Search icon


17th May 2015

The ULTIMATE list of cool summer festivals to escape to (sans kids)

The Irish festival wishlist for parents going solo

Okay. So you’re ready. Everything’s organised for Nana to take over. The house is even clean for when your mother-in-law takes over from your mom. Stop right there. It’s finally time to head out the door to one of these events or festivals and a sweet temporary release from Mommyhood (plus a decent boogie).

Concert crowd

Cocktails and Design Series
When: Every second Thursday, 5pm – 7pm. Where: The Liquor Rooms, Wellington Quay, Dublin, basement of U2’s Clarence Hotel.
Why: This lecture series is called Cocktails and Interiors. The title is enough to get us all excited. We;re thinking Caiprinhas and Alphonse Mucha. A collaboration with the Irish Design Institute supported by Irish Design 2015 promised and delivered electric nights of discussion via cocktails and film, cocktails and graphics thus far so we are expecting a lot from the designer talks. Liquor Rooms are killing it with coolness, as always.

Tickets FREE but, booking is key.
Stay at: The Clarence if you’re feeling flush or Dublin Staycity apartments as a reasonable option for a group. More info here.


Brooks Private Cinema Club

When: Every second Thursday Where: Brooks Hotel, Drury Street, (behind Stephens’s Green)
Why: This little silver screen hideaway bang-smack in the middle of Dublin’s core designer market feels like your own private cinema with plush seats and the optional bevvy from the Hotel bar. Expect a mix of silent films, Irish classics like The Commitments and cool spaghetti westerns.

Tickets: FREE
Stay: In the hotel or trusty Travelodge, behind Stephens Green
More details here.

Cool World

HOLI Festival of Colours

When: July 24 – 25 Where: Iveagh Gardens, near Harcourt Street.
Why: Explosions of coloured powder in the centre of a beautiful, underrated city garden with some mild weather (we dream) and mystical beats. The music will be on a stage built by the designers of the famous Tomorrowland Electro Festival. Groups include Al Gibbs, Esquire, Izzy Trixx and Mr Belt and Weazel.

Tickets: €39 – €43 depending on if you fancy buying coloured powder to throw at your OH.
Stay: Stay in the Dean Hotel or The Jackson Court.
More details here.

Holi - Festival of Colors

Open Air Cinema

When: Weekly on Fridays, 7pm – 10pm Where: Leinster Square, opposite Lidl on Rathmines Rd. Lwr.
Next week’s outdoor screening is ‘The Van’. Need we say more? This is awesomeness served al fresco on a regular basis over the course of the summer. Bring a blanket and a cushion.

Tickets: €5. FYI: No alcohol allowed.
Stay: More appropriate if you live in Dublin with this particular one.

A uniformed drive-in theater attendant hands a clip-on speaker to the driver of convertible while the car's other passengers watch, New York, early 1950s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


Galway International Arts Festival

When: July 13 – 26 Where: Galway City
Why: Galway is always a good choice for a festival getaway. The big top near the cathedral is the destination for all sorts of mischief and the event’s first gig sold out in three hours! Bands include the delectable St. Vincent, Kodaline, Sinéad O’Connor and more.

Tickets: FREE for outdoor events. Gigs €45
Stay: The G if you are rolling in the G’s (sorry) or perhaps Kinlay House if you are away on a weekend of fun.



Achill Island Festival of the Sea

When: July 17 to 19 Where: Achill Island, Co. Mayo
Why: Here’s why: A seaweed Safari, harbour market, seaside activity day, a boat cruise around Achill’s famous cliffs and a harbourside BBQ. For a start. And look out for the two murals (big map of the best Achill hot-spots, and the famous Guinness surfer on the side Ted Lavelle’s Pub. Both painted by your’s truly). The Yawl Festival also runs from July to September in Achill.

Tickets: FREE
Stay: Great local B&Bs with hearty Irish brekkies.
More details here

IRELAND - NOVEMBER 14:  Sandy beach at Keem Strand, Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)



When: July 24 – 25 Where: Blessington, Co. Wicklow
Why: The playlist to learn off (beginning today) would include Syd Arthur, Cult Called Man and O Emperor. There is nothing more to see here apart from unadulterated musical brilliance. [There is also a full arts programme with theatre and face painting fun for the adults]. #fact

Tickets: €80 and booking fee.
Stay: Camp, maybe? It could be fun. More information here


Fastnet Festival of Short Film (Over)

When: May 20 – 24 Where: Schull, South West Cork
Why: The festival is a visual dream for independent film lovers. A. Visual. Dream. The festival committee stream the short films entered into the festival live all over the little village 24/7. Talk about exposure. You can watch one of the new short films selected on android or iPhone from the local watering hole or the couch in your B&B (which is pretty damn cool). Budding talent flocks to the village for the well-known event year on year. Awards are given for best Irish Film, Best Festival offering, Best Comedy, Best Animation and so much more. It’s guaranteed to be a riveting weekend away.

Tickets: FREE with €5 for select screenings.
Stay: Self-catering spots, B & Bs, hotels etc. here.


Gaze – LGBT Theatre Festival (Over)

When: 3.45pm – 11pm until the end of May. Where: Teachers Club, Players Trinity and Cobalt Café, The Mercantile.
Why: Themed short films from a talented bunch of pioneers in comedy, musical, drama and dance from Russia, America, Canada, South Africa, Iceland, UK and Ireland. Many of the film titles suggest greatness: ‘I’m going through something’, ‘The Equals’ and ‘Tuesdays at Tesco’s’. Plus it’s BYOB. Whoop!

Tickets: €10 – €13
More info here

ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 14 :  Participants attend the annual Gay Pride parade in Athens, Greece on June 14, 2014.  (Photo by Ayhan Mehmet/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

10 Day Global Food Event (Over)

When: May 21 – 30, 10am – 11pm Where: The Helix, Mahoney Hall, Dublin City University
Why: This week of cultural diversity through exotic food is enough to make us book the week off work.  Hosted by the Global Movement for Change – Project Colourful the week-long tummy-tickler will showcase cuisine from far-flung destinations including Mongolia, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, France, Spain and the Balkans. There will be TED-inspired talks, a food awards ceremony, cooking demos, live performances, competitions to eat at top Dublin restaurants and more to be confirmed.

Tickets: FREE
Stay: DCU offers campus residence as accommodation during the summer. Sweet.
More details here.

asian buffet

If you wish to add your cool festival to the list email #summerlovin

LeeFest, South East London Countryside, UK, 13/07/2013 . (Photo by: PYMCA/UIG via Getty Images)