2 city festivals in August that are made for ALL the family and exploring Ireland's Ancient East
Brought to you by Discover Ireland
We don't know about you, but we feel these two August festivals are just what we need!
If you're due to undertake more exploratory trips around Ireland's Ancient East (aren't we all) then this is a mighty good place to start.
Firstly, Spraoi International Street Arts Festival, from August 2 to August 4, takes place in Waterford city and it's entirely FREE. Yep, the annual urban festival will see around 100,000 visitors wanting to have a gawk at the exceptional street performers and various acts.
What began as a little one-day festival idea back in 1993 has now transformed to be something utterly spectacular. Forget the August bank holiday weekend — it's Spraoi Weekend!
With Waterford's narrow medieval streets creating the most magical backdrop for musicians, hundreds of performers, artists and dramatic and vibrant-coloured floats — it's a feast for the eyes.
As for the music lineup, there's Brass & Co. for our much-needed dose of jazzy hot brass and incredible feel-good energy (sure to keep the feet moving throughout the night). With a troop of singers, trumpet players, trombones, and saxophones, be sure to have your dancing shoes at the ready. Then there's the Rabinovich Brothers — set to bring a suitcase full of laughs and music before clowning around hordes of onlookers. Expect funky drummers, a Mediterranean 'Always Drinking Marching Band' and an endless number of terrific acts! Find out more about the acts here.
For little ones, those under five-years-of-age to be precise, there's the Fanzini Spailpínis. A brief but hilarious exposé of life’s most exquisite moments, Spailp is a show that lasts just five minutes, for five visitors under the age of five. Superb! Check out the SprÓg Festival for oodles of kids' entertainment.
During your stay in Waterford, consider a stay at Treacy’s Hotel Spa and Leisure Centre. Boasting a five-star spa for anyone in need of rest and relaxation too, the family-run hotel in the city has a 20-metre heated pool, jacuzzi, sauna and a fully equipped gym. The Mini T's Kids Club runs Monday to Friday during the summer holidays too you might be glad to know and the accommodation is well within walking distance to a whole host of attractions.
The Waterford Greenway (or the Déise Greenway) is Ireland's longest off-road cycling route at 46km. It's suitable for everyone and all fitness levels because you can take on different sections of it if you wish. Rent a bike and helmet nearby (which won't cost you a bomb) or even an electric bike if you're feeling like a more relaxed tour of the scenic countryside on your little trip between Dungarvan and Waterford city.
In terms of food — it's only fitting that we eat by the water when in Waterford, right? So get to The Waterfront Restaurant for some delicious seafood, Irish options and veggie nosh. Have one of their beautiful wines accompany your dish (there’s a big list to choose from) and rest-assured friendly staff will have you feeling very welcome during your visit.
Next, is the Kilkenny Arts Festival from August 8 to August 18. It's one of the most hotly anticipated cultural festivals of the season and it's truly spectacular. Founded in 1974, the festival brings together some of the country's greatest musicians, performers, writers and artists in Kilkenny for 10 days every August.
Submersed in the terrific medieval setting that is Kilkenny city, we can expect not only music and mind-blowing performances, but also art, design, secret gardens and of course, the city's churches, castles and courtyards that can only add to it all. The fun is endless, friends.
Music fanatics will be in their element with both Irish and international musicians performing. Don't miss the likes of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Crash Ensemble, Alexander Gavryluk going classic on the piano, a whole host of classical musical performances at St Canice's Cathedral (it's beautiful!), or the collaborations with Rough Magic's contemporary staging of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.
See the full programme of events here.
In Kilkenny and Ireland's Ancient East, you're surrounded by incredible beauty, so it's well worthwhile pulling out the sunscreen (or if not — the raincoats!) and enjoy a walking tour of Kilkenny. Your appreciation of this special place will soar.
Outside the city, take the time to visit the Dunmore Caves. They're made of Limestone that formed over 300 million years ago and you'll see incredible calcite formations so it's particularly interesting from a scientific point of view. It's also the site of a Viking massacre that happened in 928, adding an extra intriguing aspect for historians. A visit will only set you back €4 for an adult and €2 for each child and student!
If you’re in the mood for further exploring, indulge in the Kilkenny Food and Craft Trails. With walks and cycles catered to all abilities, there's no better way to mosey about the county.
Stay at Hotel Kilkenny, the four-star that's bang in the middle of all the festive fun and enjoy a tour of Kilkenny Castle, retreating back to the hotel's jacuzzi or steam room to unwind later.
For a stay that's more low-key, opt for Kenmure House B&B. It offers spacious rooms and is just a short walk from all the most exciting happenings.
In terms of where to eat — there's no shortage of mighty spots in Kilkenny, but for a by-the-log-fire, authentic-Irish-pub experience Rafter Dempsey's provides delicious home-cooked grub until 9pm in the summer, live music each Saturday, a private lounge should you be celebrating something special, a rooftop beer garden and a big screen for sports.
There's also the buzzy O' Reilly's Bar & Restaurant, serving bread steaks, zesty fish, yummy curries and delicious cocktails. It's the perfect relaxing meal after a long day of festivities.
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!