Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way provides the perfect backdrop for host of eclectic festivals all year round from crowning a goat king to Tedfest, which pays homage to cult tv series Father Ted, but there are also hidden places to visit after the festival has finished. There will always be something to celebrate on your cottage holiday in Ireland!
First up is the Baltimore Pirate Festival which takes place in County Cork. The festival is held in June to mark to the real ‘Sack of Baltimore’ by 200 Algerian pirates in 1631. Visitor and locals are encouraged to dress up during the festival and charming seaside town is a perfect setting for this maritime themed event.
After the festival has ended Baltimore provide the chance to take on the Atlantic Ocean with some water themed activities! Deep sea angling in this region will give you a chance to test your nerve against some of the biggest fish Ireland has to offer. If you prefer to be in the water this area is also known for some of the most spectacular dive sites in the country with something for all levels to be discovered and enjoyed.
Your cottage holiday in County Cork can include whale watching on a skippered yacht or kayaking the creeks and inlets of the coastline. The town’s slow pace and clean air will soon entice you to stay longer and soak up the atmosphere!
You might just be in the historic village of Keash in Sligo which holds the Twinfest festival celebrating twins, triplets and quads every year. Twins from around the world are encouraged to visit for the one day event and make new friends all while raising money for ACT For Meningitis.
Once you have made your new friends you might new something to keep you occupied while staying in this ancient town and you won’t be disappointed! Keash is the birthplace of Irish legends such as Cormac Mc Airt who would later be renowned as the High King of Ireland. Given the links to Ireland’s myths it will come as no surprise that the church dates back to the 6th Century and this is an area with an ancient story to tell.
Some time on your cottage holiday in Sligo should be spent in Templevannys 8th Century Graveyard where some of the earliest recognisable headstones date to the 18th but the site goes back to Early Christian times. The medieval church can no longer to be seen but nestled against the hills of the Bricklieve Mountains with a tranquil lake in front and the majestic Neolithic tombs of Carrowkeel behind, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that this would be the best of spots to spend an eternal rest.
Fan of TV series Father Ted? So is the rest of Ireland! In fact we love it so much we created a festival dedicated to its honour. Tedfest takes place on Inis Mór island, the largest of the three Aran Islands, in February. The islands are located off the coast of County Galway and are most certainly worth a visit all year round. With only 1200 inhabitants this is an unchanged Ireland, a glimpse into days gone by with its cosy pub and rugged terrain just waiting to be explored.
Against this unique location Tedfest pays tribute to all things Ted. In amongst all those cups of tea there’s even a Priest’s Sports Day and Lovely Girls Competition!
If you are renting a holiday cottage in Galway and planning to spend some time in the area the Galway International Oyster Festival is a three-day event in September dedicated to the fantastic seafood this stunning region has to offer and would be on the list of places we feel you should visit.
The festival has some great live music events taking place at the marquee and you can join in an Oyster Eating Competition or simply sample the delicious seafood that is laid out before you! Be sure to catch the World Oyster Opening Championship which is part of the festival programme, the skill and speed of those taking part in the ‘shucking’ (opening oysters) is a memory to be treasured and there are usually more oysters on offer than there is people to eat them!
If you have had your fill of seafood head over to the Galway City Museum. The Museum is a spacious, modern building, located in the heart of Galway city on the banks of the River Corrib and overlooking the famous Spanish Arch. It houses a variety of permanent and touring exhibitions representing Galway’s rich archaeology, heritage and history and with free admission is somewhere that is gentle on the pocket!
The River Corrib is the life source of Galway and also provides a unique perspective of this bustling vibrant city. Head out on the Corrib Princess tour of the River Corrib and Lake and see what Galway looks like from the river.
The Corrib Princess is a 157 passenger vessel which sails from Woodquay in the heart of Galway city. The tour takes passengers along the magnificent River Corrib and onto Lough Corrib Ireland’s 2nd largest lake offering visitors unsurpassed views of this spectacular waterway in Ireland. The Corrib Princess will take you past castles and various sites of both historical and cultural interest
Get a different perspective on your cottage holiday!
You’ve got to be kidding me?
Puck Fair in Killorglin, County Kerry is Ireland’s oldest festival dating back 400 hundred years. This is one of the most well-known and popular of Ireland’s quirky festivals, with locals crowning a wild mountain goat king of the town! Yes you read it right!
The celebration is thought to date to pre-Christian rites of harvest and fertility, however, the crowning element was added as homage to a plucky goat who, back in the 17th century, broke from his herd to warn inhabitants of the approaching English army. Today’s festival is a time of celebration, with parades, street art, music and entertainment taking place over the course of three days.
Ireland is also home to Europe’s largest singles event the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival in County Clare. At 150 years old it is one of the old match making services in the world! The festival kicks off at the end of August and runs for 5 weeks, giving new love birds the chance to really get to know one another
Lisdoonvarna is a great spot to base yourself to explore County Clare, just north of the village the land rises to hills which grant fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding area including a wonderful view over the valley of Ballyvaghan. The village contains the Burren Smokehouse Visitors Centre which showcases traditional smoking methods of locally caught fish and also other local gourmet products and crafts. The Visitors Centre has become a popular tourist attraction area and welcomes over 30,000 visitors each year, we would recommend taking home some treats from here!
Your cottage holiday in Clare can also benefit your health as the area has been known as a health resort since the early 19th century mainly due to its mineral wells, but just one look at the beauty around you and you can be sure that a cottage holiday in county Clare is everything you need to bring you back to health!
The final stop that we would recommend is in the town of Bundoran, County Donegal. Sea Sessions is a laid back music festival situated right on the world famous surfing beach at Bundoran. The town comes alive during the festival with surfing during the day and fantastic live performances at night. Marquees are set up for the 3 day festival and with the Wild Atlantic Way as the backdrop this is many people’s idea of heaven!
Sea Sessions has played host to such luminaries as Paul Weller, Kaiser Chiefs, Seasick Steve, Leftfield and The Coronas to name but a few.
Bundoran has everything on offer – beautiful scenery, bustling shops and great restaurants and pubs make this the perfect holiday destination.
With a spectacular coastline and stretching sandy beach, a wealth of activities for children, and thrilling outdoor adventure options, this jewel in the crown of the North West has something to suit all ages, whatever the weather should throw at you.
Ireland has more to offer than festivals but with the variety on offer, its always a good place to start!