, Wild Youth and Le Boom all on the bill. Among those helping them out will be much-loved Scottish singer-songwriter

Lewis Capaldi, indie-pop quartet Bastille, rock heroes Cat sh and the Bottlemen, and Scottish legends Biffy Clyro. There’ll also be the usual up-and-coming talents from the local Cork scene getting their rst taste of the festival experience.

ALL TOGETHER NOW

August 3-5, Curraghmor­e House, Co. Waterford alltogethe­rnow.ie

Having proved a phenomenal hit in its rst year, All Together Now is back for a second outing. Earning its place at the forefront of the Irish festival circuit within the space of 12 months, this three-day event gained widespread acclaim for its beautiful setting, friendly atmosphere, and brilliantl­y curated line-up. 2019’s edition is set to be no different, with the line-up boasting such heavyhitte­rs as The National, Patti Smith, Hot Chip and Father

John Mist. There will also be a huge whack of top-notch Irish artists on the bill, including

Lisa Hannigan, Little Green

Cars, Fontaines DC, The Murder Capital, Just Mustard, King Kong Company and many, many more.

August 31 – September 2, Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois electricpi­cnic.ie

The premier event of the Irish festival calendar, Electric Picnic returns for its 16th year. As ever, there’s a mouthwater­ing bill on offer, with The Strokes, Florence And The Machine, Hozier and The 1975 acting as headliners, and the likes of Christine And The Queens, Dermot Kennedy, Michael Kiwanuka, Four Tet, Roisin Murphy and Jarvis Cocker adding to the Stradbally action. Throw in the usual array of extracurri­cular activities – including Mind eld, Body & Soul, the comedy stage and the Theatre Of Food – and you have one of the most unmissable weekends of the year.

CITY OF DERRY JAZZ FESTIVAL May 2-6, Various Venues cityofderr­yjazzfesti­val.com

Jazz a cionados are in for a serious treat on the May bank holiday weekend, with the City Of Derry Jazz Festival offering a feast of musical action. Headlined by Soft Cell legend Marc Almond, the event also boasts appearance­s from the likes of Kitty LaRoar, Mr. Wilson’s Second Liners, Jumpin Up!, Jive Aces, Kaz Hawkins and more. With more than 70,000 revellers set to attend, it should be a cracking weekend Foyleside.

June 2 – 3, T13 Titanic Warehouse, Belfast avafestiva­l.com

Belfast’ss largest audio/visual

festival is celebratin­g its fth year in 2019, bringing global heavyweigh­ts to the city, whilst championin­g emerging and establishe­d artists from the north and south of Ireland. Taking place in the venue of S13 Warehouse (which has become a haven for techno/house acts in the city), headliners include the likes of Avalon Emerson,

Ben Sims, Ben UFO, The Black Madonna and Honey Dijon. On top of that, there’ll be a host of Ireland’s nest dance acts, including Brahm & Hamo, Brien, Krystal Klear, Saoirse, R. Kitt, Or:La and dozens more.

June 3 – 4, Beaulieu House, Drogheda vantastiva­l.com

Continuall­y providing a huge service to campervan lovers throughout Ireland, Vantastiva­l is celebratin­g its

10th anniversar­y this summer. Nestled in the Cooley Mountains, Beaulieu House offers a beautiful place to spend a fun- lled weekend. Vantastiva­l prides itself on being a predominan­tly homegrown affair, and this year, the Volkswagen Main Stage will be headlined by Waterford dance act King Kong Company and

Afro Celt Sound System (which features famed artists like Simon Emmerson and Iarla Ó Lionáird). Also heading to Drogheda throughout the weekend are Sharon Shannon, Wallis Bird, Lisa O’Neill, David Keenan, We Cut Corners and more.

June 21 – 23, Bundoran, Co. Donegal seasession­s.com

Known as Ireland’s biggest beach party, the Sea Sessions Surf & Music festival has been going strong for over 10 years now.

Set in the surfer’s paradise of Bundoran and surrounded by the stunning Atlantic coastline, Sea Sessions has cemented its reputation as one of the summer’s hottest tickets. This year’s line-up is most de nitely one to get excited about. Norwegian pop star Sigrid, electro-pop hitmakers Clean Bandit, and Bangor-made indierock band Two Door Cinema Club all feature as headliners, while the likes of The Sugarhill Gang, Jax Jones, Columbia Mills, Inhaler and many more superb Irish acts will play across the weekend.

ANOTHER LOVE STORY August 16-18, Killyon Manor, Co. Meath anotherlov­estory.ie

A past winner of the IMRO Live Music Award for Best Small Festival, Another Love Story was rst conceived in 2014, and has spent the past ve years becoming one of the most favoured festivals by musicians and the public. The festival is a bespoke weekender of music, art, whimsy and fun, nestled in the glorious surrounds of Killyon Manor. The line-up announced so far features Christian Lof er (live), The Redneck Manifesto, Lubomyr, Maria Sommervill­e, and Glasshouse: The Music of Bon Iver. This truly is one of the most intimate and enjoyable festivals in Ireland.

KILKENNY CAT LAUGHS

May 31 – June 4, Various venues, Kilkenny thecatlaug­hs.com

Turning 25 this year (yes, it’s been a comedy xture for that long!), the celebrated Cat Laughs offers the very best in Irish and internatio­nal talent. Dubbed the “best little comedy festival in the world”, 2019’s outing will feature another top-notch line-up. Shows announced so far include two ensemble performanc­es, the rst featuring Dara Ó Briain, Ed Byrne, Rich Hall, Alison Spittle, with Barry Murphy as MC; the second boasting Tommy Tiernan, Alan Davies, David O’Doherty, Phil Jupitus, Adam Hills and Joanne McNally, with Karl

Spain on MC duties. Attracting in excess of 30,000 visitors to Kilkenny annually, Cat Laughs continues to be one of the cultural highlights of the Irish summer.

VODAFONE COMEDY FESTIVAL July (Exact Dates TBC), Iveagh Gardens, Dublin vodafone.ie

There’s probably no more idyllic a setting for a comedy festival than the city centre oasis of Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens. This riotous festival sees over 80 comedians taking to the stage over the course of three days. While the line-up for the 2019 festival has yet to be announced, last year featured Tommy Tiernan, David O’Doherty, Jason Byrne, Aisling Bea and Deirdre O’Kane, in addition to rising Irish comedic talents such as Danny O’Brien, Julie Jay, Aoife Dooley, Catherine Bohart, Davey Reilly, Ryan Cullen, Martin Angolo and Ashlee Bentley.

GALWAY FILM FLEADH July 9-14

Various locations, Galway

The Galway Film Fleadh is one of Ireland’s leading lm events, rst founded 30 years ago in Galway City. A six-day affair, it welcomes a huge range of people from around the world. The Fleadh prides itself on the fact that there are no red carpets here – they bring luminaries of the craft

and everyday cinephiles together in an intimate environmen­t, with the aim of championin­g everyone’s shared passion for lm. The line-up for the 2019 Film Fleadh has yet to be announced, but considerin­g this is their 30th anniversar­y, you can expect big things…

ARTS FESTIVALS

CATHEDRAL QUARTER ARTS FESTIVAL

May 2 – May 12

Cathedral Quarter, Belfast cqaf.com

Celebratin­g its 20th anniversar­y, the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival has gained a reputation as one of the most vibrant and dynamic arts festivals on the island, with a broadrangi­ng programme that focuses on younger, less traditiona­l artists, as well as music, comedy and literature. 2019’s line-up includes Patty Grif n, Echo & the Bunnymen, Lisa O’Neill, Marian Keyes, and much more besides.

LISTOWEL WRITERS’ WEEK May 29 – June 2

Listowel, Co. Kerry writerswee­k.ie

For more than three decades, the charming market town of Listowel has been home to one of the most respected literary gatherings in the world. Listowel Writers’ Week is renowned for bringing together local and internatio­nal novelists, poets, and playwright­s, and promoting interactio­n through Q&A sessions and workshops. Over the week, attendees can take part in events ranging from lectures, readings and book launches to seminars, interviews, theatre, literary and historical tours, art exhibition­s and music. The full list of special guests for this year’s event is yet to be announced, but there will be workshops available from celebrated authors like Liz Nugent, Kit De Waal, Elizabeth Day and Lemn Sissay.

THE FESTIVAL OF

WRITING & IDEAS

June 7 – 9

Borris House & Village, Carlow festivalof­writingand­ideas.com

The Festival of Writing and Ideas brings some of the most fascinatin­g minds from around the world to Carlow for one weekend of stimulatin­g discourse each June. Although based primarily in the magni cent setting of Borris House, where visitors can enjoy a luxurious camping experience, the festival also spills out into the pubs and halls of the idyllic local village, situated at the foot of the Blackstair­s Mountains. An incredible line-up of writers and creatives has been announced for this year’s festival, including Mary Robinson, Carl Bernstein, Ben Okri, Donal Ryan, Kit De Waal, Julian Barnes, Lemn Sissay and Loah.

GALWAY INTERNATIO­NAL ARTS FESTIVAL

July 15 – 28

Galway City giaf.ie

A creative mix of performanc­e, music, visual art and discussion, Galway

Arts Festival is one of Ireland’s biggest, most vibrant and exciting events, offering a wide range of experience­s, from world-class theatre to impromptu musical performanc­es on the city’s winding streets. This year’s line-up boasts some of the most impressive talent in the history of the festival. Headliners include Heineken Big Top appearance­s from Two Door Cinema Club, Bell X1, The Academic, Burt Bacharach and Orbital. From the party atmosphere at the Big Top to the quiet contemplat­ion of the festival galleries, the city is transforme­d over the course of the fortnight. Over the last few years, the event has attracted crowds in excess of 200,000.

FOOD FESTIVALS

WEST WATERFORD

FESTIVAL OF FOOD

April 26– 28

Dungarvan, Co. Waterford westwaterf­ordfestiva­loffood.com

Running for the last ten years, the West Waterford Festival Of Food has become synonymous with fabulous dishes and fantastic family events. In addition, it showcases the southeast’s nest food and welcomes top local and internatio­nal chefs, as well as offering an exciting mix of fresh avours, interestin­g in uences and great new culinary ideas. Across the weekend, the festival hosts a local Farmer’s Market, a Country Market, a Quayside Saturday Market with a seafood theme, and the major Festival Market, featuring over 100 stalls in the town centre.

TASTE OF DUBLIN June 13 – 16

Iveagh Gardens, Dublin tasteofdub­lin.ie

Taste Of Dublin allows you to step into a culinary wonderland, where

you can enjoy signature dishes from some of the capital’s

nest restaurant­s. Over four indulgent days, the event celebrates Dublin’s unique and progressiv­e dining scene. Set in the stunning Iveagh Gardens in the heart of Dublin, visitors can sample taster portions of signature dishes from some of Ireland’s nest restaurant­s. Although 2019’s line-up has yet to be announced, last year’s live demonstrat­ions and tastings – including the Neff Taste Kitchen, The Roe & Co Tram 21, and the World Class Bar and Cocktails at Home Academy – can give you a taste of what to expect.

THE BIA LOVER FESTIVAL OF FOOD

June 22 & 23

Athenry, Co. Galway bialover.ie

Celebratin­g the nest food and drink produced in Ireland, Bia Lover is set to bring the historic town of Athenry to life this Midsummer’s weekend with its incredible annual showcase. The festival places a strong emphasis on recognisin­g the diversity of Ireland’s food culture, with a particular focus on cuisine from the west of the country. With over 50 businesses offering a wide range of artisan products, local brews and some of the region’s best food trucks, Bia Lover boasts something for every palate – and invites you to step out of your comfort zone to try exciting new dishes.

GALWAY INTERNATIO­NAL OYSTER & SEAFOOD FESTIVAL September 27 – 29

Spanish Arch, Galway galwayoyst­erfestival.com

The oldest oyster festival in the world, Galway’s Internatio­nal Oyster and Seafood Festival is gearing up to celebrate its 65th anniversar­y. With attraction­s including the Opening Night at the Festival Marquee, the World Oyster Opening Championsh­ip, the Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball and the Féile Bia Na Mara, the event has won wide acclaim.

KINSALE GOURMET FESTIVAL October 11 – 13

Kinsale, Co. Cork kinsaleres­taurants.com

Taking place in the beautiful coastal town of Kinsale, widely regarded as the gourmet capital of Ireland, the Kinsale Gourmet Festival promises a weekend of food heaven and fun. The festival includes events such as the Champagne Reception on opening night, the Mad Hatters Taste of Kinsale (a walking tour of Kinsale’s 11 Good Food Circle Restaurant­s), and the Fruits de Mer Luncheon.

OTHER FESTIVALS

CORK MIDSUMMER FESTIVAL June 13 – 23

Cork City corkmidsum­mer.com

Taking place across 10 days,

Cork Midsummer Festival is an annual multi-disciplina­ry arts festival that uses Cork City as a backdrop and inspiratio­n for some phenomenal events. While the full line-up won’t be revealed until closer to June, the festival has already announced that singer-songwriter Mick Flannery’s stunning new musical, Evening Train, based on his concept album of the same name, will be playing at the Everyman from June 14 to

23. Keep an eye on the Cork Midsummer Festival website in the coming months to see what’s on offer.

ROSE OF TRALEE August 23 – 27 Tralee, Co. Kerry roseoftral­ee.ie

A national institutio­n, the Rose of Tralee celebrates its 60th anniversar­y in 2019. Establishe­d in 1959, and broadcast on RTE since 1978, the live coverage has consistent­ly topped the ratings, attracting audiences of up to a million viewers. Aside from the main event, which takes place in the stunning festival dome, the week-long celebratio­n also includes street entertainm­ent, carnivals, live concerts, theatre, circus, markets, funfair,

reworks and the internatio­nally renowned Rose Parade.

LISDOONVAR­NA MATCHMAKIN­G FESTIVAL August 30 – September 29, Lisdoonvar­na, Co. Clare matchmaker­ireland.com

Celebratin­g one of Ireland’s oldest traditions, the Lisdoonvar­na Matchmakin­g Festival has been pairing up the nation’s single folk for over 150 years. Now Europe’s largest singles event, the festival runs for a whole month, with dances starting at noon every day and continuing into the wee hours. Keeping track of all the hopeful singles is third generation matchmaker Willie Daly, who can be found maintainin­g his precious notebook of loveseekin­g pro les in his ‘of ce’, the snug of the Matchmaker Bar. Already attached? No problem – a vibrant programme of music, dancing and that world-famous Lisdoonvar­na craic won’t let you down! Since 2014, the festival has also hosted The Outing (September 27 & 28), the world’s only LGBT+ music, arts and matchmakin­g festival.

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 ??  ?? (Clockwise from top left) DJ MK (Life Festival), Lankum (Doolin Folk Festival), Talos (Body & Soul), Hozier (Belsonic) and Modeselekt­or (Body & Soul).
(Clockwise from top left) DJ MK (Life Festival), Lankum (Doolin Folk Festival), Talos (Body & Soul), Hozier (Belsonic) and Modeselekt­or (Body & Soul).
 ??  ?? (From top) A$AP Rocky (Longitude), Bastille (Indiepende­nce), The National (ATN) and The 1975 (Electric Picnic).
(From top) A$AP Rocky (Longitude), Bastille (Indiepende­nce), The National (ATN) and The 1975 (Electric Picnic).
 ??  ?? (Clockwise) King Kong Company(Vantastiva­l), Sigrid (Sea Sessions), The Black Madonna (Ava Festival) and Echo & The Bunnymen (Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival).
(Clockwise) King Kong Company(Vantastiva­l), Sigrid (Sea Sessions), The Black Madonna (Ava Festival) and Echo & The Bunnymen (Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival).
 ??  ?? (From top) Liz Nugent (Listowel Writers’ Week), Galway Internatio­nal Arts Festival, Taste Of Dublin and the Bia Lover Festival Of Food.
(From top) Liz Nugent (Listowel Writers’ Week), Galway Internatio­nal Arts Festival, Taste Of Dublin and the Bia Lover Festival Of Food.
 ??  ?? Cork Midsummer Festival and (right) Lisdoonvar­na Matchmakin­g Festival’s Willie Daly and co.
Cork Midsummer Festival and (right) Lisdoonvar­na Matchmakin­g Festival’s Willie Daly and co.

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