kerry festivals Biddys

Festivals in the Reeks District are primarily a local affair. That’s why we love them and think you will too. More than just ‘something to do’, they offer a glimpse of local life, a chance to strike up a conversation with strangers, an opportunity to experience the region from a different angle. So here are our eight festivals in Ireland not be missed… whether during your stay at Caragh Lake House or when you come back.

1. Biddy’s Day

The Biddy tradition, with its Christian (St. Brigid’s Day) and ancient Celtic (Imbolc) origins, has existed in the Reeks District for hundreds of years.

Groups from different parishes visit homes and pubs carrying a Brídeóg or ‘Biddy doll’ to ward off evil spirits for the coming year. They then come together in a visually stunning parade in Killorglin (image above) as part of the revitalised Biddy’s Day celebrations with workshops on Irish crafts, talks, set dancing and traditional music. This one is well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

For up to date information or to find out more visit the Biddy’s Day Facebook page.

February – First Saturday in February

2. Saint Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day, or Paddy’s Day as it’s also known, celebrates the Irish patron saint Saint Patrick. In most of the towns and villages in the region there is usually a parade with local businesses, football teams and clubs coming together… with a lot of green on show.

Our personal favourite is Glenbeigh – small, simple and definitely local with groups from Glencar and Cromane joining along. There are also parades in Killorglin and Milltown with people usually heading to the pub after for a few drinks. Remember to wear a bit of green. ☘️

For timings visit the Reeks District Facebook events page closer to the day.

March – 17th of March

3. May Day

May Day is one of Killorglin’s four celtic festivals – Imbolc (Biddy’s Day), Bealtaine (May Day), Lughnasa (Puck Fair) and Samhan in November.

On the morning of May 1st people decorate bushes, trees and branches and display them outside their homes and businesses . There are then a number of events throughout the town to welcome the summer season and to pay respect to the regions rich history and cultural traditions.

For details of what’s on visit the Reeks District Facebook events page closer to the day.

May – 1st of May

4. K-Fest

K-Fest is Ireland’s foremost festival for emerging art, music, poetry and drama where vacant retail outlets, deserted buildings and domestic homes are transformed into curated bespoke pop-up galleries and venues over the June Bank Holiday weekend.

The K-FEST team hosts more than 60 events in addition to a gallery trail, live music performances by dozens of up-and-coming bands and musicians, as well as spoken word, drama, comedy, short films, street entertainment, and activities for kids and families.

For further information you can visit the K-Fest website.

JuneJune bank holiday weekend

5. Glencar Cattle Show

Founded in 1940 to exhibit the native Kerry cattle breed, the Glencar Cattle Show is a tradition among the agricultural community in the region and includes a full day of events, activities, exhibits and sports.

Beginning with a children’s fancy dress contest the day includes competitions for cattle, sheep, ponies and dogs, as well as kids running contests along with penalty shoot, sheaf throwing and Irish dancing competitions.

For more information visit the Reeks District Facebook events page closer to the day.

June – Last Sunday in June

6. Puck Fair

For more than 400 years Killorglin has been home to one Ireland’s oldest and most unusual festivals which centres around a single special goat. Brought to the town from the mountains by one of the ‘royal goat catchers’ this wild goat is paraded through Killorglin joined by the Queen of Puck, pipe bands, carnival floats and local groups to be ultimately crowned King for the three days of Puck – the 10th, 11th and 12th of August.

During the festival there’s street entertainment and live music, stalls selling all sorts of nicknacks, a funfair, fortune tellers and of course the famous Horse Fair. It’s definitely a festival to expect and to embrace an element of randomness.

For more information visit their Facebook page.

August – 10th, 11th and 12th of August

7. Glenbeigh Races

Established in 1924, the Glenbeigh Races are on the last weekend of August or first weekend in September depending on the tides. Festivities start on the Friday with family entertainment in Glenbeigh village. That’s then followed with horse racing Saturday and Sunday on Rossbeigh Beach. Flanked by the mountains of the Iveragh and Dingle Peninsulas and the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop, it is a truly magnificent setting and certainly not your average racecourse.

That’s then followed by music and dancing in Glenbeigh village in the evenings. Definitely worthwhile going to.

For more information on dates and program you visit the Glenbeigh Races website.

August / September – Last weekend of August or first weekend of September depending upon the tides

8. Cromane Seafest

Cromane, famous for its oysters and mussels, held its inaugural Seafest September 2019. Oyster shucking competitions, festive food trucks, chef demonstrations, kite flying displays, knot tying lessons, live music… and some amazing weather meant it was absolute rip roaring success.

We’re delighted that it’s coming back in 2020 (September 18th to 20th) and hope it will become an annual event in the local calendar. Definitely worth pencilling in.

For more information just visit their website or Facebook page.

September – Third weekend in September

For more information on these and other festivals in the region, just check out the Reeks District website.

Main image courtesy of Valerie O’Sullivan.

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