The weather may not always be predictable in Ireland during the summer but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, and enjoy the many great family events taking place around the country during the holidays. From swashbuckling pirates in Baltimore, to sand sculptures in Wexford, to science in Dublin, here are 21 fun family festivals and events in Ireland for Summer 2016. Who knows, maybe the sun will even shine!
#1. Enniscorthy Rhythms Dance Festival, Wexford
Enniscorthy Street Rhythms Dance Festival in May is a fun, family friendly dance and rhythm festival in Enniscorthy, with live dance acts, baby bop for the tots, and lots of fringe events for everybody from age 2 to 102! This year you can expect to meet lots of Disney Princesses and fairytale characters.
When: 28th – 29th May
#2. Bloom in the Park, Dublin
Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family event, Bloom in the Park is back this year at Dublin’s Phoenix Park in Dublin City this June Bank Holiday weekend. Families visiting the event this year will once again be entertained by the outdoor entertainment stage and highly enjoyable and educational Kids Zone.
When: June 2nd – 6th
#3. Dublin Port River Fest
The Dublin Port River Fest will be fun for all the family, taking place on and around the river Liffey. Visit the large old sailing ships or pop along to the Pirate Village with arts and crafts for the kids. There’ll be a Dublin Port Tug Boat Dance with Water Canon on the river; face painters; balloon artists; port boat tours; a fun fair; food market; and live entertainment.
When: June 3rd – 6th
#4. Sunrise Festival, Brigits Garden, Galway
Brigit’s Garden is hosting the first ‘Sunrise Children’s Festival’, a unique weekend festival with camping, dedicated solely to children and their families. ‘Sunrise’ will be a celebration of music, creativity, nature and all things magical in the beautiful Celtic gardens and surrounding woodlands. This summer festival takes place from Saturday 23rd to Sunday 24th July 2016. The festival has a full two-day programme of Live Music & Theatre, Circus, Puppet shows, Story-telling, Yoga, Fire Spectacular and more, in three tented areas. There will also be lots of delicious artisan food, café and bar,
Come and enjoy a unique opportunity to dance, celebrate, sing, create, and camp with your kids and all the family!
#5. Baltimore Pirate Festival, Cork
All pirates (past and present) are invited to celebrate and commemorate the demise of 108 settlers taken away as slaves by Algerian Pirates on 20 June 1631 at the Baltimore Pirate Festival this June. Highlights includes visits to the thirteenth century fully restored O’Driscoll Castle, pirate dress competition, pirate boat trips, a family treasure hunt, and pirate bouncy castles and games.
When: June 17th – 19th
Image via Baltimore Pirate Festival
#6. Cork Midsummer Festival, Cork
Cork Midsummer Festival is Cork’s largest annual multi-disciplinary arts festival for all ages along the banks of the river Lee, with many national and international theatre and music events, and the return of family favourite, Picnic in the Park.
When: June 17th – 26th
#7. Trim Haymaking Festival, Meath
Find your inner farmer and try your hand at some sheaf tossing at the National Hay Making Festival in Trim, Co. Meath mid June. Just a stone’s throw from Dublin, this is a fun day for all the family with working horses, vintage tractors, a pets’ corner, kids play area, and folklore and tales.
When: June 19th
#8. Westport Food Festival, Mayo
“Food” will be the word on everyone’s lips as the Westport Food Festival returns in June, catering for all from mini chefs right up to mature foodies. Events include a food village at The Octagon, seaweed foraging, foodie tours, kayaking, mushroom foraging, children’s pizza making, foodie tours, a pop up restaurant and more.
When: June 24th – 26th
#9. Wexford Maritime Festival, Wexford
At the Wexford Maritime Festival in June, you’ll find a celebration of Wexford’s rich maritime heritage, and can enjoy maritime activities, family fun, artisan food and music. Children can enjoy dance and musical activities, arts and crafts, science workshops, circus workshops and shows at the Children’s Village. Discover Wexford’s Viking past in the Viking tent where children can try their hand at brass rubbing and sword making.
When: June 25th – 26th
#10. Féile Brian Ború, Clare
Féile Brian Ború celebrates the life and legacy of Brian Ború (founder of the O’Briens) – the most famous son of the historic twin towns of Killaloe and Ballina. Fun activities include historical guided tours on lake and land; fireworks display over the River Shannon, traditional street games, garden party, children’s art competition, street theatre and much more! There really is something for everyone in the family at this fun event.
When: June 30th – 3rd July
Image via Féile Brian Ború
#11. Promenade Festival, Waterford
The Promenade Festival, Tramore is the biggest family fun festival in the South East with an airshow, international artists, street entertainers, live wrestling, puppet shows, and an artisan food & drink village.
When: July 1st – 3rd
#12. Ennis Street Festival, Clare
The Ennis Street Festival is a celebration of the many cultures and artistic ways that make Ennis, Co. Clare, a special place, with a colourful mix of music, dance, visual arts, puppets shows, arts exhibitions, workshops, acrobatics and many more surprises for all the family.
When: July 4th – 10th
#13. Laya Healthcare’s City Spectacular, Dublin & Cork
Celebrating its 11th birthday this year, Laya Healthcare’s City Spectacular is going to be even bigger, better and more spectacular than ever as it takes to Dublin’s Merrion Square & Cork’s Fitzgerald Park, Cork city this July. Featuring some of the best street theatre performers around, and with a host of exciting events, fantastic exhibitions and absorbing interactive workshops, there will be plenty to entertain the whole family.
When: Dublin: July 8th – 10th; Cork: July 16th – 17th;
#14. Galway International Arts Festival, Galway
See Galway City come alive for the annual Galway International Arts Festival this July. Showcasing street performers music and theatre, there are events for all ages, and surprises around every corner. This is a great time to visit Galway.
When: July 11th – 24th
#15. Enniscrone Black Pig Festival, Sligo
Head to Enniscrone this July for the Enniscrone Black Pig Festival, where you can enjoy treasure hunts, fireworks, music, street performers, great food and a Market Day at this family friendly festival.
When: July 21st – 25th
#16. Festival of Curiosity, Dublin
The Festival of Curiosity runs in various Dublin venues late July. The festival programme is packed full of arts, science and technology events and has a host of free daytime activities for families. From a giant outdoor Bubblearium, to special Lego Workshops and much more, indulge your curiosity this July.
When: July 21st – 24th
#17. Durrow Scarecrow Festival, Laois
The Durrow Scarecrow Festival is a fun family event for young and old, with over 300 scarecrows to see around the village, in many different designs and themes. There’s plenty more on offer too including live music, craft workshops, country market, adult, teen and children’s entertainment, and scarecrow treasure hunt.
When: July 24th – August 1st
#18. Lughnasa at Craggaunowen, Clare
Celebrate Lughnasa at Craggaunowen this August Bank Holiday weekend with an array of costumed re-enactors from the Bronze Age to Medieval times. Activities include combat demonstrations, Brehon law trials and much more!
When: July 31st & August 1st
#19. Duncannon Sand Sculpture Festival, Wexford
Duncannon Sand Sculpting Festival is a family fun event for all ages with free activities, spectacular professional sand sculptures, fireworks, beach games, music and street entertainment. There’s also an Amateur Sand Sculpting Competition that’s open to all, and a spectacular firework display over the bay of Duncannon.
When: August 5th – 7th
#20. Kilkenny Arts Festival
In August the city of Kilkenny will come to life with the annual Kilkenny Arts Festival. There’s visual art, classical music, theatre and dance, jazz, world & traditional Irish music, literature, film, indie music, craft, children’s and street events and more – something for everyone!
When: August 5th – 14th
#21. Loughrea Medieval Festival, Galway
The 3 day Loughrea Medieval Festival held during National Heritage Week, comprises scenes of everyday life in Medieval Loughrea, as well as being jam-packed with fun events and performances that will entertain the whole family.
Celebrate Walled Towns Day with re-enactments, craft demonstrations, medieval music, food and craft market, boat trips, traditional ‘have-a-go’ craft workshops, children’s traditional games, grand parade and lots more.
When: August 26th – 28th
Over to you! Have you any more great family suggestions to add? Let us know in the comments below.