When you have kids to be kept entertained on a full-time basis, the summer holidays can leave your pockets feeling a little bit empty. It’s a good thing that the month of July is absolutely buzzing with all sorts of events and festivals in every corner of the country. Best of all for those strained finances though, a lot of these fun summer events are totally free of charge!
From wild and wacky street performers in the Big Smoke to high-brow literary readings in the scenic west Cork area, you’ll be sure to find something to take your family to. Here are our top pics for a great summer day out in July, province by province.
If you’re based in the wild, wild west, you are really spoilt for choice in terms of festivals to attend this July. The Galway International Arts Festival, which runs from 13th to the 26th of July, has a schedule jam-packed with everyone from Ireland’s favourite brightly coloured suit wearing funny boy Al Porter (although he might be a bit too rude for kids!) to super-talented indie-art musician St. Vincent on the bill.
St. Vincent shares her stage name with the title of a great Bill Murray movie, which brings us on to our next great Galway event, The Galway Film Fleadh (how’s that for a segue?) which runs from July 7th to 12th and will host literally hundreds of film screenings, showcasing the best upcoming movies from around the world – many of which are free to attend! Some of the top picks for this year’s festival include You’re Ugly Too starring Aidan Gillen and Pixar’s latest animated feature Inside Out which promises to be a massive hit with the kiddies.
The Connacht festival fun isn’t exclusive to Galway though; the ever popular Sligo Jazz Festival is a music-lover’s Mecca, with a whole host of top international jazz acts descending upon Sligo for a full week’s worth of entertainment. The festival runs from the 21st-26th of July and will host several concerts and workshops suitable for all ages.
Those living in the beautiful Cork countryside are already spoiled with breathtaking scenery, world-class food produce and now they also have the West Cork Literary Festival to entertain them. This year’s festival runs from the 12th-18th of July and will host discussion groups and talks from some of Ireland’s best writers, professors and illustrators.
Cork native Graham Norton will make a special appearance in the Maritime Hotel discussing his life and loves. In a hilarious fashion, I predict. And if his stories are no good, maybe there’ll be a lever you can pull to send him flying off his red chair..?
In addition to fine literature for adults, this year’s festival will feature an extensive children’s programme which will keep little ones entertained while they experience a bit of culture.
Leinster and Munster
Are you one of those people that could spend hours walking down Grafton Street on a Sunday afternoon watching the country’s finest street performers do their thing? Do you wish there could only be more of these exciting street entertainers? Imagine a whole festival of fire juggling, sand art and music.
This July, The Street Performance World Championship takes place in Dublin’s Merrion Square from the 10th to the 12th and then the show moves on to Fitzgerald Park in Cork on the 18th and 19th – a tale of two cities! You and your family will be seriously impressed by the sheer variety of amazing skills on display over the course of these two weekends.
Last but certainly not least, I can’t forget those living in the idyllic north-west area. Donegal’s annual Earagail Arts Festival runs from the 10th-26th of July and will have a range of events held both in English and as Gaeilge, from exciting theatrical performances to interactive events which you and your family can take part in.
This area is also home to tons of laid-back villages and natural attractions that you can enjoy as a family on an easy-breezy day out as you relax and take in the sights.
To keep up with all of the country’s family events, make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For some more great ideas for where to visit with the family, check out our post of Dublin’s best days out.