HALLOWEEN in IRELAND: the 10 best events this year (2023)

October is here, folks, and that means only one thing – HALLOWEEN! And here are the ten best events to look forward to.

HALLOWEEN in IRELAND: the 10 best events this year (2023).

As the birthplace of Halloween, it comes as no surprise that there are numerous fantastic events around the country to celebrate Halloween.

From blood-curdling scare nights to family-friendly festivals and more, let’s take a look at the ten best events for Halloween in Ireland 2023.

Ireland Before You Die’s fun facts about Halloween in Ireland:

  • Ireland is the birthplace of Halloween. It all started over 2,000 years ago as a pagan celebration called Samhain.
  • During the festival of Samhain, the Celts believed that spirits and fairies could easily cross over into the human world.
  • It would have been popular around this time to light bonfires to ward off bad fortune for the coming year and any evil spirits.
  • Carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating in scary costumes, and setting off fireworks are some of the most popular Irish Halloween traditions.
  • Before people carved pumpkins in Ireland, they would have made Jack-o-lanterns from turnips.
  • Thanks to Ireland’s connections to Halloween, there are incredible festivals and events you can attend around the country each year.
  • Colcannon, which consists of cabbage or curly kale and mashed potatoes, is a traditional Halloween dish in Ireland.

10. Retro Drive-In Movies, Dublin, 13 October – 27 October – get cosy at the drive-in cinema

Retro Drive-In is one of the best events for Halloween in Ireland 2023.
Credit: imdb.com

Get scared this Halloween with a selection of fantastic spooky movies as the Retro Drive-in Movies returns to Dublin’s Leopardstown Racecourse with a number of Halloween classics. 

With movies like The Exorcist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Beetlejuice and more on offer, this is a great way to spend a spooky evening in the lead-up to Halloween.

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Address: Leopardstown Racecourse, Foxrock, Dublin 18, D18 C9V6, Ireland

9. The Nightmare Realm, Dublin, from 6 October – not for the faint-hearted

You don't want to miss the Nightmare Realm.
Credit: Facebook / The Nightmare Realm

Dublin’s Nightmare Realm will be back and better than ever from 6 October with five brand-new, terrifying mazes to shake you to your core this Halloween.

Winning the ‘Best Scream Park in Europe’ 2022 for their Urban Horror show, each year, the Nightmare Realm comes back with fresh, new ideas, which is why they are at the top of their game.

With the choice of five different mazes to experience, this is one night you won’t forget this Halloween in Ireland.

MORE INFOHERE

Address: Council Wholesale Fruit Vegetable And Flower Market, Mary’s Ln, Dublin, Ireland

READ MORE: The top 5 ways to celebrate Halloween in Dublin

8. Ireland’s Púca Festival, County Meath, 27 -31 October – one of the greatest ways to spend Halloween in Ireland

Púca Festival returns for Halloween 2023.

Fans of all things spooky Irish folklore are in for a treat this Halloween as the Púca Festival returns to County Meath.

Celebrating Ireland as the birthplace of Halloween, Púca is an authentic, immersive, and otherworldly festival. It will take place in festival hubs Trim and Athboy in County Meath from Friday, 27 to Tuesday, 31 October 2023.

MORE INFO: HERE

7. The Bram Stoker Festival, Dublin, 27 – 30 October – honouring one of Ireland’s literary greats

The Bram Stoker Festival is one of the best events for Halloween in Ireland 2023.
Credit: Facebook / Bram Stoker Festival, Dublin

Featuring theatrical performances, DJ sets, spooky visual reworkings, literary workshops, free parades, and more, the Bram Stoker Festival in Dublin continues to be one of the best Halloween events in Ireland.

The festival celebrates the legacy of one of Ireland’s most notorious and iconic writers, the renowned author of the 1897 hit novel Dracula, through all things Gothic, supernatural, Victorian, and more. For literary lovers, this is one you can’t miss.

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6. Jail of Horror, Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, 13- 31 October – one of Ireland’s most haunted buildings

One of Northern Ireland’s most terrifying Halloween events is the Jail of Horror interactive experience at Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol.

With its history of being one of Northern Ireland’s most haunted buildings, Crumlin Road Gaol is the perfect location for a spooktacular night in October. Enter the jail and face all your fears with a terrifying tour through these haunted halls!

MORE INFO: HERE

Address: 53-55 Crumlin Rd, Belfast BT14 6ST

5. Macnas Halloween Parade, Cork, 29 October – a great family-friendly celebration

A truly unforgettable experience.
Credit: Facebook / Macnas

Back after a four-year hiatus, the Macnas Halloween Parade in Galway is one of the best ways to celebrate Halloween in Ireland in 2023 with the whole family!

The 2023 festival promises a “strange, unpredictable and utterly mesmerising” display, and it’s completely free! With a number of fascinating illuminations and installations, this is one not to miss if you’re in The City of Tribes!

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4. Farmaphobia, Meath, 6 October – 2 November – five terrifying haunts

Farmaphobia is one of the best events for Halloween in Ireland 2023.
Credit: Facebook / Farmaphobia

Making its grand return in 2023, Farmaphobia is one of Ireland’s best thrill nights for the Halloween season. Farmaphobia has five terrifying haunts to choose from over 100 acres of farmland.

This includes Uncaged at Peril Penitentiary – “a notorious prison full of the nation’s most twisted serial killers”, or Cult – “The Children of the Forest have been hoping you would make a wrong turn along the trail”. Prepared to be TERRIFIED at Farmaphobia! 

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Address: Girley, Fordstown, Co. Meath, C15 P83R, Ireland

3. Fright Night, Derry, 13 October – 31 October – prepare to be scared

Prepared to be scared for this one.
Credit: Facebook / Fright Night

From the Inbred Horror House and the Haunted Haycart to The Cornfield or The Ward, Fright Night by Jungle NI returns for Halloween 2023 with 11 nights of “spine-tingling horror and entertainment”.

With six terrifying attractions, including a brand-new Woodland Trail, these scary trails feature freaky cast members whose mission is to scare and haunt! This one is not for the faint-hearted or easily scared!

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Address: 60 Desertmartin Road, Moneymore, BT45 7RB

2. Drive-in Cinema, Belfast, 20 October – 4 November – pizza, popcorn, and scary movies

Belfast's Drive-In cinema is one of the best events for Halloween in Ireland 2023.
Credit: imdb.com

One of the best ways to spend the night in the lead-up to Halloween is by watching a classic scary movie at Let’s Go Hydro’s Drive-In Cinema. 

With a diverse range of movies like Hocus Pocus, The Shining, The Conjuring, Ghostbusters, and so much more, this is a great event for all kinds of groups.

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Address: Knockbracken Reservoir, 1 Mealough Rd, Carryduff, Belfast BT8 8GB

1. Derry Halloween Festival and Parade, Derry, 31 October – the biggest Halloween event in Ireland

The biggest Halloween event in Europe.
Credit: Facebook / Derry Halloween

Renowned as Europe’s biggest Halloween Festival, Halloween enthusiasts need to experience the Derry Halloween Festival at least once in their lifetimes. 

The spirit of Samhain is channelled across three spectacular nights of spooky activities for the festival, including the Halloween Parade and Fireworks Display on Halloween Night.

The Walled City comes alive with spooky street performers and mesmerising displays starting at 7 pm, which all come to a head at 8:30 pm for the grand firework finale. 

MORE INFO: HERE

RELATED: The top 5 ways to celebrate Halloween in Derry

Other notable mentions

Other notable mentions for Halloween 2023.

Luggwoods Pumpkin Patch: Voted one of the best pumpkin patches in Ireland, this is the perfect family-friendly event where spooky characters lead you along the forest trail to pick your pumpkin!

Newry Ghost Walk: At the Newry Ghost Walk, discover centuries of famous history, tales and figures throughout Newry’s haunted streets.

Ghost tours: There are some amazing ghost tours around the country at Halloween, including in Dublin, Kilkenny, and Cork.

Your questions answered about Halloween in Ireland 

Samhain is an old pagan tradition in Ireland.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

If you still have questions, we have you covered! In this section, we’ve compiled some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions and popular questions that have been asked online about this topic.

Do they celebrate Halloween in Ireland?

Yes! Halloween is a big deal in Ireland. It is celebrated through festivals, fright nights, and parties and events all over the country.

What is the Halloween tradition in Ireland?

Samhain is the original root of Halloween in Ireland. It’s a Celtic festival that marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, which was associated with death. 

Modern-day Halloween traditions include trick or treating, festive games like bobbing for apples, and festivals to celebrate old traditions like Samhain.

What is Irish Halloween called?

Samhain is the Irish word for November and was the original name of Halloween in Ireland.

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