Festivals in Galway

Galway is a city of entertainment, jam-packed full of festivals each year, there is always something on. Being only 15 minutes away from the city, Maldron Hotel Oranmore Galway provides the perfect base for your next visit to Galway. Some of our favourite festivals include The Galway Races, The Galway Jazz Festival and the Galway Christmas Festival. Read below for our full list of festivals taking place every year.

Galway Jazz Festival

According to the Irish Times, the Galway Jazz Festival is a ‘boutique festival with a big heart and growing international credibility’, and it is returning this year in October.

This is a popular destination for jazz lovers not only locally and nationally but internationally. Musicians come from all around the world to join in on the festivities every year with artists from Germany, Britain, United States and Norway known to make the trip to Galway annually. Irish artists also feature prominently in the lineup.

Here are just a few examples of world-renowned artists who made an appearance last year:

  • Christian Wallumrød
  • Lauren Kinsella
  • Andy Sheppard
  • Cuar
  • Aerie

The festival is known for pushing artistic boundaries from traditional jazz music to contemporary takes on classical pieces by the greats as well as flavours of modern hip-hop being heard throughout the event. This year promises to be better than ever with live performances, discussion panels and impromptu jamming sessions taking place all over the city.

Venues include:

  • St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church
  • Il Vicolo
  • Biteclub and Electric
  • Roisin Dubh
  • The Salthouse
  • Bierhaus
  • Hotel Meyrick
  • Maoin Cheoil na Gaillimhe

Galway has a strong cultural tradition for music and especially for Jazz with events happening year round. This festival celebrates this tradition and aims to promote jazz as a contemporary art form in the west of Ireland.

Vodafone Comedy Carnival

Vodafone Comedy Carnival is back in Galway this year takes place every year in October. Some of the best acts from Ireland, UK and the United States last year performed in Galway for a week of laughs to remember. Big names such as Al Porter, Patton Oswalt and Reginald D Hunter, all performed spectacularly well last year! Acts are hosted in the Black Box Theatre and Town Hall Theatre as well as the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent which will be set up in Eyre Square.

This bejewelled spectacular venue is the iconic centre of the event and really lends a carnival atmosphere. The full line up of acts performing throughout the week will be available from August so make sure to keep an eye on their website in the run-up to the carnival. Tickets for this tend to go quickly so visit the website to grab yours in time!

Galway Races

The Galway Races is the sparkling highlight of the social and sporting calendar here in Galway The races are taking place at Ballybrit Racecourse, just 10 minutes from Maldron Hotel Oranmore Galway, making us the ideal location to stay on your next trip to the races. Three times a year racing fans from all over Ireland and abroad visit to be a part of the extraordinary occasion. Racing takes place across 7 days in July and August, September and October Bank Holiday weekend.

Galway Abooo Halloween Festival

We take the Halloween season very seriously here in Galway! There is a whole festival dedicated to the spookiest time of the year, the Galway Abooo Halloween Festival.

There’s a whole host of different events organised for the whole family. Here’s just a few examples of what to expect:

Macnas Halloween Parade

Macnas, the world famous street theatre group, will be celebrating the Halloween season in style with a spectacular parade through the streets of Galway. This promises to be a feast for the eyes going by previous years! From witches to giants, goblins and ghouls, it’s difficult to say what this year’s parade will feature. The theme of the parade will be announced shortly.


The Connacht Tribune printing press on Market Street will be the home of the spookiest scare factory in the west for the few weeks leading up to Halloween night. If you feel up to it, head over to Market Street to prove your bravery!

Galway Ghost Ship

A haunted fishing trawler will be docked on the Claddagh Quay in the lead up to Halloween night. The bravest trick or treaters will be called upon to come along and here the ghost stories from seanchaí onboard. Halloween costumes are encouraged and entry is free.

We will be hosting our own special Halloween themed Crafty Kids Club during the midterm break too so that the little ones can dress up and celebrate Halloween while they’re away.

St Patrick's Festival

Galway is the place to be on St Patrick’s weekend! The city is bursting with culture and on St Patrick’s Day, the Irish culture is celebrated in a most spectacular way. All of Galway’s most famous arts and theatre groups will be showcasing their talents during the festival and it will also provide a platform for the many international groups that will be exhibiting Galway’s rich and diverse cultural fabric.

After the parade, there will be street performances and live entertainment all over the city as the festival kicks into full swing! Take a stroll through the cobbled streets and breathe in the festival atmosphere. If weather permits, a walk along the Salthill prom is sure to blow the cobwebs off.

Galway Christmas Festival

Galway really comes alive with a magical atmosphere throughout the city. It’s the perfect time to visit the City of the Tribes for a winter break, a romantic getaway or just a last minute Christmas shopping break!

Christmas Markets

The famous Christmas markets bring with them the traditional smells and sounds of Christmas. With festive treats and handmade gifts, this is the perfect place to soak up some atmosphere during your break in Galway.

Elf Town

Elf Town Galway has become enormously popular as a destination for families during Christmas time. Located in the middle of the city, this visit to Santa will be one to remember!

Shopping in Galway

Galway is known as an excellent shopping destination where you’ll find all the high street stores you expect as well as original boutiques and charming market stalls. It’s the perfect place to pick up some last minute gifts as well as treats for yourself!

Santa’s Workshop at Aillwee Caves

Just over an hour’s drive from the Maldron Oranmore, visit Santa’s Workshop at Aillwee Caves. The caves will host Santa and his elves over the Christmas season offering a magical experience for all the boys and girls who visit.

Ted Festival

TedFest is a festival celebrating the legendary series Father Ted as well as the life of Dermot Morgan who played the title character. Take to the largest of the Aran Islands just off the west coast and enjoy the fun and Father Ted themed entertainment during the festival!

The festival is now running over ten years and going from strength to strength every year. It has gained almost cult status with many of its attendees coming to the festival religiously (pardon the pun) since it began. Some of Ireland’s biggest comedy stars appear during the weekend such as Tommy Tiernan and Joe Rooney, who played roles in the original show.

Several events are planned for the festival including the Craggy Island Hayride and BBQ, Matchmaking with Nellie and the Craggy Island Ceili. Many competitions are also held such as the Lovely Girls, Nun’s Beach Volleyball and Loveliest Horse. The All Priests and Nuns Five A Side Craggy Cup is a particular highlight of the weekend so make sure you come prepared!

Joe Watty’s Bar is the place to be every night with quizzes and live entertainment during the festival. It is encouraged to come to the festival dressed as your favourite character to really get into the swing of Craggy Island life. You’re sure to bump into several Mrs Doyles and Father Jacks during your time there! You never know, if you make enough priest and nuns friends during your time there, it might even become an annual pilgrimage!

Galway Film Fleadh

Celebrating the finest in film, the Galway Film Fleadh is a must for all cinema lovers. Taking place every year in July, it is Ireland’s leading film festival welcoming directors, producers, cinematographers and enthusiasts from around the world. The festival attracts some big names in the national and international cinema industry with past guests including Martin Sheen, Pierce Brosnan and Saoirse Ronan, to name just a few.

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