August festival madness

Moat camps, outdoor water-colouring, wild geese, rebel food foraging, redcoat floggings, poetry readings, bachelor and bachelor-ette competitions, vikings, bulldogs, elks, knights and eagles. Yes, its a damp August bank holiday weekend in Ireland.  But rain, hail or shine, there is no shortage of festivals.


If you’re over 21, have never been married and are game for a light hearted interrogation then you may be eligible for either the Joe Dolan International Westmeath Bachelor title or if you’re such a good lookin woman, the Mary from Dungloe competition in Donegal. The annual Ballybunion Bachelor competition in Kerry has given way to a 40 year reunion of entrants and winners from past decades in honour of the gathering. So grab your best tux/frock and stilettos and you’re in with a chance.

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Wexford goes from one extreme to the other with an Art in the Open 2013 International Painting Festival (of course rain may have a Monet-esque impact on the watercolour works). Give your left brain a rest and check out the painting scenery at Carne Beach, Bunclody, Hook Head and more.


Then turn up the volume full blast for the Vinegar Hill Battle re-enactment, also in Wexford. The biggest battle of the 1798 Rebellion is recalled. Join hundreds of rebels and redcoats at their encampments. Commanders will be on the lookout for talented young pike men and women to train before the big fight. And if you prefer to join the redcoats you can learn all you need to know about flogging and other forms of torture.  No chance of a quiet Sunday as gunfire and explosions, pike charges and cannon fire take hold.


Harking back to a land of saints and scholars, the Yeats Summer School is a must for anyone interested in the legacy of Yeats through lectures, seminars, poetry readings and workshops until August 9th in Sligo Town. This year the school features readings on the 1913 Dublin Lock-out at the Hawkswell Theatre, while a Mr Heaney reads some poetry at the same venue later in the weekend. And if thoughts of school do not bring back warm memories, ponder that ‘Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’. Words from the man himself.


At the other end of the island, the Fermoy International Poetry Festival in Cork brings together poets from far and wide to share their poetry and a ‘Poetry Bus’!


Sports fans are catered for in abundance this weekend with all eyes on the capital as the Aussie Rules European Championship takes place in Dublin.  And taking each other on are the Denmark Vikings, GB Bulldogs, Irish Warriors, Swedish Elks, Croatia Knights and the German Black eagles.

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Over at Croker the quadruple header brings Monaghan, Tyrone, Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Cavan, Mayo, Donegal and the All Ireland Football Quarter finals to town.


For a whistle-stop music feast, check out the Indiependence Music & Arts Festival in Cork, the Castlepalooza Music and Arts Fest in Charleville Castle, Tullamore in Offaly, where you can castle camp, moat camp, campervan camp and hear acts From the Well Known to Two Charming Men, the Sisters, The Hard Ground, The Cyclists and Fight Like Apes. Over in Wicklow, at the Americana and Roots Weekend, you can hear The Boggy Bottom Boys, The Greasy Coat Stringband, Liam and The Chancers.


Two events we like the sound of include the Durrow Scarecrow Festival in Laois with something for all ages and in the same neck of the woods, the National Steam rally which includes the Steam Queen Festival in Stradbally.


Plenty of Wild Geese in Mayo this weekend for the Homecoming 2013 Ballycroy Heritage event with an open invitation for the descendants of the ‘Wild Geese’ in the early seventeenth century to return to home and mix with the geese who stayed in the field.


Definitely something for everyone this August. And our wide choice of great 5 star luxury hotels in Ireland offers for 5 star hotels to stay close by.