A Guide to Visiting Ireland in September

September is a brilliant time to travel to Ireland. Overall there are lots of fun and interesting things you can do in Ireland in September. They include:

● The National Ploughing Championship

● Clifden Arts Festival

● Mourne Mountain Marathon

● Cahir Trad Fest

● Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival

● The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival

Attend the National Ploughing Championship

The National Ploughing Championship is no doubt one of Ireland’s biggest events of the year. It usually spans the course of three days in September and draws in hundreds of thousands of people across Ireland.

The championships began in the early 1930’s when two friends, representing two separate counties, competed against each other in the realm of ploughing. The championships grew dramatically since then and now it not only showcases ploughing competitions between farmers it draws thousands by having an array of small businesses, public bodies and agencies and large agriculture related companies showcase their produce and services.

Many supermarkets that have a huge presence in Ireland will have their own tents. The year I went German supermarket Aldi had a huge presence. Inside their tent they had several different areas that gave out free samples of food. Not surprising, hundreds squeezed into the structure to try and get samples. Hundreds more were enjoying the live music that was being played by a band at one end of the tent. Many were even dancing while enjoying the tunes.

There is a tone to do at the event. However, one of the best things is going into different tents and talking to some of the people that occupy some of the stalls. Oftentimes small food producers or local craft businesses set up shop at the event and sell some of their produce. A lot of it really is quite interesting and delicious.

You also might stumble upon a live food demonstration. When I was there, I was lucky enough to see one of Ireland’s top celebrity chefs showing off his skills making some beautiful cuisine.

Usually the whole event is a big draw for politicians who like getting photos and some press there. So, if you do attend you might catch a glimpse of an Irish minister.

The event changes location every few years, however accommodation providers are never too far away. To check out more information about the championship, see the link below:

Go to the Clifden Arts Festival

Clifden Castle

The Clifden Arts Festival is the longest running community arts festivals in Ireland. It takes place usually every September for over a week. Literacy, visual arts and music within the festival usually derive from and focus on Clifden and the surrounding areas artists.

You can expect a lot of poetry at the festival, with a previous year highlighting the poetry of a group of women who suffered from breast cancer. There are also a number of workshops and performances that usually take place in local schools throughout the event. These often focus on artistic areas such as film, creative writing, music and theatre.

Clifden is in a beautiful part of the country. The town is at the west of Connemara, about an hour and quarter drive from Galway city. It is also located in an Irish speaking area of Ireland known as a Gaeltacht. Hence you can expect to be greeted with some things in the Irish language when you attend the festival. You might hear some poetry recited in the native language or maybe even hear a few songs sung in Ireland’s native tongue.

If you want an arts festival that is in a beautiful rural setting and has a traditional feel to it then the Clifden Arts festival is for you. 

Take part in the Mourne Mountain Marathon

Every September in Norther Ireland the Mourne Mountain Marathon is held. If you love fitness or just want to test yourself physically then this may be for you. It is a two-day endurance event and is the only such two-day event in Ireland. It is run by volunteers and the whole event is not for profit.

There is a limit of only 300 teams that can take part. Additionally, there are a range of courses that you can trek. Courses are separated on length and navigational difficulty. People who take part must participate in teams of twos. Teams can’t help one another and there is a minimum age requirement of 18. There is a campsite that you must check in to by a certain time after the first day is completed. If you are late then you can’t compete in the marathon the next day.

The mountains are a granite range that are found in the south east of Northern Ireland not to far from the Republic’s border. While walking along the range you might be able to view the Mourne wall. This is a 35 km dry stone wall structure.

If travelling to the area you will probably come by Newry which is serviced by a rail link. The town is only about a 30-minute drive away from the peaks. The mountains are not too far from Belfast either with it only being about an hour and ten-minute drive away.

If the sun is shining and the skies are clear on the dates of the Mourne Mountain Marathon, you might be lucky enough to make out some peaks across the Irish sea in England.

Go to the Cahir Trad Fest

Over the course of a weekend every September the Cahir Trad Fest takes place in county Tipperary. This is a small traditional Irish music and dance festival that draws in a tonne of local talent. If you attend you will be greeted with a very authentic feeling Irish festival, that heavily focuses on Irish culture.

Venues can range from hotels, schools and local pubs. There are usually workshops as well where you can be lucky enough to pick up the basics of Irish traditional music.

The town of Cahir is full of charm and history. So, if you have some spare time before or after the festival, you should enjoy what it has to offer.

Cahir castle is located on an island in the River Suir at the heart of the town. This castle draws in thousands of tourists every year. The beginnings of the castle date back to the 13th century. The castle has historic connections with the Butler family of Ireland. The Butler’s were a powerful dynasty in Ireland with Norman roots, that once yielded a vast amount of influence.

Even though Cahir is a small town it has a wide selection of accommodation providers. There are several hotels near the town center including Hollymount House, Cahir House Hotel and the beautiful Carrigeen Castle.  The town itself is between an hour and an hour and half drive away from both Cork Airport and Shannon Airport.

Check out the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival

As mentioned previously, July is probably one of the best months to descend on Galway city because of the quantity of cultural events that are on that month there. However, in September there is a spectacular food festival in the city, and it you might persuade you to stop by in Ireland’s west coast city.

The Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival began in 1954. During its first year the event drew in only a handful of people numbering in the dozens. Now the festival attracts over 20,000 people annually. The event takes place at the very last week of July. This date is picked purposely, because the oyster harvest begins in September and ends in April.

Some of the festivities you will need to pay for, however they are very much worth it.  You will be treated to live music and also most importantly an array of beautiful oysters and seafood that will make any true seafood lover jaw dropped.

On the last day of the event there usually is a period where it is free to enter. This is the more family focused part of the festival. During this time you can enjoy live food demonstrations and there is also a range of activities for children.

The festival is usually located at Nimmo’s Pier. This area is just a light walk from the city centre. On the way there you will probably see some lovely views of the Spanish Arch and Galway’s famous Long Walk.

Take Part in the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival

Every year Ireland hosts one of the biggest matchmaking festivals in Europe. The event goes on for most of the month of September and is in the small County Clare town of Lisdoonvarna. Up to 40,000 people, mostly single, descend on the town to take part in festivities.

If you are single yourself this could be a great way to meet the person of your dreams. For a time, the festival was seen as a way for lonely single farmers to find a wife, since so many women left the countryside to emigrate abroad or work in urban areas. However, now it really does draw from a wide spectrum of people.  Surprisingly a lot of the people who come to take part in the matchmaking aren’t Irish and instead are tourists to the area. Additionally, the event is most certainly for all ages. Anyone from 18 to 80 can attend, and they do.

The festival centres on Ireland’s last matchmaker Willie Daly. You can visit him throughout the month in the Matchmaker bar in the centre of the town. There he will discuss possible suitors with you. To help him he uses an old ledger that has been handed down to him. This ledger has been used by his grandfather who was also a matchmaker. Willie seems to swear by the book, believing that it gives him enough knowledge to find the perfect match for someone.

Besides talking about your romantic desires to a matchmaker, there are many other things you can do during the festival. Many of the pubs are full of people dancing and enjoying themselves, hoping to find a partner. There is also live music at times where you can dance the night away with other revelers.

Luckily, Lisdoonvarna is located in a beautiful area of the country. If you are lucky enough to meet a new special someone then there will be an abundance of nearby beautiful areas to have a romantic getaway to. 

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