A few things coming up to fill out the calendar that won’t cost a penny.
The air is getting (slightly) warmer, the days are getting longer and everyone is itching to get out and soak up our short Irish summer.
Organising a family outing can be tough not only logistically but cost wise too. Thankfully summer
is full of festival
, and plenty of these are absolutely free. We have compiled a few things coming up to fill out the calendar that won’t cost a penny.
The Bealtaine festival is up and running for its 24th year and its goal is to celebrate the arts and creativity as we age. It is named after the ancient Irish festival celebrated on 1st May as a midway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice and the beginning of summer.
There are events all over the country and you can search their website to find the ones in your area. While some are ticketed, many are free to attend such as the Be Our Guest on the 18th May in Temple Bar. The day will be full of open exhibitions, tours, music and tea from 12pm.
Coming up this weekend, for those of us further down the country, is the Burren Slow Food Festival in Rathbaun, Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare from 10th to 12th May.
It is free to enter and will showcase a broad selection of Irish Food and Chefs under the theme “Taste the Atlantic – Seaweed”. There will be plenty of demonstrations, tasters, and a family buffet on the Sunday.
Another interesting festival that is totally free is the Timmahoe Heritage Festival in Laois on the 1st and 2nd June. There is a 10 mile and 5 kilometre fun run / walk with a prize for the best dressed Viking or monk.
There is also a ‘Big Dig’ and a storytelling hour for kids to learn about archaeology, the Vikings and medieval history. There will be plenty of music, fancy dress and family fun over the two days.
Seafest moves to the Port of Cork in Cork City this year from Friday 7th June to Sunday 9th June. It promises 100 over free events for families and kids.
They have performances, food, ‘have a go’ sessions, displays, educational sessions and a kids zone every day of the festival. Its aim is to increase participation and engagement with the ocean and its value to the environment.
Another brilliant festival in Cork that has many free events and a great atmosphere is the Cork Midsummer Festival from 13th – 23rd June. A lot of the events on are ticketed but the atmosphere around the city is great and there are some free plays and outdoor arts events to attend.
Free events include most of the talks as well as Outdoor Events; The Pig sculpture 14th – 16th, The Market 15th, the Mosh Spit 15th and 16th, Carnival of Science 22nd and 23rd, the Tempest 18th 19th.
There are also many performances and visual displays free to visit over the festival. They can all be found in the festival programme.
Another great day to keep in the Diary is 15th June. Cruinniú na nÓg will hold their annual event to children all around Ireland. Last year they organised over 500 free events to encourage participation in culture and creativity.
They will be launching a website next week that will include all the events for 2019.
On June 22nd and 23rd Galway City will host Bia Lover food festival. Over 50 businesses from all over Ireland will take part with stalls and shows of fabulous food. Best of all, it’s free to attend.
A bilingual festival in the hills of Donegal, the Earagail Arts Festival has events of all kinds from the West to the North of the County, wherever you are. Some of the events are ticketed but many are free to attend and family friendly.
Ceol ag an Chaisleán (Music At The Castle) on Thursday 11th July, the Wild Atlantic Weekend on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July and the Drop-In, Hands-On Art Room Exhibition opening Saturday 13th July and on Tuesday 16th July until Saturday 31st August, are all free to attend. The welcoming locals, Irish culture and great food will make you feel at home.
Galway is a prime location for events with the International Arts Festival happening from 15th – 28th July. This is a world-renowned event with plenty of free activities like markets, shows and music. The city will be busy but it’s definitely one of the best times to visit and walk around to see what’s on. The full programme will be launched on Wednesday 15th.
For those further north or venturing up there for a holiday the Mary from Dungloe festival runs from 27th July- 5th August. It is centred around music and a pageant in a beautiful area of the country and has a large number of events on. You will likely catch Daniel O’Donnell floating around the music events and bridge night. The exhibitions and markets are free as well as the family fun day on 31st July. Events can be found on their website and on Eventbrite.
A brilliant event to celebrate that’s fun and free for all the family is the Bray Air Display 27th-28th July. It is Irelands biggest air display and one of the top in Europe. Kids and adults alike are in for a spectacle as well as a food and craft village, and of course the event is free to attend.
So, no matter where you are in the country there are plenty of free food
or culture festivals to slot into your diary.
Written by Róise McGagh, Intern at Family Friendly HQ; follow her on Twitter @roisemcgagh