traditional festivals donegal

Explore Donegal’s Vibrant Traditional Festivals

Nestled in Ireland, Donegal shines with its rich heritage and vibrant festivals. These events brighten the county’s calendar every year. They span from the stunning Donegal Bay to the coastal Wild Atlantic Way. Each festival captures the heart of Ireland through music, culture, and history, appealing to a wide audience. By joining these festivities, you dive into the lively traditions that define Donegal.

Key Takeaways

  • Donegal festivals reflect the rich cultural heritage and robust community spirit of the county.
  • Visitors can experience a variety of events, from intimate local gatherings to grand celebrations.
  • The festival calendar includes events from the picturesque Donegal Bay to the stunning Wild Atlantic Way.
  • Attendees will enjoy celebrations filled with music, culture, and history.
  • Donegal’s festivals are vital for anyone passionate about traditional Irish celebrations.


Introduction to Donegal’s Festivals

Donegal’s festivals show the region’s lively culture and close-knit community. There’s a full calendar of events, from music to art. These events offer both small and big gatherings, reflecting Donegal’s vibrant social scene.

Festival Location Dates
Donegal Town 550th Birthday Donegal Town March 15 – December 31, 2024
Oideas Gael 40th Anniversary County Donegal March 15 – October 28, 2024
Donegal Garden Trail 17 Locations Throughout 2024
Sea Sessions Surf & Music Festival Bundoran June 21-23, 2024
Tír Chonaill Stone Festival Ballyshannon June 22-23, 2024
Philomena Begley in Concert Donegal June 23, 2024, 8pm
Lennon Festival Ramelton July 4-15, 2024
Tuff Inish Adventure Race Inishowen July 6-20, 2024
Sult Féile Gaoth Dobhair July 12-13, 2024

Donegal cultural events

There’s something for everyone in Donegal’s events. From the Tír Chonaill Stone Festival in Ballyshannon on June 22 and 23, 202423 to the Sea Sessions in Bundoran from June 21 to 23, 2024213. The Lennon Festival, from July 4 to 15, 2024213, is perfect for families.

Oideas Gael will be celebrating 40 years from March 15 to October 28, 20242. It’s a key event, showing Donegal’s rich culture and traditions.

The Donegal Garden Trail runs all year at 17 sites in County Donegal23. It’s a peaceful but exciting way to enjoy Donegal’s beauty throughout the year.

Mary From Dungloe International Arts Festival

The Mary From Dungloe International Arts Festival has been celebrated since 1967. This ten-day event takes place in County Donegal. It brings in thousands of visitors, boosting the local tourism scene456. The festival happens at the end of July. It features lots of fun things like live music, art shows, sports, and a grand Carnival Parade456. Tourists can also enjoy nature walks and coastal adventures in places like Maghery and Dungloe5.

Mary From Dungloe International Arts Festival

This festival is special because it lets Irish people from abroad and different counties join in. They compete to be the “Mary From Dungloe”46. Participants come from places such as Belfast, Birmingham, or Dublin. They highlight their cultural roots and skills4. The winner becomes an ambassador for Dungloe and Donegal. They help spread the word about the festival and its cultural importance6. The event’s story comes from a sad love tale about Mary Gallagher, a well-known story in the area6.

Those going to the festival can stay at hotels like The Waterfront or The Highlands. They are found in Dungloe and Glenties, respectively. Many famous singers and bands have performed there, including Daniel O’Donnell and Boyzone46. The festival appeals to everyone, making it a must-see in Donegal. It really shows off the area’s rich culture and its strong sense of community5.

Below is a table showing the communities and events from the 2024 festival:

Communities Key Events
Birmingham, Donegal, Dublin, Glasgow Opening Ceremony, Carnival Parade, Men’s and Ladies Golf Open
Belfast, Cavan, Edinburgh, Gaeltacht Art Exhibition, Fun Fair, Sports Day
Dungloe, New York, Philadelphia, Wild Atlantic Way Music Performances, Road Race, Fishing Competition

For a unique experience, the Mary From Dungloe International Arts Festival is a must-see. It’s a blend of traditional folklore celebrations with a twist of modern fun456.

The Earagail Arts Festival

The Earagail Arts Festival is Donegal’s top summer event. It runs for 16 days, from the 13th to the 28th of July 20247. You’ll find music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, circus, and carnival events here8.

A Multidisciplinary Celebration

This festival is all about mixing different arts. It takes place in many places like theatres, galleries, and even beaches7. People can enjoy a variety of performances and art. This mix shows the lively arts scene in Donegal.

Earagail Arts Festival

Bilingual and Inclusive Events

The Earagail Arts Festival is special because it celebrates both Irish and English languages7. It also welcomes volunteers who are 16 and older. They help with many tasks to make sure the festival goes well7.

Key roles are in the hands of leaders, a marketing manager, and a community officer. They are essential in running this big cultural event7. Because of their hard work, the festival is a highlight in Donegal. It offers shared moments that bring the community together.

Event Date Location
Circus Camps 18th – 27th July 2024 Castlefinn & Gaoth Dobhair
Wild Atlantic Weekend 18th – 21st July 2024 Castlefinn
Mohammad Syfkhan & Gazelleband 19th July 2024 Donegal
Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin & Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh Trio 21st July 2024 Donegal

Sea Sessions Surf & Music Festival

In June, Bundoran gets a burst of energy for the Sea Sessions Surf & Music Festival. It’s a great mix of surfing, fun on the beach, and top-notch music. Donegal’s festival scene wouldn’t be the same without it, pulling in crowds from all over.

Sea Sessions Surf Music Festival

Surfing and Beach Sports

At Sea Sessions, there’s more than just music. You can join in on surfing, skateboard contests, beach volleyball, and soccer without shoes. All this happens by Bundoran’s beautiful coast. Plus, you can stay in tents or glamping spots right there, making the most of the sea views9.

This festival takes place in Bundoran, a dream spot for surfers10.

Music and Entertainment Line-up

There’s music for every ear at this festival. Big names like Kodline, Joel Corry, LYra, and Ejeca will be there in 20249. You’ll also catch rising stars like Wolves of Youth and Talos10. Day passes cost €69.95, while a full weekend is €149.9511.

For an extra special time, there are VIP and campervan options11.

The fun isn’t just about music. You can do beach yoga, BMX, and swim. It’s a schedule that brings joy to everyone, young and old11. This festival is Bundoran’s heart, beating with surfing, sport, and live tunes.

Donegal Town Summer Festival 2024

The Donegal Town Summer Festival 2024 will be a highlight, running from June 28th to June 30th. It’s set by the beautiful Donegal Town Pier12. There will be lots of live music from various genres, catering to everyone’s musical tastes. The gates open at 2 PM on both Saturday and Sunday12.

Donegal Town Summer Festival

The festival opens on Friday, June 28th, at 6:30 PM with The Logues. It goes on until Derek Ryan’s closing act on Sunday, June 30th, at 8:15 PM12. Acts like Gavin James and John Gibbons are performing, making every show special12. You can get your tickets on Eventbrite, securing your place at this summer’s must-visit12.

In 2024, Donegal Town has a lot of events, but the festival is a key one. It’s loved by locals and draws in tourists with its great live music and friendly vibe122. Don’t miss the Donegal Town Summer Festival 2024. It’s a weekend full of music, fun, and creating memories together.

TownFest Dungloe

TownFest Dungloe is set for 31st May to 4th June 2024. It’s a big deal, attracting many visitors. They come for the top-notch entertainment it offers2. People stand in awe as some of Ireland’s top artists take the stage.

TownFest Dungloe

Top-Notch Entertainment

This festival boasts big names like Jenny Greene, Derek Ryan, and more. With such a varied lineup, there’s something for everyone13. It’s no surprise that TownFest Dungloe is a highlight of the year for many.

The mix of modern acts and lively music keeps the festival buzzing. It all adds up to an unforgettable experience for the crowds.

Cultural Celebrations

There’s more than just music at TownFest. It also celebrates local culture. This includes traditional music and the famous Dungloe Mayoral Election Ball2. This Ball is a big deal, bringing the community together. It’s a chance to honour local traditions.

Cultural events are key here, mixing the old and new of Donegal’s community life. It gives people a deep look into the area’s rich culture.

Celebrating 550 Years of Donegal Town

Donegal Town is now 550 years old, and we’re celebrating its anniversary. We’re taking a look at the town’s deep history through special events. This celebration marks 550 years since the Donegal Friary was first built in 1474. It brings us back to the early days of the Franciscan Abbey and Donegal Castle1415. This event honours the rich legacy of the O’Donnell Clan, thanks to Red Hugh O’Donnell and Lady Nuala. It also shines a light on Donegal Town worldwide1416Donegal Town 550th

A group of local people, from churches to businesses, is planning special events for this celebration16. It all starts with a big kick-off at Donegal Castle. Then there will be lots of activities, such as the O’Donnell Clan Rally and a history conference1416. You can enjoy pop-up museums, exhibitions, lectures, and concerts. These events are all about history and fun, making sure we remember the past while moving towards the future15.

We also have plans to make the Old Abbey more visible and appealing with better maintenance and signs15. Donegal Town is getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day with special parades and parties. It’s not just about historical events. There will be street celebrations, gardens, and other activities for everyone to enjoy. The community meeting on December 11th at the Abbey Hotel showed how everyone is working together to make this anniversary special1615.

A special mailing list is keeping everyone updated and connected. It’s all about using the Donegal Town 550th theme in all events through 202415. These efforts are bringing the community closer in honour of Donegal Town’s remarkable past16.

traditional festivals donegal: Oideas Gael Language & Cultural Courses

For 40 years, Oideas Gael has held a key role in the Donegal Gaeltacht. It offers courses in the Irish language and enriches in culture. Students from over 30 countries come to Donegal for these programs, creating a lively, diverse community17. With more than 2,000 joining each year from 22 countries, their popularity is clear to see18.

40 Years of Irish Language Courses

Since its start in 1984, Oideas Gael has worked hard to promote the Irish language18. Every summer, they offer a range of classes in Irish, designed for all learning levels17. These courses boost people’s language skills in a fun and friendly atmosphere18.

Many students come back each year to improve their language abilities further and grow their cultural understanding18.

Oideas Gael Language Cultural Courses

Cultural Programmes for All Levels

Oideas Gael isn’t just about language; it also offers a range of cultural activities18. From dance and music to crafts and painting, there’s something for everyone17. The mix of traditional and modern arts is perfect for those seeking to learn and create18.

These activities happen in a vibrant setting filled with music and cheerful conversation. It’s a cultural must-visit in Donegal during summer17. Both local and global visitors love joining in, which shows the growing interest in the area’s culture18.

Lennon Festival Ramelton

The Lennon Festival Ramelton started in 1969 and goes on for 11 days. It offers many family-friendly activities. It has become famous for showing Donegal’s community spirit. There are musical performances and cultural displays. Everyone finds something they like here.

One big part of the festival is the chance to learn at workshops. It’s as important as the big Sligo International Jazz Summer School, which is a top jazz event in Europe19. The festival starts with a really good opening ceremony. It also has many performances that amaze the crowd each year.

The festival boosts Ramelton’s culture, like the Manouche Jazz Festival does every September. It mixes fun with learning, standing out in Donegal’s busy festival calendar19. This makes it a special part of Donegal’s fun festival list.

People can see great plays at the festival, like The Gondoliers by the North West Opera20. This shows how important quality entertainment is to the festival. And if you want to see different cultural celebrations, the Lennon Festival is a great choice. It makes unforgettable memories for families.

Here’s a list of the festival’s main attractions:

Event Description Pricing
Opening Ceremony Kick-off celebration featuring local talents Free
Musical Performances Local and international acts Varies
Theatrical Shows High-quality productions €30 for a family of four20
Workshops and Educational Activities Interactive and engaging sessions for all ages Free or nominal fee

In short, the Lennon Festival Ramelton shows Donegal’s rich culture well. It’s also known as a top place for family-friendly activities. People have a great time here, no matter what they like.

The Clan Gathering and Historical Events

In 2024, the O’Donnell Clan Association will celebrate its 70th anniversary. This event coincides with the 550th anniversary of Donegal Castle and Donegal Abbey’s founding. It’s a big moment for the area1. Everyone, from near and far, is welcome to join the festivities. It’s a chance to learn about Donegal’s deep history.

O’Donnell Clan Anniversary

The O’Donnell Clan Gathering is a big deal. People from all over will come to celebrate their heritage. The O’Donnell Clan Association works hard to keep Donegal’s history and culture alive. The big celebration is on 9th June 20243.

Historical Walking Tours

There will also be historical walking tours. They will guide people through places like Donegal Castle and Donegal Abbey. Expert guides will share stories about the O’Donnell’s history and the area’s past. It’s a chance to really connect with Donegal’s heritage.


Donegal’s culture shines through its festivals. These events are not just about music and dance. They show the heart and soul of the people.

From the Mary From Dungloe International Arts Festival to the Donegal Town Summer Festival, each one shares the area’s vibrant spirit. They celebrate art, music, and community life.

Every festival is a chance for people to come together. Whether it’s the Earagail Arts Festival or the Sea Sessions Surf & Music Festival, they all have something special. They also honour the past with events like the O’Donnell Clan Gathering and Donegal Town’s anniversary celebrations.

A great example is the Mary From Dungloe International Arts Festival, which reached its 52nd year in 2019. It brings in visitors from all over the world, such as Birmingham, Dublin, and New York4. This festival is full of tradition and fun, showing how Donegal’s culture touches everyone4.

To sum up, Donegal’s festivals are more than just parties. They are about community and culture. And they will continue to share Donegal’s rich heritage for years to come.


What are some popular Donegal celebrations and traditional festivals?

Donegal holds many loved celebrations and festivals. These include the Mary From Dungloe International Arts Festival and the Earagail Arts Festival. Also, the Sea Sessions Surf & Music Festival and the Lennon Festival in Ramelton are big.These events show off the rich culture and community spirit of Donegal.

What cultural events can one expect when visiting Donegal?

When in Donegal, you’ll find many cultural events. These range from community festivals to seasonal celebrations. You can enjoy live music, traditional arts, and historical commemorations.Local gatherings spotlight Donegal’s deep cultural roots.

When is the Mary From Dungloe International Arts Festival held?

The Mary From Dungloe International Arts Festival happens for ten days in July. It’s been running since 1967. This fest offers music, arts, and sports, plus a carnival parade.

What can attendees expect at the Earagail Arts Festival?

The Earagail Arts Festival lasts 16 days in the summer. It features music, theatre, and visual arts. Everyone’s invited to celebrate, no matter their language, through various art forms.The festival aims to bring people together through creativity.

What activities are available at the Sea Sessions Surf & Music Festival in Bundoran?

The Sea Sessions in Bundoran mixes surfing with great music. It includes beach sports and music from Ireland and beyond. This event is all about fun and cultural mixing.

What makes the Donegal Town Summer Festival special?

The Donegal Town Summer Festival lights up late June. It’s full of live music by beautiful Donegal Town Pier. The lineup appeals to everyone and celebrates summer’s joy.

What highlights can one expect at TownFest Dungloe?

TownFest Dungloe brings top Irish artists together for fun. It’s a mix of old traditions and modern joy. They host the Mayoral Election Ball alongside great music.

How is Donegal Town celebrating its 550th anniversary?

Donegal Town celebrates with events about its long history. The town reminds everyone of its ancient Abbey and Castle. These events highlight the strong local community.

What language and cultural courses does Oideas Gael offer in Donegal?

Oideas Gael offers cultural and language classes in Donegal Gaeltacht. They’ve been sharing Irish language for 40 years. Everyone is welcome to connect with Donegal’s rich cultural traditions.

What activities are available at the Lennon Festival in Ramelton?

The Lennon Festival is for 11 days and full of family fun. It has music and a special opening. This festival is great for everyone, showing Donegal’s community spirit.

What is the significance of the O’Donnell Clan Gathering and other historical events in Donegal?

The O’Donnell Clan Gathering celebrates the clan’s 70th year with the area’s 550th Castle and Abbey anniversary. These events mark the O’Donnells’ historic role and offer walks to explore Donegal’s past.

Source Links


Healing Spirit festival takes place at Drummany Spirit, Milltown, Cavan, Ireland on the 4rd to 5th August 2024. Our festival is run by our small community group, Drummany Spirit, is family and child friendly and is alcohol and drug free. This boutique festival features a large lineup of live music, plus a large array of holistic events and practices including sweat lodges, yoga classes, movement meditation (ecstatic dance), pranayama/breathwork, meditation; plus alternative healing and therapies, crafts, art, drumming circles and talks by leading authorities on personal and spiritual growth, sustainability, conscious living, and healing.

We are set on beautiful sacred land overlooking Lough Oughter in Cavan. Drummany Spirit is a community group which hosts the festival each year. 2024 is our third year running the festival and it's been a major success so far with new friends from across Ireland and abroad attending. You can see the festival lineup here, see photos from previous years here and you can get tickets here (note: the festival has very limited capacity and is almost sold out) .

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