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Ireland's Top 10 Festivals & Events In Autumn 2013
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Ireland's Top 10 Festivals & Events In Autumn 2013

Picture of Rebecca Jagoe
Updated: 9 February 2017
Ireland may be most famous for its literary heritage; yet as the diverse lineup for the many arts festivals taking place across the country prove, there’s a lot more to the country than just books. Be it film, art, opera or theatre, there’s something for everyone, so take a look at our roundup of some of the leading events taking place this autumn and winter.

Literature | Mountains To Sea

Dun Laoghaire, Dublin: 3 – 8 September

At the start of September, Dun Laoghaire in Dublin becomes a literary haven as some of the leading names in contemporary writing arrive to take part in the Mountains to Sea Festival. Throughout the event, the diverse program includes a number of readings, open discussions, workshops and talks aimed at young and old alike, covering everything from contemporary fiction and poetry to teen horror. Opening with the legendary author Margaret Atwood, who will read from MaddAddam — the third book in her dystopian trilogy — other highlights include a discussion between Tommy Tiernan and Michael Harding which closes the festival, an event that promises to be as touching as it is humorous.

Learn more about Mountains to Sea Festival



Theatre | Dublin Fringe Festival

5 – 22 September 2013

Dublin Fringe Festival is a multi-disciplinary festival that takes in theatre, comedy, circus, music, live art and film. The event aims to provide a platform and context for new work and artists, and its vast program is organised and curated through multiple thematic strands, each containing a number of performances, presentations and productions. This year, to commemorate the centenary of the 1913 Lockout, ANU Productions have created thirteen new works to be performed across the city under the title Thirteen; Show In A Bag is a collaboration between Fringe, Fishamble and Dublin Theatre Institute; and The Gathering invites Irish artists who have previously performed at the festival and now work abroad to return home and showcase their work. The variety and scale of Fringe makes it a unique festival in the city, and a fundamental event to the arts calendar across Ireland.

Learn more about Dublin Fringe Festival


Art | Leonora Carrington: The Celtic Surrealist at IMMA

Dublin: 18 September 2013 – 26 January 2014

Born to a British father and Irish mother, aged 19 Leonora Carrington relocated to London and Paris, becoming a central part of the Surrealist movement. Her work has been largely neglected in Europe, and perhaps somewhat unfairly she has, until recently, been best-known for her relationship with fellow Surrealist Max Ernst. Nonetheless, she was an artist in her own right, and this vast retrospective show at IMMA of fifty paintings, eight sculptures, eight tapestries and twenty works on paper showcases her luminous and prolific output. Her dreamscapes weave complex narratives with influences from the occult to mythology and fairy tales, and the thematic rather than chronological organisation of the show will ensure that the viewer will become fully immersed in the strange yet wonderful inner world of Carrington.

Learn more about Leonora Carrington: The Celtic Surrealist at IMMA


Arts | Culture Night

Various regions across Ireland: 20 September 2013, 5pm-11pm

Taking place in venues across the country, Culture Night is truly a one-of-its kind event that allows viewers and audiences to catch some of the leading arts and cultural happenings across Ireland, all for free. The RTE Concert Orchestra is producing a special fanfare for the event to be played live on the evening, and in Ireland’s capital, the myriad possibilities for experiencing Culture Night include Family Culture Trail, with 12 organisations presenting Objects of Discovery including the Stokes Tapestry and The Great Auk. With 190 participating venues in 32 regions, the night offers something for everyone, whether it be street art performances, film screenings, art installations or theatre. You can even catch Culture Night on the go, as trains and trams across Dublin play host to performances throughout the event.

Learn more about Culture Night


Film | IFI Stranger than Fiction Documentary Film Festival

Dublin: 26 – 29 September 2013

The Irish Film Institute is the centre for Independent, Arthouse and Experimental cinema in Dublin. At the end of September, the Stranger than Fiction Documentary Film Festival returns, screening both international and Irish feature films, along with numerous shorts as part of the ‘Eat My Shorts’ program, and hosting a number of panel discussions to offer young documentary filmmakers insight into producing and publicising films in the international market. Some of the film highlights include the Irish premiere of The Great Hip Hop Hoax, the story of four Scottish rappers who reinvent themselves as Californian musicians; Leviathan, which, for its haunting depiction of life aboard a fishing trawler, won the Michael Powell Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year; and the Irish Where The Blue Flowers Grow, whose screening is followed by a performance by The Cujo Family, the band celebrated in the documentary itself.

Learn more about the IFI Stranger than Fiction Documentary Film Festival


Theatre | Dublin Theatre Festival

26 September – 13 October 2013

For 18 days, the Dublin Theatre Festival celebrates both national and international theatre in venues across Ireland’s capital. Twenty-seven different titles will be performed by leading theatrical companies, from well-known classics to new titles, and the festival is supplemented by the Festival+ program, a series of talks, tours, screenings and events taking place in and around the performances. Some of the headlining titles include Beckett’s legendary Waiting for Godot, and the world premiere of Irish playwright Frank McGuiness’ The Hanging Gardens, whilst Shakespeare’s epic poem The Rape of Lucrece is retold through storytelling and song by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Yet whether seeing classics of Irish theatre or contemporary circus (Wunderkammer by Circa), every performance throughout the festival is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.

Learn more about Dublin Theatre Festival


Architecture | Open House Dublin

4 – 6 October

Over one weekend in October, 100 buildings across Dublin throw open their doors, offering the public a chance to glimpse some of the highlights of the capital’s architecture for free. Organised by the Irish Architecture Foundation, the first Open House took place in 2006, and its resounding success and popularity has ensured it is now a mainstay on Ireland’s cultural calendar. Tours by professionals and enthusiasts alike tell the story of the capital’s architecture, and the broad spectrum of buildings selected provides insight into everything from domestic to government to sports venues. This year, 60 of the buildings are new to the program, chosen to surprise visitors, and workshops in the Open House Junior program allow young participants the chance to play architect for the weekend.

Learn more about Open House Dublin



Film | OFFline Film Festival

Offaly: 9 – 13 October 2013

Although only in its fourth year, OFFline Film Festival, taking place in the town of Birr in Offaly, has fast become a popular event with both filmmakers and film fans alike. For five days in October, assorted venues across this Georgian town are converted into screening venues, showing both Irish and International films. Feature films are preceded by shorts; in fact, OFFline’s Shorts programme is where many of the most interesting and unique contributions to the Festival can be found. The screenings are supplemented by workshops and panel discussions, allowing the participating industry insiders and professionals to pass on their pearls of wisdom to the next generation of filmmakers.

Learn more about OFFline Film Festival


Opera | Wexford Festival Opera

Wexford: 23 October – 3 November 2013

Running for 60 years, Wexford Festival Opera is a unique event and something of an institution on the Irish cultural calendar. Each year, huge audience numbers make the pilgrimage to this town on the southeast coast for the chance to view what the festival organisers have termed ‘buried operatic treasure.’ For one week, three forgotten titles resigned to the annals of opera history are dusted off and reinvigorated by the Wexford Opera Company, and are performed throughout the week for the Festival. Now housed in Wexford Opera House, Ireland’s first custom-built Opera venue built in 2008, this year titles are Il Cappello di Paglia di Firenze by Nino Rota; Therèse/La Navarraise by Massenet; and Christina, Regina di Svezia by Foroni.

Learn more about Wexford Festival Opera


Film | Cork Film Festival

9 – 17 November

Starting in 1956, Cork Film Festival is now in its 58th year and is one of the leading events in Ireland, presenting an eclectic program of international and Irish cinema to professionals and enthusiasts alike. With screenings that include big-budget titles, world cinema, documentary, independent films and shorts, there’s bound to be something for everyone. Along with bringing a unique schedule of films from across the world, the Festival aims to be a platform for supporting and promoting Irish cinema, and the juried event’s open submission system allows new names to showcase their works alongside the more established stars.

Learn more about Cork Film Festival

By Rebecca Jagoe