A lively city in the west of Ireland, there is no shortage of festivals or events in Galway. In this article, we will provide a seasonal guide to all of our favourite major annual events in Galway every month, so you know the best ongoing festivals and events in Galway during your stay!
Once you have decided when you are going to Galway, why not check out our list of the top 25 pubs in Galway city, so you can plan your night out before arriving!
Fleadh na gCuach Festival 2023, May
A traditional music and community based arts festival celebrating its 28th year, the Fleadh na gCuach Festival is held in Kinvara, about 30km from Galway city
Taking place on the first weekend in May (the May bank holiday) every year the festival hosts a range of traditional music, set dances, singing sessions and poetry readings. You can also take traditional Irish dancing lessons throughout the weekend!
Dip at Dawn, June
On the 21st of June, the longest day of the year or the Summer Solstice, the Galway Simon Community hold annual events in Galway, including ‘Dip at Dawn’ at 4.20pm on Salthill Beach. The Galway Simon Community work to raise funds for people facing homelessness in Galway.
Participants can take part in a beach yoga session before their dip in the sea, and hot beverages will be ready to serve after.
Registration costs €30, 100% of proceeds go directly to Galway Simon Community. Not only a great thing to do for charity, the event is a memorable experience in and of itself.
The Galway Races, 25th-31st July
An excuse to dress up, have a few drinks and maybe even place a bet on a lucky horse, the Galway races is a fun week out that continues into the cities’ best pubs at night time.
There are numerous events taking place on various days including Opening day celebrations and Galway Plate day.
One of the most famous days in Irish horse racing, Ladies day is an event in itself for fashion lovers. The best dressed ladies and gentlemen win major prizes and even if you are not interested in the competition it is a fun excuse to dress up and enjoy yourself
One of the most popular events in Galway, the Races are a truly iconic festival.
Galway race week takes place from Mon 25th July – Sun 31st July for 2022. You can find more information about race week here. If you enjoy a lively atmosphere, horse racing and like to dress up, race week is a great time to visit Galway.
Galway International Arts Festival 2022, 11th – 24th July
For lovers of music, art, drama and all things creative, the Galway International Arts Festival is one of the most well known events in Galway. The colourful city becomes even more vibrant with shows, concerts and parades galore. In 2022 the GIAF takes place from the 11th to 24th of July
A great time to visit the city, if you are looking for enjoyable day events and a lively pub scene, the Arts festival brings out many tourists and locals alike.
Galway Fringe Festival 2022, July
From the 8th – 24th of July, the Galway Fringe Festival celebrates the wide range of arts Galway has to offer, from music to art, drama, and everything in between! With so many artistic events in Galway, the city is a hotspot for creatives.
Trad on the Prom 2022, May – September
One of Ireland’s best traditional music, dance and singing festivals, Trad on the Prom is another of many musical events in Galway. Performers from Riverdance, The Chieftains and Lord of the Dance have all graced the stage in the past. If you enjoy country music, trad on the prom is the place to be.
Taking place every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, at Leisureland Theatre, you can find out more info on the Trad on the prom website.
Galway Tattoo Show 2022, August
The International Galway Tattoo Show takes place in the Galmont Hotel, showcasing the best tattoo artists from Ireland and all over the world! Another show that proves there is no shortage of artistic events in Galway.
Galway International Oyster Festival, September
For seafood lovers September is the ideal time to visit the city of the Tribes, as one of Europe’s oldest food festivals takes place. You can find great seafood all around the city, especially during the Galway International Oyster Festival!
You can visit some of Galways best pubs and restaurants by following the festival’s seafood trail. As far as food goes, the Oyster Festival is one of the best events in Galway.
Run Galway Bay (Full / Half Marathon & 10K), September
The Galway Bay Run attracts local and international athletes alike, you can experience the breath-taking views of the Galway Bay on foot, an experience like no other!
Baboró International Arts Festival for Children
Taking place from the 14th-23rd October 2022, Baboró is an annual international arts festival for children.
With the aim to inspire and engage children with the creative arts, Barboró works to promote the personal development of children creatively.
Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland is a patron of the Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. With a children’s panel who help to decide on the best events for the festival, Baboró is an event made by our youth, for our youth.
One of the most popular family-friendly events in Galway, Baboró offers something for everyone!
The Galway Christmas Market, November – December
From late November to the 22nd of December, Eyre Square, the centre of Galway city transforms into one of Irelands premier Christmas markets. Browse the market for handcrafted gifts, crepes and hot chocolate or simply walk through the park taking in the spectacular lights.
There is even a beer tent with large steins of beer and hot whiskeys available as well as Christmas music to get you in the festive mood.
One of personal favourite events in Galway, the Christmas market is a must see if you are in Ireland during December!
Ice skating at Leisure land Salthill, late November – early January
Leisureland in Salthill is transformed into a wonderful Christmas attraction with a 600m squared enclosed ice rink and a festive market to enjoy.
A great way to get into the festive mood, and kick off the Christmas season the right way, ice skating can be a fun group and family activity or even a seasonal hobby.
Situated along the promenade overlooking Galway Bay the ice rink is located beside Leisureland with ample on site parking for all.
There are numerous festive events in Galway, but iceskating is one of the most iconic Christmas activities.
Christmas Swim for Cope 2022
An annual fundraiser the Christmas Swim for Cope hopes to bring people together to raise money for homelessness, survivors of domestic abuse and services for older people in need of support.
There are many charitable events in Galway that you can register for or make a donation to.
Sea swimming has gained massive popularity in recent years, with physical and mental well being benefits. Many families have started a new Christmas tradition in Galway, by swimming in the sea around the holidays. Why not register for the Christmas Swim for Cope and try out festive sea swimming for yourself.
Subtitle Film Festival – January
A festival celebrating foreign films, the Subtitle film festival is a fun way for any cinema lover to spend time in Galway
The festival takes place over the last weekend in January in 2023, hosted by the Galway Town Hall Theatre with 11 films shown across three days.
Another one of many artistic events in Galway, the subtitle film festival is worth a visit for any movie buffs.
Subtitle film festival from 2020, an example of the event programme.
Astrofest – Galway Astronomy Festival, January 28th
Now in its 19th year, the Galway Astronomy Festival welcomes professionals and beginners alike to discuss astronomy and help each other to star gaze successfully.
Astrofest is one of the best events in Galway for any science lovers, taking place on the last Saturday, 28th of January 2023.
Galway International Rally 2023, February
The Corrib Oil Galway International Rally began in 1971, and will be hosting its 52nd event in 2023. 240km of competitive driving of closed road stages around the town of Loughrea, The Rally always attracts a large crowd of locals and tourists alike.
Car lovers will enjoy this event taking place on the first weekend in February.
Seachtain na Gaeilge Festival 2023, March
The annual Seachtain na Gaeilge or Weeks of Irish festival will take place from 1-17 March in 2023. The worlds largest Irish language festival will take place all over the country as well as internationally.
There will be many events in Galway held through Irish. The importance of the event is to further immerse our selves in the Irish language, and everyone is welcome; fluent and non fluent speakers alike! As long as you want to celebrate and learn the Irish language you are in the right place.
With many events in Galway, Ireland and all over the world, Seachtain na Gaeilge is the perfect time to celebrate Irish culture and tradition.
Tedfest – Fr. Ted Festival 2023, 2nd-5th March
Taking place from the 2nd-5th March on the isle of Inis Mór, Tedfest is the ultimate event for any fans of the popular Channel 4 TV show.
With special guest appearances from original cast members, some of the main events including references to the show such as, The Lovely Girls Competition, The Craggy Cup, Ted’s Got Talent, and Craggy Island’s Fittest Family to name a few.
Fans often dress up as characters from the show, so don’t be surprised if you see a gang priests and nuns on the Aran islands that weekend!
Utterly bizarre yet enjoyable, one thing is certain, Tedfest will be a weekend to remember! One of the most specific events in Galway, like it’s Tv counterpart, Tedfest has a cult following.
Múscailt – Annual Arts Festival
Hosted by the National University of Ireland Galway, Múscailt is an annual arts festival on college campus providing a platform for original and inventive artwork, music, dance, film and much more. NUI Galway and ATU Galway participate in many events in Galway throughout of the year. Many event attendees are alumnis of the college.
Did you know? Múscailt means ‘to awaken, to inspire, to create’ in Irish.
The 17th of March is a great time to visit Galway, the city with be flooded with people watching the parade and enjoying themselves in pubs. St. Patrick’s day is a time where Irish tradition is in full flow throughout the city.
St. Patricks day is one of Ireland’s most famous events in Galway and internationally. It’s a day when everyone is a little bit Irish!
Cúirt International Festival of Literature 2023, April
Literature lovers need to look no further than Cúirt International Festival of Literature 2023, running from the 3rd-9th of April.
Featuring an exciting range of Irish and international writers in Galway for readings, workshops, signings, discussions and over 70 other events in Galway, you are sure to find something you’d enjoy!
in its 38th year, the festival prides itself on offering a large range of events, many of them being free and ranging from poetry to prose, music and theatre to masterclasses and family fun days.
The popular Cúirt labs, a series of talks and workshops for children and teenagers will make its return.
Inis Oírr Wild Atlantic Island Run, April
Another running activity with a view, the Inis Oírr Wild Atlantic Island Run will take place on Saturday 22nd April 2023. You can register for a 5km or 10km run, it is a great way to actually see the island of Inis Oírr. While many people may want to sit back and relax on holidays, if you would like an adventure as well as a bit of exercise, the run could be a fun experience for you.
Even if you don’t fancy going on a run, one of the best things to do in Galway is to visit the many islands and appreciate the views. You can find out all of the logistics on the Inis Oírr Wild Atlantic Island Run website.
You can find more events in Galway tourism’s official website! Which of the above events in Galway would you like to attend? Let us know in the comments below!
After spending day attending one of these events, why not relax for the evening in the 25 best pubs in Galway city! If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, we have listed some of our favourite hotels in Galway. Outside of the city, Galway has so much to offer, from Connemara national park, Clifden, Dunguaire castle to Turoe Petfarm.