3 of the greatest city festivals for the art, dance and movie obsessed this summer 2 months ago

3 of the greatest city festivals for the art, dance and movie obsessed this summer

Brought to you by Discover Ireland. 

Did you know that Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature?

It's one of the few places in the world that holds the prestigious honour. It's no surprise really — we Irish have long punched above our weight when it comes to producing great writers.

There's Samuel Beckett, Patrick Kavanagh, WB Yeats, Jonathan Dean Swift, Oscar Wilde, Edna O'Brien — whose Country Girls Trilogy was Dublin's One City One Book for 2019 — John Banville, Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright… And they're just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of brilliant newcomers too, including Kevin Barry and Sally Rooney.

For the many of us who appreciate creativity and storytelling, the Bloomsday Festival runs from June 11 to 16. Whether you're into food, art or music, the festival features a huge range of activities that are sure to appeal to all.

There's a very cool Joyce-inspired walking tour that shows Dublin in a whole other light, along with events in the Joyce Museum in Sandycove (within the very Martello tower that features in the book's opening chapter), plus lots of food and drink events inspired by the book's Edwardian setting too.

Be sure to grab a cool beverage at Davy Byrne's on Duke Street too — it features in Ulysses!

Much of Bloomsday seeks to celebrate the parts of Dublin that are largely unchanged since Joyce’s time, but it also includes exploring areas that are completely new also. Pop across to the Marker Hotel's rooftop bar for a panoramic view over the ultra-modern 'Silicon Docks'.

You'll definitely want to join in on the Joycean pub crawl and the Bloomsday breakfasts on June 16 too, but hurry, the events have limited capacity and are selling out quickly.

Another great cultural festival is the Cork Midsummer Festival, taking place from June 13 to 23. It's all about theatre, music, dance, visual art and spoken word performance.

The focus is primarily on the country's best new creative talent, and there's also the chance to catch events that are completely different from the norm.

Theatre for One sounds particularly interesting. It takes theatre-going to the most personal level imaginable with just one actor — plus you — for five minutes.

Yep, you're the sole audience member. This intensely intimate theatre is on at the plaza outside of the Opera House (June 18 to June 23), and it's free!


If drumming is your thing or if you're simply looking to see a good show, So Percussion at Cork Opera House is happening on June 18. It's a celebration of percussion and it aims to showcase the sort of complexities that can be achieved by four drummers playing together on stage.

Check out the Shandon Bells too. Even if you don't have a religious bone in your body, a visit to the magnificent 300-year-old St Anne's Church at Shandon is to be savoured.

No visitor to Cork should miss the opportunity to visit the country's best covered food market either. The English Market has been a part of Cork life since Victorian times and yes, you'll eat like a queen!

Overlook the wooded banks of the River Lee at The Weir Bistro (The River Lee Hotel) for authentic Irish food or get to the Parlour Café for tapas, small plates and delicious coffee.

Movie buffs will want to hightail it to the Galway Film Fleadh from July 9 to 14. You'll get the chance to see the Irish premieres of indie movies and documentaries made both here, in Ireland, and all over the world.

The programme will be announced soon, and the central goal of the festival remains unchanged – that is 'to be a platform for the boldest new films and to bring audiences and filmmakers from around the world together, to share in the wonder of cinema'.

It's now in its 31st year, the Fleadh has become a brilliant cultural week in Galway city each July.

High summer is the perfect time to explore Galway’s medieval heart. The Galway City Museum gives a superb sense of the history within the City of the Tribes too.

For great food and delicious brunch options (including veggie and vegan), get to Ard Bia at Nimmos beside the Spanish Arch or head to Kai Café and Restaurant for a fun yet very charming spot to eat.

Further afield, take a drive along the short but mighty Sky Road near Clifden — it's simply stunning. When searching for the perfect place to stay, check out discoverireland.ie.

So go on, let's embrace the best festivals there are!

Brought to you by Discover Ireland

A festival makes your break, so click on the image below to discover even more things to do that'll make your break in Ireland something really special. Go to our festival hub here on Her to see more of what's happening too!