Banner year for visiting Ireland

Ed Forry

The 100th commemoration of the Easter Rising in April 1916 will dominate the domestic calendar in Ireland this year, and attract visitors aplenty to the island. As always, though, the Irish have sparkling events on tap throughout the year for tourists to consider when making travel plans.

Dublin will be a favored destination for fans of Boston College football next September when the Eagles squad will open their season on Labor Day weekend in a match against ACC rival Georgia Tech in the capital’s Aviva Stadium on Lansdowne Road. The game, set for Sat., Sept. 3, will be telecast back to the states via ESPN. The BC athletic department is planning a variety of golf-and-tourist packages during the week leading up to the game.

In the larger picture, Tourism Ireland has prepared a list of special attractions in the new year across the island, north and south. “The island of Ireland is awash with great events all year round,” TI proclaims. Here are some of “of the most exciting events on the Emerald Isle in 2016” they recommend as you make plans to visit.  

1. Year of Food and Drink (All over Northern Ireland, 2016) –A big celebration of Northern Ireland’s wonderful food. Special events, festivals, money-off deals, delicacies and tastings will be all over the place. A mouth-watering must for foodies everywhere.

2. Temple Bar Tradfest (Dublin, Jan. 27-31) – This lively four-day celebration of Irish music and culture features live performances from some of Ireland’s greatest musicians, as well as children’s events and much more. Tops for trad.

3. St Patrick’s Festival (Dublin, March 14-17) – The Dublin St Patrick’s Festival is the biggest celebration of Ireland’s  national holiday in the world, with over four full days of amazement.  Mesmerizing. If you’re there you’ll never forget it.

4. Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (The K Club, May 19 – 22) – Hosted by Rory McIlroy’s charity, The Rory Foundation, this massively popular European Tour event will tee up at The K Club, County Kildare. Great galleries, great craic and great golf are assured.

5. Happy Days International Beckett Festival (Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, dates TBA) – Set in the place where Samuel Beckett went to school, this is the world’s largest annual multi-disciplinary festival celebrating the Irish Nobel Prize for Literature winner. Happy days guaranteed.

6. Galway International Arts Festival (Galway, July 11-245) –
Don’t miss this creative collision of performance, music, visual art, theatre, comedy and street spectacle. The most fabulously accessible and fun-filled arts festival in the West of Ireland.

7. Kilkenny Arts Festival (Aug. 5-14) – Kilkenny City in Ireland’s Ancient East is a mix of the medieval and cosmopolitan, and this cracking festival offers a range of art forms in a truly beautiful environment. Unmissable international event.

8. Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival (Galway, Sept. 23-26) – Internationally recognized Irish festival second only to St Patrick’s Day and the world’s longest running oyster festival. This is where you need to be in September.

9. Halloween in Derry/Londonderry (Derry~Londonderry, Oct. 28-31) – voted the Best Place in the World to spend Halloween, the famous Walled City and first ever UK City of Culture is the only place to be at the spookiest time of year. Best for a high spirited funfest.

10. New Year Festival Dublin (Dublin, Dec. 30-Jan. 1) – The ultimate New Year’s festival mix of live entertainment, arts, culture, and fabulous craic. A marvelous chance to experience the city in full celebration mode at the turn of the year.