From soaring opera to oyster extravaganzas, the island of Ireland offers the finest festival fayre all through the autumn season.
ABV Beer Festival, 1–2 September
Returning to Belfast for a third year, and hosted in a former Victorian-era church, this one is about beer cocktails on tap, fantastic local food and exceptional brewers talking about their craft.
Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, 1 September – 8 October
Europe’s biggest and liveliest singles festival takes place in Lisdoonvarna in County Clare on the rugged Wild Atlantic Way and attracts some 60,000 people seeking love, a bit of fun and a great party.
Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival, 22– 24 September
Sensational seafood is at the heart of this gourmet festival. It’s the planet’s oldest recorded oyster festival and features the World Oyster Opening Championship as well as music, seafood trails, heritage events and family fun.
Culture Night, 22 September
Autumn is the season of non-stop festivities in Dublin, and this celebration of culture, creativity and arts is a major highlight. Take part in hundreds of free events in the capital – and many other cities and towns across the island. Anything goes on this special night: tours, demonstrations, talks, exhibitions, gigs, street art, drama…
Dublin Theatre Festival, 28 September – 15 October
Celebrating its 60th year in 2017 and another Dublin Festival Season highpoint, this theatre-fest presents a sublime programme of Irish and international work exploring every aspect of the human condition. Productions include a new adaptation of Ulysses and the Irish premiere of Tribes.
Belfast International Arts Festival, 6–28 October
There’s always an eclectic programme at this internationally renowned festival, featuring the best of contemporary theatre, dance, visual, film and digital arts, plus classical and roots music and literature. Highlights this year include a gravity-defying, circus-influenced theatre spectacle.
Wexford Festival Opera, 19 October – 5 November
Winner of the Best Festival category at the 2017 International Opera Awards, Wexford Festival Opera is a world-class premier event hosting over 60 performances including its trademark three forgotten masterpieces.
Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, 27–30 October
Regarded as Europe’s premier jazz festival, the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival welcomes top artists from around the world for some high-octane performances in venues and streets across Cork city.
Banks of Foyle Halloween Carnival, 29 Oct-1 Nov
The best place to be on Halloween is Derry~Londonderry when the City of Bones dons its supernatural cloak and stages one of the greatest Halloween celebrations in the world.