This is Galway’s Guide to Galway Festivals pt. 2
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This is Galway’s Guide to Galway Festivals pt. 2

No matter what time of year it is, Galway is home to some of the most incredible festivals in the world. If you’ve made it through our first festival guide, here are even more fantastic Galway festivals to attend.

Read on to discover when to visit Galway to experience some of its many festivals...

Galway Races
Photo curtesy of Galway Races

Galway Races

The Galway Races are among the most famous tracks in the entire world. Since 1864, the festival has brought people from all over the globe to our city. Taking place at the Ballybrit Racecourse, the week-long festival has been hailed as one of the greatest mid-summer festivals.

Known as ‘race week’ locally, the festival traditionally draws hundreds of thousands of people from all over Ireland and worldwide. The racecourse offers a great selection of hospitality facilities and makes for a wonderful memorable race day experience.

Opening Day kicks off with a colourful musical opening performance in the parade ring before the first race. The historic Galway Plate Day takes place on Wednesday followed by the world renowned Ladies Day which combines the very best in racing and fashion for the pinnacle of the summer racing calendar. The festival’s final day features the hugely popular Mad Hatter’s Competition – it’s fun for the whole family with fantastic prizes on offer.
Takes place end of July / event website here 

Clifden Arts Festival

The longest-running community arts festival in Ireland, Clifden Community Arts Festival, now celebrating over 46 years yet again promises to have something to excite everyone in their programme.

Audiences can expect a very high quality artistic programme with a superb literary, musical and visual art content which again will have the community arts of Clifden and the surrounding hinterland as a central focus with creative writing, music, theatre and film workshops and performances.

This celebration of the Arts will include poetry readings, lectures, recitals, traditional music, concerts, comedy, etc. all enjoyed in a wonderful relaxed atmosphere in one of the most beautiful places on the Irish West Coast.
Takes place mid September / event website here 

Pride fest
Galway Pride Parade 2022, courtesy of The Dáil Bar

Galway Pride Week

The annual Galway Pride Festival is a vibrant series of events based in the City of Tribes as the city plays hosts to a number of incredible events. The festival offers a wide mix of workshops, panel discussions, parties, support groups, culminating with a pride parade through Galway city.

From picnics, live entertainment, exciting panels, there is so much to experience and enjoy. Featuring over 30 events taking place throughout the week typically includes evenings of information & awareness, arts & performance and music nights. Their aim is to create a week where people can openly and safely share their identities, share their stories and celebrate who they are.
Takes place first week of August / event website here

Criunniú na mBad Kinvara

This festival, which translates to ‘Gathering of the Boats,’ is a signature Galway festival, all about celebrating the living tradition of the sailing of beautiful Galway Hookers. Kinvara will be a buzz with this festival taking place in its harbour. Cruinniú na mBad is a 3 day event that includes something for the entire family. With live trad music, kids entertainment, sailing races, a farmers market and so much more, you’re sure to have an incredible time.

There will be over 100 Galway Hooker boats gathered in Kinvara, for a weekend of racing and celebration. Cruinniú na mBád is one of Ireland’s longest running traditional sailing festivals and was founded in 1979 to revive interest in the wooden hookers, the traditional boats of Galway Bay.
Takes place mid August / event website here

Photo by Rynes Walker courtesy of Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society

Connemara Pony Festival

The Connemara Pony Festival is an exciting, action packed event in the Clifden Showgrounds which highlights the incredible talent of our native pony breed.

Each day of the festival is filled with captivating events, showcasing the breed’s exceptional talent, and paying homage to its remarkable history. With 45 competitions scheduled across the four days, the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society is delighted to announce increased prize money across a numerous of classes kindly sponsored by Horse Sport Ireland.
Takes places mid August / event website here

Galway Docklands Festival

The heart of Galway’s maritime heritage comes to life with the much-anticipated Galway Docklands Festival. This annual three-day festival promises an unforgettable experience celebrating Galway’s rich marine industry, all while supporting charitable causes.

Throughout the entire festival, visitors will have the opportunity to visit the Galway Hooker Sailing Club’s restoration project, experience local history with guided walking tours, learn knots, visit stands from Galway Aquarium, Corrib Beo, Water Safety Ireland and much more. It’s a chance to connect with the maritime heritage of Galway like never before.

As they celebrate Galway’s marine industry, they’re also giving back to the community. All funds raised during the festival will be dedicated to two noble causes – the Galway branch of Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Ability West. By participating in the Galway Docklands Festival, attendees will not only enjoy a fantastic maritime experience but also contribute to these essential organisations that make a real difference in the lives of others.

The Galway Docklands Festival promises a weekend filled with adventure, knowledge, and fun for the whole family. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this extraordinary event, celebrating Galway’s maritime heritage while supporting two worthy causes.
Takes place end of September / event website here 

poster by Jim Cogan

Galway Cartoon Festival

Since its inception in 2017, the Galway Cartoon Festival has been on a mission to bring the art of cartooning, caricature and illustration to the west of Ireland, and to make the event an important fixture in the calendar of international pop art.

This year's festival promises to be the biggest and most ambitious yet. Featuring international exhibitions, fascinating talks, public interviews, film screenings, art trails, workshops and competitions, it quite literally has something for everybody with even a passing interest in what the French call ‘the ninth art’.

Best of all in these financially straitened times, all of these events are completely FREE to the public!
Takes place end of September / event website here 

Féile Cheoil Larry Reynolds

A weekend which was established to commemorate the life of Larry Reynolds but also to promote the East Galway Style of Music and to encourage and develop Irish Music, Heritage and Culture in the region. It promises to be a weekend of “Cheoil, Craic, Cultúr agus Spraoi”…

There will be music workshops at various venues in the town with some of the finest tutors in the business, a Photo Exhibition of “Larry Reynolds & and other Musicians from East Galway”, an Under-18 Fiddle competition, unique Craft Exhibitions on the street, an Irish Music Pub Trail, a Historical Walking Tour of Ballinasloe, as well as many other trad seisiún during the weekend.

Ballinasloe looks forward to welcoming you, the town will be alive with Irish Music, Heritage & Culture, don’t miss it!
Takes place start of September / event website here

Feature photo of Clifden Arts Festival, by @cianlookalive

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