The 10 Best Annual Festivals in Ireland

Ireland is home to some amazing events throughout the year. Here are the top festivals in Ireland.

As summer draws to a close and the nights get darker as each day passes, we know nature has heralded winter. We bid adieu to our Birkenstock’s for yet another year.

Although it may be sad to see the season change – as well as realise our lack of thermals and waterproof footwear – one thing we can depend on is a sterling line-up of festivals in Ireland next summer.

As the list of fantastic annual festivals seems to grow each year, Ireland is truly becoming an ultimate destination on the festival scene.

Put these top ten on your radar – these are the ones not to be missed this year.

IB4UD’s top tips for attending festivals in Ireland

  • Many popular fairs and festivals in Ireland attract large crowds, so it’s best to plan your trip and tickets well in advance to secure the best options.
  • Weather in Ireland can be unpredictable, even during festival season. Be prepared by packing for rain, wind, colder temperatures and stone-splitting sunshine.
  • Be open to new experiences, as Ireland has a festival for almost everything! From music and arts to matchmaking and scarecrow appreciation, there’s a wide variety of festivals, so don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
  • Don’t forget to pack essentials such as sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, hand sanitiser, wet wipes, and a portable phone charger. You can thank us later!
  • Festivals in Ireland have a vibrant and friendly atmosphere. Make sure to embrace the atmosphere by engaging with fellow festival-goers, and don’t be afraid to join in on the festivities.

10. Cape Clear Storytelling Festival – celebrating everything literary

Cape Clear Storytelling Festival is a great event to learn something new.

This festival has been around since 1994 and celebrates the Irish tradition of storytelling.

Set in the magical surroundings of Cape Clear Island in County Cork, this family-friendly festival, which takes place during the last week of August, is all about spinning yarns and winning hearts.

There are tonnes of activities for all ages, and this festival is bound to keep the kids talking all summer!

9. Groove Festival – hosts some amazing acts

Groove Festival is a great music festival for the whole family.

One of the top festivals in Ireland is Groove Festival. This annual music festival usually takes place in July and is aimed at good ole’ fun for all the family.

In 2017 bands like the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Mack Fleetwood, and Heather Small headlined, proving you don’t have to go to the biggest festivals to get top quality acts.

The festival has an entire “Little Groovers” section to keep your wee ones inspired and active throughout the event, too!

8. Vantastival – perfect for those living the van-life

Vantastival is another of the top events happening in summer.

2018 marked the tenth anniversary of Vantastival, proving this class-act festival is not going anywhere any time soon, much to our delight.

This is the most “van-friendly” festival in Ireland, but don’t feel excluded if van-life is not your jam; Vantastival also has a dedicated campsite, a kids’ camp, and boutique camping too.

Vantastival has been locked down for the end of May. Keep an eye out from December for when tickets go on sale!

RELATED: Ireland’s 10 WEIRDEST arts and culture festivals that you should attend

7. Festival of Curiosity – fun and family-friendly

The Festival of Curiosity is another of the top events this summer.

This annual event hosted in Dublin is a festival of exploration, adventure, and curiosity across the disciplines of science, art, design, and technology.

An array of events, from intriguing tours and immersive experiences to unusual events and “playful days”, take place during this July festival, which has drawn over 45,000 visitors in past years.

6. Beatyard – celebrating everything music and art

Another of the best festivals in Ireland 2021 is Beatyard.

Beatyard is a nautical adventure to uncover and celebrate all things music and art. It’s another of the top festivals in Ireland.

Hosted in Dún Laoghaire, a seaside town just south of Dublin City, this small-scale three-day music festival is perfect for those looking to dip their toe in the Irish music festival scene, without having to commit to a camping endeavour.

This festival will take place in August.

5. West Cork Literary Festival – showcasing amazing talent

West Cork Literary Festival is another of the top festivals in Ireland 2021.

Taking place in July, this annual literature and writers festival has become a firm favourite in the summer art’s calendar.

Showcasing new talent, spoken word, poetry, workshops, and talks, this is the ultimate, educational festival with also tonnes of things to do for the entire family.

4. All Together Now – an indie-lover’s dream

All Together Now is another of the top festivals in Ireland 2021.

This new Irish music festival sprung onto the scene in 2018 offering festival-goers an indie music event which is mid-scale (15,000 attendees) indie, artsy, and chill.

And, from its debut year, we can say it succeeded tremendously, already being considered one of the better Irish music festivals out there.

Dates locked in for next year are in August.

READ ALSO: The 10 Best Annual Music Festivals in Ireland

3. Galway Arts Festival – one of the most happening events in Ireland

Galways Arts festival is another must-visit festivals in Ireland 2021.

As a headquarter of culture (awarded the title of 2020 European Capital of Culture), where better to host one of Ireland’s best arts festivals?

This world-renowned arts festival will take place in July, with an array of performances, installations, launches, exhibits, experiences, and events.

Simply put: this is not to be missed.

RELATED: Top 10 fun and interesting facts about Galway you (probably) never knew

2. Body & Soul – one of the top festivals in Ireland 2021

Another of the best festivals in Ireland 2021 is Body & Soul.

This annual music and arts festival is dedicated to the celebration of the summer solstice. It is an indie-hippie-love-fest and draws a chilled crowd of festival-goers who come to frolic in the magic of the Body & Soul woods.

Prepare to be amazed, to experience new things, to get lost and find yourself at this summer fest taking place in June at Ballinlough Castle, County Westmeath.

1. Another Love Story – tremendously inclusive

Another Love Story is another of the top festivals in Ireland 2021.

This super small-scale August music festival is the top “add to your agenda” this coming summer.

Set on the site of a stunning stately manor, this low-key festival has a tremendous inclusive environment. It is essentially a glorified summer fair for those looking to be immersed in arts, culture, and music with like-minded people.

Your questions answered about festivals in Ireland

If you have more questions about festivals in the Emerald Isle, we have you covered! Below, we’ve thrown together some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions and popular questions that have been asked online about this topic.

What is the largest music festival in Ireland?

Electric Picnic is The largest music festival in Ireland, with 32500 festival-goers flocking to Stradbally in County Laois for the event each year.

What are the most popular festivals in Ireland?

Electric Picnic, Longitude, The Rose of Tralee, Sea Session and The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival are some of the most popular festivals in Ireland.

What is Ireland’s oldest festival?

The Puck Fair, held annually in Killorglin, County Kerry, is Ireland’s oldest festival. The festival has a history dating back over 400 years and is said to have originated in the early 17th century.

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