Cork has always been a major centre for the arts in Ireland but, since its designation as European City of Culture in 2005, the city has upped its game significantly. The calendar of major festivals hosted in Cork throughout the year caters for all tastes, with events in performance and visual arts, choral singing, comedy, film, folk music, jazz, literature, writing, and traditional music, to name but a few.
The biggest festivals are those of the Cork St. Patrick’s Day Festival in March,the Cork Midsummer Festival in June and the Cork Folk Festival and the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival which are both held in October. As you will see from the links below every month has a nice surprise for you:
Cork Trad Festival, 01 to 03 February 2013
The University College Cork Trad Society organise a great weekend of traditional Irish music events which are open to the public.Here are the highlights:
- 1pm: Launch of Cork TradFest, FUAIM Concert with UCC and UL Musicians - Glucksman UCC, FREE
- 9pm: Battle of the TradBands – The Oliver Plunkett Pub, €5 for students
- 2pm:Concert with the Tutors of the Master Classes followed by a Lecture with Niall Keegan, “Why Play it Again? – A Practical Guide to Messing with a Tune”- Aula Maxima UCC, FREE
- 4pm: Session Trail Commences – Throughout Oliver Plunkett Street
- 4pm:Damien O’Reilly & Caoilfhionn Ní Fhrighil in The Grafton. 5pm Alan Finn, Aileen O’Callaghan in The Ovens. 6pm- Hugh Healy & Keith O’Loughlin in The Imperial.
- 9pm: Four Men & A Dog – The Imperial Hotel, €18/€15*
- 12pm: TradMass – Honan Chapel, UCC
- 1pm: TradBreakfast & Composition Competition – UCC Café Fresco/Glucksman Gallery, €5. A Full Irish Breakfast followed by our Composition Competition (2pm).
- 3pm: Farewell Session, Closing of Cork TradFest 2013 – Costigan’s, Washington Street
Cork Spring Poetry Festival, 13 to 16 February 2013
Poetry readings and literary discussions at the Cork Arts Theatre, Camden Court, Carroll’s Quay, brought to you by the Munster Literature Centre. Here are the highlights:
- 8.30 pm: Cork Debutantes Reading, Caitríona Ní Chléirchín & Doireann Ní Ghríofa,Cork Arts Theatre €5
- 10 pm: Cork Arts Theatre ,John Ennis & Seán Lysaght €5
- 10.0 0- 1pm :The Male Muse Workshop
- 4pm: Film Showing Highlights from past festivals Free
- 10 – 13 pm: Masterclass with Gwyneth Lewis
- 4 pm to 10 pm: Readings from Anatoly Kudryavitsky & Gerry Murphy,Martina Evans & Dennis O’Driscoll and more €5
- 10- 13 pm: Masterclass with Carolyn Forché
- 2.30 pm: Karen Solie Craft Talk €5
- 4 – 10 pm: Readings from Håkan Sandell & Lyor Shternberg,Gwyneth Lewis & Kathryn Simmonds €5
Cork Singers Club Festival, 1 to 3 March 2013
Cork Singers’ Club Festival 2013 ”To tell it in Song and in Story”; a weekend of unaccompanied song and storytelling takes place in An Spailpin Fanach, South Main Street.
The weekend, now in its 12th year, is a gathering of some of Ireland’s finest singers. The festival consists of concerts, lectures as well as singing classes.
Cork French Film Festival, 3 to 10 March
The festival, screens the best in French feature films, documentaries and shorts, with many Irish premieres and access to top international film-makers at our Q&A screenings.
A city wide event, the Festival takes place in a range of venues: Main Venue Gate Cinema, Christchurch, Pavillion, Ballymaloe House, UCC, Cork Vision Centre, English Market, and others…
Our 2013 Festival will mirror our audience: curious, open-minded, diverse with whom film-makers and actors can engage in real dialogue through masterclasses, workshops, Q&As, feature films, documentaries, cine-concerts, installations.
Cork St. Patrick’s Day Festival, 16 to 18 March
Cork City Centre will come alive in a river of colour, music, dance and fun with the biggest parade in southern Ireland featuring festival favourites. Here are the highlights:
- 10am to 6pm: Barry’s Tea Market, Grand Parade & Boardwalk South Mall.Sample tasty treats and the best of Cork’s food culture at the Barry’s Tea Market in the heart of the city.
- 10am to 6pm: Outdoor Music Stage, Grand Parade & Boardwalk South Mall , free.
- 1pm to 2.30pm: St Patrick’s Day Parade. Join festival favourites Cork Circus and Dowtcha Puppets, with Cork Community Art Link and thousands of community, arts, music and sports groups from around the city and county in our biggest parade yet.
- 8pm: Pulses of Tradition, Triskel Christchurch Pulses of Tradition is Cork’s vibrant, authentic celebration of Irish traditional dance, music and song, embracing the traditions of the past in the context of the 21st Century,€8
- 2pm to Close! The Lee Sessions, The Oliver Plunkett (Oliver Plunkett St)
Lifelong Learning Festival, 18 to 24 March
Cork’s Lifelong Learning Festival promotes and celebrates learning of all kinds, across all ages, interests and abilities. During the festival all events are free and accessible to everyone.
Some of the more popular free workshops: Photography, Grow your own Vegetables, Learn Composting,Animation, Bowls, Knitting, Animal Rearing,Yoga, Choir Rehearsal,Acting, Creative Writing, Rowing, Drumming, Tai Chi, Arts & Crafts, Karate, Stress Management, Handball, Biodiversity, Pilates
Learning is promoted as fun with events including performances, debates, taster sessions, tours, displays and demonstrations. They take place right across Cork in a variety of venues indoors and out, including on water, and in shopping centres, libraries, museums, resource and community centres, parks, sportsgrounds and on the streets.
Cork World Book Festival , 23 to 27 April
Cork World Book Fest combines readings by world class writers in a variety of settings – Paul Durcan, Claire Keegan, Alistair MacLeod, John Banville, Derek Mahon, Carol Ann Duffy, Bernard O’Donoghue, Moya Cannon? have all featured at previous Fests, 2005-2012 – with a cultural streetfair: book stalls, music, street entertainment, the spoken word, and more.
It is a participative, inclusive event, involving members of book clubs based in the City’s libraries and other readers groups, giving audiences who would not normally attend literary events a chance to experience readings by leading Irish and international writers.
Cork International Choral Festival, 1 to 5 May
With the majority of events 100% free and excellent deals available for Gala and Fringe Concerts, there is something for all ages and interests. Top off your May Bank Holiday with a visit to Cork for one of Europe’s most exciting vocal music experiences.
Experience the best in vocal music with a jam packed programme ranging from world class Gala Concerts and a diverse Fringe programme, to the vibrant Choral Trail, where voices spill out from restaurants, bars, galleries and public spaces across the city.
Ocean to City Maritime Festival , 1 to 8 June 2013
Ocean to City – An Ras Mor (‘The Big Race’) is a 15 nautical mile (24km) rowing race and maritime festival celebrating Corks unique maritime heritage and natural harbour. The grand finale is the Ocean to City Race on the 8th of June.
More than just a race, there’s something for everyone at the Ocean to City Event both in the city & county; Dragonboat, currach & kayak trips,Corkumnavigation, Harbour cruises, Navy tours, Angling trips, maritime exhibitions, boatbuilding demonstartions, maritime films and talks in the Triskel theatre, food and craft markets, music , Ceili, model boat making and much more.
Cork Midsummer Festival,21 to 30 June 2013
Cork Midsummer Festival is one of Ireland’s leading international summer arts festivals with a programme of local, national and international arts including: theatre,dance, music, opera, visual arts and street arts, as well as ambitious participatory projects and an extensive programme of free events.
2013 programme of events is coming soon!
Damhsafest 26 to 29 July 2013
Damhsafest is the only International Folk Dance Festival in Ireland.Internationally acclaimed Folk Dance Groups from Cardiff in Wales, Russia, Finland Hoe-downers from Kentucky in USA, Togo in West Africa and Ireland will provide top class entertainment in selected venues in Cork City and County. Free public performances take place every day of the festival.
Cork Cycling Festival , 20 to 28 July 2013
Whether your wheels were made for racing, touring, tricking or simply to get from A to B, this festival has plenty to offer. From themed city cycles, tourist countryside tours and bicycle parades, to DIY workshops, fashion events and a bike beauty pageant – Cork Cycling Festival has it all.All events are free and don’t worry if you don’t have a bicycle, you can rent one.
Cork Pride Festival, 29 July to 6 August
Cork Pride festival’s Mission is to celebrate the diverse culture of cork’s gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender (Lgbt) community , by providing the Cork community with various activities and functions to promote and engage in educational, civic and cultural activities in order to enrich the lives of LGBT people and the community as a whole, and to work together to achieve common goal.
Cork International Short Story Festival, 18 to 22 September 2013
This is the world’s oldest annual short story festival and is produced by the Munster Literature Centre. Some of the world’s greatest writers have come to read at this festival including Louis de Bernieres Richard Ford, Jhumpa Lahiri, Yiyun Li, Edna O’Brien, Colm Toibin and many many others. Every year writers of this calibre come to Cork to engage with lively audiences through free readings, workshops, seminars etc. Presented along with the festival is one of the world’s most prestigious short story awards, The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.
Cork Culture Night, 30 September 2013
On Friday 20th September, Culture-junkies can look forward to incredible art, exhibitions, drama and music when this year’s Culture Night comes to town. In addition to the musical offerings, locals and visitors will also have the chance to explore a record number of cultural venues and otherwise private facilities, enjoying a feast of cultural displays and activities, and all for free.
Running from early evening until very late, there is something for everyone, young and old alike. Theatres, galleries, observatories, public laboratories, film and artists’ studios, Churches and music venues are opening their doors and putting on a range of special events, all for you and all for free!
Cork Folk Festival, 2 to 6 October
The Cork Folk Festival is one of Ireland’s finest musical events and each autumn thousands of world class musicians and followers of good music throng to the city. Performances take place in concert halls, music venues, in 30 pubs and at the open- air Ceile Mor on the Grand Parade. At the festival you will find the very best of Irish traditional musicians from Cork, Sliabh Luachre and from all over Ireland playing in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
The Cork Gathering – Rebel Week, 14 to 20 October 2013
For the week long festival Cork will embrace International visitors into the local community, which will incorporate the welcoming of International Marching Bands who will take part in the Cork International Parade. Weekend events will be enhanced by a Cork Food & Drink Festival and Family Themed Events – The Autumn Market. Key Cork Rebel Week Events / attractions will include:
- The availability of a Cork Rebel Week Passport to International visitors which will give the holder entitlement to extensive discounts and offers across the County in Accommodation, Hospitality, Retail and Leisure during Rebel Week.
- October 19th & 20th:International Marching Bands integrating in the community of Cork County and City. Local Communities in towns and districts throughout Cork will host the bands and will organise local events and activities throughout the week with the highlight of an International Cork Parade Cork Parade and Primary Activities in Cork City over the weekend.
- October 16th: International Cork Day – In celebration of both the birthday of Michael Collins and International Food Day
- International Sporting Events – throughout the week and across the various fields of sport
Cork Jazz Festival, 25 to 28 October 2013
The Cork Jazz Festival has become one of Ireland premier and most successful internationally renowned musical events since it was first held in 1978. Each year thousands of visitors come to Cork to enjoy the City & it’s Festival. We invite you to come and join us for one of the greatest jazz parties in the world over the October Bank Holiday Weekend.
Cork Film Festival 11 to 19 November
The programme is wide-ranging, an eclectic mix of big budget pictures, world cinema, innovative independent films, documentaries and short films from all over the globe. The festival is a major showcase for Irish film production.
A Cork Christmas Celebration, throughout December
A Cork Christmas Celebration sees Bishop Lucey Park being magically transformed into a beautiful illuminated park and The Grand Parade will also be transformed into a wonderful haven of Irish and International craft and food stalls, something for everyone to enjoy this Christmas!