There’s plenty to see and do in the Republic of Ireland, from exploring the area’s history and natural wonders, to shopping and dining in style. The Republic of Ireland is also home to some fantastic events and festivals each year, with something for everyone. Whether it’s food and drink festivals, sporting events, heritage events or any other activities, we’ve pulled together our pick of the bunch for 2014.
Between January 16th and 20th, head to Bunratty in Clare for the Shannonside Winter Music Weekend. The festival will consist of around 80 different shows, sessions, pub gigs and concerts, with various styles and genres of music on offer. With Irish music, blues, jazz, gospel, classical and more, it’s an event that will see Bunratty and Sixmilebridge buzzing with a hive of musical activity.
Additional music events include the Music for Galway Midwinter Festival between January 17th and 19th, and the Bray Jazz Festival in May. The Cork International Choral Festival takes place between April 30th and May 4th, with 2014 representing the festival’s 60th anniversary. Soul fans may also enjoy the 8th Dublin City Soul Festival from May 24th – 25th.
The start of 2014 also heralds the Chinese New Year, and the biggest celebrations by far are in Dublin. The Dublin Chinese New Year Festival is hugely successful and is now in its 7th year. Taking place in locations across the city, the 2014 festival will be welcoming the year of the horse – an animal that is much-loved across Ireland. Expect arts and music, martial arts, sports, photography exhibitions, the spring carnival, a Taste Of China event and much more, with the fortnight between January 30th and February 14th hosting events for the whole family that aim to enrich the connections between the two nations.
The Republic of Ireland also plays host to a number of sporting events in the first half of 2014. The Glen of Aherlow Winter Walking Festival is the perfect event for keen walkers, taking place in County Tipperary between January 31st and February 2nd. On May 12th, head to Dublin for the start of the Giro D’Italia: one of the greatest cycling events in the world that was first organised in 1909. The “Grande Partenza”, or Big Start, will be celebrated with a range of special events, with the race on May 12th culminating in a huge free-to-watch finish in Dublin’s city centre.
February and March are the months to spend in Ireland if you are a rugby fan, with the Aviva Stadium in Dublin hosting the country’s home fixtures in the RBS 6 Nations tournament. The Irish host Scotland on February 2nd, Wales on February 8th and Italy on March 8th, with tickets now on sale for all three games.
Food lovers may enjoy the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival in late April, as well as Taste of Dublin in mid-June, which sees top restaurants and food producers coming together for a veritable feast of flavour. The Galway Food Festival takes place from April 17th to April 21st, and the third year of the festival will celebrate Galway’s reputation as a top Irish foodie destination. The programme will include talks, tours, food trails, tastings, demonstrations, open air food markets and more. The last festival played host to over 50 food and drink businesses and over 70 different events, making the festival a must for all food lovers.
Alternatively, head to Dungarvan between April 10th and 13th for the West Waterford Festival of Food, with the coastal town hosting both free and ticketed events with the aim of supporting and promoting the local food and drink industry.
Finally, an obvious cause for celebration in the Republic of Ireland is always St Patrick’s Day. Monday, March 17th will see a whole host of celebrations all over the country, with the largest being the St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin. Taking place from March 14th to 17th, the St Patrick’s Festival is the largest arts festival in Ireland, with four days of entertainment, music, culture, food and drink. The highlights will include the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade and the St Patrick’s Festival 5K Road Race, alongside the city’s Irish Craft Beer Village and the requisite funfairs. You will also be able to see The Greening Of The City, at which buildings such as Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin Castle and Trinity College are all lit up in green to mark the occasion.
The first half of 2014 promises to be a busy year across the Republic of Ireland – and the second half will be no different! Whatever your interests, there’s a reason for everyone to visit the Republic of Ireland. With a huge number of events taking place and a wealth of other things to see and do, it’s the perfect holiday destination for 2014.
Find 2014 holiday accommodation in Ireland.