Guide to Arts & Entertainment for July

WE’RE bang in the middle of the summer festival season, and July shows no signs of letting up. Practically every weekend is cram-packed with music and/or arts festivities all around the country, ranging from Kinsale Arts Week to the Galway Film Fleadh to a national scarecrow festival. So get planning.

Guide to Arts & Entertainment for July


Jul 28 – Aug 5: Some of the country’s top nature experts will be at the Carlow Garden Festival.


Jun 29: The Summer Carnival has Ryan Sheridan playing tonight (tickets €10); and Rubberbandits, Handy Sandie (from Republic of Telly), and Lords of Strut tomorrow (tickets €10 with a complementary pint). On Jul 1, there’s a yet-to-be-announced daytime movie screening with complementary pint and popcorn, as well as the Hermitage Green, plus support, and the Euro 2012 final (free event, complementary pint and food.

Jun 29 – Jul 8: The Newmarket Summer Festival will have a parade, ‘Fairytale Fete’, Ladies Night, fireworks display, an ‘Enchanted Evening’, funfair, Wrestling Mania, agricultural show, walkabout quiz, and fashion show.

Until Jul 7: The West Cork Chamber Music Festival in Bantry continues, featuring concerts from morning to late night in St Brendan’s Church and Bantry House. Call 027 52 788 or

From Jul 1: Live at the Marquee continues: Dara O’Briain: Craic Dealer (tonight, €29.50/€33.50); Jedward (tomorrow, €15-€30); Jessie J (July 1 and 3, €44.05); Olly Murs (July 4 and 5, €39.05); Steps: The Ultimate Tour (July 6, €44.05).

Jul 7 – 12: Cork Week Sailing Festival is Ireland’s largest sailing regatta and attracts yachts from across the world, along with various onshore activities.

Jul 7 – 15: Kinsale becomes a living gallery and performance venue for the annual Arts Week. The stunning 17th century Charles Fort will be transformed into an outdoor music arena and art installation.

Jul 8 – 14: This year’s West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry is playing host to the likes of Michael Parkinson, Anita Shreve, Paul Muldoon, and Anita Desai. Also, there’s ‘Writer Idol’, which gives aspiring writers the opportunity to submit their work for an on-the-spot assessment by a panel featuring Shreve and super-agent Marianne Gunne-O’Connor.

Jul 9 – 14: The Globalfest Youth Arts Festival brings together a range of events and projects by and for young people, including workshops, a seminar, interactive activities, gigs and exhibitions in Mayfield and Bishop Lucey Park.

Jul 14 – 15: The Street Performance World Championships flips into Fitzgerald Park bringing with it the world’s best contortionists, magicians, breakdancers, comedians, and all-round jesters in a battle for the coveted title that gives the festival its name. The SPWC is also in Dublin’s Merrion Square from Jul 19 – 22.

Jul 14 – 15: Take a trip to the Victorian/Edwardian era with a vintage fair that’s running as part of the Titanic 100 celebrations in Cobh. There will be rides on a horse and trap and penny-farthing bicycles, as well as period magic shows and music.

Jul 19 – 22: The Cork Food Festival will show off the best of local produce and eateries in Fitzgerald’s Park for three days of foodie fun. Contact

Jul 20 – 22: The Random Acts of Kindness Festival runs in Clonakilty, with flash mobs, street performances, face-painting, safari tours, open air music, a fancy dress night out, and a “Jungle picnic”. Contact

Jul 21 – 29: The biennial Atlantic Challenge in Bantry will see teams go head-to-head in 10 events that test the crews’ abilities to sail and row longboats in different events and conditions. There are land-based activities and attractions also.

Jul 25 – 29: Folk dancing is celebrated in all its glory in Damhsafest, which has been running annually in Cork since 1995. Four international groups from Russia and the US, as well as a range of local groups will participate in this year’s programme.

Jul 28 – Aug 6: There’s more gastronomic goodness on offer in the Cork City International Gourmet Festival, with workshops, family days out, arts and crafts, a parade, restaurant offers, gala Titanic ball, gourmet trail and jazz brunch. Contact

Jul 29 – Aug 6: Break out the rainbow flag (and probably the rainbow umbrellas) for Cork Pride, with the main gay pride parade taking place on Aug 5.


Until Jul 1: The Féile Brian Ború Festival in Killaloe/Ballina has something for all tastes and ages: history and heritage, arts and culture, music and entertainment. Kids and sporting events.

Jul 6 – Jul 8: The Ennis Street Festival is a multi-cultural celebration of art, music and dance that reclaims the streets of Ennis in a feel-good kaleidoscope of live acts and workshops.


Until Jul 1: The Dublin LGBTQ Pride festival culminates this weekend in the annual Pride March through the city centre tomorrow. Families welcome. www.

Jul 5: Lairy Mancunian rockers Stone Roses reunion tour includes, a sold-out concert in Phoenix Park.

From Jul 5: Live at Leopardstown continues with Kila and The Raglans (Jul 5); Jape and Fred (Jul 12); Royseven (Jul 19); and The Minutes (Jul 26). Tickets €15.

Jul 7: Phoenix Park will also play host to an eclectic line-up of Swedish House Mafia, Snoop Dogg, Tinie Tempah, Calvin Harris, and The Original Rudeboys. Tickets €59.50 from Ticketmaster.

Jul 8: Snow Patrol and Florence + The Machine are an unlikely, though still phenomenally popular, pairing for this sold-out Phoenix Park show, with the former touring their Fallen Empires album, and the latter her Ceremonials LP.

Jul 9: Roxette play the O2. Tickets €44.05-€49.65 from

Jul 12-13: Paul Simon is in the O2 Dublin for the 25th anniversary tour of his controversial, groundbreaking 1986 album Graceland. At the time of going to print, tickets were sold out, but keep an eye on Ticketmaster for last minute releases or changes.

Jul 17-18: The brilliant, indefatigable Bruce Springsteen is back with his E Street Band for their Wrecking Ball tour at the RDS. Tickets €86/€96 from Ticketmaster.

Jul 18: Rufus Wainwright plays the Iveagh Gardens as part of the tour for his seventh album, Out of the Game (produced by Mark Ronson). Tickets €44.05 from Ticketmaster.

Jul 21: The amazingly talented Lisa Hannigan plays the Iveagh Gardens. Tickets €35 from Ticketmaster.

Jul 24: Forget Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee. The rock royalty event of the year takes place in the Aviva stadium as Her Madgesty – aka Madonna – brings her MDMA tour to town. Expect spectacle, outrage and perhaps the odd nipple. Tickets €54.65-€141.00 from Ticketmaster.


Jun 30 – July 8: The Volvo Ocean Yacht Race started in Alicante, Spain last October concludes some 39,000 nautical miles later in Galway, via the often treacherous seas of Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, Cape Horn, Miami, and Lisbon. Be there to cheer them on when they arrive, Jul 6-7.

Jul 10 – 15: Film buffs everywhere take note of the Galway Film Fleadh. Full programme available online.

Jul 16 – 29: The Galway Arts Festival draws around 100,000 people to the city every year. Highlights this year include The Outgoing Tide starring Frasier actor John Mahoney, the extraordinary DruidMurphy plays by Tom Murphy, music by Chic and Christy Moore, and a talk by Jules Evans, Director at the Centre for History of Emotions at Queen Mary, University of London. Check out the packed programme.

Jul 30 – Aug 5: The Galway Races and Summer Festival brings a 200,000-strong crowd together every year for a mixture of flat and national hunt racing.


Jul 6: Hunk of the moment Bressie plays the INEC – Gleneagle Hotel. Tickets €20 from

Jul 13 – 15: The Kenmare Food Carnival is a family-friendly food bash showcasing the best of the town’s eateries, local food producers, and scenery. There will be street theatre, parades, music, food trails, jazz lunch, afternoon teas, demos, and kiddies events.

Jul 16 – 19: The Killarney Horseracing Festival has a mix of flat and national hunt racing, with Kids Day on the Wednesday (also featuring the Kerryman Long Distance Hurdle) and Ladies Day on Thursday.

Jul 18 – 22: The Sneem Family Festival has live music, arts and crafts workshops, guided walks, space-hopper races, a busking competition, open air céilí, a treasure hunt, children’s fancy dress parade, fishing competitions, a funfair, street entertainment, farm skills challenge, pet show, craft and country market, a horticultural show, and the famed National Wife Carrying Championship.

Jul 27 – Aug 5: Killarney Summerfest has its annual splurge of live music, street entertainment, outdoor theatre, and arts workshops and performances. There’s also a busking competition, children’s workshops, Teddy Bears’ Picnic, and themed trips on the lakes of Killarney.


Jul 21 – 27: The Hopkins International Literary Festival has a varied line-up of poets, music, film screenings, lectures and workshops.


Jul 5 onwards: Kilkenny Design Centre is hosting a series of maker demonstrations called ‘Meet the Makers’ on Thursday afternoons 12pm -2pm. July 5 is knitwear; July 12 and 26 is art; and July 19 is textiles.

Jul 12: Chapterhouse Theatre Company presents Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre in Kilmanagh. Then, on Jul 28, Jack L performs in concert in the outdoor space. Tickets €20.


Jul 3 – Jul 8: The annual Carrick-on-Shannon Water Music Festival has five days of music and events for all ages and tastes, plus workshops and family events.


Jul 8 – Jul 15: The Ballina Salmon Festival is a family-orientated bash that features a Heritage Day, Lady of the Moy, Mayo’s Got Talent, River Frolics, It’s a Knockout, Krazy Kart, fireworks, Teddy Bears Picnic, dance, song and creative workshops.


Jul 5 – 8: The Trim Swift Festival celebrates the life and work of Gulliver’s Travels author Dean Jonathan Swift. The festival is all about promoting political awareness, debate and satire in Ireland. Those taking part include David McSavage, Dara O’Briain, George Hook, and John Waters.


Jul 26 – Aug 4: Every year, the Boyle Arts Festival features scores of Ireland’s leading artists and sculptors.

There’s also classical music, jazz, traditional and world music, drama, literature, storytelling and singers nights, comedy, workshops, street theatre and children’s programmes.


Until Jul 1: The famed Cloughjordan Festival offers community and traditional arts, music, crafts and cookery for kids and adults.

Jul 6 – 15: The Clonmel Junction Festival is one of the most well-regarded multi-arts festivals of the summer season, with a distinctive programme of Irish and international theatre, circus, comedy and music. Look out for Pat Kinevane’s powerful show Silent, which tackles the critical issues of alcoholism, homelessness, and depression, and Ronan Tully’s Circo Islu, which is performed in a custom-made mini big top.

Jul 5 – 8: Former president Mary McAleese and her husband, Senator Martin McAleese, are to jointly receive the Tipperary International Peace Award at the Tipperary Peace Convention. There will also be a panel discussion featuring Nuala O’Loan, and the Rev David Kerr on Jul 6, and the Tipperary International Song of Peace Contest on Jul 7. The convention coincides with the It’s A Long Way To Tipperary 2012 festival, which has a series of special events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the famous war song. Phone 062 33 990 or email for more info.


Jul 1: The first ever Pirate Day is held in the grounds of the medieval Hook Lighthouse in Fethard on Sea, New Ross. The popular Brú Bolg will perform the pirate puppet show, and there will be pirate grub and activities on the lawn. There are also competitions for the best dressed pirates, young and old, as well as a prize for the best pirate name. What’s more, anyone dressed as a pirate on the day will get a free lighthouse tour.

Jul 4: The 4th of July Irish America Day is a new festival in New Ross that will see the town feted with bunting flags of red white and blue to mark the US Independence Day, as well as barbeques at Hook Lighthouse.

There will be a Boston Tea Party re-enactment at the Dunbrody Famine ship, the Three Tenors Ireland in concert at the JFK Arboretum, and a fireworks display. On July 3, Irish-American comedian Des Bishop performs at Brandon House Hotel, while all week there will be Mark Twain readings in the New Ross Library, and classic American films at St. Michael’s Theatre.

Jul 5 – 8: The Kilmore Quay Seafood Festival has a packed roster of music, street theatre, stalls, exhibitions, and activities for the kids, as well, of course, as bountiful servings of the region’s famous seafood platters in the Stella Maris Centre.

Jul 30 – Aug 7: Wexford Art in the Open is Europe’s largest Plein Air painting event, bringing international artists to join painters from all over Ireland to paint on location.

There are also demonstrations and workshops, artists’ BBQ, music, and a final grand exhibition.


Jul 13 – Jul 15: The Arklow Seabreeze Festival features events like a ‘Swinging Pubs’ competition, kit car racing, burger eating competition, Irish dancing, busking, teddy bear’s picnic, wheelbarrow race, dancing, a baby show, pig derby, ice cream eating competition, street games, a pipe band competition, fireworks display, and a live performance from Jedward.


Jul 3: The first of this summer’s two huge blockbusters, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, opens everywhere, with newbie Andrew Garfield taking over the hormonal, web-slinging duties from Tobey Maguire.

Jul 20: For many, the movie of 2012, The Dark Knight Rises, arrives in cinemas bringing Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman narrative to what promises to be a dramatic end.

Jul 27: It’s the official opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games, and the entire four-hour event will be broadcast live across the TV schedules.

Director Danny Boyle has teased that the ceremony will comprise a re-telling of Shakepeare’s The Tempest, a tribute to the NHS, and a live-action/live-animal tribute to Britain’s pastoral heritage, all to the tune of a range of classical and modern British music.

More in this section

IE Logo


Your guide to staying at home

Discover the

Install our free app today

Available on