County Kerry, often referred to as The Kingdom, is host to many festivals and fairs throughout the month of August. So if you’re planning a trip to Kerry at this time of year it’s not all about the magnificent sights and scenery, your visit will also be steeped in traditional dance, music and “craic”. Read on to find out more about the choice of fun and entertainment that will make your short break in Kerry one to remember.
Kerry has been described by many as one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty. It boasts stunning views around every corner and it’s a county that caters for all ages and walks of life. A top priority for the people of Kerry is that all who visit this magnificent county enjoy themselves and make a promise to come back at some time in the future.
Throughout the month of August the county is alive with a buzz of festivals and fairs. At any time you’re never too far from the festivities and traditional music and dance are high on the agenda for enjoyment. The Caherciveen Celtic Festival of Music and the Arts, Puck Fair and The Rose of Tralee are but a few of the festivals to watch out for.
The Caherciveen Celtic Festival of Music and the Arts
The Caherciveen Celtic Festival of Music and the Arts is held over the Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of August. This festival is proud to boast its ability to cater not only for the entire family but also for various interests and needs. The programme includes concerts and sessions focussing on traditional music and song. There are guided walks taking in the scenic countryside surrounding the town along with exploring the shores by the sea. You can enjoy street entertainment with a variety of talent displayed during the busking competition.
For the younger members of the family there’s a Fancy Dress Competition, Kids Olympics and entertainers such as the Fanzini Brothers and the Noel Lambert Puppet Show. For the fishing enthusiasts there will be a Deep Sea Angling Competition along with the opportunity to fish from the bridge in the town itself. The festival will explode with an array of colours and designs on the Friday night with an impressive fireworks display.
For more information check out the Cahirciveen Festival website.
Another entertaining three days not to be missed is that of Puck Fair, one of the oldest and best-known fairs the country has to offer. The Fair is held on the 10th 11th and 12th of August in the picturesque town of Killorglin, against the backdrop of the McGillycuddy Reeks.
Puck Fair is steeped in history and tradition with the main attraction on the 10th, the opening day (known locally as the ”Gathering Day”), with the crowning of Irelands only King. A wild mountain goat is captured from the mountains by locals prior to the festival. The people of Killorglin plan and talk about this festival with a pride that can be seen throughout the three days. New visitors are welcomed and old friends and family are thrilled to be back in the hive of fun and enjoyment, which is the central theme for this fair.
There’s enjoyment and entertainment for both young and old and a line up of activities that is sure to fill your days with unique experiences. For the younger members of the family there’s face painting, a wobbly circus, a puppet show and a funfair. The fair centres around the Puck Fair stand where over the days you can experience traditional set dancing and music sessions. The festival will officially close on Tuesday night, the 12th of August, with a fireworks display.
Our top tip would be to experience some of the activity around the horse and cattle fairs, which have continued to this day. The horse fair, well known the length and breadth of the country, is on the first day of Puck Fair and the cattle fair is on the 11th, the second day. Be sure to observe the bartering that goes on between farmers and traders, done with both traditional style and humour.
For more information check out the Puck Fair Festival website.
The Rose of Tralee Festival
Towards the end of the month of August, Friday the 22nd to Tuesday the 26th is a chance to experience some of the atmosphere of the world-renowned Rose of Tralee Festival. It’s a story of love and tragedy that forms the background to the Rose of Tralee Festival. A song written in the 19th century by a wealthy merchant William McIchinock, tells the sad tale of his love for a local Tralee woman named Mary O’ Connor and how their union at the time was discouraged due to class distinction. When William finally returned to Tralee to find Mary, she had died tragically from Tuberculosis.
This festival would be typical of the Irish attitude of dealing with tragedy and sadness and that is to celebrate what we have with music and dance. Since the crowning of the festivals first Rose in 1957 the event has grown to include contestants with Irish birth/ancestry from all over the world. The main attraction at the festival is the 30 plus contestants and their schedule of events up until the night the 2008 Rose is crowned. The entertainment line up includes a Rose Ball, parades, a fun fair, circus, marching bands street entertainers and late night music and dance.
For more information take a look at the Rose of Tralee Festival website.
Other festivals during the month of August include The Glenbeigh Festival and Races, The Brendan Kenelly Summer Festival and The Dan Paddy Andy Festival.
The Glenbeigh Festival and Races
The Glenbeigh Festival and Races are being held from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th of August in the stunning village of Glenbeigh and along the miles of white sandy beach at Rossbeigh. This annual event includes horse races along the beach with music, dance and entertainment for all ages being held in the village.
Take a look at the Glenbeigh Races website.
The Brendan Kenelly Summer Festival
The Brendan Kenelly Summer Festival is held over the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of August in Ballylongford. This literary and cultural festival has been held annually since 2001and caters for all ages. It’s a truly International celebration of the work of Brendan Kenelly with exhibitions, poetry, music, dance and street entertainment.
The Dan Paddy Andy Festival
The Dan Paddy Andy Festival is taking place from Friday 1st to Monday 4th of August. It’s held in the stunning surroundings of a rural community area of Lyreacrompane. This festival is a celebration of one of the last Irish matchmakers, Dan Paddy Andy. The festival has a very local feel to it, however visitors are encouraged to go along and are guaranteed a big Irish welcome and made to feel part of the celebrations. There will be music and dance sessions, children’s events, story telling, a Historical Bog Walk and many other activities.
If you need somewhere to stay in Kerry take a look at our Kerry hotels page.