Festivals & Events
There's no where in the world like Galway, especially during the summer when we're treated to one festival after another! There are far too many to talk about here. So for a full up-to-date guide on what's on in Galway during your stay, please visit the Galway Tourism site. The bigger festivals are listed below with some videos that tell the story of the festivals more than words ever could. In the meantime: This is Galway!
GALWAY FOOD FESTIVAL
Celebrating Galway as a good food destination, the Galway Food Festival promotes good food and good food outlets in Galway, as well as showcasing food producers based in Galway and in the West. The festival takes place in March primarily as it is the time of year when some of the best local ingredients become available, such as Connemara Spring Lamb, and trout and salmon caught locally.
Cúirt International Festival of Literature
The Cúirt International Festival of Literature is Ireland’s premier literary event, featuring an eclectic and exciting range of Irish and international writers. The festival annually brings approximately sixty authors of local, national and international repute to Galway for readings, workshops, discussions, book signings and much, much more. The festival takes place in April each year.
Galway International Arts Festival
The Galway International Arts Festival is Ireland's largest annual arts festival, taking place each year in July in the city of Galway. Founded in 1978, the Festival collaborates with artists and companies throughout the world to produce and present an international programme of theatre, spectacle, dance, visual arts, music, literature & comedy involving hundreds of artists and performers. Galway International Arts Festival is at the heart of all aspects of life in Galway City contributing immeasurably to the economic, social and cultural life of the west of Ireland. Over its 35-year history, the Festival has become a vital showcase for Irish arts internationally and international arts in Ireland and is now firmly established as Ireland's leading arts festival.
Ireland's biggest and most famous racing festival is held in Galway during the last week of July every year and involves seven days of unrivalled action. Some 250,000 people attend the Galway Races throughout the week, and the town has a real buzz at night, with hangovers aplenty the following day. It is a joyous, fun-filled seven days where people might leave with a few less Euros than they had when they arrived but they also leave with great new experiences, new friends and a time that will never be forgotten.
Cruinniu na mBad Festival
Up to 100 unique Irish boats, the Galway Hookers, once the workhorses of the coast of Connemara and North Clare, gather for a weekend of racing and celebration at Cruinniú na mBád (Gathering of the Boats) festival in Kinvara, Co. Galway, in August. Before gas and electricity came to Kinvara turf was the main fuel used for cooking and heating. The majestic Galway Hookers sailed between Connemara and Kinvara laden with this fuel as the Kinvara area has no bogs. Kinvara in turn filled the hookers with grain and produce for their return journey. A strong trade developed between the two regions using these great old cargo boats.
Galway & Clarenbridge Oyster FestivalS
On the last weekend of September each year, the picturesque town of Galway hosts the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, one of the biggest events in Ireland's social calendar. A feast of live entertainment, gourmet food, fine wine and of course Oysters and Guinness are enjoyed by some 10,000 people with guests and luminaries from all over the world.
If you want to get out of the city to celebrate Galway's seafood, head to the village of Clarenbridge on the edge of Galway Bay for the Clarenbridge Oyster Festival which has been running for over 60 years! Also held in September, this festival boasts great food, great Guinness, great music and entertainment all in a splendid marquee on the banks of the Claren River.
Galway Christmas Market
Ireland’s longest running Christmas Market, the Galway Continental Christmas Market, runs at its home in Eyre Square, Galway City from the end of November to the week before Christmas. The market will be a hive of activity with lots of entertainment promised. Over fifty traders from all over Ireland and Europe will be selling a host of crafts, festive food, treats and Christmas gift ideas, while the expected audience of up to 650,000 market-goers can also enjoy a live entertainment programme throughout the month-long event.