Teeming with history, charm, culture and nightlife, Dublin is an enduring favourite with tourists from across the world. This spring sees the Irish capital play host to a large number of exciting events, each guaranteed to act as a magnet for locals and outsiders alike.
Dublin Dance Festival
Venues across Dublin, 17 – 28 May
Anyone under the misapprehension that Irish music starts and ends with Riverdance, Boyzone and U2 could not be more wrong. Across the Emerald Isle, every genre of music is celebrated and none more fervently than Dance. Each May, Dublin plays host to the Dublin Dance Festival which brings together dance artists and choreographers from across the world. After the inaugural festival in 2002, the event has grown exponentially and is now one of the biggest events on Ireland’s cultural calendar. This year sees a typically diverse line-up of acts, with highlights including an urban-fusion piece by Greek choreographer Patricia Apergi, US ballet master Alonzo King and Olivier Award-winning choreographer Crystal Pite. Pop along to discover new and inspirational artists from the vibrant world of dance music.
International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival
Venues across Dublin, 2 – 15 May
Coinciding with the six-month anniversary since same-sex marriage was legalised in Ireland, the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival returns this May, celebrating the role of gay people in theatre, past and present. The significance of the date is sure to add resonance to this year’s edition, which takes place at venues across the city and focusses on new or recent works with a broadly gay theme. As the world strives to achieve equality for gay people everywhere, the popular festival makes a valuable contribution to the cause, offering new opportunities for emerging gay artists. Needless to say, the event is inclusive and welcoming to all, so why not come along and honour the immense efforts of gay people to theatre in all its forms while witnessing social progress taking place before your eyes?
Dublin Kite Festival
North Bull Island Beach, 12 June
Anyone who flew kites as a kid will understand the passion felt towards this enduringly popular pastime. And for those keen to relive their childhood, or inspire new generations to take it up as a hobby, you may well want to head to Dublin this June for the annual Dublin Kite Festival. Now into its third year, the festival is an ideal day out for all the family, offering an array of free entertainment, including demonstrations by expert kite flyers, kite-flying competitions, kite-making workshops, lively music, exciting games, and much more. In a world where many kids spend most of their spare time on games consoles, this event serves as a nostalgic trip down memory lane to a time when a child’s playground was the great outdoors and all they needed was a kite to make them happy.
Silk Road Film Festival
Venues across Dublin, 10 – 14 March
For fans of foreign cinema, the Silk Road Film Festival is about as good as it gets. Showcasing films from countries which were once part of the historical network of ancient trade routes of the Silk Road, the event has grown to become a major landmark on Dublin’s cultural calendar, serving as a reminder that there is far more to the movie world than Hollywood. There is a particular focus on Asian, Arab, Persian, Middle Eastern, African and European cinema, with a wide range of film screenings (including several premieres), exhibitions, panel discussions, free courses and workshops. Together it amounts to an educational and entertaining festival that – to borrow an appropriate phase – casts a unique lens on a lesser known segment of the global film industry.
Dublin Bay Prawn Festival
Howth, 18 – 20 March
Nestled in the suburbs of Dublin, the picturesque fishing village of Howth has become a mecca for food lovers, in no small part thanks to its reputation for world class seafood. Now in its 6th year, the Dublin Prawn Festival acts as a showcase for the area’s crustacean credentials. During the 3-day festival, many of Howth’s award-winning restaurants serve signature prawn dishes and other seafood specialities, while the village plays host to an array of events, including exhibitions, cookery demos by local and celebrity chefs, educational talks on Howth’s rich fishing heritage, and much more. The hub of the action is the festival food village overlooking Howth’s beautiful harbour, where crowds of foodies gather to enjoy some top quality grub fresh from the sea and lap up the friendly atmosphere at one of Ireland’s largest and most popular food festivals.
Dublin International Game Music Festival
Spencer Dock, 29 April – 1 May
Gaming music surrounds us every day: when we play games, when we accidentally leave our consoles on for hours, and even when we’re fiddling around with menu options. That music defines and shapes how we relate to those games, and encapsulates the time when we played them. The Dublin International Game Music Festival is a chance to celebrate and learn about that music from some of the top composers and artists working on video games today. Come along for three days in Dublin packed full of concerts, incredible guests, inspiring talks, roundtables, and a healthy dose of Irish craic.
Dublin Port River Fest
Venue and dates TBC
The Dublin Port River Fest provides a wide range of activities on and around the River Liffey and the river quays for families over this year’s June Bank Holiday Weekend. Attractions will include a Festival of Sail along the river where you can visit large old sailing ships, a river race, a Pirate Village with arts and crafts for children, a Dublin Port Tug Boat Dance with Water Canon on the river, port boat tours and a fun fair. Visitors can stroll along food and craft markets and fun fair amusements, while a celebrity DJ will entertain with music, commentary and competitions all weekend.
Five Lamps Arts Festival
Dublin City Centre, 29 February – 15 March
Now in its 9th year, the Five Lamps Arts Festival is designed to promote community development and social inclusion through the arts and to showcase the uniqueness of Dublin to residents and to visitors. Centred around the ‘Five Lamps’ – a decorated lamp post with five lanterns dating from around 1880 – in Dublin’s northern district, the festival gives both established and emerging musicians an opportunity to showcase their talents. Events include a music and fire dance, puppet shows, a Georgian choir, jazz music, theatre and community art performances, interior design exhibitions, walk and talks, poetry readings and storytelling, dance, visual art and much more.