Summer Festivals and Sightseeing Ideas

 

It is summertime in Ireland and there is so much happening! Check out the following round-up of festivals, events and activities that are taking place in Ireland over the coming months.

Summer Event Round-up:
Here are some of the hot festivals happening in Ireland:

Galway Races Summer Festival: End July – Early August
The Galway Races Summer Festival Meeting has grown from strength to strength each year, and now has an attendance of approximately 200,000 people over the course of the seven-day festival. Situated on the outskirts of Galway city, in the West of Ireland, the Galway Race Festivals are world renowned. Veteran race goers, and indeed those who simply love the atmosphere, travel from around the world for the unique experience that is, the Galway Races. www.galwayraces.com

Puck Fair: Mid August
What’s it all about?
Think it’s unusual for a goat to be crowned as king during a festival? Not in Ireland. Puck Fair is one of the country’s oldest festivals and as well as the parade and coronation ceremony of King Puck, there are open-air night concerts, a traditional horse fair, children’s competitions, street entertainers and dancing. Wildly enjoyable, the little town of Killorglin goes crazy with over 100,000 visitors carousing till late.
The details: www.puckfair.ie

The World Fleadh: Mid August

August 2006 will see the premiere of The World Fleadh in Ireland. This major festival based around 7 days and 7 nights of scheduled events will feature many of the worlds leading Irish & Celtic performers. Set for Ballybunion in Co.Kerry, The World Fleadh will hit Irelands shores with more than 35 concerts over seven days and seven nights, overlooking the clifftops of Ballybunion beach onto the Atlantic Ocean. www.theworldfleadh.com

Rose of Tralee International Festival: Mid to Late August
Based around the famous song “The Rose of Tralee” this is one of Ireland's most popular festivals, connecting the global Irish community since 1959. Young women of Irish ancestry from all over the world, supported by their friends and families, take part in this personality-based event and a five-day party takes over the Kerry capital. There are also roses from various places across Australia who travel to Ireland to compete. Parades and fireworks, free open-air concerts and lots of song and dance make this the ideal place to experience Irish warmth and good humour at its best. www.roseoftralee.ie/

The Ryder Cup: Late September
This year sees Ireland host the world-famous Ryder Cup for the first time ever – and we're pulling out all the stops to make it a world-class event at the K Club in County Kildare. The competition promises to be an epic battle, with the US team (including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson) desperate to avenge last year's defeat by the European team (which this year includes Colin Montgomerie and Ireland's own Darren Clarke). The Ryder Cup is televised to over one billion people worldwide and attracts 30,000 visitors per day. The event will highlight Ireland’s natural prowess in event organisation and hospitality. http://www.golf.ireland.ie/Ryder
For a full programme of events click on: http://www.discoverireland.com/au/ireland-events

Yeats-time
Yeats: the Life & Works of William Butler Yeats
A major exhibition on WB Yeats (1865–1939), one of the great poets of the twentieth century who had a profound influence on world literature, has was unveiled at the National Library of Ireland in July 2006. The Yeats collection was generously donated to the National Library by the Yeats family: Mrs George Yeats, WBY’s wife, and his son Michael over a period of years, between 1959 and 2002. The extent of these collections is enormous, reflecting the large volume of Yeats’s published works – over 200 books excluding volumes he edited and contributed to - and his wide range of interests. The manuscripts run to thousands of pages, and include drafts of all of his best-known poems, such as ‘Easter 1916’, ‘Sailing to Byzantium’, ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ and many, many more. This exhibition is expected to run for 3 years and is free admission.

Island hoping
"People love islands! Although Ireland is an Island itself, did you know that Ireland is blessed with some of the most interesting small islands in the world, in terms of beauty, archaeology, scenery, culture and activity? Ireland’s islands are a jewel in the crown of the country, giving both the Irish and the foreign visitor alike a unique insight into the culture and heritage of our nation. On many islands the Irish language thrives, traditional music, singing, dancing and crafts are flourishing, the pace of life is more relaxed and the sense of community is strong. For more information on the Islands of Ireland log onto www.irelandsislands.com/

Spend a day discovering the Mourne Mountains

The Irish Sea provides a dramatic setting for the largest mountain range in Northern Ireland so, for an exhilarating walk, head for the mountains! The 12 peaks of the Mournes cover an 80 square mile area and walkers can discover drumlins, forests, lakes, rivers and beautiful sandy beaches. Whether it takes a few hours or a few days, there's a lot to explore in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there are plenty of easy to follow paths and pre-mapped routes with routes cards.

One of these fantastic walks is aptly named the Smugglers Way as during the 18th Century, the Mournes were notorious for smuggling commodities such as wine, silk, tobacco, tea and brandy mainly from Britain. The goods would be brought ashore, usually under the cover of darkness and conveyed over the mountains to Hilltown and the surrounding areas. This walk takes you along the path used by the smugglers, aptly called the Brandy Pad. The Smugglers Way (6-10km, 4 hours. Moderate) is a great way to discover these old trails
www.discoverireland.com

Find your perfect match on horseback!
The perfect remedy for any singleton is The Love Trail - a six-day horse-riding trek, where hopefuls are 'married-up' with a compatible horse in the hope of finding a well-matched (human) partner too!

Willie Daly is an old hand at matchmaking who, employs traditional techniques and provides the ideal location, atmosphere and four-legged companion to help you find love. During The Love Trail riders will journey over little-used lanes and mountain passes, such as the Carraig Trail with backdrops of glistening lakes, sandy beaches and rugged mountains. The trek stops off at The Matchmakers Shack, where Willie himself, who claims to be Ireland's only traditional matchmaker, offers the entertainment for the evening. Ride over the golden sands of Lahinch Beach and feel the romantic embrace of the Atlantic before exploring the ancient Burren Country, the famous Cliffs of Moher, and wander through quaint villages along the way. After experiencing the unrivalled beauty of Ireland and Willie's matchmaking ways, its fingers crossed that you don't leave for home alone!
www.ehi.ie

Cruise Control
With the longest network of waterways in Europe and least crowded, Ireland is the ideal place to explore by boat.
With over 800 kilometres of navigable waterways the Shannon/Erne system of lakes and rivers offers a safe and fun way to spend a holiday, and with full training provided there's nothing to stop you cruising off! Meander through the heart of Ireland, famous for its idyllic little towns and villages with small harbours and moorings along the shore. There is a wide range of restaurants and pubs so visitors can always be sure of some local entertainment, quality Irish food and some of the black stuff - all you need to do is turn up for the craic! Along the way you have the freedom to tie up and experience the breathtaking scenery and fascinating heritage.
www.boatholidaysireland.com

Surf’s up in Ireland

Forget Australia - for great rolling waves get surfing in Ireland!
The Atlantic Ocean off the west of Ireland is perfect for all levels so whether you're a complete novice or have surfed with the best of them, you will certainly understand why Ireland is fast becoming such a popular surfing location. Towns such as Lahinch in Clare and Bundoran and Rossnowlagh in Donegal provide some of the most exhilarating surf in Europe. In May 2006, Lahinch entered the Guinness Book of Records when between 200 and 300 surfers showed up to break the record for surfing one wave. 44 people surfed one wave – an official record Breaker – previously held by Rio!

Best is Yet to Come…
George Best is often referred to as the ‘Belfast Boy’. Perhaps one of the city’s greatest exports, he has been honoured since his death with the one of Belfast’s airports being renamed after him. Now visitors from around the world have flocked to view the George Best photographic exhibition in Belfast. The pictures at the Belfast Welcome Centre capture some of the most memorable moments in the East Belfast man’s career. Travellers from Thailand, the US and Australia have marvelled at the images which span the Manchester United and Northern Ireland star’s career.

Did you know?
The inventor of the submarine, John Holland, came from Liscannor in County Clare. Holland emigrated to Boston in the 1870s where he later submitted a design for a submarine to the United States Navy. Although many of Holland’s designs were successful, his first submarine design was rejected by the Navy Secretary as “a fantastic scheme of a civilian landsman”.