With The Gathering kicking off in Dublin on New Year’s Eve, the city is bracing itself for a year-long celebration of all things Irish. Parties are being planned, and events and festivals organised all over the capital. Happily for visitors, there is an endless choice of great-value Dublin hotels so you won’t be stuck for accommodation.
The Temple Bar Trad Fest is Dublin’s biggest festival of traditional Irish music and culture. Due to take place from 22 to 27 January 2013, this year’s line-up features the elite of traditional Irish musicians including Sharon Shannon, Joanie Madden and Brian Conway. Experience the sounds of Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill in the haunting surrounds of the 11th-century Christchurch Cathedral, head to City Hall to catch an intimate recital by the influential American box player, Billy Mccomiskey, or discover a hidden talent on the Busker’s Stage in Temple Bar. With a superb programme of outdoor performances including the Celtic Irish Dance Festival and plenty of family-friendly entertainment on the street, this is one shindig that will have your toes tapping long after the music has stopped.
One event that simply cannot be missed is the annual St Patrick’s Day celebration, when you hop over from London. The three-day festival kicks off on 14 March 2013 and promises to be bigger and better than ever. If you’re expecting an energetic explosion of colour and noise, you won’t be disappointed. Street theatre, pageantry, music, dance and general craic are all on the agenda as well as a Festival Treasure Hunt and Festival Céilí. Whatever you do in 2013, don’t miss this, the biggest street party in the country!
As a designated UNESCO City of Literature, it is fitting that Dublin is brimming with literary events in 2013. One not to miss is the Franco-Irish Literary Festival, which is due to be held in April 2013. This year’s theme is L’amour, la blessure – Love and Hurt – Grá agus Gortú and a jam-packed programme aims to expand upon existing European literary and cultural connections. Taking place in the illustrious National Library of Ireland, this celebration of French and Irish writing is free of charge and invites members of the public to attend panel discussions and seminars – literature lovers take note.
Taking place in the Phoenix Park over the June Bank Holiday weekend, Bloom 2013 promises to live up to its reputation as Ireland’s premier gardening and outdoor living event. Wander through the inspiring garden designs before sampling some of the delights at the cookery and craft demonstrations. With a designated zone to keep the kids entertained, this is a great family-friendly day out.
For some outdoor entertainment with a difference, head to Merrion Square for the Street Performance World Championships. Taking place on 8 and 9 June 2013, this quirky celebration of street entertainment features magicians, sword swallowers, stilt walkers, jugglers and more. A fantastic day out for all the family, this is a great event to use to bribe the kids into good behaviour.
October is always a great month to visit the capital of Ireland. The 2013 Dublin Theatre Festival promises a cracking line-up of plays, music, dance and cutting-edge theatre and, as always, is not to be missed. For those with an interest in social history and genealogy, the Back to our Past expo is taking place in the RDS on 18, 19 and 20 October 2013. This unique event features presentations, demonstrations and workshops as well as a plethora of expert genealogists to help you discover the secrets of your family history.
If you’re still standing by December you’ve done well, so why not treat yourself to something special from the Dublin Docklands Christmas Market – you deserve it!