The 12 best events in Dublin

Take part in the Irish capital's lively and diverse mix of fairs, festivals and markets at the best events in Dublin
St. Patrick's Day Parade
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/William Murphy
By Sasha Mishkin |
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In Dublin, you don’t need luck on your side to find plenty of entertainment to indulge in—this city is a growing epicentre of food, drink and arts festivals, cultural street markets and diverse music performances. The Irish capital touts a restaurant scene that keeps up with its celebrated drinking reputation, a literary history that comes to life as you walk the same, attraction-filled cobbled alleys as James Joyce, and jig-worthy sounds that will bring you to your feet in storied bars and pubs. With a growing list of festivals and events, everyone from Guinness-thirsty foodies to regional music appreciators—plus those with a penchant for the written word and the arts—will find something to engage their interest for every season. Here are the very best events happening right now in Dublin.

Best events in Dublin

1
Dublin International Film Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Dublin International Film Festival

Dublin International Film Festival

Where: Movie theatres throughout Dublin  
When: February - March
Website: https://www.diff.ie/festival/
Cinephiles escaping the cold can rejoice with the emergence of the city’s annual international film festival. The best of Dublin’s filmmakers and screenwriters submit their work to this event, making it a unique way to experience the city’s cinematic scene, especially if you’re one to take advantage of writer’s workshops and meet-and-greets. Seek out Irish films online before choosing the few you want to see to ensure entry—tickets are known to sell out fast.

2
Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Clive B.

Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair

Where: Convention Centre Dublin
When: March
Website: https://www.alltechbrews.ie
This beer and bites event attracts thousands of foodies and craft beer lovers each year for a memorable weekend of Ireland’s best brews, artisan eats and live music. There are more than 400 craft beers, ciders, and spirits to try—though to stave off any weekend-ruining hangovers you may want to spread tastings over the three days of the fair and have liquor before beer, as they say.

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3
St. Patrick's Day Festival
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Miguel Mendez

St. Patrick’s Festival

Where: Parnell Square and venues across Dublin
When: March
Website:  https://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/
What would a visit to Dublin in March be without a St. Patrick’s Day celebration? Provided you don’t mind bumping shoulders in crowds, there’s no sea of green livelier than the citywide St. Patrick’s Festival. Snag a spot in Parnell Square to catch the two-hour parade, beginning at noon, and expect to see faces of all ages Irish step dancing on floats and in the street. To continue the festivities, let the beat of marching bands from around the world guide you to Temple Bar for an afternoon of pints.

4
Dublin International Literature Festival
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Trocaire

Dublin International Literature Festival

Where: Various venues around Dublin
When: May
Website:  https://ilfdublin.com/
Local and international literary talent put down their pens to discuss all things writing during a masterful week in May. An impressive list of renowned writers, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi and Neil Gaiman, facilitate workshops, master classes and town hall discussions, and literary walking tours, street theatre and narrative storytelling abound. Discover the lore of literature and celebrate acclaimed and emerging voices in the famed writing capital.

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5
Photograph: Unsplash

VHi Women’s Mini Marathon

Where: 27 Sandyford Office Park, Sandyford Industrial Estate, Dublin 18
When: June
Website: https://www.womensminimarathon.ie
Mix some exercise into your stay by entering one of the biggest annual mini marathons worldwide. Despite the event’s name, you don’t have to be female to run or walk the six-mile course. Not only will you get a feel for the city in a surprising way, your entry will also help raise money for various charities. Before meeting up with the other 30,000 participants, get your java fix at Canal Bank Café, and when you reach the finish line, treat your hungry belly to roast lamb or butternut tortellini at Hugo’s Restaurant.

6
Body&Soul Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Body&Soul Festival

Body & Soul Festival

Where: Ballinlough Castle, Westmeath [buses available from Dublin]
When: June
Website:  http://bodyandsoul.ie/
Set on the sprawling grounds of the magnificent Ballinlough Castle, this spellbinding weekend of music performances, spiritual workshops and woodland spa pop-ups will enthrall with its good-vibes-only philosophy. Soulful music lovers have been flocking to the lush Irish countryside for almost a decade to recharge and connect. If you’ve ever pictured yourself dancing in a grassy disco followed by a relaxing soak in a wood-fired hot tub while the smell of grilled vegetables wafts past, throw on your out-of-office reply and get a ticket to this fairytale festival.

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7
The Festival of Curiosity
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Sandra

The Festival of Curiosity

Where: Various venues around Dublin
When: July
Website: https://festivalofcuriosity.ie/
Like a citywide science museum, this unique festival blends technology with imagination to create an immersive and playful experience for its 50,000 visitors. Enjoy pop-up installations, performance art and theatre by day, and secret tours and guided evening bicycle rides by night. There’s nothing like a weekend of curiosity paired with pub-crawling to make your Dublin visit that much more magical.

8
Waterford Harvest Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Waterford Harvest Festival

Waterford Harvest Festival

Where: Waterford [Train, bus and ferry service available from Dublin]
When: September
Website: http://www.waterfordharvestfestival.ie/
In Ireland, organic farm-to-table isn’t just a trend; it’s a tradition that started in pagan times when the Irish would hold fall festivals in celebration of the season’s harvest. Everyone still comes together to share dishes at communal tables, and each fall, you can join in on the bounty of food. From cooking demonstrations by acclaimed chefs to farmer’s markets and seminars, this tasty festival will give you a flavor for the country’s historic foods and welcoming culture.

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9
Culture Night
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Stefano P.

Culture Night

Where: Various venues around Dublin
When: September
Website: https://culturenight.ie/
For one night only, Dublin keeps its most cultured doors open for an array of free, late-night programming. Over 200 museums, art galleries, libraries, theatres and other venues create special tours and workshops to inspire artistic and cultural appreciation. To help guide your evening, start between Trinity College and Merrion Square; the National Library of Ireland, National Gallery, Natural History Museum and the Museum of Archaeology are all nestled in this area. Fire dancing, candlelit tours and theatrical readings are only some of the exclusive events saved for this illuminating evening.

10
Bram Stoker Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Emily C.

Bram Stoker Festival

Where: Various venues around Dublin
When: October
Website:  https://www.bramstokerfestival.com/
October isn’t only a spooky time of year in the United States; the Irish celebrate everything gothic at the end of the month with the growing Bram Stoker Festival. Named after the author of the 1897 horror novel Dracula, the festival stretches across four days to honor Stoker’s writing. Literary readings bring his most haunting works to life, while theatrical ghost tours and performances guarantee full-body chills. You’ll need more than a few themed cocktails to endure the deadly adventures at the city’s most thrillingly scary event.

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11

Dublin City Pub Crawl

Where: Porterhouse Central, 45 Nassau Street
When: December
Website: https://www.thedublincitypubcrawl.com/
With chills and gusts blowing up and down cobbled alleys, there’s no better way to stay warm than with a pint of Guinness, or several. On this knowledge-expanding pub crawl, held every weekend in December, you’ll learn intimate details about the city’s history from where it all began—inside the stone walls of some of Dublin’s oldest pubs that were frequented by James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. The rowdy drinking tour is sure to put any Scrooge in the Christmas spirit.

12
National Concert Hall Dublin
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikimedia Commons/Smirkybec

Carols by Candlelight

Where: National Concert Hall
When: December
Website:  https://www.nch.ie/Online/
The beautiful National Concert Hall of Dublin is made more spectacular with a candlelit setting and joyful Christmas carols the night before Christmas Eve. Featuring the Mozart Festival Chorus and Orchestra, singers and musicians are decked out in elaborate period costumes to bring echoes of an 18th century Dublin Christmas into present day. The evening show sells out quickly, so don’t wait to buy your ticket if you want to join in on the classics like The First Noel and O Come All Ye Faithful.

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Dublin has a lot to offer; aside from its urban attractions, one of the city’s biggest selling points is its proximity to nature, with mountains on one side, and sea on the other. Sandwiched in between is a lively, dynamic city brimming with history, culture, great restaurants and enough to do whether you’re visiting for 48 hours or two weeks.

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