SEPTEMBER Roundup: Best of Irish 2020

Welcome to the September 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 September roundup below.


Airing on RTÉ One on the last Saturday of August, Shine will be a magical hour of music and words. This show was filmed at the Iveagh Gardens, the National Concert Hall and at RTÉ over the summer.

The National Concert Hall will host Dermot Kennedy and Denise Chaila with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, a first for both orchestra and venue since the pandemic silenced orchestra performances. The programme features stunning performances from a collection of our most celebrated artists and emerging talent. Villagers, west Kerry concertina player Cormac Begley, indie singer Anna Mieke and Booka Brass with Niamh Farrell play live in the beautiful acoustic setting of the Iveagh Gardens.

Here's how to watch:

  • Shine - RTÉ One, Saturday, 29 August at 8.15 pm
  • Shine On - available on RTÉ Player from Saturday 29 August at 9.30 pm
  • Shine - RTÉ Radio 1, Sunday, 30 August at 6 pm
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MONDAY, 31 AUGUST ONWARDS: Hot Press Presents 'Rave On'

To mark his 75th birthday on 31 August – in a world first – Ireland’s Hot Press magazine has curated musical tributes by 75 exceptional artists, to be broadcast to the world via YouTube, in August and September.

Among the artists who will contribute are the likes of Sinéad O’Connor, Hozier, David Keenan, Imelda May, Damien Rice, Una Healy, Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, Bronagh Gallagher, Mick Flannery, Brian Kennedy and many more. There will also be some very special words from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.

Find it all happening over on the Hot Press YouTube.

If you love a good read to look forward to, keep an eye out for the magazine's next release which will be a bumper Van Morrison Special, looking back over his amazing career and pays tribute to the extraordinary genius of his work. Plus:

  • The Van tracks you might not know but have to hear!
  • Exclusive photos from the Hot Press archives.
  • From The Last Waltz to Astral Weeks Live At The Hollywood Bowl, the best of Van on the big and small screen.

Add in the usual heady Hot Press mix of news, reviews, interviews and Frontlines news reports – Bright Eyes, John Connolly, Gregory Porter, Robert Pattison and Gemma Dunleavy are just some of those featured.

TUESDAY, 01 SEPTEMBER - SATURDAY, 31 OCTOBER: Galway Arts Festival (Autumn Edition)

Galway International Arts Festival (cover photo) is back! Earlier this year the decision was made not to proceed with the July 2020 Galway International Arts Festival in the interests of public health. However, details of an exciting programme of events entitled Galway International Arts Festival, Autumn Edition - have been released.

The programme will include both live arts and an enhanced digital component, giving audiences a choice as to how they wish to get involved, in person (both indoors and outdoors) or at home digitally. The aim is that while moving forward and bringing live experiences back to our nation, no one is left behind - especially those who are unable to travel to Galway or are currently staying at home.

So whether you're in Galway or not, check out their programme for plenty of things to do in Ireland this September.

Below you can see a snapshot of what to expect, go to the GIAF website for all events.

GIAF Programme 2020

WATCH | THURSDAY, 03 SEPTEMBER: ‘Origins: The Story of Irish Hip Hop' (RTÉ One)

This RedBull commissioned documentary ‘Origins: The Story of Irish Hip Hop’ will be hitting our TV screens very soon. The documentary will chronicle the story of hip hop in Ireland over the past four decades. The project has been a labour of love and several years in development and claims to be “the most comprehensive oral history of hip hop in Ireland to date.”

‘Origins: The Story of Irish Hip Hop’ features appearances by Emmet Kirwan and Blindboy who discuss how hip hop became a voice for the Irish working class, and how the playing field changed when artists found the courage to rap in their authentic accents. We are also looking forward to hearing Jafaris, Denise Chaila, God Knows and other brilliant artists discuss the infusion of their African backgrounds with their Irish upbringing and how it impacts their music and the stories they tell in their songs.

The hour long documentary was directed by Mark Logan from Collective Films and airs on RTÉ One on Thursday, 03 September at 10:15pm before streaming on RedBull.com from Friday, 11 September.

Full list of acts appearing in ‘Origins: The Story of Irish Hip Hop’:

Biig Piig, Breezy Ideygoke, Collie Costello, Damien Dempsey, Denise Chalia, DJ Flip, Emmet Kirwan, Fehdah, Frankie Grimes, Scary Éire, DJ Mek, God Knows, Jafaris, Kneecap, Kojaque, Lethal Dialect, Luca Palm, Mango X Mathman, Mark Murphy, Maverick Saber, Messiah J & The Expert, Mr. Affiliate / J.B2, Murli, Nealo, Ophelia, Rob Kelly, Strange Boy, Blindboy/ Rubberbandits and Yamma Yamma.

FRIDAY, 04 SEPTEMBER: Singing Session with Thomas McCarthy

The Séamus Ennis Arts Centre will host special guest Thomas McCarthy for their series of online traditional singing sessions. Taking place on Zoom and streamed live online, they invite traditional singers to join a Zoom conference call to share songs for anyone in need of some music and storytelling, anywhere in the world.

The live stream will be viewable from 8.30pm on their YouTube Channel and their Facebook Page.

SATURDAY, 05 - SUNDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER: Dublin Fringe Festival

Dublin Fringe Festival is a curated, multi-disciplinary festival and year-round organisation focusing on fresh and innovative approaches to the arts from Irish and international makers. For artists, Fringe facilitates opportunities to innovate, to cross boundaries and strengthen the conditions in which they work. For audiences, Fringe is the place to discover meaningful, exciting and unforgettable cultural experiences.

The 26th Dublin Fringe Festival will take place from 5-20 September 2020 and the programme has something for everyone. Read it here for what's on.

FRIDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER: Culture Night

Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir will return for its fifteenth edition on Friday, 18 September. Given the events of recent months, there are obviously some new challenges this year, but they're working alongside Culture Night partners and local organisers across the island of Ireland to create a memorable night.

Many of this year’s events will take place online/ digitally, but there are safe offline events programmed too. See the Culture Night website for the full programme.

FRIDAY, 25 - SUNDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER: Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival

Welcome to the oldest oyster festival in the world and one of the most internationally recognised Irish festivals alongside St. Patrick’s Festival. Deemed one of Europe’s longest-running food extravaganzas, the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival was launched in September 1954 and returns for 2020.

With fantastic live music, mouthwatering seafood and the high-octane excitement of the National Oyster Opening Championship, Friday night at the International Oyster and Seafood Festival is guaranteed to get your weekend off to a fabulous start. Saturday sees The World Oyster Opening Championship, the festival food village and live music - A non-stop afternoon of entertainment and festival fun awaits.

Check out the full programme here.


Spraoi is a fantastic arts festival in Waterford and a globally-recognised event that celebrates people and culture, while showcasing the cultural diversity and vibrant energy of Ireland’s oldest city. Although the full programme won't go ahead this year, we can all still look forward to seeing the Spraoi street art installations at George’s Street, Arundel Square, Michael Street and Lady Lane in September.

For more about Spraoi and the art installations, go to their 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 September roundup.

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