The Best Smaller Family-Friendly Festivals Ireland 2018

festivals ireland 2018

Looking for something fun to take the kids to but don’t want to brave large crowds and busy events? Here is a selection of The Best Smaller Family-Friendly Festivals Ireland 2018:

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Drogheda Arts Festival

drogheda arts festival

Drogheda Arts Festival runs 1-7 May in Drogheda, Co. Louth and has two specific family events

  • The Drogheda Arts Festival at St Dominic’s Park event on Saturday 5th May 12.30-5pm is free. Run away to the circus for a family fun-filled afternoon in St Dominic’s Park, on the grassy banks of the Boyne. Visit the Big Top and be amazed and thrilled by performances every hour in Guido Fanzini’s Imaginarium of Entertainment; enjoy The Imagination Playground, a large foam block set that allows children to let their imagination run wild and design and build their own playground; Don’t miss the crazy new show Busy Ness, which will use the St Dominic’s Park / Rathmullan Rd playground as the setting for a fun-filled comedy extravaganza; plus free face painting and tote bag printing, this festive afternoon will have something for the whole family.
  • Enjoy Drogheda Arts Festival at Beaulieu House on Monday 7th May 1pm for a Bank Holiday afternoon of musical performances, traditional games, children’s comedy, ballet, and tours of the house and gardens, with breath-taking views of the river Boyne. Bring a blanket, an umbrella, sun cream and a picnic. Tickets: advance car €10, pedestrian €3. On the day car €15 pedestrian €5.

You might also enjoy reading 21 Fun Family Festivals and Events for Summer 2018

Oranmore Arts Festival

Oranmore Arts Festival

Oranmore Arts Festival takes place in Oranmore, Co. Galway 10th-13th May. The theme of the festival is Meitheal both to highlight the sense of community in the coastal village and to encourage a tradition of working together for the common good. The festival, with events for all ages will bring the wealth of local talent to the fore through a unique and exciting programme that includes music, literature, art, theatre and film. Here’s a selection of the family events at the Festival

  • Story & Craft with Toodlelou on Friday 11th May, 12:00 – 1:00 pm at Oranmore Library
  • Toodlelou Creativity Lab in collaboration with “Darkness into light Oranmore” will hold lantern making workshops on Friday 11th May to provide to those partaking in the “Darkness into light” walk on the morning of Sat 12th May in Oranmore.
  • Oranmore Heritage Walking Tour of Oranmore on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th May, meet at Oranmore Library
  • West of Ireland Folk Tales for Children by Rab Fulton on Saturday 12th May, 2:00pm at Oranmore Library
  • Baby Disco!! on Saturday 12th May, 3:00 – 5:30 pm at Keane’s Bar (Kudos Night Club), Main Street, Oranmore suitable for ages 0-6yrs, tickets €6 available online.
  • Branar Téatar Woolly’s Quest / Tóraíocht Woolie 12.30pm shows on Sunday May 13th, 12:30pm and 2.30pm at Keane’s Bar (Kudos Night Club), Main Street, Oranmore
    Suitable for children aged 6 years and older. Tickets €7 available online.

You might also enjoy Super Fun Things to Do in Oranmore

Wexford Food Festival

wexford food fest

Wexford Food Festival is back on 24th – 27th May with a tasty schedule of mouth watering events for adults and children plus lots of entertainment, music and fun for all the family!

Sligo Folk Park Vintage Festival

sligo folk park

On the bank holiday weekend in June, the Riverstown Annual Vintage Day takes place at Sligo Folk Park with plenty to do for the whole family with live demonstrations, exhibitions, traditional food, music, children’s activity centre, games and fun sports on the day.

You might also enjoy reading Free Things to do This Summer With Kids in Ireland

Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival

Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival takes place 8-10th June 2018 and festival goers can enjoy a variety of artists as they wander around Westport where most of the performances are free and in local pubs and restaurants. In addition every day features an opportunity to attend a special concert event. There are also concerts for kids, this year on Saturday, June 9th 12:00 and 15:00 at the Westport Town Hall there’s a Kids Show with Bernie Pháid & Dave Clancy €5

Bia Lover Festival of Food

bialover festival of food

The Annual Bia Lover Festival of Food & Drink takes place June 16th-17th 2018 in the centre of Athenry beside the Clarin River and with the beautifully restored Athenry Castle as a backdrop. Cookery demonstrations featuring local produce and cook-off competitions will add to the experience. With live music, arts trails, face-painting, balloon artists, stilt-walkers and more, there will be something to entertain young and old.



Traidphicnic takes place in An Spidéal Friday 6th until Sunday 8th July 2018 with community arts, crafts, sessions, walks and talks, offering something for everyone. It is a family friendly event, bring your own picnic, sun and midge cream, thermals and raincoat!

National Sandcastle Festival

National Sandcastle Festival Bettystown Meath

The annual National Sandcastle Festival takes place in Bettystown, Co Meath on July 7th & 8th 2018. There will be a beach sports day on the 7th and a sandcastle competition on the 8th. Fun guaranteed for all.

The Festival of Curiosity, Dublin

The Festival of Curisoty

The Festival of Curiosity is back in Dublin this summer for a four-day cultural feast of science, arts, design, and technology for all the family from July 19th – 22nd.

Take your friends and your family on a play date with Dublin City this July during the Playful Days and Curious Nights festival programme. Here are just a few of the highlights.

• Meet world-famous bubble performers at The National Concert Hall.
• Don’t miss festival favourite The Curiosity Carnival for a hands on adventure in science, play, and curious technology (tickets always sell out, be quick!)
• For young explorers join a special family explorers series as we journey from the world’s highest pop-up lab at Everest Lab to the Depths of the Ocean, explore how to help the bees make honey in Beekeepers and Martians or find out how to train to become an astronaut during Explorer Training for Space.
• Join Sam (from The Lalala Choir) for a fun Singing Workshop for families and friends (aged four and up), where anyone can show up and learn to sing.
• At Litter Lab, Scientific Sue (Science2Life) will bring the family on a journey through the science of litter and what to do about it. Expect the unexpected!

See the full programme of events at

The Fairytale Festival

the fairytale festival

Beat Fairytale Festival host their annual Fairytale Festival on Sunday July 22nd at Woodstock Gardens, Inistioge, Co Kilkenny. With a fairy trail, archery, bouncy castles, storytelling, arts & crafts, and so many fairytale characters to meet, there will be so much to do.

You might also enjoy reading Fabulous Fairy Events in Ireland This Summer

Off The Street Food Fest

letterkenny streetfood festThe Off The Street Food Fest takes place in Letterkenny on 28th & 29th July Letterkenny showcasing the best of Donegal Food streetfood style. There are cookery demos from some of Ireland’s best chefs along with music, food quiz, bake off and more.

Scariff Harbour Festival

scariff harbour festival

Scariff Harbour Festival in Co. Clare takes place Thursday 3rd – Sunday 6th August, and is a weekend of family fun, music and outdoor craic and all for only €5 per person. There are lots of family friendly events including Fishing for Kids, Kids Fun Zone, Children’s Art Workshops and more.

Tubbercurry Old Fair Day Festival

tubbercurry old fair day

Tubbercurry Old Fair Day Festival runs Saturday 4th August to Wednesday 8th August 2018
culminating in the highlight of the festival – the Old Fair Day on Wednesday 8th August 2018. There are animals, demonstration, vintage displays, live music and street entertainment and it is a fun family day out with something for everyone from stalls, artisan food and kids zones.

Playstival with The Happy Pear


Ireland’s new festival for kids & their parents, celebrating Play, Fun and Imagination, Playstival with The Happy Pear takes place Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th August 2018 at Airfield Estate, Dundrum, Dublin 14.

Playstival with The Happy Pear celebrates positive play and the power of the imagination with a range of hands-on games and themed play universes. Everywhere you go at Playstival, you will encounter children’s games that nurture curiosity, imagination and exploration. This will include everything from a park train service, to a construction site for kids (with hard hats and high vis!), an architects area and even a visit to the wild wild west.

Over to you now. Do you have any plans to go to these smaller, family-friendly festivals in Ireland? Tell us in the comments below. 

festivals ireland 2018

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