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    Halloween Festivals In Ireland

    Author: Dawn Rainbolt, PR Manager
    More by Dawn

    October in Ireland

    October rolls in with eerie fog, moody skies, and orange and gold leaves rustling in the wind. It’s the spookiest month of the year, culminating with Halloween on the 31st.

    An ancient pagan holiday, Halloween actually has its roots in the thousands-year-old festival of Samhain. Indeed, many of our modern Halloween traditions can be traced back to Samhain, from costumes to treat-giving. Read more about the origins of Halloween and Samhain (pronounced saw-when) here.

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    Irish Halloween Festivals

    Everyone loves a good festival. Halloween is already a fun holiday but it’s made even more so during festivals celebrating the spooky season. Depending on your interests and locations, there are a few places to check out during your fall trip to Ireland. Below, discover a few festivals and events for Halloween lovers. Read on to discover a few of our favourites.

    Bram Stoker Festival - Dublin

    Bram Stoker Fesitval Dublin

    Dracula is perhaps the most famous monster in horror literature. Author Bram Stoker hails from Dublin, and it is said that a combination of Irish folklore, real-life horror stories of plagues, and eerie cemeteries inspired him.

    Named in his honour, the Bram Stoker Festival is held every October in Dublin. Events take place on the days leading up to Halloween, and they range from film and theatre performances to lectures, walking tours, parades and spooky family fun. The theme is, of course, Halloween and horror, so get ready to delve into Ireland’s spooky past and present.

    The Bram Stoker Festival is a great one to add to an autumn trip to Ireland as Dublin is the country’s main entry and exit point. As the island’s capital city, Dublin is a must-see cultural experience at any time of year. October just has a few extra treats!

    Read more about the Bram Stoker Festival here.

    Love Dracula? Read about Bram Stoker and Dracula’s Irish connection.

    Macnas Parade - Galway

    The Macnas Festival In Galway City

    The Macnas are a world-renowned group of storytellers, performers and artists to whom the streets themselves are the stage. They participate in a Galway-based parade every year. The performances take inspiration from the landscapes and folklore of Ireland, evoking tales of witches and wolves.

    This is a Halloween parade like no other, with the ancient Irish holiday brought to life by Macnas’ unique brand of outdoor performance and illumination.

    Learn more about the Macnas Parade in Galway here.

    Derry Halloween Festival - Northern Ireland

    Derry Halloween Fireworks

    Every year, Northern Ireland’s walled city of Derry plays host to an extensive Halloween festival. As the leaves canopying Derry’s famed walls shine yellow, gold and red, the city comes alive with parades, performances, family-fun activities and shows. Costumes are a must as you wander the streets, traipsing from Halloween events to the city’s plentiful bars.

    There are many different types of activities and there is always something on in the streets. If you’re planning to attend, best to browse their site to bookmark your favourites as there is so much to see and do! Some events may require pre-booking.

    Origins of Samhain – Rathcroghan

    Rathcroghan Mounds, Ancient Landscape, Co Roscommon

    For something a little bit different – and definitely more toned down – head inland to the little-known birthplace of Halloween. The ancient Neolithic site of Rathcrogan, one of several to be shortlisted for UNESCO membership, was once one of Ireland’s royal centres.

    Today called the “gateway to Hell,” this narrow cave under a non-descript Roscommon road was once considered the gateway to the other-world of the fairies. Before the arrival of Christianity, Owneynagat Cave was once a venerated place, with a carefully-constructed souterrain entrance over the natural cave. It is here that the festival of Samhain – what eventually became the holiday we know as Halloween – was born by the Neolithic farming communities inhabiting the region.

    Each Halloween, there are a number of specially-themed Samhain guided tours through the cave’s dark corners and crevices. Learn more here.

    The Puca Festival - Trim

    Named after the ‘Púca,’ a shape-shifting supernatural trickster from Irish legend, the Púca Festival was developed around Celtic traditions and the Irish origins of Halloween. Samhain, the pagan predecessor to Halloween, was an important moment in the Celtic calendar – the ultimate harvest festival when the ancient people switched from the “light half of the year” to the “dark half of the year.” According to legends, the Púca used to wander around at night, playing tricks on folks and changing their luck. Learn more about the Pùca in Irish folklore here.

    During Trim’s Puca Festival, expect a wide range of genres including music, comedy, circus, and live podcast shows. While the majority of the shows, performances and acts are aimed at adults, there are a few family-friendly experiences. Check this year’s programme to find the ideal items for you.

    Tucked within the Pùca Festival is the enchanting Harvest Market, offering a captivating blend of tradition, craftsmanship, and ancient Irish heritage. Explore the market’s immersive experiences, trying your hand at the art of wood sculpting, Neolithic bread making, Viking archaeology or other hands-on activities, captivating displays, and artisanal crafts.

    Visit Ireland in Autumn

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    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    6th Oct - 11th Oct 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,350Book Now
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    13th Oct - 18th Oct 2024

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    Meet the Author: Dawn Rainbolt

    American by birth but European in spirit, Dawn has called the US, Costa Rica, Spain, England, Poland, France and now Ireland home over the years. While she has travelled to more than 30 countries, she has fallen in love with the rich Irish culture and sweeping landscapes of Ireland. Armed with a Masters Degree in Tourism Marketing and a love of writing and photography, she is Wilderness Ireland's Marketing Executive since 2017.

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