West Cork Festivals

West Cork is abundant with festivals and events throughout the year to suit everyone’s tastes. Why not visit us during these festivals and soak up the local atmosphere. Below are just some of the West Cork festivals and events that take place each year. Please note dates will change slightly each year. Below are the dates during 2013. Festival dates for 2014 have not been announced yet but they will be similar dates to 2013.                 


West Cork Drama Festival Rossmore 8th – 14th March 2013                 

The 52nd West Cork Drama Festival raises its curtain on Friday March 8th. St Mary’s Hall, Rossmore is the venue for the feast of drama which will be staged over the eleven day festival. All plays start at 8pm except for the final night which starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are €10 each and can be booked by calling the festival office on (023) 8838526.

West Cork Rally 16th – 17th March 2013               

The 2013 Quality Hotels West Cork Rally will take place on St Patrick’s Weekend, March 16 and 17. Usual format, with stages on the Saturday and the Sunday and centralised service after every two stages.


Festival By The Sea Rosscarbery 31st May – 3rd June 2013                 

This annual event takes place over the June Bank Holiday Weekend. It is a family orientated four day festival featuring live music and loads of activities to entertain both young and old. Children activities include disco, puppet show, face painting and bouncy castles. The full programme of events can be downloaded by clicking on the link. Programme for 2013 is still being finalised.
Rosscarbery Festival by the Sea 2012              

West Cork Garden Trail 15th – 30th June 2013                 

This annual event, a highlight of the Irish gardening year, gives an opportunity to view the beautiful and diverse gardens of West Cork. While many of the gardens are open to visitors throughout the summer, there are some open to the public only during the Garden Trail – don’t miss your chance to see them! Some of the fees taken during the West Cork Garden Trail go to charity.

Rosscarbery Summer School 21st – 23rd June 2013
Rosscarbery Summer School will acknowledge and celebrate the rich history when the monks from St. Mary’s Abbey, Rosscarbery established important Benedictine monasteries (Schottenkloster) in Bavaria and Austria in the 11th-14th centuries.  The German Ambassador to Ireland will open the School which is being organised by Rosscarbery Historical Society.
Rosscarbery Summer School   

West Cork Chamber Music Festival Bantry 28th June – 6th July 2013                 

Listen to world-class chamber music from morning to night in the intimate library of historic Bantry House and the town’s two beautiful churches, St Brendan’s and St Finbarr’s.


West Cork Literary Festival Bantry 8th – 14th July 2013                  

Features workshops, readings, seminars, book launches and other events from the work of new, well-established, and even writers who have gone before.

South of Ireland Band Championships Clonakilty 5th – 7th July 2013                 

34th Annual South of Ireland Band Championships at Clonakilty Community Hall and on the streets. Complimentary day of music and fun for all the family.

Kinsale Arts Week 6th – 14th July 2013                 

Summer Arts Festival, Cork. Visual art, music, architecture, comedy, theatre, literature & free family fun.

Random Acts of Kindness Festival Clonakilty 19th – 21st July 2013
The first ever RAOK festival was held in July 2012. It opened with a bubble blowing ceremony followed by a street party.  There was also a Jungle BBQ with face-painting, storytelling & hoola hooping. All events were fun, free & for all ages. As part of The Gathering 2013, there are new events for overseas visitors include workshops in spoken Gaeilge, GAA & trad music.
Random Acts of Kindness      

Glandore Classic Regatta 20th – 26th July 2013     

With the beautiful backdrop of Glandore Harbour, this is the 11th edition of this bi-annual event. As well as the usual harbour and offshore racing there will be a race to the Fastnet Rock (20Nm.) on the Tuesday to celebrate the visit of the Jolie Brise on her 100th anniversary. The Jolie Brise is a Le Harve Pilot Cutter built in 1913, won the first Fastnet Race in 1923 and again in 1929 and1930. She still holds the record for the most Fastnet wins. January 2013’s Classic Boat Magazine names her as “one of the most famous yachts in history”. As part of the programme there will be fireworks on the Sunday night. For full programme and details visit

Skibbereen Childrens Festival 22nd – 28th July 2013                 

Fun filled festival for all children. Activities include arts and crafts, Irish dancing, painting, outdoor activities, flower arranging, baking, photography, and much more. Family Day is Sunday 29th July.

Skibbereen Arts Festival 26th July - 3rd August 2013                

Skibbereen once again pays homage to the vibrant fabric of our community that is the arts with many world-class national and international acts coming to town. There are many free events also taking place.

West Cork Fit-up Theatre Festival August 2013                

This Festival revives the tradition of professional theatre companies touring shows to small rural towns and villages. Dates and details to be decided for 2013.

Courtmacsherry Harbour Festival August 2013                 

Family friendly festival full of events and visual displays. The highlight of the week is regatta day. Dates and details to be decided for 2013.


Clonakilty Waterfront Festival 2nd – 5th August 2013               

Superb line up for a fun packed August Bank Holiday weekend. Flavours of West Cork, Tribute night, Full Moon Party, Sunday Sounds and lots more.

Galley Head Lighthouse Open Day 4th August 2013     

The fabulous Galley Head Lighthouse will be open to the public on Sunday 4th August from 12pm – 4pm as part of the Ardfield Rathbarry Parish Gathering 2013. This is a unique opportunity to see the inside of the lighhouse which is usually closed to the public year round. Galley Head lies approximately 8km (5 miles) south east of Rosscarbery, Co Cork and is the southern most point of a 40.5m (133 foot) high headland known as Dundeady Island. The latter is joined to the mainland by a, not quite so high, isthmus on top of which is the ruined Dundeady Castle. Gerard Butler is the Attendant Keeper at Galley Head lighthouse and has recently publu=ished a book The Lighkeeper A Memoir     

Rosscarbery Family Festival 9th – 19th August 2013                  

Rosscarbery comes alive with locals and tourists alike, turning out and gathering in the square to enjoy the many street activities and entertainment which are provided over our ten day community run festival. Highlights include the Rag Parade, Sandcastle Competition on Warren Beach, pig, mouse and duck racing. There is a Family Funday Sunday on Sunday 11th August at Celtic Ross Hotel as part of the Festival programme.        

http://www.rosscarbery.ie or follow the festival on Facebook                  

Masters of Tradition Bantry 15th – 19th August 2013                 

Unique Irish Traditional Music Festival headlined by Martin Hayes, the fiddler from East Clare, whose distinctive touch and extravagant virtuosity has brought the tradition to new levels.

National Heritage Week 17th – 25th August 2013                 

There’s lots of fun in store for you during National Heritage Week. Check out the website for what’s happening in Cork and West Cork. From medieval fairs, night time bat walks, classical music, poetry, theatre, traditional music, storytelling, historical re-enactments, local history walks and talks, maritime and coastal events, food fairs, traditional skills workshops and archaeological digs. There’s something for everyone and most events are free!

Rosscarbery Parish Gathering 23rd – 26th August 2013

We are inviting past parishioners, family members from all over the world come home this weekend and get involved in all the activities in the area and reconnect with the community. There will be farming and animal displays by the local Irish Farmers Association, Carbery Rangers GAA will host games and matches, Rosscarbery Historical Society will do guided walks of the area. The Annual Rosscarbery Horse Fair is on Monday 26th. 
Rosscarbery Parish Gathering     

Rosscarbery Horse Fair 26th August 2013                 

A step back in time, Rosscarbery Horse Fair is an event that has taken place for generations. Experience street trading, stalls, music and festive fun for all the family.                 


Cape Clear Storytelling Festival 30th August - 1st September 2013                 

Basking in the natural beauty of this island off the South West coast of Ireland, the festival celebrates the richness of local and international folklore, while drawing attention to the uniqueness of Cape’s flora and fauna.

A Taste of West Cork Food Festival September 2013                 

Brings together an unique mix of food markets and demonstrations, cookery competitions, special dinners, brunches & banquets, food-tastings, talks, exhibitions, childrens’ events, guided walks, boat tours and some great live music!

Clonakilty Internation Guitar Festival September 2013                 

Artists featured include Roy Harper, Gary Lucas, Honkeyfinger, West Cork Ukulele Orchestra and much more. The Clonakilty International Guitar Festival are proud to present a programme of workshops, masterclasses and seminars from some of the world’s best performers and experts, giving us mere mortals a glimpse of the methods and techniques which make them so successful.


West Cork Music Autumn Concert Series                 

Enjoy a series of concerts in different locations in West Cork from October to November.

Cork Rebel Week 14th – 20th October 2013    

Cork Rebel Week will take place from October 14th – 20th 2013. It will be a week long series of events celebrating “all things Cork”. International Cork Day is Wednesday 16th October in celebration of the birth of Michael Collins and World Food Day. You can also get your very own Rebel Week Passport!

Michael Collins Birthday Celebrations Clonakilty 16th October 2013

A man of action, a man dedicated to the cause Irish freedom, a very intelligent and astute man who dominated Irish life during and post the war of independence. Join us in the life and celebration of Michael Collins, ‘The Big Fella’. Visit Michael Collins Birthday Celebration for details. More information will be added once updated.    


Clonakilty Marathon 7th December 2013                 

Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon takes place on the 7th December. This is the third year of the event. With a mix of three courses, Full Marathon, Half Marathon and Mini-Marathon – it is a new fixture on the Irish running calendar. The Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon races will hit the scenic roadways, byways and beach routes of this bustling West Cork town and region, creating a heady and healthily challenging mix at a seasonally quiet time of year for the sport.