Upcoming Events on the Ring of Kerry

Posted : Friday, January 30, 2015

According to the last census and CSO figures from 2011, Co. Kerry has a population of over 145,000 people. As the county is one of Ireland’s largest counties in addition to having some of the most visited sites such as the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula and Lakes of Killarney, the events held on the Ring of Kerry attract not just locals, but also domestic and overseas tourism too. Here we profile some of the biggest upcoming events that are going to be held on the Ring of Kerry in the first half of 2015.

The 16th Gathering Traditional Festival

This annual event takes place from the 18th to the 22nd of February in 2015 in the INEC Killarney. It is a celebration of traditional Irish music and dance. The festival includes a mix of music sessions, set dancing workshops, concerts, Ceilis, songs and story sessions as well as traditional Irish musical instrument masterclasses.

Highlights of this year’s festival include:

  • 6 Ceilis over 5 days including 1 afternoon session
  • 5 live music concerts over 3 days
  • Family entertainment
  • A series of workshops
  • 9 sessions over 4 days

 Do not miss the ‘Session on the Lakes of Killarney’ on board the ‘Pride of the Lakes Waterbus’. The most popular event of the festival, singers, dancers and musicians perform on the waterbus set against the backdrop of the lakes. The event takes place on February 18th with a shuttle bus departing the Gleneagle Hotel reception at 12 noon to take guests to the lake shore at Ross Castle. Tickets are priced at €10 and pre booking is essential. The festival was conceived in 1999 and now 16 years later it is firmly established as one of the most popular celebrations of traditional Irish music, song and dance in Ireland.

Traditional Irish dancers

The Kenmare Lace Festival

The Kenmare Lace Festival takes place from Thursday the 19th of March until Kenmare lace from 1911Sunday the 22nd of March in 2015. The aim of the festival is to promote traditional lacemaking and cutting edge design. It exists to celebrate the heritage and design that was established by the Poor Clare nuns of Kenmare in the post famine times of the 1860s.

The festival has a full programme of lacemaking workshops covering 9 different disciplines of lacemaking. Exhibitions showcasing the premier lacemaking skills of professional Irish designers and textile students will run in addition to a fashion show, millinery workshops, competitions and a ‘meet and greet’ with the designers.

The lacemaking workshops are at the core of the festival and are held for both beginners and the more advanced lace makers. Styles of lace include Kenmare Lace, Limerick Lace, Carricmacross Lace, Bobbin Lace, Tatting and Traditional Crochet. The social element of the festival is not lost with a ‘lace library’ of antique and heritage lace and social tables dotted around Kenmare town.

The Killarney Adventure Race

While Irish culture and heritage are at the heart of many events in Kerry, sport is one of the biggest attractions in the county due to the unspoilt landscape and rugged scenery. For the truly initiated, the Killarney Adventure Race, which takes place on Saturday March 17th in 2015, is the top choice. This race is a one day only multi adventure sports race covering the Killarney National Park, the Kerry Way and the Black Valley. The main route is 55 kilometres for experts but a new 33 kilometre route for first timers has also been introduced to cater to all levels of fitness. The race includes running, hiking, cycling and kayaking.

For those who are still in training, the race will be held again in October and as tickets for the March race are already sold out, this might be a blessing in disguise to get more training in. For spectators, we recommend attending the after party in Killarney town to celebrate with competitors.

Adventure race participants

K Fest Music and Arts Festival

The K Fest Music and Arts Festival takes place from Friday the 29th of May until Monday the 1st of June in 2015. It takes place in venues all over Killorglin town in mid Kerry and is a celebration of the up and coming musical and artistic scene in Kerry in addition to attracting acts from further afield. The full line up for 2015 has yet to be revealed and the festival is only in its 3rd year; it has already attracted a UK rock and blues band called ‘Sky Valley Mistress’ as part of its 2015 line up.

The festival will feature more than 100 artists in 25 ‘pop-up’ galleries and over 30 bands in bars and venues in addition to a film programme and ‘spoken word’ events. What makes the festival unique is the many varied buildings that will house the artists’ creations from bars to restaurants, an old cinema, converted churches and schools. Almost everything except the ticketed concerts will be free.

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