Festivals

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:

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

February

Cork Spring Poetry Festival

Poetry readings and literary discussions at the Cork Arts Theatre, Camden Court, Carroll’s Quay and various spots around the city, brought to you by the Munster Literature Centre. Here are the highlights:

Wednesday
  • Irish Examiner  Poems reading ,a reading by a selection of poets who have contributed to the Irish Examiner poetry at Farmgate Café, The English Market .Admission: FREE with purchase of a beverage.
  • 7pm: Cyphers Showcase , Cork Arts Theatre. Free with purchase of journal or tickets available at door.
  • Readings and discussions from Irish poets at the Cork Arts Theatre.
  • Cork Arts Theatre,Festival Club,admission: FREE.
Day 1
  • Poetry Films  at the Cork Arts Theatre, a screening of poetry films, featuring work by classic and contemporary poets including W.H. Auden, Billy Collins, Elizabeth Bishop, Yeats, Shabnam Piryaei, Ian Duhig, Liz Berry and Alice Oswald.
  • Admission: FREE
  • THE SHOp Showcase at Cork Arts Theatre,  A presentation of the latest issue of THE SHOp with a talk about its history and readings from some contributors.
  • Readings and discussions from Irish poets at the Cork Arts Theatre.
  • Cork Arts Theatre,Festival Club,admission: FREE.
Day 2
  • Craft talk with Billy Collins 4pm, Cork Arts Theatre,Former American Poet Laureate gives advice on how to write better poems.
  • Readings and discussions from Irish poets at the Cork Arts Theatre.
  • Cork Arts Theatre,Festival Club,admission: FREE.
Day 3
  • Southword Journal Showcase,  Cork Arts Theatre , a presentation of the latest issue of the online journal Southword with a talk about its history and readings from some contributors. Southword will be projected onto large screen. Admission: FREE
  • Readings and discussions from Irish poets at the Cork Arts Theatre.
  • Cork Arts Theatre,Festival Club,admission: FREE.

March

Cork St. Patrick’s Day Festival

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. The theme for the 2015 festival is Legends. A full schedule of events will be published in March but here is a look at the 2014 festival events :

Saturday to Monday
  •  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.
  •  Outdoor Music Stage, Grand Parade & Boardwalk South Mall , free.
Sunday
  • 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.
  • 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

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.

April

Cork World Book Festival

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.

May

Cork International Choral Festival

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

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.

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.

 June

Cork City Marathon

The Cork City Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay will take place on the June Bank Holiday Monday.Online entry is now open or you can download a hard copy of the entry form here.

Shandon Street Festival

Shandon Street Festival takes place in June of each year. It is usually held on the Saturday closest to mid summer’s day. Everyone, whether long-time local or first -time visitor, is invited to join in. Church Street, Bob & Joan’s Walk and Exchange Street are decorated by local youth groups and create a colourful setting for family fun. Face-painting, clowns, and music from local bands add to the atmosphere. Try a tango or Salsa in the street. If you get hungry after all that activity sample a tasty snack from the food fair. Sit back and enjoy performances from local schools and community groups,with historical re-enactments of local characters and stories.

Cork Midsummer Festival

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.

July

Damhsafest

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

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.

August

Cork Pride Festival 

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.

September

Cork International Short Story Festival

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

For one very special Friday night in 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!

October

Cork Folk Festival

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.

Cork Jazz Festival

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.

November

Cork Film Festival

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.

December

A Cork Christmas Celebration

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!