Dublin is always a great place to visit; it doesn’t matter what time of the year – particularly as, weather-wise at least, it makes precious little difference whether it’s Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter. It’s always going to be a little bit sunny, a little bit rainy, a bit chilly, and certainly very rarely roasting. What makes Dublin a really great place to visit is the atmosphere, and the fact that for a relatively small capital city there’s always something going on.
We’ve put together a short list of some of the more interesting and perhaps less well known festivals on in Dublin this year that might help you plan your visit.
Ireland may be wallowing under the weight of economic depression but there are some side-effects of the Celtic Tiger floating around the island, not least of which is Dublin’s cultural melting pot of nationalities. The continuing and vibrant presence of the Chinese in Dublin will most definitely make this New Year Festival one not to be missed – and considering the Irish tendency to make vodka out of lemons when it comes to parties in a sad place, visitors should definitely drop into the Dublin year of the Dragon!
Amongst the events are a film-festival, crafts events for children, a special New Year festival at the Asian Market, as well as a Sino-Irish Science Seminar to mark the fact that Dublin is the 2012 European Capital of Science. It’s also a brilliant excuse to visit one of Europe’s most interesting museums, The Chester Beatty Library
20 January-3 February, Dublin City
For more information go to www.cny.ie
2012 has certainly begun with a bang this year and in January already there is more than one event that demands attention. Taking place on the cobblestoned and bustling market streets of Temple Bar – already home to many a street artist, the Temple Bar Trad fest will include every kind of event from film screenings, drama, poetry readings and theatrical displays to sessions and ceilis go lore. Well worth getting your dancing shoes on for.
The festival features over 200 free events, and plays host to artists like Moya Brennan, Ralph McTell, and Sean O Riada’s Cor Cúil Aodha, while Christ Church Cathedral will be the special venue for the Dubliners 50th anniversary concert.
25-29 January, Temple Bar, Dublin City Centre
For more information go to www.templebartrad.com
The vibe around Dublin is particularly electric during the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival – partly, no doubt due to its sponsorship by the great medicinal tonic, but also because Dublin is small enough to have talk of its showcases ripple around a relatively small area- guaranteeing a kind of concentrated interest around the thing. Boasting star-studded premiers, this eleven day celebration of the very latest in international cinematic effort includes gala screenings, interviews with filmmakers and a programme of over 100 films from over 30 countries around the globe. The festival is famed for its eclectic and unusual mix of daring international films.
Amongst the highlights of the festival will be the appearance of screen legend Al Pacino, who comes to Dublin to present his latest directorial work Wilde Salmone, a documentary on Oscar Wilde.
16-26 February, Dublin City
For more information go to www.jdiff.com
Handel’s famous Messiah was actually premiered in Dublin in 1742 and so the 13 April marks the day with a celebration of 18th-century Dublin music and history. Along with a performance of the Hallelujiah, Handel’s Day will also feature a performance Irish music, workshops and outdoor film screenings in the vibrant area of Temple Bar in the hear of Dublin City.
13 April, Temple Bar
For more information go to http://www.visitdublin.com/event/In_Handels_Day
This will be the 6th year of the self-proclaimed ‘feel good festival’ – a unique event that celebrates everything under the umbrella of ‘unity, peace and love’. Don’t be too put off by the raging dippness of it though. It’s fun, it’s free, and events like the Soul Picnic are unashamedly uplifting. Fingers crossed for the weather!
26-27 May, Dublin City
For more information go to http://www.dublincitysoulfestival.com/
The Forbidden Fruit Festival enjoys the distinction of being Dulbin’s only multi-staged music festival- and it’s a stone’s throw away from the hear of the city. This year the festival will expand to three days over the June bank holiday and will include five stages and a comedy tent. There is also a particularly good selection of finger-licking food available.
The 2012 line-up hasn’t been announced yet, but to give you an idea from last year’s bill there were artists like The Flaming Lips, Aphex Twin, Battles, and Yo La Tengo.
2-4 June, Royal Hosptial Kilmainham.
For more information go to http://forbiddenfruit.ie/
Again, events like this really do reflect just how idiosyncratic Ireland is in terms of calendar marking. The international Street Performance World Championships takes place in both Cork and Dublin (9-10th, and 14th -17th of June respectively). The eclectic event promises to deliver every kind of flavour taking in contortionists, magicians, breakdancers, comedians and all-round jesters from around the world for your delectation. The atmosphere is usually good and always surprising – not to be missed!
9-10 June (Cork) and 14-17 June (Dublin)
For more information go to www.spwc.ie
http://www.visitdublin.com the official Dublin Tourism Office online