A Guide to Visiting Ireland in November

Although usually a little chilly, November can be a splendid time to pay a visit to Ireland. Some things you can do here during that month include:

● The Allinghan Festival

● Visit County Sligo

● Visit Newtownards

● The Cork Film Festival

● The Dublin Art Book Fair

Check out the Allingham Festival

The Allingham Arts Festival is a community arts festival that happens every November in Ballyshannon, County Donegal. The festival lasts for about three days and is something you should consider going to if you’re in Ireland at that time of year.

The festival is in honour of William Alligham, a poet that was born in Ballyshannon. He worked in mainly custom house type positions in England and Ireland, before eventually moving to London decades later to work as a sub-editor for a magazine. He wrote and published poetry most of his working life, with some becoming quite popular.

In fact, his work was a heavy influence on W.B. Yeats and the poet John Hewitt. After his death he was cremated. His ashes still rest in a church in Ballyshannon.

As you would expect from the occupation of the man the festival is named after, you will be exposed to a lot of beautiful poetry at the event. You can also be prepared to be greeted to several workshops. They often cover interesting subjects related to modern art or creative expression. In addition to this there will be several exhibitions. Oftentimes, the art performed and hosted at the event relate to the town of Ballyshannon itself. If you have an interest in that part of the country, then this festival will satisfy your curiosity.

Ballyshannon is full of history. It is believed that the area was settled thousands of years ago and some even regard it as Ireland’s oldest town. The festival will reflect the long and rich culture of the area. If you do have time around the festival to check out the town, then the Ballyshannon and District Museum is a place to visit. You will be spoiled with information about this ancient place.

Visit County Sligo

Sligo Town

Sligo is a beautiful county in the north-west of Ireland with a lot to offer. The County Sligo border is less than a fifteen-minute drive from Ballyshannon. So, if you want to travel somewhere after the Allinghan Festival then the ‘Land of Heart’s Desire’ (as the county is known) is for you.  November is a great time to check the county out, as it won’t be high season and accommodation will be easy come by.

Benbulben is a flat top rock formation in Sligo that was formed by glaciers. It is synonymous with the Sligo region and has drawn in countless tourists. It is one sight that is worth checking out when in Sligo. You can climb it, however there are certain places where this is prohibited. If you fancy some exercise, then a stroll up Benbulben will do the trick.

Near to Benbulben is W.B. Yeats grave at Drumcliffe Church. The church is close to Benbulden and you can see the stunning land formation in the background while visiting Yeat’s burial site. The grave is the resting place of one of Ireland’s most celebrated writers. William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin and studied there and in London. However, he spent a lot of his childhood in Sligo. The county had a huge and long-lasting impact on him personally and on his work. Yeats won the Nobel prize for literature in 1923 and his work still proves popular to this day.

A brilliant place in Sligo to get a deeper look at his life includes the Yeats Building in Sligo town. This building is of course named after the writer and includes the ‘Yeats Exhibition’ which outlines Yeats life and the influences on himself and his work. In addition to an exhibition, there is also a ‘Yeats Poetry Circle’ at the building. At this circle the poems of Yeats are recited, and discussions take place about his work. November is a perfect time to drop by on one of these meetings since the poetry circle only takes place between September and May. To find out more go to

Not only does Sligo town have the Yeats Building to offer, it also has a wide variety of pubs, restaurants and hotels that cater for its buzzing tourism industry. The Glasshouse Hotel and Sligo Southern Hotel are two beautiful establishments that provide amazing hoteling services. If you are on a budget or perhaps want to meet a few likeminded travellers, then The Beehive Hostel Sligo is for you.  

If you’re enjoying your stay at one of these places and you plan to stay in the town for a couple of days, then make sure to pay a visit to The ModelThe Model is a building in Sligo town that was first built in the mid nineteenth century to act as a model school. Since that time, it has gone under extensive renovations and now is a visitor centre. It contains a bookshop, café, performance space, a gallery and an artist studio. The building also contains one of Ireland’s most important public art collections. There are several notable exhibitions that take place throughout the year at the building, including artists from Ireland and abroad. Some former artists that featured at The Model include Peter Wächtler and Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige.

Go to Newtownards in Northern Ireland

Newtownards is a town located close to Belfast in Northern Ireland. It is a town with a lot of fun things to do in November including visiting the Market on the Square. The Market on the Square occurs on the first Saturday of every month. It is both an indoor and outdoor market that takes place in the Market House of the town and the square in which it is located. At the market you can get your hands on some delicious food. There is also some great live entertainment and children’s activities present at the event.

If you are interested in getting a spectacular view of Newtownards while visiting there, then going up to the Scrabo Tower is a must. The tower began construction in 1857 and stands 135 feet or 41 meters high. The tower itself rests on top of Scrabo Hill which is itself 540 feet/160 meters high. The result of these factors means that you will be rewarded with stunning views of Newtownards and the surrounding hinterland as you make your way up towards the top of the building. On a very clear November day you might be even able to see the Isle of Man.

The structure is one of the most famous landmarks in the Northern Ireland. While visiting you can easily learn more about the tower and its history from a short video that is played inside along with an exhibition.

The tower commemorates Charles Vane who died only a handful of years before its construction. Irishman Charles Vane the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry came from a wealthy background. He fought against the 1798 Irish rebellion and against Napoleon in the Napoleonic wars. He managed to accumulate a large deal of wealth and during the famine he was seen by many in a negative light due to the way he treated his impoverished tenants.

Another interesting place in Newtownards for those interested in history is the Somme Museum. The Somme Museum focuses on Ireland’s role in the first world war. The museum highlights the local 10th and 16th Irish divisions and the 36th Ulster division. These divisions were known for their cross-community involvement from both the protestant and catholic communities in Ireland. The museum shows you about the recruitment process for the war and also about life for soldiers in Battle of the Somme trenches. There are also reconstructed trenches of the Somme at the museum.

Check out the Cork Film Festival

Every November Ireland’s largest film festival takes place in Cork. If you love movies, then this is an event to attend. The event takes place for over a week and showcases a range of films from a selection of genres. The festival has been running for over sixty years and shows both Irish and international films.

Within the festival there are several different competitions including the Grand Prix Irish Short competition and the Grand Prix International Short competition. If a filmmaker’s short film wins either of those competitions, then their film will be automatically added to the Oscar long list. A result of this is that a lot of extremely ambitious filmmakers try to get their films into the Cork festival in the hope of winning and then making it to the Oscars. It’s not surprising that at the festival you will see some of the best short films Ireland has to offer.

The festival has several different venues across the city including The Gate Cinema and Triskle Christchurch (a stunning auditorium based in a refurbished 1700’s Neo-Classical Georgian Church).

The festival should be easy to navigate around even if the films you want to see are in different venues. Cork city is small, so it is walkable to many areas. In addition to this the city has a cheap and frequent bus service that will likely get you to where you need to go.

If you plan on flying to the Cork region, then Cork airport is just south of the city and there is a bus that brings you directly into the city centre from there. In relation to accommodation, you won’t be stuck. Cork International Hotel is a splendid place to spend a night, especially if you must catch a flight the next day. It is next to the airport and is also served by the same bus service into town as it.

Hotels a little closer to the festival venues include The Imperial Hotel Cork and the Clayton Hotel Cork City. If you want the to stay in luxury, then there really isn’t any other choice in Cork than the Hayfield Manor Hotel. This place if simply fabulous.

Regarding the festival itself you will find it easy to see something you like. It shows over 250 films over the course of the event.  If you would like to find out more about the Cork Film Festival then check out: https://corkfilmfest.org

Stop by the Dublin Art Book Fair

During November every year Ireland’s only art book fair takes place in Dublin. The fair has hundreds of books from both Irish and international authors. The genres of the books include art, architecture, poetry and visual art. Not to mention some fiction as well.

Most of the events and exhibitions associated with the festival take place in the Temple Bar Galley. Some more events take place at other venues in the city; however they are easy to get to.

Temple Bar is often regarded as a tourist trap by many, however it is a great location for a festival such as the Dublin Art Book Fair. The area is rich in culture and has many places that cater for people interested in the arts.

One of the best cinemas in Dublin for enjoying independent cinema is located here. It is called the Irish Film Institute or IFI for short. This establishment regularly has independent films from around the world. If you have time during the Dublin Art Book Fair to grab a movie then do so here.

In addition to showing motion pictures, the IFI also has a lovely little café and bar. If you go for a coffee there you will more than likely hear some filmmakers discussing scripts. There is also a DVD store at the cinema. It hosts practically all the critically acclaimed and popular Irish films that were ever made.

Overall, you can’t really do any wrong if you check out the Dublin Art Book Fair and the IFI during November.

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