Dublin’s festivals are many and varied, spanning every season and a broad range of interests. You may be familiar with some of the biggest ones. But there’s a whole host of smaller, niche festivals to enjoy too.
The Main Festival Events Across The Year
Okay, so this one starts in December – but one night just isn’t enough time to wave goodbye to one year and welcome in another. That’s why this Dublin festival takes place over three days!
Since 2003, the DIFF has taken pride of place as Ireland’s main film festival. Over two weeks, locals have the opportunity to enjoy thought-provoking, ground-breaking and often award-winning cinema. Plenty of famous faces are on-hand to host events and run Q&As too.
It takes five days of festivities to celebrate Ireland’s patron saint. Every March 17th, a sea of green spectators watch as the colourful parade marches through the streets of Dublin. A wide array of musical, artistic and historical events take place throughout the week too.
One of the more unusual events on this list is the One Dublin, One Book festival. During the month of April, it aims to encourage everyone in the city to read one book that has a connection to Dublin. The One Dublin One Book choice for 2022 is Nora by Nuala O’Connor. While past picks have included Leonard and Hungry Paul, The Long Gaze Back, Strumpet City and Gulliver’s Travels.
The festival provides a great conversation starter for book lovers throughout the county and has been growing in popularity year after year.
There’s a reason Ireland is known as the land of saints and scholars. We’re big readers and the International Literature Festival is a great excuse for locals and visitors alike to delve into books of Irish and international acclaim. Events throughout the festival cover everything from spoken word performances to readings of children’s literature. There’s plenty of workshops and seminars to enjoy too.
Dublin’s yearly LGBTQ+ festival takes place every June. The parade of floats, dancers and members of the community is guaranteed to be full of energy and colour. This festival of togetherness shows Dublin in its best light. And the fact that it takes place in early summer usually means the sun is shining. You can find out more about diversity in Dublin here.
Fans of James Joyce will know that his seminal work, Ulysses, takes place on June 16th, 1904. Ever since, people have gathered in Dublin on this day to celebrate Joyce and his book’s main character Leopold Bloom.
There’s costumes, readings and old-fashioned food. As part of the tradition, some retrace Bloom’s journey throughout the city. Many of the places featured in the book are still to be found in the city today.
Ireland’s national sports – hurling, camogie and Gaelic football – culminate earlier this year. After two disrupted years, capacity crowds will return to Croke Park. We can’t wait. If you’re new to Irish sport, check out our introduction to Gaelic games.
Dublin’s Festival of Curiosity encourages people of all ages to explore and discover science, art, design and technology in playful new ways. This year, it returns with brand new digital, virtual and blended formats.
The Taste of Dublin festival takes over Dublin’s scenic Iveagh Gardens in early September. Each year, the park is filled with food, flavour and fun. 2021 was a welcome return for gastronomic delights.
Every September, Dublin Fringe brings a burst of energy to the city centre with two weeks of new performances, cutting-edge ideas and dramatic arts shows. If you attend, try to see at least one event that you know nothing about – you never know what you might discover.
Bram Stoker, the creator of Dracula, was born in Dublin back in 1847. His legacy is remembered here every year with a series of ghoulishly gothic events. Do you dare to book a ticket?
Now in its 15th year, the Dublin Book Festival is a celebration of all things related to literature and lore. It’s the perfect festival for a UNESCO City of Literature. Each November, locals and visitors to the city can attend exhibitions, events, talks, tours and readings – many of which are free of charge.
December – Winter Lights & Christmas markets
Every year, Dublin’s atmospheric Winter Lights spectacular introduces the festive season with a bang! The warm glowing lights ensure that the city gets into the yuletide spirit.
Dublin is also home to dedicated Christmas markets. These will return in December 2021. But, if you can’t wait until then, check out our comprehensive guide to markets in Dublin for a list of daily and weekly events.
Music festivals in Dublin
Showcasing the best of both Irish and international folk artists, Tradfest is a great way to blow the January blues away. Concerts, workshops and sessions will get you toe-tapping across a great five-day festival. Watch out for free events on the calendar, because they sell out fast.
This first big festival of the summer takes place every June Bank Holiday weekend in the gorgeous grounds of Kilmainham’s 17th century Royal Hospital. Laurent Garnier and Elbow were recent headliners at the festival.
This festival features performances from great classical musicians and the occasional choir. They set up stage at some of the most amazing and unusual venues across the city and countryside. This always-atmospheric festival is ideal for fans of classical music, as well as architecture buffs. There’s no need to wear wellie boots, either.
The biggest music festival in Dublin descends on leafy Marlay Park each July. Over one weekend, it welcomes both international and Irish acts, along with thousands of fans. Past headliners have included Kraftwerk, Foals, The Chemical Brothers, Hozier, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd and Solange.
Every summer, Trinity College hosts a series of gigs slap-bang in the middle of the city centre. Where else could you stand on the cricket pitch of an Elizabethan college whilst singing along with… oh, HAIM or Beck. All while the buses and trams continue to trundle by on the other side of the wall.
Happening in October, this Dublin festival provides a launchpad for emerging musical talent. It gives new voices a platform – and when you see them on the telly years from now, you can say you saw them first.
One of the big benefits of living in Dublin is that you’ll never struggle to find exciting cultural and social activities to enjoy. Every weekend, a diverse calendar of events offers something to suit every taste. So for the latest news on upcoming events and festivals in Dublin, check out our What’s On page.