Best Festivals in Ireland – Part 2- Music and Craic

Festivals in Ireland -Music Festivals-Oireachtas- Jazz- Rugby 7’s- Rose of Tralee. 

Electric Picnic

Ireland has a great range of festivals held mainly in the summer months. These include large weeklong festivals to small community festivals where people come together based on shared interest or activity. St Patrick’s Day, the national holiday, is celebrated the world over as well as in Ireland with marching bands, floats and street theatre throughout Ireland.  The majority of Irish festivals have been cancelled in 2020 due to Covid19, with a few like Cork Midsummer Festival going online in 2020. Here we remember the best music festivals of the year and give details of some of the many other festivals usually held.

Planning a holiday in Ireland it would be great to include a festival or interest close to your heart. For 2021 look at the festivals you might be interested in and book tickets to some events well in advance of your trip. Attending a festival helps you get to know Ireland, its people and landscape in a different way. Each listing has a link to the festival homepage for more details. When planning a holiday in Ireland let ActivityDays help you to arrange a bespoke holiday in Ireland.  Please advise us on a festival we may have forgotten.

We have listed festivals under 3 headings -each with their own Blog.

  • 1. Festivals with Special interests- There are so many festivals to choose from. Pre-book tickets for events you want to attend when booking flights to Ireland and build the holiday around the festival you choose. Festivals for Young Adults – present-day festivals you can include in a holiday in Ireland. Note the age group varies depending on the festival!
  •  2. Festivals for Young Adults – present-day festivals you can include in a holiday in Ireland. Note the age group varies depending on the festival!
  • 3. History of Music Festivals in Ireland since the 1970s.


Longitude Festival

Rose of Tralee








Festivals for young Adults


Name of Festival

Details of Festival 

Early May

 Kinsale Rugby 7s , Cork.

The Heineken Kinsale Rugby 7s takes place each May Bank Holiday weekend in Kinsale Rugby Club, Co. Cork. It’s open to teams both male and female from all over Ireland and features a number of games and events. Most teams like to improve their chances by bringing along a team mascot or even donning a fancy dress costume for the duration of the competition.

Supporters, friends and family (18 years +) attend the fun-filled weekend.

Tickets can be bought online, ID is essential for admission and you need to book accommodation in advance.


  Longitude Festival, Dublin

Longitude takes place in Marlay Park, Dublin in July. The Park is converted to a festival venue for the weekend with stages peppered around the grounds. There are plenty of food and drinks stalls available on site.

Some of the big names to have performed in the past are Stormzy, The Weekend, Mumford & Sons, Solange and Khalid.

There is no accommodation available on site. People tend to stay in Dublin and commute in and out. There are buses available from the city centre.

Full weekend and one-day tickets are available. 


Independence Festival

Independence Festival takes place in Mitchelstown over a weekend at the start of August.  It’s similar to Longitude Festival but attended by teenagers and younger adults in the grounds of a deer farm. Bring your own tent and food for a 3-day music festival to hear the best new Irish bands.

End August

The Rose Of Tralee International Festival 

The Rose of Tralee Festival takes place in August in Tralee, Co. Kerry. This festival celebrates young Irish women and their achievements and attracts entrants of Irish ancestry from around the world.

Roses are selected from February to June and the festival is a family affair. Events take place throughout the week including the Rose (and Rose Escort) International Parade, Rose of Tralee 10k, Meet the Rose and The Selection Nights in the Rose of Tralee Dome.

It’s an opportunity to meet new people and make lasting friendships. 

End  June

Mary from Dungloe Arts Festival

 Mary from Dungloe Festival this takes place at the end of June/early July in the Donegal town and is similar to the Rose of Tralee Festival with many emigrants returning home for the event.

Early  September

Electric Picnic Music and Arts Festival

Electric Picnic takes place on the first weekend of September in Stradbally, Co. Laois. The weather tends to be a bit unpredictable so come prepared!

Camping is the accommodation of choice for the majority of attendees, though there are upgrades available, such as Pink Moon (Glamping). Some people bring their own mobile home and park onsite for the weekend. It attracts all age groups from young children to retirees, and there is something to suit them all.

Musicians and artists travel from all over Ireland and abroad. Some of my favourite Irish Performances have been Picture This, Dermot Kennedy, Dublin Gospel Choir, King Kong Company, All Tvvins, & Gavin James… Not to mention B*Witched who came out of retirement for one heck of a performance!!

Many international superstars have travelled to Stradbally over the years, some of my favourites including Jess Glynne, Dua Lipa, George Ezra & Florence and the Machine.

Tickets tend to book out as soon as they go on sale (generally immediately after the festival finishes for the following year), and there are different payment plan options available. I would pack clothing for every weather; wellies, shorts, raincoats and everything in between, not to mention loo roll and hand sanitizer. Just don’t forget to bring everything home with you.

October Bank Holiday Weekend

 Cork Jazz Festival 

Cork Jazz Festival takes place over the October bank holiday weekend throughout Cork City’s theatres, bars, restaurants and streets. Performers come from all over Ireland and headliners are usually top international acts such as Stanley Clarke. Weather permitting, the bands kick off the weekend with a parade through the streets of Cork on a Friday afternoon. Each band tends to have between 2-5 performance over the weekend in various venues.

The schedule is available online and can plan your weekend to see as many bands as possible. For many performances, there is no admission fee, while theatre concerts tend to sell out in advance.


 Oireachtas Na Samhna

Oireachtas na Samhna celebrates the Irish/Gaelic language and takes place around Halloween and its location changes each year. It features Irish dancing, debating and local Irish talent. In recent years, the Oireachtas has taken place in the INEC Killarney and Citywest Hotel, Dublin. Groups attend with universities through their Irish societies, which is a great opportunity for students who aren’t studying Irish but would like to keep their Gaeilge.

By Meabh MacManamon

Information provided by to help you plan your holiday in Ireland in 2021. Have we forgotten any important festival?

Electic Picnic 2019

Electric Picnic









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