5 Cheap & Cheerful Family Events To Check Out
January is not most people’s favourite months, and it can be hard to keep your spirits up when the weather is wintry and the wallet is empty. Lift your spirits with great music, see some of the country’s great heritage sites for free, and discover Ireland’s spring traditions. There is plenty to do to keep you going until the days get brighter.
Venue: Temple Bar, Dublin 7
Date: January 24th – 28th
Cost: Varies – from free
The first major traditional music festival of the year takes place in Dublin City Centre from January 24th to January 28th. Chase away the winter blues with the best of Irish traditional music and dancing. There is a full programme of events for kids, including Ceili Fun, Children’s Open Trad Session, and gigs from the award-winning Clare trio Socks in the Frying Pan. Your kids will get plenty of opportunities to sample traditional music with “Give Trad a Try” sessions, and there is also a petting zoo in aid of ChildVision.
2. OPW Free Days Out
Date: First Wednesday of every month
Contact: See website for full list of participating sites
“Free” is a word we all like to hear in January, but it’s one that applies on the first Wednesday of every month for Heritage Ireland. Sites you and your family can visit at no charge include Ennis Friary in Clare, Charles Fort in Kinsale, Donegal Castle, Rathfarnham Castle, Athenry Castle Aughnanure Castle, Jerpoint Abbey, and the Ceide Fields. You will find a full list of participating sites on the Heritage Ireland website. There’s sure to be one near you.
3. Brigid of Faughart Festival
Venue: Faughart, Dundalk, and Ravensdale, Co. Louth
Dates: January 27th – February 4th
Cost: From free
Contact: See website
It’s hard to believe, but it’s officially spring on February 1st. February 1st is also St. Brigid’s Day, a celebration of one of Ireland’s patron saints. Her life and heritage are celebrated in Co. Louth with a full programme of talks, walks, and other events. Events for children include a St. Brigid’s cross making workshop on Wednesday January 31.
4. Wide Eyes
Venue: Galway City
Dates: February 1st – 4th
Cost: Varies; see website
Contact: 091 562667
Tiny tots often get overlooked when it comes to the world of the performing arts, but not in Galway. Wide Eyes is an initiative by the children’s art festival Babaro, which aims to bring the performing arts to the very young. Parents are encouraged to spend time with their kids, creating and learning together. Even the smallest children get the opportunity to get involved and explore the performing arts in their own way.
5. IMBOLC Festival at Hook Lighthouse
Hook Lighthouse, Fethard, Co. Wexford
353 +51 397055
The Celtic festival Imbolc is to be revived at Hook Lighthouse this February. An ancient celebration of the start of spring, it was one of the four most significant festivals in the Celtic calendar. Events at the 800-year-old lighthouse include a Brian Kennedy concert on the Friday evening, a sunrise tour and special breakfast on the Saturday morning (adults only), and storytelling competitions and a Celtic goddess ceremony. On Saturday afternoon, free storytelling sessions will take place with Baya Salmon-Hawk and Captain Hook, and there will be free children’s entertainment from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday.
If you head along to any of these wonderful events, make sure to let us know in the comments!