Ireland is that one place that stays with you once you’ve visited. Its ethereal quality plays itself over and over in your mind that only a revisit will put your mind at ease, at least temporarily.
This June, Ireland invites you once again—or lures you to set foot on its soil, if it’s the first time—to come back. There are interesting activities you can enjoy, and it is entirely up to you to choose one event to participate in or to engage in all of them. Here are some of the most popular events you can try.
Celebrated on June 16, this is a holiday where the Irish folk commemorate the life and works of writer James Joyce (pictured above are tourists posing with a James Joyce mascot). The day is marked by festivities that include pub crawls (or the Irish version of bar hopping), merrymaking, and readings (some even last up to 36 hours) and dramatisations (in Edwardian costumes) of Ulysses, Joyce’s most famous book. The name “Bloomsday” is derived from Leopold Bloom, the central character in Ulysses. It is also said that June 16 was the first time James Joyce and his inspiration and would-be wife Nora Barnacle first walked together on the streets of Dublin in 1904.
Writers’ Week is held in Listowel, a heritage town located in the county of Kerry, which has been described as the literary capital of Ireland. It started in 1971 with the humble aim of conducting workshops for emerging writers. It has since gained prominence and now has several workshops dealing with different styles of writing, such as short fiction, writing (getting started), writing (advanced), writing a novel, popular fiction, poetry (getting started), poetry (advanced), writing for theatre, writing for screen, song writing, thriller, freelance journalism, memoir, and writing funny.
This year’s (now on its 38th) programme includes readings, book launches, lectures, poets’ corner, music, theatre, radio, film, art exhibitions, tours, children’s events, and Amnesty International event. The Writers’ Week will run from May 28 to June 1. Although this much-awaited literary event will be held earlier than usual, you will still be able to catch the last day (should you decide to travel in Ireland exactly in June, that is, but getting there ahead is certainly a safe option), which is expected to be a quiet storm for the workshop participants and spectators alike.
Riverstown Vintage Festival
Aside from the medieval castles and forts, you can go down memory lane by attending the Vintage Festival set in Sligo, Riverstown. Consider it a car show, only the vehicles on display are vintage cars, tractors, horse-drawn coaches, stationary engine, and threshers. The festival also features traditional trades such as tin smithing, bee keeping, woodcarving, basket making, needle and patch work, butter making, and the like that will be enough to give you a sense of nostalgia. The festival also includes dancing to traditional Irish music, feast, and merriment. This year’s festival will be held on May 29 to June 2.
Smithwick’s Cat Laughs Comedy Festival
If the above festivals gave you the impression that Ireland is for the serious, the tedious, and the solemn, then wait till you attend the Cat Laughs Festival in Kilkenny. You will have a taste of Irish humor by watching stand-up comedians rock the stage down with their side-splitting jokes. This festival started in 1995 and has grown to attract bigger audience and has even featured the likes of Bill Murray (does this mean that Cat Laughs has gone Hollywood, or that Bill Murray has gone Cat Laughs?). This year’s Cat Laughs will run from May 29 to June 1. Book a plane ticket and a show ticket now and give yourself an excuse to laugh yourself silly.