Unusual Summer Festivals in Ireland

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Unusual Summer Festivals in Ireland

The summer is in full swing and it has been one of the hottest on record. Maybe this is not the best year to visit traditional holiday hot-spots like Spain and Italy where the mercury is rising, and sweltering heat is predicted for the next month or so. Instead, it might be the ideal year to pop over to our neighbours to the West to take in one of the amazing summer festivals in Ireland. Although we are already into August there are still plenty of opportunities to nip over to experience some of the unique festivals that take place in the Emerald Isle every year.

Puck Fair is one of the stranger festivals to occur in Ireland – or anywhere else for that matter – and is also one of the oldest. Nobody knows exactly how long this event has been celebrated, but it is certainly more than 400 years old at the very least. The ‘puck’ in question is a translation of the Gaelic word for a ‘goat’ and each year some of the townspeople of Killorglin in County Kerry go out to capture a wild goat and bring it back to the town. (Don’t worry, no harm comes to the goat!) The captured beast becomes ‘King Puck’ for a weekend and the town becomes a hive of activity with music festivals and the pubs doing a roaring trade. There is even a special dispensation to keep those watering holes open until 3am instead of the usual 2am, and who knows what magical mayhem that extra hour will bring!

If you are sick of looking for that special someone at various online dating sites, then perhaps the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival could be the answer to your prayers. Every September the small town of Lisdoonvarna in County Clare absorbs more than 60,000 visitors who are looking for love. This festival has been finding matches for singletons for over 150 years so they should know what they are doing by now! Gentlemen be warned though, the ratio of males to females is extremely high so make sure to bring your A-game if you decide to drop in on this friendly festival.

The Rose of Tralee is the third of our unusual Irish summer festivals. This was the inspiration for the famous ‘Lovely Girls’ festival dreamed up by the creators of Father Ted, and that imagining is not a million miles away from the reality. Seen by some as an anachronism and by others as a treasured tradition, the competition has run since the 1950s as ‘Roses’ of Irish descent from home and abroad compete to win the crown. This is not a straightforward beauty competition and instead is marketed as a ‘celebration of women’. Don’t worry if the competition itself doesn’t sound too appealing, as the real fun takes place in the bars and streets of Tralee rather than inside the competition hall.

You won’t find festivals quite like these ones anywhere outside of Ireland. Flights from Leeds to Dublin take just an hour so why not pop over to sample one of these or any of the dozens of other festivals that take place in Ireland every summer.

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