2018 Traditional Irish Music and Dance Summer Schools and Festivals

THERE’S NO BETTER PLACE in the world than Ireland in the summer, especially when the weather obliges. But whether the sun shines or not, I guarantee that the music, song, dance and craic will lift your spirit to the very best Ireland has to offer.

This year, I have included MAY in the summer listing, because there are too many gems not to be missed, including all the county fleadhanna that begin towards the end of the month. This leads into the four provincial fleadhanna in July and the the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann  being hosted this year by Drogheda, Co.Louth in August.

You can find your way around all 53 festivals and summer schools listed here by either using the interactive map OR by scrolling the date listing below, which also includes a brief description.


(If you don’t see your festival here, please let me know)

Festivals in May 2018

Festivals in June 2018

Festivals in July 2018

Festivals in August  2018

MAY 2018

Friday 4th – Monday 7th May 2018
Feile Chois Cuain
Louisburg, Co.Mayo
A traditional festival celebrating traditional music, song and dance.

Friday 4th – Sunday 6th May 2018
Portmagee Set Dancing Weekend
Portmagee, Co Kerry, Ireland
Traditional music, set dancing and singing in the Bridge Bar, Portmagee.

Friday 4th – Sunday 7th May 2018
Half Door Club Castletown TradFest
Castletown, Co Laois,
County Laois’s biggest dance festival offers plenty of great music and dancing over the four-day May bank holiday weekend.

Friday 11th -Sunday 13th May 2018
Sweets of May
Tralee, Co Kerry
The weekend celebrates set dancing with workshops and céilís by top teachers and bands in a lovely setting outside the town of Tralee.

Friday 11th- Sunday13th May 2018
Féile Chnoc na Gaoithe
Tulla, Co.Clare
Cnoc na Gaoithe (Windswept Hill), the Tulla Comhaltas Cultural Centre’s mission is to promote, preserve and showcase the rich Irish traditions and culture of Tulla and the East Clare area.

Monday 7th -Thursday 13th May 2018
CosCos Sean Nós Festival
Rathcormac, Co Sligo,
A weekend dedicated to sean nós music, song and dance, packed with workshops, céilís, sessions and concerts.

Thursday 17th – Sunday 20th May 2018
Féile Damhsa Gaelach
Gortahork, Co Donegal

Saturday 19th May- Sunday 20th May 2018
Skerries Traditional Music Weekend
Traditional music weekend in a beautiful location just North of Dublin – big line-up of well-known artists.

Thursday 24th – Monday 28th May 2018
Fleadh Nua
Ennis, Co Clare, Ireland
2018 Fleadh Nua in Ennis promises to be an exciting and innovative festival, full to the brim with concerts, céilís, sessions, CD launches, recitals, Irish dance competitions and street entertainment.

Tuesday 29th May – Monday 4th June 2018
Limerick Fleadh
Kilfinane, Co. Limerick
Fleadh Cheoil Luimnigh will host around 1,000 competitors on the June bank holiday weekend, all wishing to progress from Limerick for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

Thursday 31st May – Sunday 3rd June 2018
Monaghan Fleadh
Ballybay, Co. Monaghan
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing, at the Ballybay Community College (Tullycorbet CCÉ).

JUNE 2018

Friday 1st – Monday 4th June 2018
Cavan Fleadh
Kilnaleck, Co. Cavan
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing at Kilnaleck, County Cavan.

Friday 1st – Monday 4th June 2018
Laois Fleadh
Mountmellick, Co. Laois
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing at Mount Mellick, County Laois.

Saturday 2nd – Sunday 3rd June 2018
Sligo Fleadh
Sligo Town, Co. Sligo
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing, jointly hosted by Fred Finn CCÉ and Sligo Town CCÉ.

Saturday 9th – Sunday 10th June 2018
Fermanagh Fleadh
Derrygonnelly, Fermanagh
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing hosted by the Fermanagh Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann,

Sunday 10th June- Friday 15th June 2018     
Welcome to Enniscrone Irish & Country Music Festival      
Enniscrone, Co.Sligo
Classes will begin each morning at 11am in céili, Fior céili & sean nós. Plus ballroom, jive & salsa with piret also beginning each morning at 11am.Great Irish céilí bands including the Duntally,Foot Tappers, Salamanca, Longnote and Matt Cunningham.

Friday 15th – Sunday 17th June, 2018
Doolin Folk Festival
Doolin, Co.Clare
Taking inspiration from the great festivals of the 70’s and 80’s such as Lisdoonvarna down the road and from the deep musical roots of the county, The Doolin Folk Festival presents powerful music in an intimate setting and ensures that audiences & musicians can feel at one and just enjoy the communal spirit

Sunday 17th – Sunday 24th June 2018
Tyrone Fleadh
Dungannon, Co. Tyrone
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing, hosted by Craobh Úi Néill CCÉ, Dún Geanainn.

Sunday 17th-Sunday 24th June 2018
Galway Sessions
Galway city, Co.Galway
The annual Galway Sessions Festival, celebrates Irish folk and traditional music and the music Irish emigrants brought with them across the world. The festival has a variety of events including gigs in theatres and pubs throughout Galway City from 1pm-1am.

Wednesday 20th –Sunday 24th June 2018
Clare Fleadh
Ennis, Co. Clare
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing in Ennis, County Clare.

Thursday 21st – Sunday 24th June 2018
Jim Dowling Uillean Pipe & Traditional Music Festival
Glengarriff, Co.Cork
Fabulous line-up this year including Sharon Shannon, Steve Cooney and many more.

Friday 22nd June – Saturday 23rd June 2018         
All-Ireland Sean Nós Dance Festival          
Athboy, Co Meath, Ireland          
A summer sean nós festival with workshops, sessions, céilís and a competition with a top prize of €500.

Saturday 23rd –Sunday 24th June 2018
Down Fleadh
Portaferry/Castlewellan, Co. Down
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing in Portaferry and Castlewellan, Co. Down.

Monday 25th – Friday 29th June 2018
Craiceann International Bodhrán Summer School 
Inis Oirr, Co.Galway (Aran Islands)
Love the rhythm? The festival focusing on the bodhran drum will satisfy your need to listen and learn, in a most beautiful setting steeped in traditional Irish music.

Monday 25th June – Friday 6th July 2018         
Limerick, Co.Limerick     
Intensive “deep dive” workshops and master classes for experienced singers, dancers and musicians with a focus on collaborative integration of understanding between the disciplines. A residential program at the University of Limerick including international accreditation.

JULY 2018

Sunday 1st July – Friday 6th July 2018
Seaosamh Macghabhan Summer School
Kilmovee, Co.Mayo.
Full summer school with individual and group tuition in a wide range of instruments, dancing and singing.

Sunday 1st July – Friday 6th July 2018
Cairde na Cruite, An Chúirt Chruitireachta
Termonfeckin, Co. Meath
Friends of the Harp – an international festival for Irish harp.

Monday 2nd – Sunday 8th July 2018
Fleadh Cheoil Connaght 2018
Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim       

Connacht Province Fleadh, which is primarily provincial competitions for traditional musicians, dancers & other artists, organised by the local Comhaltas Cheoltóirí Éireann (CCE).        

Monday 2nd – Friday 6th July  2018
Westport Schoil Cheoil
Westport, Co.Mayo
Full summer school with tuition, concerts and recitals.

Friday 6th- Sunday 8th July  2018
Spiddal, Co.Galway
A taste of local traditional music, arts and culture in Spiddal.

Saturday 7th- Sunday 15th July 2018       
Willie Clancy Summer Schoo
Miltown Malbay, Co.Clare  
Affectionately known as Willie Week, this festival is held in traditional music heartland that calls music and dance lovers back year after year. There’s a great atmosphere in the town and surrounds, with plenty of sessions, céilis and busking to complement the official program of classes and recitals. An addtional program of dancing is also held at the Armada Hotel.

Sunday 8th – Sunday 15th July 2018
Leinster Fleadh 2018
Muine Bheag (Bagenalstown), Co. Carlow

Leinster Province Fleadh, which is primarily provincial competitions for traditional musicians and dancers and other artists, organised by the local Comhaltas Cheoltóirí Éireann (CCE).  

Monday 9th– Friday 13th July  2018
Ceol na Coille Summer School of Irish Traditional Music
Letterkenny, Co.Donegal
Full summer school with traditional music and singing for all,  and special Gaeltacht experience for young people.

Sunday 15th- Saturday 21st July 2018         
South Sligo Summer School  
Tubbercurry, Co.Sligo
This has become my favorite festival for it’s laid back nature but also the learning to dance program is excellent. Different energy to Willie Clancy, it’s more intimate, gentler and very enjoyable in this beautiful part of Co.Sligo, with very deep music & dance tradition. Set dancing and music classes are in the morning 10am-1pm, a sean nós dance program in the afternoon from 4-6pm, and a range of concerts in the afternoons, and set dancing céilís in the evenings, with sessions in the pubs to follow.         

Sunday 15th – Sunday 22nd July  2018      
Munster Fleadh 2018          
Ennis Co.Clare
Munster Provincial Fleadh, which is primarily provincial competitions for traditional musicians and dancers and other artists, organised by the local Comhaltas Cheoltóirí Éireann (CCE).

Sunday 15th – Sunday 22nd July 2018        
Céilí at the Crossroads Festival 
Annual céilí at the Crossroads  has expanded to a whole week – an opportunity to dance outside!         

Saturday 21st – Saturday 28th July 2018
Joe Mooney Summer School    
Drumshanbo Co. Leitrim
Drumshanbo is delightful – a similar format to South Sligo Summer School, the difference here is the focus is very much around the unusual main street, which has a pedestrian mezzanine above the lane of traffic, where you can sit out in the sun, dance, listen to music & enjoy the people going by and enjoy a number of excellent evening céilís.

Monday 23rd – Friday 27th July 2018
Meitheal Residential Summer School
Villiers School, Limerick City, Ireland
Residential summer school for young traditional musicians.

Monday 23rd -Sunday 29th July 2018         
Ulster Fleadh 2018   
Ulster Province Fleadh, which is primarily provincial competitions for traditional musicians and dancers and other artists, organised by the local Comhaltas Cheoltóirí Éireann (CCE).

Saturday 28th July  – Saturday 4th August 2018
Scoil Acla Summer School
Achill Island, Co.Mayo
Traditional music courses, art workshops, sean nós singing, writers workshop, dance workshop, sean nós dancing,  basket weaving workshops in a most unique location.


Monday 30th July – Friday 3rd August 2018
Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music
Belfast, Co.Antrim
Full programme of classes, sessions, talks, concerts, workshops, launches and more.

Monday 30th July – Saturday 4th August 2018
Sean nós dancing residency for adults, with Edwina Guckian
Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim
An intensive course in sean nós dance from 11-2pm daily, with sessions and ceilíthe running throughout the week.

Monday 30th July – Saturday 4th August 2018
The Irish Dance Festival         
Carlingford, Co.Louth   
Spend a week learning from some of the world’s best Irish dance masters of three styles – step, set and sean nós – and connect with fellow lovers of Irish dance by immersing yourself in Irish culture and heritage.      

Monday 30th July – Sunday 6th August 2018
Summer Festival of Dance          
Ballyfin, Co Laois
Maureen Culleton is an expert dancer, teacher and supporter of all forms of Irish traditional dance, with strong followings among dancers in Europe, Japan and across Ireland. She calls the sets at the céilíthe running through out the week, teaches the workshops and leads the sessions.
EMAIL MAUREEN for more information.

Wednesday 1st- Monday 6th August 2018
Kilrush Trad Music & Set Dancing Festival
Kilrush Traditional Music & Set Dancing Festival is a 6 day festival of music & set dancing including open air céilis in Kilrush Square on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Music sessions, singers club, sean nós & set dancing workshops will also take place throughout the festival.

Friday 3rd  – Sunday 5th August 2018
Ballyshannon Folk Festival
Ballyshannon, County Donegal
The 41st annual Ballyshannon Folk and Traditional Music Fesitval is the place to be this August Bank Holiday Weekend as the sounds of traditional and folk music echo from the streets, pubs and Marquee concerts along Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th August 2018 (TBA)         
James Morrison Traditional Music Festival         
Riverstown, Co Sligo.    
A full trad festival with open air céilís, concerts, sessions and more in the home village of a fiddler who became famous in the USA.

Friday 4th – Monday  7th August 2018
O’Carolan Summer School and Harp Festival 2018         
Keadue, Co Roscommon         
The Irish composer Turlough O’Carolan is the inspiration for this summer school and festival in this gorgeous town. Plenty of dancing including the famous Annual Door Dancing Competition on Monday 7th August  at 7pm.

Tuesday 7th- Tuesday 13th August 2018  (TBC)      
Kilcar Fleadh          
Kilcar, Co Donegal
A 7 day festival of traditional music, songs and dance, celebrating the living heritage of traditional music in South West Donegal.      

Wednesday 8th- Monday 13th August 2018          
Feakle International Festival of Traditional Music          
Feakle, Co Clare  
For a few days each August, Feakle village becomes a very special place where the best in traditional music can be heard, songs sung, dances danced and friends meet up again for another Feakle Festival.      

Sunday12th – Friday 17th August 2018
Fleadh Cheoil na h’Eireann & Scoil Éigse 2018
Drogheda, Co.Louth

The best kind of celebration and competition, with provincial finalist musicians, dancers and artists competing to win their All-Ireland categories. Comhaltas Ceolteoiri Eireann (CCE) showcase fabulous music, dance and a wide range of concerts and other events celebrating Irish culture. Don’t miss it!

Wednesday 22nd – Sunday 26th August 2018       
Masters of Tradition         
Bantry, Cork
Celebrating traditional music in its’ purest form through a series of concerts and performances, directed by Martin Hayes.

Enjoy the craic and I hope the sun shines strong for you.
Nora Stewart

Links reviewed 13 Sept 2021

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