2019 cultural highlights in Galway: festivals, comedy, music

The best of theatre, festivals, comedy, and music coming to Galway this year! There’s plenty to look forward to, so mark your diaries.

Music for Galway Midwinter

January 18th-20th

The theme, Swansongs, takes masterworks from the close of the great composers’ lives. Expect deep emotion from Brahms, Strauss, Bach and Schubert at the Town Hall Theatre. musicforgalway.ie

Astrofest: Astronomy Festival

January 26th

Oscar Wilde reminds us that although we are all in the gutter, some of us are looking at the stars. The Galway Astronomy Festival is now in its 15th year, has become one of the most popular events in Ireland’s astronomical calendar. Hope for clear skies! galwayastronomyclub.ie


February 21st – 24th

The Father Ted Festival, which is popularly known as Ted Fest, is a celebration of the life of comedian Dermot Morgan and his 1990’s cult TV sitcom Father Ted created by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews. The event sees large numbers of fans take to the islands, most dressed as characters from the show. The event involves taking part in many themed events associated with the comedy series including fancy dress, five-aside football (nuns against priests), toilet duck comedy awards, buckaroo speed dating, lovely girls contest and A Song For Europe. www.tedfest.org

Seachtain na Gaeilge

March 1st – 17th

The annual Seachtain na Gaeilge festival takes place from 1 – 17 March. The fortnight-long festival is a celebration of the Irish language, culture and heritage. It encapsulates the pride of the Irish language community and inspires further generations to immerse themselves in our native tongue. The festival has built up a huge momentum in recent years, becoming the largest celebration of the Irish language and culture held every year. Seachtain na Gaeilge has something for everyone; young and old, native and non-native, fluent and novice. All you need is a cúpla focal! Arasnangael.ie

Jason Byrne

March 9th

This brand new show, ‘You Can Come in But Don’t Start Anything’, is a unique comedy experience. The star of ‘Ireland’s Got Talent’, Jason Byrne is one the most exciting live comedy performers in the world. What he achieves on a stage cannot be adequately described by audience members, critics or fellow comics. Thus his legendary shows become a secret shared experience among his audience. Every night stars are born, friendships are formed, mascara is ruined and pants are binned. roisindubh.net



April 5th – 6th 

‘Furniture is not sentimental. You can love it, but it won’t remember who you are.’ Sonya Kelly’s ‘Furniture’ was a sell-out hit at Galway Arts Festival in 2018, and now kicks off a country-wide tour at the Pavilion, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. druid.ie 

Cúirt International Festival of Literature

April 8th – 14th

Jeanette Winterson, Joshua Cohen, Patricia Smith, Dervla Murphy and Thomas McCarthy are among the line-up, alongside Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the special rapporteur to the United Nations on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism, at the 34th literary festival in Galway. cuirt.ie

Galway Food Festival

April 19th – 22nd

Celebrating Galway as a good food destination, 2019 will be the 8th year of the Galway Food Festival and is sure to build on the success of the 2018 event. The festival will promote good food and good food outlets in Galway, as well as showcasing food producers based in Galway and in the West. The festival takes place in April primarily as it is the time of year when some of the best local ingredients become available, such as Connemara Spring Lamb, and trout and salmon caught locally. galwayfoodfestival.com

Inishbofin Arts Festival

May 3rd – 5th

The Inishbofin Community Arts Festival takes place on the May Bank Holiday 2019. Situated on the stunningly scenic and historic island of Inishbofin, this Arts Festival is a colourful and eclectic mix of music, dance, visual arts, crafts, heritage, poetry, creative workshops and fun family activities. www.inishbofin.com/arts_festival.html

Theatre Festival 

Galway Theatre Festival

May 3rd – 11th

The Galway Theatre Festival, now in its 11th year, will take place throughout the city with the inclusion of more venues than before including An Taibhdhearc, Druid Lane Theatre, the Town Hall Theatre, and of course, the Nuns Island Theatre. Galway theatre companies feature heavily in the programme with Blue Teapot, Mephisto, Fregoli, Moonfish, and Vagabond all involved. galwaytheatrefestival.com

Gospel Rising Music Festival

May 17th – 19th

Gospel Rising Music Festival is a fun, energetic and inclusive event taking place in Galway City’s West End area, and at the Black Box Theatre in mid-May 2019. Organisers are calling on all gospel music enthusiasts to join us in Galway City, to celebrate and experience the continued rising of gospel music in Ireland. Whether you enjoy playing or singing gospel music in a choir or just in the shower, this is your chance to experience it for yourself through workshops and gigs over a jam packed weekend festival. We are inviting anyone who has ever sung or wanted to sing in this really fun style. Maybe you are in a choir, or you once were, and now is the time to come and try it again. gospelrising.com

Galway Burlesque Festival

May 17th – 19th

The International Galway Burlesque Festival is a celebration of the diverse, creative, seductive world of cabaret and burlesque, featuring top performers from across the globe, converging on the Creative Heart of Ireland in a flurry of feathers, fans and fabulousness! galwayburlesquefestival.com

Patton Oswalt

7 June

Two years ago, Grammy Award winning comedian Patton Oswalt was due to play the Vodafone Comedy Carnival. He had to cancel due to a TV scheduling conflict (boo!) but he promised to return… and here he comes! Patton is the voice of Remy in Ratatouille and star of movies like Zoolander, The Secret life Of Walter Mitty and Starsky and Hutch. He is probably best known for playing ‘Spence’ on The King of Queens for nine seasons. This comedy legend is coming to Galway in June for one night only, on the first gig of his European tour. roisindubh.net

Bia Lover Food Festival

14th – 16th June 2019 (tbc)

Bia Lover is a food festival will provide an exhibition in Athenry for quality food and drink suppliers based primarily in the west of Ireland. Parallel events include cookery demonstrations, food talks, a producers market on Saturday & Sunday in the park and partnership food and drink trails with local pubs, restaurants and farms from Friday. www.bialover.ie

Galway FIlm Fleadh

Galway Film Fleadh

July 9th – 14th

Film festival for feature films and shorts. 2019 marks the 30th Galway Film Fleadh, and the central goal of the festival remains unchanged: to bring together audiences and filmmakers within an intimate environment and share a common experience. galwayfilmfleadh.com

Galway International Arts Festival

July 15th – 28th

Always a highlight of the year in Galway, the Galway International Arts Festival brings a whirlwind week of theatre, music, movement and dance, visual art, comedy, performance and street spectacle. Early announcements for this year’s festival include Two Door Cinema Club, Bell X1, and the Academic — and we’re keenly awaiting the rest! giaf.ie

Galway Fringe Festival

25th – 28th July 2019 (tbc)

Running in parallel with the Galway International Arts Festival, the Galway Fringe Festival aims to provide a platform for local artists, writers, playwrights, poets, actors and musicians to perform and showcase new work. galwayfringe.ie

Loughrea Medieval Festival

23rd – 25th August

Loughrea Medieval Festival is a 3 day festival which takes place every August. The theme for this years festival is the ‘Gathering of the Clans’ is being held during National Heritage Week and comprises of scenes of everyday life in Medieval Loughrea, as well as being jam-packed with fun events and performances. loughreamedievalfestival.com

David O’Doherty

13 September

Unhook your mindbras. David O’Doherty is back at the Town Hall Galway with a brand-new show, ‘You Have to Laugh’, made up of talking and songs played on a crappy keyboard from 1986. As seen on BBC2’s Live At The Apollo and Channel 4’s 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown. tht.ie

Galway Tattoo Show

14th – 15th September 

The 3rd Annual & International Galway Tattoo Show will bring together some of the best international tattoo artists in the world and mix that in with the amazing tattoo talent of some of Ireland’s best tattoo artists. The show is not only a celebration of tattoo art, and will feature entertainment, live music, a stunning art gallery, a free tattoo cinema, photo booth, market stalls and traders on show to keep you entertained. galwaytattooshow.ie

Galway International Oyster Festival

27th – 29th September 

On the last weekend of September each year, the picturesque town of Galway hosts the Galway International Oyster Festival, one of the biggest events in Ireland’s social calendar. A feast of live entertainment, gourmet food, fine wine and of course Oysters and Guinness are enjoyed by some 10,000 people with guests and luminaries from all over the world. galwayoysterfest.com

Galway Jazz Festival

4th – 6th October

The Galway Jazz Festival returns for its 14th year, with shows to be held in An Taibhdhearc, Druid Theatre, The Black Cat in Salthill, the Meyrick Hotel, The Electric Garden, various schools in the city and county, as well as public spaces around the city.
more info : www.galwayjazzfest.ie



October 14th – 20th

Each year Baboró brings a week-long celebration of arts, music and performance, just for children and their imaginations. Performers and troupes from across the world will gather in Galway to bring a program of events geared toward children under twelve, as well as a workshop programme for children and educators. baboro.ie

Food on the Edge

21st – 22nd October (tbc)

Food on the Edge is a two-day symposium for chefs & food enthusiasts from all around the world to come together and discuss the culinary industry through talks, debates, and panels. foodontheedge.ie

Vodafone Comedy Carnival

22nd – 28th October (tbc)

The Vodafone Comedy Carnival Galway has grown since its beginning in 2005 to become a major event on the comedy circuit in Ireland, regularly attracting big international names. With several shows each day and night, with comedy show for children too, you are guaranteed to see well known comedians both Irish and international –and a decent number of faces from the telly, too! vodafonecomedycarnival.com