Halloween is the most exciting time of the year if you’re a fan of things that go bump in the night. And though its origins can be traced to cultures all over the planet, many of the Halloween traditions we know and love stem from Irish folklore, so where better to celebrate the spookiest time of the year?
From Cork to Belfast and everywhere in between, here’s where to be when you visit Ireland this Halloween.
Cork doesn’t do Halloween by halves. If an enormous dragon being paraded around the city streets isn’t big enough for you, it’s also the home of one of the scariest haunted houses you could ever step foot inside.
THE DRAGON OF SHANDON PARADE
Taking place just a 10-minute walk away from Jurys Inn Cork, the Dragon of Shandon Parade is a community event that brings visitors from around the world together to celebrate Samhain. Samhain is the Celtic Pagan festival from which many modern Halloween traditions stem, and has been celebrated in Ireland since ancient times. At the centre of the parade, a 36-foot long dragon navigates its way through the streets, guided by 12 puppeteers. This parade is about much more than fright night, it represents a community coming together, and locals take great pride in the incredible props, lanterns and characters that are on display.
THE NIGHTMARE REALM
This event is certainly not your standard haunted house and is strictly for adults and accompanied teens only. You won’t find ghosts or ghouls in this house, instead, you will find your own nightmares being played out in front of you as you make your way through the hostel. The characters are slightly too real, the scenarios ripped straight from your favourite horror films and danger lurks in every shadow. Keep your friends close and your wits about you.
Get your ticket to the Nightmare Realm.
Between fancy dress parties at almost every pub and bar, you can really get under the skin of horror stories in Dublin. Check in to Jurys Inn Dublin at either Christchurch or Parnell Street, then grab your cape and fangs and swoop out into the night.
BRAM STOKER FESTIVAL
You may or may not know that the legendary Dracula author hails from the Irish capital. To celebrate the famed writer, his home city hosts the annual Bram Stoker Festival, which aims to educate and thrill. With a wide range of activities, performances and horror film screenings at Light House Cinema, this festival is everything you could want in the run up to Halloween itself. This year, it will take place right across Dublin from 26th - 29th October.
Have a look at the Bram Stoker Festival website for more event details.
HORROR EXPO PRESENTS: POSSESSION
If you’re a fan of horror movies but always wondered who was pulling the strings in the background, this is the place for you. Debunking perplexing cases of the paranormal, this expo uses state of the art technology to reveal what was really going on. Featuring a reading from Chris Rush, author of All Shall Suffer and Folklore, this night will prove to be most intriguing.
Find out more about the Horror Expo.
Galway could easily be considered the Irish home of Halloween, boasting the biggest festival that incorporates a wide range of wild events. Fancy dress is the done thing, so make the most of the mirror in your bathroom at Jurys Inn Galway and get your face paint spot on!
GALWAY ABOO HALLOWEEN FESTIVAL
The country’s largest Halloween festival, this one is not to be missed. Encompassing the Macnas Halloween Parade – itself an incredible traffic-stopping party put on by the international street theatre group – as well as Carnevil, Fearfest, The Salthill Zombie Chase and Spooky Fest at Loughwell Farm Park; this four day event is perfect for the whole family.
Running from October 26th - 29th, you can read more about the festival and all its events on their website.
STORYTELLING AT BRIGIT’S GARDEN
If a treasure hunt and apple bobbing, topped off by a bonfire sounds exciting, don’t miss this wonderful family-friendly event. Taking Halloween back to its roots with Celtic tales around the fire with the Púca, master storyteller Rab Fulton will take you and your little ones on a spooky story adventure.
Get your tickets for Storytelling at Brigit’s Garden.
Halloween is just as big an event over in the north, and there’s plenty to keep you busy in Belfast if it’s a spooky late-October weekend you seek.
BELFAST HALLOWEEN MONSTER MASH
Every year, the Belfast Halloween Monster Mash is held on the 31st October on the Titanic Slipways. With creepy crafts, scary street performers and a 15-minute firework display to top things off, put on your best costume to be in with a chance to win some ghoulish goodies.
The event is completely free and there are even shuttle buses running from Chichester Street - just a few minutes’ walk from Jurys Inn Belfast.
Wherever you are in Ireland this Halloween, make it a good one with any of these thrilling events!
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