Culture of Ireland: Holidays & Festivals

Culture of Ireland: Holidays & Festivals
The beautiful landscape of Ireland begs visitors to wander and explore, but there is much more to the island than its hills and sweeping vistas. The culture of Ireland has given rise to many festivals and holidays that celebrate the splendor of the natural environs and the vast history that has passed over it.

The Táin Walking Festival

The Táin Walking Festival is inspired by the ancient Irish epic the "Tain Bó Cuailgne" ("The Brown Bull of Cooley"), taking participants on trails and byways used by the hero CúChulainn. The festival offers walks for people of all fitness levels, from trails along the top of the Cooley Mountains to the rocky edges of Carlingford Lough. Based in the town of Carlingford, County Louth, the festival strives to bring the culture of the Irish people back to the natural world, making history and myth come to life. The festival takes place during the first week of March, with the 2010 event taking place from March 5 to 8.

Festival of the Fires

Festival of the Fires is a truly special event in County Westmeath that blends the ancient Irish holiday of Bealtaine with a modern festival of arts, culture and music. The festival is considered a rebirth of the oldest known European holiday, Bealtaine, which falls on May 1st. Celebrated with music, hill walking, story-telling and tours of the local prehistoric sites, the festival keeps a sacred firing burning for the three days during which it takes place. The Festival of the Fires takes place on the hill of Uisneach, in County Westmeath.

Tarbert Cuckoo Walking Festival

On the first weekend in May, Tarbert in County Kerry hosts the Tarbert Cuckoo Walking Festival. These 5-to-15-kilometer cross-country walks pass through woodland, farmland and along beautiful, untouched bogs in the hopes of hearing the cuckoo singing, which is a sure sign of spring's arrival. The walk is suitable for people of all ages and ends in a large social gathering back in the town of Tarbert, where refreshments are served.

Article Written By Michael Degnan

Michael Degnan is a Central California-based writer with a passion for all forms of human technology, from food production to the newest gadgetry. He spent three years writing tech reviews for CNET, as well as having written articles for several nonprofit organizations dealing with indigenous rights. He holds degrees in cinema studies and cultural anthropology from San Francisco State University.

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