OCTOBER Roundup: Best of Irish 2020

Welcome to the October edition of The Best of Irish with St. Patrick’s Festival.

Here, we curate a collection of happenings and wonderful content for the month ahead, bringing you the ‘Best of Irish’ from Ireland and worldwide. Join us in celebrating what the Irish do best, from music, dance, theatre and storytelling, to community fundraising, tutorials, interviews and other interesting things to do and enjoy. We hope you find something that interests you in our 'Best of Irish' things to do in Ireland this October roundup below.


Feel like giving back while also treating yourself or someone you care about? Well Tim Carey started a movement that we can certainly get behind and you might be able to as well. #AdoptAShop came from an eerily quiet visit to Dublin, which made him realise that many local stores and food businesses across the country are suffering badly right now.

So he made a list of one's that he felt deserved his support and Carey decided to buy something from each shop on his list pretty regularly. His tweet explaining this idea started a pretty amazing online momentum. See more below via RTÉ.

ONGOING - SUNDAY, 20 OCTOBER: CONNECTED Sculpture Trail, Kilkenny

CONNECTED is an external exhibition that presents stunning sculptural works in heritage gardens throughout Kilkenny city. As we emerge from our homes into a changed world, this project celebrates our collective solidarity, connectivity, resilience and creativity. CONNECTED reminds us of the importance and fragility of our human connections, with family, friends and wider global society. It also reflects on our deep interconnection with the natural world which each generation holds in trust for the next.

The sculpture trail invites audiences to re-connect with culture outside of a museum setting and rediscover the city that is recognised as the home of craft and design in Ireland. Beginning in the courtyard of Castle Yard, CONNECTED brings you on a cultural journey through Kilkenny Castle Park with exhibits at many of Kilkenny's medieval highlights. Find out more here.

THURSDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER - SUNDAY, 11 OCTOBER: Dublin Theatre Festival

Dublin Theatre Festival brings world-class theatre to Dublin, supports artists in creating outstanding work and provides a platform to showcase the best of Irish theatre to the world. At the heart of the festival is the city of Dublin – its people and its stories – and a commitment to contributing to the vibrant social and cultural life of our capital. Their mission is to present a programme of exceptional theatrical experiences that will appeal to the diverse communities and visitors that make up our city.

A long-standing important date in the Irish autumn calander, The Dublin Theatre Festival always brings so much joy to our capital and beyond. With the most recent phase of lockdown impacting Dublin, there has been changes to the festival programme. The Dublin Theatre Festival programme update can be found here.

FRIDAY, 02 - SUNDAY, 04 OCTOBER: Kilkenny Animated

Kilkenny Animated is now in its third year of visual storytelling, incorporating cartoons, animation and illustration in a series of exhibitions, talks, performances, workshops and experiences that celebrate the creativity and craft of the visual image. This wonderful festival is hosted by four time Oscar-nominated animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, in Kilkenny's medieval city at the heart of Ireland's Ancient East.

Kilkenny Animated features a colourful programme of animation screenings, live performance, masterclasses, workshops and exhibitions that celebrate the art of visual storytelling and the magic of hand drawn art. The 2020 festival will feature the European Premiere of Cartoon Saloon's latest animated feature, Wolfwalkers, as well as an exhibition of artwork from the film in the brand new Butler Gallery. Go to the Kilkenny Animated website to see the line up of activities and how to get involved.

SATURDAY, 03 - TUESDAY, 27 OCTOBER: Leanbh Children’s Festival

This October, Leanbh Children’s Festival returns, an arts festival for children and families in Drogheda and the North East Region. For 2020, Droichead are committed to producing this festival, scaled down from previous years and adhering to all Government directives regarding COVID. Taking place over four Saturdays and during the midterm in October, this year’s Leanbh will feature film, storytelling, stories on radio, podcasts on stage, theatre, science and magic.

All shows must be booked in advance, there is limited capacity of only 40 seats available. Tickets are sold in pods of 2, 3, and 4, with every second row empty, and adhering to social distancing of 2m. They guarantee fun, creativity, inspiration, imagination and of course, lots of laughter. The festival is made possible with sponsorship from Flogas, and support from Creative Ireland. Book tickets and find out more here.

TUESDAY, 06 - FRIDAY, 09 OCTOBER: Ireland Music Week

Ireland Music Week, previously known as Hard Working Class Heroes, is an Irish music event for emerging musicians. It has taken place in Dublin on an annual basis in autumn of each year since 2003 and this year it is online. Ireland Music Week's aim is to allow both industry and fans here and abroad to witness the next crop of Irish talent, through a busy showcase schedule. Regular showcase tickets are €25 and this includes access to 50 performances.

For artists, they get a chance to perform and showcase their talent - but they also have the added bonus of the 'conference' element, where they are presented with workshops, business opportunities with labels, agents, bookers (and beyond) and of course, networking like no other. If you are an artist and wish to avail of these opportunities, conference tickets are €25.

To watch these stellar performances, go to their booking page and click 'Showcase Only'. If you are both an artist who wants to avail of the conference element and you want to enjoy this year's talent, you can get a combo ticket for 'Conference and Showcases'.

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WEDNESDAY, 07 OCTOBER: Kaleidoscope Live from The Complex

Kaleidoscope Live from The Complex is Dublin's monthly classical, contemporary and experimental music night. Described by The Irish Times as a “genre-blind mini festival” and the “capital’s premiere salon series”, Kaleidoscope has long been acclaimed as a hugely important pillar of Dublin musical life.

On Wednesday, 07 October audiences can enjoy renaissance harp music from Siobhan Armstron, the Sonas Quartet playing Steve Reich, and jazz trio We Go Where We Go! Tickets are €7 and you can book them here.

WEDNESDAY, 07 OCTOBER - WEDNESDAY, 11 NOVEMBER: The Visual Story of Ireland (Course)

Something different for those looking to get back into social settings. Go and explore the Visual Story of Ireland (1640-1940) with Rosemarie Devereux, a freelance art historian from Greystones at the Whale Theatre. The aim of the course is to explore and examine a selection of the paintings that are held in Ireland's national collection of art under various themes; to re-engage with the nation’s political and cultural history through their visual representation; to understand how Irish art production was compromised by the same historical and political events and to become familiar with some of the nation’s finest artists.

This class is running on Wednesdays 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th October and 4th & 11th November 2020. Tickets: €20 per class or just €100 for the full six weeks. For more information and to book visit the Whale Theatre website.

SUNDAY, 11 - SATURDAY, 31 OCTOBER: Mirror Pavillion Installation, Galway Arts Festival

The Galway Arts Festival of course appeared on our September Best of Irish roundup, but the second part of this beautiful installation by John Gerrard will be held in October. As an artist, Gerrard produces virtual worlds, which are often portraits of real places remade as 3D models of themselves. Mirror Pavilion was commissioned by the Festival for Galway’s European Capital of Culture 2020 and it is a striking structure, with three sides and the roof clad in a highly reflective mirror and the fourth wall a high–resolution LED wall. The first was in Galway city and the second one 'Leaf Work' will be at the spectacular 4,000–year–old Derrigimlagh Bog in Connemara.

Mirror Pavilion is a response to the escalating climate crisis and fearlessly pushes the boundaries of digital art using simulation. The characters and landscapes we see on the LED screen may look like video or film but they are not; they hover in what the artist describes as the ’slippery space’ between the realistic and the unreal. If you are lucky enough to be exploring Connemara in October, this is a must see. Full details on the Galway Arts Festival website.

MONDAY, 12 OCTOBER - SUNDAY, 01 NOVEMBER: Belfast International Arts Festival

The 58th Belfast International Arts Festival (BIAF) has been digitally launched with an imaginative and inspirational programme for the times we live in, as Northern Ireland’s leading contemporary multi-artform festival largely goes virtual for 2020.

From October 12 to November 1, inspirational events featuring dance, music, theatre, film, visual arts and discussion will be largely hosted online, with a small number experienced in-person. The impressive programme responds creatively to the current pandemic and explores matters of contemporary interest such as gender equality, multi-culturalism, representation, the climate crisis, and democracy. See what's on over at the BIAF website.

WEDNESDAY, 28 OCTOBER - SUNDAY 01, NOVEMBER: Derry Hallowe’en 2020

Derry Hallowe’en (cover photo) is of great significance to the people of the city, and the event organisers do not want to let this tradition pass by. Despite the challenges, they are confident that they can deliver an exceptional Halloween experience that will celebrate the spirit, wit and cultural heritage of this place. Digital will play a major role in the 2020 Festival with online programming, tutorials and creative content all available through derryhalloween.com

FRIDAY, 30 OCTOBER - MONDAY 02, NOVEMBER: Bram Stoker Festival

Prepare for 4 Days of deadly adventures based in Dublin and beyond. Things may be unpredictable right now, but fear not fanged friends: Bram Stoker Festival will return this October to thrill you with a devilishly delicious cocktail of in the flesh live events and adventures at home! As ever, there’ll be tricks and treats for everyone, so vampires of all ages will find something to sink their fangs into. Until they unleash the full programme, keep your eyes peeled for updates! Special things will be announced soon on the Bram Stoker website.

Feel free to share this article or Tweet us to let us know what you thought of our best things to do in Ireland this October roundup.

Know about something happening in November that deserves to be on our Best of Irish list? Submit your event/ content that will be available offline and/ or online in November by filling out the Best of Irish Event Submission form here.