Halloween has been celebrated in Ireland for centuries. Its origins may be traced back to the 2,000-year-old Samhain holiday which marked the end of the year's bright half and the beginning of the year's dark half. Samhain was a time for pagan rites to be performed in honor of the deceased and gods, but people also made sure to dress up in costumes that resembles evil spirits in order to keep the spirits of the dead away.
Although American traditions such as 'trick or treating' and pumpkin carving is now part of Halloween as we know it today, the magic of Samhain and rich Celtic tradition can still be found at festival's all across the country. We've rounded up some of the best for a perfect stay this Halloween.
Samhain marked the end of the harvest, and so was all about lighting fires, dining on harvest products, music, getting together, and storytelling. The Celtic new year celebration still continue today at Púca Festival where you can experience the magic of folklore, light shows, elaborate costume and tasty food through various locations across Ireland. The festival takes place in Athboy, Drogheda, Slane and Trim where Celtic tradition and magic runs deep. If you're looking to stay overnight we recommend Trim Castle Hotel, or The D Hotel Drogheda. It all kicks off on October 23rd October to October 31st from 10am -1pm. Find our more about Púca Festival here.
Macnas Halloween Parade 2021
If you're looking to be entertained this Halloween the the Macnas parade in Galway is not to be missed. Ireland's largest free Halloween festival brings vibrant performances to the streets of Galway, with music, dancing and spectacular costumes including the huge signature Macnas sculptures. A total of 45 professional artists and 300 volunteers make up the Macnas creative ensemble that will take to the streets this Halloween and put on an unforgettable show for all. For somewhere to stay we recommend Jurys's Inn for the perfect city center location. The starting location is still to be confirmed but the parade will take place in Galway city center October 24th, 2021, at approximately 5.30pm
Derry Halloween is a modern take on the original Samhain celebration taking place from October 29th -31st. The River Foyle runs through the Derry-Londonderry area, which is close to the Sperrin Mountains, the Wild Atlantic Way, and the Causeway Coastal Route. Derry celebrates Halloween with a lively festival, surrounded by ancient 400-year-old walls. Just like was tradition for Samhain the streets of Derry will be full or people dressed up as ghosts and ghouls looking for excitement and terror in the haunted houses, haunted walk and the 'awakening the walls' performances before hitting the town for for a post scare night cap. Just a thirty minute drive from Derry you will find the Silver Tassie Hotel & Spa, the prefect place to rest your head after a night of excitement in Derry.