A Guide to Visiting Ireland in August

In short there are a load of things you can get up to in Ireland in August. They include:

● The Galway Races

● Visiting Salthill

● The Rose of Tralee

● The Puck Fair

● The Tullamore Show

● Checking out the rest of Tullamore

● The Kilkenny Arts Festival

Visit the Galway Races

Every summer Ireland’s most exciting horse racing event takes place in Galway city. The Galway Races as they are known usually take place over 7 days beginning either at the very end of July or the start of August.

The races attract tens of thousands of people from around Ireland, with people making the journey out to the Ballybrit Racecourse and then heading to the city at the evening to party the night away. The races themselves are a tonne of fun. There is a brilliant atmosphere there and you are surrounded by the gorgeous County Galway countryside.

The origins of the races began in 1869 when a two-day event was held in Ballybrit. The length of the event grew over the years and by 1999 it officially became a seven-day affair.

The event is around an hour drive from both Knock Airport and Shannon Airport. It is also accessible by using the motorway network from Dublin if you are coming that way.

The pubs on Shop street and Quay street usually start to fill up by late afternoon. By the evening the two streets will be full of people drinking pints and socialising.  Due to the large volume of people who descend on Galway over the course of the races, accommodation can be hard to come by. It is then crucially important to book well in advance if you want to acquire something at a reasonable price.

Weekend days and evenings can be particularly busy. However, Thursday is considered to be the busiest day of the races. This day is designated as ladies day. Usually on this day many female attendees compete with each other to win the coveted title of best dressed lady. Also, there is a hat competition that many take very seriously. So, be prepared to see some artistic and larger than life head garments on that day.  If you decide to go to the races on a Tuesday or Wednesday for instance, because of more accommodation availability, you will still have an amazing time. Each day of the races draw big crowds and the city is abuzz with excitement for the entire week.

Visit Salthill

If you’re in Galway city during August for the races or any other reason, then Salthill would be an amazing part of it to check out. Salthill is the seaside part of the city. It is home to a 2km promenade and some wonderful beaches. It is only about a twenty-minute walk from Eyre Square and on a sunny day the beaches will be packed with people.

Salthill is made for visitors. It has beautiful views of Galway Bay and along with that, it has some great restaurants and hotels.

August usually has the best weather in Ireland, so if you are looking at catching a tan while over here at that time, then Salthill could be the right place to go to.

Check out the Rose of Tralee

Every August the biggest pageant in Ireland takes place in Tralee in County Kerry. The Rose of Tralee has dozens of female contestants from across Ireland and throughout the world. They must however have some sort of connection to Ireland, as the winner Rose acts in away as a type of cultural ambassador for the nation.

The competition isn’t designed to judge contestants on their appearance, so can’t really be considered a beauty pageant as such. The participants are instead judged on their personalities and suitability for the role of a Rose.

The name of the festival ‘Rose of Tralee’ comes from a song of the same name created in the 19th Century. You will probably hear the song’s theme and the song itself quiet regularly while at the festival and in pubs throughout the town.

Tralee itself has a great deal to offer. There is a host of hotels and B and B’s to stay in while attending the festival. There is even an appropriately named ‘Rose Hotel’ in the town. If you are on a budget however there are some alternatives to make your cash stretch a little longer. There are a few reasonably priced hostels in the town including Finnegan’s Hostel and Castle Hostel.

Both Bus Eireann and Dublin Coach bus service the town from Dublin city. If you instead choose to arrive to the town by car then make sure to take a spin across to Dingle village. Dingle is a gorgeous little village on the Dingle peninsula and is about a fifty-minute drive from Tralee town. The drive down is breath-taking. You’ll get to see some amazing glimpses of beautiful valleys and the spectacular Dingle Bay.

The Rose of Tralee as mentioned is a huge event with the finals airing on one of Ireland’s national television channels. If you don’t manage to make it into the audience, you can always pop over to one of the nearby local pubs that will be full of excitement. There’s a good chance they will have the competition on the screen, so you won’t miss who the new Rose will be. Go to the Puck Fair in Killorglin, Co. Kerry

On the 10th, 11th and 12th of August every year the Puck Fair takes place in Killorglin. This is one of Ireland oldest and strangest festivals. It involves a wild male Goat being captured and brought down to the town of the Killorglin. It is then crowned by a school girl who has the prestigious title of Queen of Puck. The goat is then of course referred to as King Puck. Once the goat is crowned the festivities kick off.

On the third day of the festival he is safely brought back to his home.  The goat at all times is provided with the Goat Freedoms by the Puck Fair committee. These freedoms insure that the goat is treated as humanly as possible and that there are always nearby veterinary services for the goat during the fair. Additionally, he Is routinely inspected by a vet throughout the fair.

The town of Killorglin itself is close to Kerry’s biggest towns of Tralee and Killarney, being right in the centre between them. It is also just a drive away from some stunning coastal scenery in the area. Kerry Airport isn’t too far also. The airport is about a 25 minutes’ drive away by car and has flights going to and from it from mainly London, Germany, Spain and Portugal. 

The origins of the fair are quite mysterious. Nobody is totally sure of how it begun but many believe that it has its roots in a pre-Christian pagan tradition. This tradition could be that of Lughnasadh. This is a pagan Gaelic festival held in August that celebrates the harvest. Many ancient people of Ireland saw the goat as some sort of pagan symbol possibly relating to fertility.

There is usually one big musical/entertainment concert every evening of the event. Throughout the day there are more musical acts. In addition to this you might be lucky enogh to stumble upon a free workshop that may teach Irish dancing or circus tricks.

The final night climaxes with a terrific firework display.

Attend the Tullamore Show

If farming is your passion or you have an interest in the agricultural culture of Ireland, then the Tullamore Show is for you. The one-day event takes place in the midland’s town of Tullamore every August.

An agricultural show took place in Tullamore in the early 1840’s. It soon died. However, it began again at the start of the 20th century for a number of decades. Again, it stopped in 1938, however it returned again in 1991. Usually over 60,000 people attend the festival.

There is usually a price fund of 175,00 euro for hundreds of different competitions. Most of these are animal related such as best sheep or bull in a class or breed. The fascinating south American Alpaca even has its own competition.  Along with these, there is also a National Invention competition. This competition displays a range of oftentimes agricultural related inventions that people in Ireland come up with. This competition is promoted in several colleges throughout the nearby area, so you have a lot of young enthusiast minds behind some of the creations.

Live entertainment is a feature of the show. There are fashion shows and fashion trade stands present on the day. There are also live demonstrations like sheep sheering and sheep dog trials. If you have a few kids with you then they can enjoy some of the slides and bouncy castles available on the day.

Overall there is a lot to do for all on the day.

Check out the Rest of Tullamore

If you decide to stay the night in Tullamore for the show, there are several hotels that provide a brilliant service. The Tullamore court hotel and the Bridge House hotel are both great places to get a night sleep and enjoy some quality food. They are located near the centre of the town with the Bridge House hotel being right in the middle of Tullamore.

Gothic-style Charleville Castle is a beautiful building right outside the town. If you have some time after the show, then you should pay a visit to it. It has large grounds for you to roam around in, perfect for a sunny August afternoon. It is also believed by some to be the most haunted castle in Europe.

Even though Tullamore is home to one of Ireland’s most beautiful Gothic-style castles and one of Ireland busiest agricultural shows, it is probably most famous for Tullamore Dew whiskey.

From the late 1820’s to the mid 1950’s the whiskey was produced in Tullamore. However, it stopped production in the town after that and the whiskey was then made in County Cork. However, this stopped 60 years later and since 2014 the whiskey has been produced again in Tullamore. The whiskey has become increasingly popular over the last number of years. There is now a visitor centre in the centre of Tullamore town where people can go and learn more about the history of the alcohol. In addition to this there is also a distillery tour run

by Tullamore Dew, where people can see the process of how the whiskey is made. It is something you should take part in if you are around Tullamore or in the area due to the Tullamore show in August.

See what the Kilkenny Arts Festival is all about

Each August for 10 days the Kilkenny Arts Festival takes place in Kilkenny city. The festival started in 1974 and has attracted internationally famous artists such as Alfred Brendel, Steven Isserlis and Jordi Savall.

The festival has both indoor and outdoor events, with music, theatre, opera literature and talks all taking place.

The festival is seen as one of the most important cultural events in Ireland during the summer. All corners of the city host some element of the festival, so if you go through the city at any time of the festival, you’ll certainly see a music act, play, street show or a visual arts exhibition on.

Kilkenny is a great city to enjoy yourself while attending the festival. It is a medieval city, hosting a beautiful castle and a history that dates back to the sixth century A.D. when a church was built in the area. It was a stronghold of Norman presence in Ireland and still to this day you’ll find many people in the area with last names of Norman origin such as Blanchfield, Butler and Stapleton.

Overall the Kilkenny Arts Festival and the city itself are great things to enjoy during August.

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