There are a growing number of festivals appearing in Connemara. Some have been around for many years and some are recent additions. Some festivals like Sea Week in Letterfrack started as a weekend of fun and their programme of events swelled to fill a full week. No one in Connemara likes to miss out on a bit of fun, good music or culture so if this is available it will be attended. Here are some of the festivals to be held in Connemara in 2024.

Clifden Arts Festival 

It would be rude  not to start with the oldest, biggest and best attended festival in Connemara. Nearing its fiftieth birthday founded in 1977, the Clifden Arts Festival is the longest running community arts festival in Ireland. It has grown over time from a small community event to an international one. Brendan Flynn,  a local Headmaster and fellow committee members concieved the event and the entire Clifden community have given it their full support. The event happens in the last week in September.
Clifden Arts Festival has become an integral part of the local community, showcasing the talents of both local and international artists. From music and dance to literature and visual arts, the festival welcomes some surprising guests from Ireland and abroad, often being the only opportunity to see some international artists in Ireland.
There are often surprising events, such as one called “Fire Horses” a performance gem that was part of the 2023 festival.

The festival always finishes with a lively parade around the town, and a big noisy firework display afterwards to enthral everyone. It is really well worth making the effort to spend at least a couple of days in the area to get caught up in the fun.

Clifden Trad Fest.

Clifden Trad Fest 2024 runs from the 4th to the  7th April. This three day festival is a charming and interesting display of the very best of Irish music, song and dance with concerts, sessions, workshops and outdoor entertainment.

This festival is pure traditional music and is great fun for both performers and audience alike. Musicians come from all over Ireland and it is great to see so many musicians, young and old performing together.
One of the highlights of Tradfest is the Pub Session Trail

Always at the weekend of the festival there is a great Pub Session Trail taking in all the pubs in Clifden. (4th and 5th April) We assign certain of our visiting guests to each premises on each night and everyone is most welcome to join in.  Always greatly attended and always a great atmosphere felt.
On the Saturday of the weekend there is open air music live on the”Gig Rig”( a big truck used as a stage) and there are rumours that someone surprising is going to appear on stage that night.

Also on the Saturday of the festival, there will be music workshops in the local school . The workshops cater for the more intermediate and advanced player and are available on Button Accordion, Concertina and Fiddle.
If you like a bit of traditional music….Dont miss this!

Clifden Pony Festival 

The highlight of the summer Clifden Pony Show is the premier show for Connemara Ponies in Ireland for breeders and owners from home and overseas. The annual Connemara Pony Festival & Show in Clifden, Co Galway attracts visitors from all over the world. A Clifden Pony Show rosette or cup confirms you own a real Connemara Pony. The highlight of the festival is on Thursday and Friday, when the biggest showcase of Connemara Ponies in the world takes place. Ponies compete in in-hand classes, ridden classes, working hunter classes, and a puissance (or high jump) competition. For non-pony enthusiasts, there is a dog show, a domestic arts show and Irish Dancing. There are a range of craft stalls along the edge of the showgrounds, where regional Irish Countrywomen’s Association members run their own competitions for prize winning eggs, jams, baked goods, arts and crafts.
An afternoon spent at the show field is one you will not forget.

Connemara Sea Week

The annual Conamara Sea Week takes place in the Quaker village of Letterfrack in North West Connemara. Now in its 40th year, this festival is expected to run from the 19 to 27 October 2024 (TBC) and celebrates the wonderful marine heritage of Connamara. The village of Letterfrack which is the focal point of the festival is situated at the butt of the magical Diamond Mountain and is the gateway to Connemara National Park. It is also adjacent to Kylemore Abbey surrounded by mountains and at the edge of the ocean. This is a fun packed festival celebrating our wonderful marine heritage, with tons of great music and buckets of fun for all the family.
Climate activist and Eco-Eye host Duncan Stewart will be on hand to lead the discussions at a climate and biodiversity seminar.
He will be joined by researchers from ATU Marine Biological Resources programme, Fiacc O’Brolchain of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, and Sven Habermann from Conservation Letterfrack, who recently returned from a 2-month project in Antarctica. Other subjects on an environmental theme will also be discussed.

The conference will also include traditional music and poetry readings, and artists and designers will work with students to create a spectacular Night Light’s exhibition, a magical display of lights throughout the village. Renowned for its musical programmes, this year’s festival will not disappoint. Local and visiting musicians will perform on both weekends, in Veldon’s Seafarer Pub. There is lots more going on so keep a close eye on the website to see the host of things going on.

Gaelforce Events

While it is not strictly a festival if you are in to the fitness regimes that enable you to take part in this style of event then Gaelforce West is a part of your competitive year. Gaelforce started Ireland’s first-ever adventure race in 2006 and now you you can compete.

A 68km run, cycle & kayak along the rugged coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way on bog & grassland tracks, sea, road and open mountain.

From the start line in the beautiful Inagh Valley by way of Killary Fjord, to the top of Croagh Patrick mountain and on to the finish line in Westport, there is simply nothing to rival this spectacular linear route through the heart of Connemara.

Run, 13.5km, 1km Kayak, 36.5km bike 4.5KM  Mountain run/walk  trail, 12km cycle Route totals

Run: 18.5km: You’ll run a total of 18.5km on grassy tracks, rough trails, sealed roads, bog & mountain with a 764m ascent to the top of Croagh Patrick.

Kayak: 1km: A short 1km kayak on beautiful Killary Fjord on a shared two-person sit-on-top kayak.

Cycle: 48.5km: You’ll cycle a total of 45km in two stages, on narrow country roads, off-road tracks and sealed roads.

Gaelforce also run two other challenging events during the year, so if you are up for it why not join the gang for “Turf Warrior” A series of outdoor challenges involving a competitive spirit and lots of wet peat and mud (held on the 9th November). Their other event which is becoming a season high point is the Great Fjord Swim This open water race is in three distances from 750m to 3.9km, if you have a bit of open water experience and enjoy a challenge then this might be for you.

Connemara Mountain Walking Festival, Leenane

3rd – 5th May 2024

Discover a unique fusion of mountains and sea in Leenane, situated on the scenic edge of Killary Harbour, enveloped by grand mountains in all directions. The Connemara Mountain Walking Festival, a prominent fixture in the calendars of Connemara and the surrounding region, extends its legacy into September. Immerse yourself in the upcoming Spring 2024 event, set to unfold during the weekend of May 3rd – 5th, 2024. A captivating experience at the intersection of nature’s wonders. Unfortunately this is fully booked this year, numbers are limited so keep an eye out for next year.

Community Arts Festival on Inishbofin Island

The Inishbofin Community Arts Festival is expected to take place from 3 – 5 May 2024. Situated on the stunningly scenic and historic island of Inishbofin, this Arts Festival is a colourful and eclectic mix of music, dance, visual arts, crafts, heritage, poetry, creative workshops and fun family activities.

Inishbofin is delighted to be hosting some of the best Irish music. The line-up is expected to a selection of great artists, with likely names such as Andy Irvine & Donal Lunny, Amble, True Tides, Aoife Wolf plus more Read More Here

Carna Walking Festival 2024
6 th- 8th Sep, 2024
This year is the 8th Carna Walking Festival which provides walking and hikers of all ages the opportunity to explore the wild and rugged coastline of southern Connemara. Organised walks include visits to the sacred St. MacDara’s Island, to the deserted Feenish Island, a climb up Cashel Hill (311m) and a bog walk to Loch Scannive and it’s historic crannóg. Read More