Five Cork Festivals You Can’t Miss

What do you do when you live in a smallish town and want to spice things up a little? You throw a festival! And for all the festivals that it throws, Cork is a level four spicy habanero sandwich, hosting enough open-air celebrations to fill each month on the calendar twice. With everything from film to finger foods, Cork is sure to have something that’ll grab your attention. Here are our top five festivals in Cork.


This festival combines pretty much every art form you could think of and throws it all at you in a seven day time period. Dance? Got it. Theatre? Got it. Galleries? Yup. Comedy? You betcha. They’ve even had circus acts come perform in previous years. With a food market where you can taste the best local foods Cork has to offer and a summer time date to boot, this is one festival that most travellers can get to and enjoy.


It’s got Guinness, it’s got Jazz. What more could it need? This festival pulls together some of the best jazz musicians around Ireland, as well as internationally, to provide a five-day jam-packed jazz explosion. Artists perform everywhere in Cork from the library in town to the historical gaol up on the hill. And if you’re interested in learning a little bit about jazz yourself, they host a one day “jazz camp”, which sounds like a summer camp your parents would force you to go to, but is more of a q&a with performances in the mix. The timing isn’t ideal for most travellers – it takes place in late October – but if you’re in the area consider dropping by and checking it out.


If the countdown clock on the website doesn’t make it apparent, the people responsible for the pride festival are excited to be hosting this July event. This weeklong festival is a celebration of LGBT life in Cork and includes events like dog shows, drag pageants, a bake off, and more. The event culminates in the parade at the end of the week with loud music, colorful costumes, and decorative floats marching down the streets of Cork. With the recent passing of the same sex marriage amendment, the first in the world to be enacted by popular vote, the festival promises to be lively.


For all you movie buffs thinking that Ireland only caters to the boozing and the snoozing, this ones for you. This festival takes place in November and runs for 10 days to give the residents and visitors of Cork a chance to see a mix of major feature films and indie short films both locally and internationally produced. Last year showcased over 200 films, so there is no shortage of things to watch, and also features music programs for those preferring art of the ears to art of the eyes.


You can’t have a list of festivals in Ireland and forget to include this one. But there’s more to the St. Patrick’s Day Festival than drinking and dancing –live music, theatre performances, comedy, art, and opportunities to actually learn something about the country you’re in are just the beginning of what this festival offers. But if you did just come to drink and dance, be sure to make it to the big parade on during the day on the 17th of March, and head into the local pubs at night to experience some great trad sessions and get yourself a pint.

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