We are fortunate to have so many free family-friendly festivals taking place in Ireland throughout the year. From small local festivals to larger scale festivals that last for days, we have a round up of some of the most amazing free family friendly festivals taking place in Ireland this year.
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Laya Healthcare’s City Spectacular, Dublin & Cork
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 all ages at these free family friendly festivals.
When: Dublin: July 6th – 8th; Cork: July 14th – 15th 2018
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Cruinniu na nÓg Festival, Nationwide
The Cruinniu na nÓg Festival takes place nationwide on June 23rd 2018. It is a national day of creativity for children and young people to celebrate and encourage them to participate in culture and creativity. As part of the festival glór in Ennis, Co. Clare will have theatre, workshops, music and cinema all free for charge (although booking is required for some events) including:
- The Willow Wood by Julie Tiernan with Anne Blake for ages 3 to 5 years
- Piano Music Marathon suitable for all ages
- Family Workshop: Introduction for African Dance
- Cinema: Making the Grade
When: June 23rd 2018
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Seafest 2018, Galway
A weekend of fun and free events is just on the horizon as SeaFest 2018 takes place in Galway city from 29 June to 1 July.
Galway Harbour will be transformed into an ‘open air sea world’ and will be ‘awash with free family-friendly activities, entertainment and attractions both on and off the water’ for the three-day festival.
The three-day festival will cover all things marine – from seafood cookery to science, exploring the ships that transport us to discovering the creatures of the deep.
The free festival also hosts exhibits and talks on marine life and fun educational activities that bring children on a journey of discovery when it comes to the mysteries of the ocean. Foodies can get tips from seafood cookery experts and sample some tasty bites.
Ireland’s national maritime festival attracted more than 100,000 visitors to the city in 2017 and this year, the event will make an even bigger splash.
When: 29th June – 1st July 2018
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Carrick Carnival, Leitrim
The Carrick Carnival is an action packed 10 day festival held in Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim from June 1st to 10th 2018. You will be entertained by amazing street entertainers, live music, shows, amusements, ridiculous races including raft races on the river Shannon, pig racing with teddy bear jockeys, balls racing down the street, fireworks, street parades water antics and much more.
Almost all the events taking place are free of charge and suitable for all ages.
When: June 1st – 10th 2018
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Seafood & Shanty Ballycotton, Cork
Enjoy old fashioned family fun at the Seafood & Shanty Festival Day in Ballycotton, Co Cork. There will be music, arts & crafts, dancing, cookery demonstrations, food stalls and a crab derby! All events are free and suitable for all ages.
When: June 3rd 2018
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The Irish Maritime Festival Drogheda, Louth
The Irish Maritime Festival takes place at Drogheda Port on June 16th & 17th 2018. There will be a brilliant line up of family friendly events taking place both on and off the water, including the King Neptune’s Kids Stage where kids will be entertained over the 2 days with free music, theatre, comedy and dance.
When: June 16th & 17th 2018
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Ennis Street Arts Festival, Clare
Expect 7 days of engaging, entertaining and exciting arts & cultural events suitable for all the family at the Ennis Street Arts Festival in Co. Clare. For 2018 the theme is Urban Wildlife and there will be a host of free workshops and events to celebrate the creatures we share our cities with.
The festival HQ is the Ennis Market Building but the free entertainment will spill out onto the streets for a Viking Battle. And head to glór to learn all about Bees with a free workshop Be(e)tween: A Participatory Intervention by Eileen Hutton and Game Over (v2) interactive art installation and video game.
When: July 2nd – 8th 2018
Bray Air Display Festival, Wicklow
The Bray Air Display Festival takes place on July 28th & 29th. They will have a full line up of events, displays and attractions for families including some amazing displays in the skies over Bray.
When: July 28th & 29th 2018
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Carlow Garden Festival, Carlow
The Carlow Garden Festival offers 11 days of garden ideas, inspiration, trails, talks, workshops and more and is suitable for everyone from novice gardeners right up to garden connoisseurs Most events are free but may need to be pre-booked. We especially like the sound of the nature walk along the river Barrow on July 27th.
When: July 27th – August 6th 2018
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Spraoi International Street Arts Festival, Waterford
The 2018 Spraoi International Street Arts Festival has an exciting programme of street performances including theatre, parade and music planned for this year. And specially for kids, Garter Lane Arts Centre presents SprÓg Childrens Festival, during Spraoi Weekend, with workshops all week and over the Spraoi festival weekend. Many events are free, so pre-booking is essential.
When: August 3rd – 5th 2018
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Enniscorthy Rockin’ Food Festival, Wexford
At the 2018 Rockin’ Food Festival in Enniscorthy you can expect a brand-new, impressive schedule of chefs, producers and special guests in the FREE Food Marquee, an impressive Artisan Food Market with over 80 of the best local and artisan vendors, a superlative International Line-up of Rock ‘n’ Roll artists for our FREE outdoor gigs, a jam-packed program of food and drink workshops, events and classes as well as lots of FREE and exceptional value packages for younger festival goers!
When: August 3rd – 6th 2018
Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival, Kerry
The Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival takes place in Waterville Co Kerry from August 23rd to 26th 2018. It honours and celebrates the life and work of Charlie Chaplin with workshops, screenings, street entertainment and much more.
When: August 23rd – 26th 2018
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Discover Your Heritage at National Heritage Week, Nationwide
National Heritage Week runs from August 18th – 26th 2018. Events take place across the country, including opportunities for free guided tours of many of our heritage attractions. This year the theme is Sharing Stories. It’s the perfect way to finish off the school holidays!
When: August 18th – 26th 2018
Culture Night, Nationwide
Culture Night sees venues and public spaces come alive with free entertainment on September 21st 2018. From music to arts to entertainers, workshops and tours there will be something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
When: September 21st 2018
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Over to you now. Are you planning to visit any of these free family friendly festivals? Please let us know in the comments box below.