10 Dublin Festivals to Visit in 2018 - Global Storybook

10 Dublin Festivals to Visit in 2018

Glenn Beg

Glenn Beg

Glenn Beg is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Ireland).
Glenn Beg

Dublin is a great city to visit in its own right, whether it’s on a weekend getaway or for a longer trip – there’s plenty of things to see and do.  However there’s a number of great festivals across the course of a year in Dublin, which you can add to your trip.  Here’s a sample of the main events scheduled to run in 2018:

Dublin’s New Year Festival: Dec 31st –Jan 1st

You can end 2017 with a bang and start 2018 with this fun 2 day festival.  The highlight this year is the New Year’s Eve concert at the Custom House Quay.  You can ring in 2018 with the headline act by Kodaline, who will be supported by Hudson Taylor and Keywest.

However there are also events aimed at a younger audience with the Liffey Lights Midnight Moment matinee scheduled earlier in the evening, featuring aerial and aquatic acrobats.  On the New Year’s Day you can clear the cobwebs with a free concert and a family event.  Please note – most of the New Year’s Eve programs do require a ticket booked in advance, though some events are free.

Christmas in Dublin - Global StorybookTemple Bar Tradfest: Jan 24th-28th

The Temple Bar is located in the heart of the city centre and it’s a vibrant hub of Dublin’s nightlife.  This festival claims to be Ireland’s largest one for traditional music.  Even if you are not into trad, some of the venues are worth a visit on its own.

The iconic Dublin’s landmarks, such as: the St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Dublin Castle and the House of Lords will play host to Irish and some international musicians, like Alan Stivel, the Seeger Sessions Band, Brian Kennedy and John Spillane.  There are also numerous family related events.  So expect plenty of sessions and crowds in the pubs and clubs, especially in the centre of Dublin.

Temple Bar Tradfest - Global Storybook

Photo: Stefano Zaccaria – Shutterstock.com

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival: March 15th-19thh 

The parade along O’Connell Street celebrating all things Irish is probably the highlight of the year for countless visitors.  This year will bring together marching bands from around the world, as well as the finest of Irish street theatre companies in a fantastic fusion of music, dance and colour.

The main viewing stand will be set outside the GPO in O’Connell Street.  In addition, the participants will be able to salute the President of Ireland, who is set to attend!  Hundreds of thousands will be there, so come early to grab the best viewing spots.

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However, there is more to this festival than just the parade.  A number of amazing concerts plus a carnival will also take place.  Many of Dublin’s iconic buildings will be lit up in green.  There will be 2 fun-fairs in the Merrion Square and the Custom’s House Quay, as well.

Since the St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday (March 17) in 2018, the following Monday is also a bank holiday, so it will be an extra-long weekend.  Please note – most events are free.

St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin - Global Storybook

Photo: Aitormmfoto – Shutterstock.com

Dublin International Film Festival: Feb 22nd– March 4th

This is Ireland’s premiere film festival with numerous events taking place across Dublin’s various cinema screens.  It also includes conferences, talks, exhibitions and workshops and is a must for anyone with an interest in modern film.  In addition, the festival includes both shorts and feature length movies, as well as documentaries.

Dublin International Literature Festival: May 19th-27th

Now in its 19th year, this festival has been described as “the country’s most successful and easily the best annual literary event”.  Celebrating the best of Irish, as well foreign writing, it attracts some of the most renowned writers from across the world.

You can expect readings, workshops and performances in both fiction and non-fiction, prose and poetry, as well as works aimed at children and Ireland in general.  Its 2017 programme gives an idea of what to expect, with writers such as: Jo Nesbo, Will Self, Colm Toibin and Richard Ford all set to attend.

Statue of Oscar Wilde at Merrion Square

The statue of Oscar Wilde at Merrion Square in Dublin. Photo: Attila JANDI – Shutterstock.com

Forbidden Fruit: June 2nd –June 4th

This event is held in the lovely settings of the Irish Museum of Modern Art grounds in Kilmainham.  This boutique festival, which takes place during June’s Bank Holiday weekend, kicks off Ireland’s music festival season.  Some of the bands confirmed for this year include: Spoon, Thundercat, and the War on Drugs.  The gigs continue at the same location on June 6th with Nick Cave and Patti Smith taking the stage.

Bloomsday: June 16th

Fans of James Joyce will know that June 16th is the day his iconic character, Leopold Bloom, went walkabout across Dublin, as immortalised in Joyce’s seismic novel ‘Ulysses’.  The festival in 2017 ran for almost a week and included walking tours, Joycean pub crawls and some special Joycean breakfasts.  It also included lectures and readings celebrating the works of what many people have called: “Ireland’s greatest writer”.  Hence you can expect similar events in 2018.

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Dublin Pride: June 21st – 30th 

This is Ireland’s largest festival celebrating gay culture.  Whilst many overseas visitors perhaps see Ireland as a conservative church dominated country, recent years has seen it becoming a far more open society.  The Gay Marriage referendum of 2016 set a benchmark in tolerance for the rest of the world to follow.

The highlight of this year’s event is as always – the Pride parade, scheduled for June 30th.  Do expect plenty of other events across the city as well.

Dublin Gay Pride Parade - Global Storybook

Photo: Bartosz Luczak – Shutterstock.com

The RDS Horse Show August 8th-12th

Irish people have a love of horses and the Royal Dublin Society’s Horse show in Ballsbridge is the pinnacle of the annual jumping events in the country.  It culminates in one of the premier international shows, as various teams from around the world compete for the famous Aga Khan trophy.

On the other hand, it’s more than just a sporting event.  Music and entertainment shows, plus one of the country’s largest trade and retail exhibitions with over 300 stands, covering almost everything – from art and antiques to all things equestrian, take place there as well.

The Dublin Fringe Festival: Sept 8th-23rd 

Fringe is a multi-disciplnary festival which covers music, theatre, comedy and dance.  In 2017 it staged 81 shows in 31 different venues – many of which took place outside of the mainstream theatre circuit in Dublin.  It also included 51 world premieres.

Whilst many of the events may be outside of the norm for ordinary culture lovers – over 30,000 people attended ticketed events.  Many others also came to the public shows.  Bottomline: expect the unexpected!

Irish folk festivalThe Dublin Theatre Festival: Sept 27th– Oct 14th 

This is one of Dublin’s oldest cultural festivals, which has been running since 1957.  The Dublin Theater Festival showcases the best of Irish and international contemporary theatre.  It also features various talks, development programs and events aimed at children.  Its 2017 program included a number of world premieres.  Some of them were reworks of well-known Irish plays, while others were works from some of the best international theatre companies, like the Royal Shakespeare Company.

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