Festivals in July
The height of the summer has arrived. July is the month when tourist season reaches its height. Although we’ve past the longest day of the year on June 21st, this month sees lots of visitors arriving from the UK and the continent as schools close for the summer hols. Beaches start to get crowded (not in the sense of the ‘Majorca’ style crowded, but certainly there will be plenty of bodies out there lapping up the sun and building sandcastles!). Festival fever has now taken off as small towns and villages have their own celebrations around the country, and bigger festivals attract the crowds.
Here are a few festivals you might like to pop your head into if you’re out and about this month.
THE WEST CORK CHAMBER MUSIC FRINGE FESTIVAL 1ST-8TH JULY
There are pop up events happening randomly during the week at various venues in the Bantry area. This fringe festival is aimed at introducing music to every aspect of the community. So you could be hearing a harp recital in a café, or a violin concerto on a street or in a restaurant. All events are free and intended to give the chance to everyone to experience the Chamber Music Festival atmosphere. Naturally, being situated in West Cork, there will be some great food to eat too. O’Connor’s Seafood Restaurant showcases the best fish and shellfish of this area.
KILMORE QUAY SEAFOOD FESTIVAL 6TH-9TH JULY
From the fishing harbour which provides much fresh fish and shellfish for Good Food Ireland restaurants in Wexford and Dublin, comes a wonderful celebration of seafood. This Festival focusses on the fishing heritage of the village with the launch followed by a Seafood Platter competition between local restaurants, judge by our very own Eugene O’Callaghan, Executive Chef at Kelly’s Resort Hotel and Spa in Rosslare. No finer man than Eugene to judge this competition where rivalry is fierce, than the man who makes a pretty spectacular award winning seafood chowder for the menu at Beaches Restaurant in the hotel! Fringe events for families, art exhibitions and music are all part of this fishy celebration held over three days. You can also indulge in Seaweed Platters served in local restaurants and go for a Seaweed Foraging walk with a local ecologist.
WEST CORK LITERARY FESTIVAL 14TH-23RD JULY
Following swiftly on from the West Cork Chamber Music Festival is the West Cork Literary Festival. Another stalwart in the social calendar of this inspirational area. If you’re into the written word, this is where you need to be this month. This festival brings writers from all over the world to Bantry Town to read from their works and conduct writer’s workshops. And while you’re indulging your love of literature, you can also enjoy a fantastic food dynamic with lots of local produce on the menus of the town’s bars, restaurants and cafes.
Friday in Bantry is market day so enjoy browsing the stalls and picking up some interesting nibbles along the way.
GALWAY INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL 17TH-30TH JULY
Visual art, music, theatre, talks, spectacle and comedy come together in this annual festival which always draws the crowds. International circus performance rubs shoulders with a presentation of Roddy Doyle’s Two Pints. Music lovers can enjoy a variety of diverse events, from Pet Sounds from Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys to the RTE Concert Orchestra’s Night at the Proms. It’s all happening in the City of Tribes, which has a massive food scene. Two Michelin starred restaurants, Loam and Aniar, are located here, as well as a lively casual dining offering from The King's Head Pub and The Bistro at The King's Head. Stay at Heron’s Rest Boutique B&B on the Claddagh, where Sorcha Molloy cooks your breakfast in front of you as you tuck into a mega buffet of homebaked treats, fresh fruits, local yogurts and Irish apple juice and great coffee. Sorcha is an expert and award winning Barista. What more can we say?
ACHILL ISLAND FESTIVAL OF THE SEA 1ST-31ST JULY
The Achill Island Festival of the Sea takes place for the whole month of July. Guided walks on the lanes and beaches of the island, sea safety talks, story telling, Achill Country Market, Keel Market, kids events, sports events and lots more are part of this festival in one of the most spectacular spots on the Wild Atlantic Way. Don’t miss the chance to dine on some fresh fish from the region and try Calvey's Achill Mountain Lamb which roam on the mountains here, chomping wild grasses and herbs bathed by the salty sea mists of the mighty Atlantic Ocean which surrounds the island.