If you are thinking about taking a trip to the West of Ireland this summer -- be it a long weekend, a week's break or a fortnight exploring the region -- there are plenty of events and family- friendly festivals taking place.
From festivals celebrating links with the sea to music events and agricultural shoes, there's sure to be something for everyone this summer.
Here's just a sample of the many events being held over the coming months on the West Coast of Ireland. - KENMARE FOOD FESTIVAL, JULY 12 TO 14 Kenmare Food Carnival in Co Kerry is a fun three day event celebrating food in a carnival atmosphere in one of Ireland''s top tourist destinations.
It is a mix of food and fun incorporating cookery demonstrations, kids' ' workshops, taste trails, carnival parade, retro carousel and helter skelter. It also features 'meet the producers'', pop-up restaurants, gardening and growing workshops, food talks and debates and a fantastic artisan food market.
For more, go to www.kenmarefoodcarnival.com - BLARNEY IN BLOOM, JULY 13 Blarney Castle's annual Summer Garden Fair in aid of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind will feature specialist plant nurseries from around the country, garden talks and demonstrations from celebrity speakers, arts and craft displays, farmers market, children''s entertainment, birds of prey and much more. Entry to the event includes free access to the castle grounds and gardens. A fun day out for all the family is guaranteed. It takes place 10am to 5pm.
For more, go to www.blarneycastle.ie - SNEEM FAMILY FESTIVAL, JULY 17 TO 21 JULY The 10th annual Sneem Family Festival will be held in the picturesque village of Sneem, on the Ring of Kerry. Amongst the fun will be a funfair, street entertainment, craft and country market, sheep shearing, football and fishing competitions, guided walks, traditional music and set dancing, motorised kayaking and much, much more.
The highlight may well be The Wife Carrying Competition, which is great craic whether you take part or just decide to watch from the side-lines.
Between the pubs, various entertainment and many places to get delicious home cooked food, you and your family will have a fun filled week.
For more, go to www.sneemfamilyfestival.com - ACHILL SEAFOOD FESTIVAL, JULY 19 TO 21 Feile Bia na Mara is a culinary celebration of Achill Island''s rich heritage with the sea, and it showcases the bountiful harvest of the Atlantic Ocean.
It begins on Friday July 19 with complimentary oyster tasting in the local pubs and restaurants followed on Friday evening with the official opening with a celebrity guest of honour at the Gala Seafood Banquet.
Other events taking place over the weekend will be Achill RNLI and Coastguard sea safety exercise; Achill fish market; seaweed safaris; coastal walks; a family sandcastle building competition; cookery demonstrations with top celebrity chefs; sea life workshops; photography competition; and finishing off with hugely popular 'Achill''s Got Talent'' competition which is open to all.
Feile Bia na Mara aims to promote local seafood, marine activities and water safety awareness, and to celebrate the cultural heritage of Achill Island and the Gaeltacht.
For more, go to www.www.feilebianamara.ie - BALLYSHANNON FOLK AND TRADITIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL, AUGUST 1 TO 4 Ballyshannon Folk and Traditional Music Festival is in its 36th year and since it began has hosted the best Irish folk and traditional music artists in the country, quite a few of which have cut their teeth on the Ballyshannon music scene.
There are three nightly concerts in The Abbey Theatre and open air gigs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday around the town.
The showcase competition is a chance for up and coming artists to show their talents and there is also a variety of workshops on a number of Irish cultural aspects such as music, dance, traditional storytelling, etc.
If you want the best in Irish folk and trad, then the Ballyshannon Folk Festival in Co Donegal is not to be missed.
For more, see www.ballyshannonfolkfestival.com Additional information and a full list of events taking place this summer can be found by logging on to www.discoverireland.com
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