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The Midlands is fast-becoming known as the home of big events and festivals in Ireland. A packed calendar of events sees many of Ireland’s (and even many of Europe’s) largest outdoor events taking place in the region, drawing crowds of visitors and revellers.
The best-known Midlands festivals all take place at the end of the Summer, and attract close to 1 million people to the region in the space of just a few weeks, these are Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, currently taking place in Mullingar, the National Ploughing Championship in Ratheniska, the Tullamore Show, and the Electric Picnic Music and Arts Festival in Stradbally.
The World’s largest festival of Irish music and culture is currently back home in Mullingar. The event takes place over a week each Summer, and draws crowds of over half a million people from Ireland and around the globe to celebrate the best in traditional Irish music and dance. An event for all the family, the next festival takes places from 6th to 14th August 2023.
Known as ‘the Ploughing’, the annual event attracts crowds of over 300,000 people to Ratheniska, Co. Laois each September. More than a Ploughing competition, the event has grown and grown to become one of the biggest celebrations of farming and country life in Europe, with food, music and more, all combining to make this a must-see in the Irish events calendar.
The Electric Picnic began as a boutique festival in 2004 with capacity at 10,000, growing to the current 70,000 capacity. Taking place each year in the stunning surrounds of Stradbally House in Co. Laois, the festival is now Ireland’s largest gathering of music & arts, and the ultimate rock n’ roll circus. ‘The Picnic’ has established itself as one of the world’s most unique festivals. With a great selection of music, art, theatre, comedy, food and holistic health, it’s the most delightfully diverse end of summer party on the Emerald Isle.
Tullamore Show & FBD National Livestock Show is Ireland's premier agricultural event. Every year it attracts the best cattle, sheep, and equine breeders from all over the country. It is Ireland's largest one-day show, averaging 60,000 visitors in recent years, with 700 Trade Stands from Agri Sectors, Home Industries, Farm Produce, Innovation, Forestry, Agri Machinery and more.
Birr Vintage Week and Arts Festival is an annual community arts festival in Birr, Co. Offaly featuring professional, national and international artists bringing visual arts, theatre, music, street theatre, pop up performers, workshops, exhibitions and lots more, together with a variety of community events. One of the longest running festivals of its kind in Ireland, 2023 will be the 55th year of the festival
The RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival comprises of nine nights of the best in Irish amateur drama performed at the Dean Crowe Theatre Athlone for the prestigious Festival Trophy as well as for other major acting and technical awards. The festival recently celebrated its 70th year, and is now supported by an active Fringe which involves street theatre, art exhibitions, workshops and events for all age groups.
The annual Maria Edgeworth Festival takes place every May in Edgeworthstown. From initial beginnings over twenty five years ago the Festival has established itself as one of the best Literary events on the Irish Calendar and has attracted visitors from all over Ireland and abroad who share an interest in Literary History. The 2023 event which will take place from the 5th to the 7th May 2023.
The All-Ireland Scarecrow Festival is held in Durrow at the end of July each year. Each year, large scarecrows are made by locals and community groups and displayed at installations around the village. It has featured large scarecrows including King Kong, Pope Francis, Noah's Ark and Electric Picnic. The town is dotted with scarecrows made by local groups, children, businesses and people from neighbouring counties.
For a full listing of all events taking place across the region, from national festivals to community events, you can see the Event Guides for each of our counties below