The days might be drawing in and the weather may have been less than ideal recently, but fear not, there is a silver lining on the horizon. We have a glorious three-day weekend to look forward to, and one cannot forget about all of the fun-filled Halloween-themed activities on offer to help us make the most of our time off. From spooky walks and cycles to more taxing hiking and mountain biking events, there is something out there to suit the appetite of every kind of lover of the outdoors.
Hellfire Halloween walks
Dublin Mountains; October 17th-November 2nd; hiddendublintours.com
Hidden Dublin Tours is offering you the chance to explore the notorious Hellfire Club after dark this Halloween. This desolate spot, nestled in the heart of the Dublin Mountains, dates back to 1725. The club was traditionally thought to be linked with satanism, the occult and all things ghastly. The tours will depart every evening during Halloween week at 7pm from Merchants Quay in Dublin’s city centre. You will then be transported to the Dublin Mountains where you’ll dive deep into some of Ireland’s darkest history. Proper hiking gear, including good shoes, warm clothing and waterproofs, is advised.
Irish Film Institute, Dublin; until October 28th; ifc.ie/horrorthon
A programme of horror movies ranging from psychological thrillers to historical and contemporary drama to spine-tingling psychic stories about hallucinogenic experiences, malevolent forces or zombie threats. Not for the squeamish, mild-mannered or those with a long journey home afterwards.
Bram Stoker Festival
October 25th-28th, bramstokerfestival.com
This long running festival celebrates the gothic, the mysterious and the supernatural in honour of Bram Stoker, the Dublin-born author of Dracula. Prepare to be scared by the free outdoor theatrical installation at Grand Canal Dock, seances in complete darkness on Wolfe Tone Square and dress-up late-night screenings in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar. There’s also foodie walking tours with specially created food inventions and Stokerland, a pop-up Victorian fun park in St Patrick’s Park, which promises freakishly funny rides.
Kenmare Halloween Howl
October 25th-November 2nd ; kenmare.ie/events/
The scenic town of Kenmare in Co Kerry loves Halloween and always hosts some of the best celebrations across the country with 2019 being no exception. The town will host a number of spooktacular activities ranging from traditional Samhain stories around the bonfire in Bonane Heritage Park to night-time orienteering events and tours around a haunted house. While the festival is largely geared towards children, there is plenty on offer to keep adults entertained too.
Wicklow Walking Festival
October 25th-28th; 0404-45152 or 087-2698659; [email protected]
Wicklow Walking Festival offers scenic walks over two days along everything from woodlands to rolling hills, as well as more strenuous mountain climbs within the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Each walk is led by an experienced guide who will have information on the local history, flora, and fauna. Walkers can choose from a wide selection of experiences including climbing Leinster’s highest peak, Lugnaquilla, a night hike in Glendalough, meanders along the Wicklow Way and lots more. Prices are based on which walks you choose. All participants must be well prepared in terms of clothing and equipment.
Bundoran Surf Co weekend
October 25th-28th; bundoransurfco.com/halloween/
Surfing is a great activity no matter what the weather holds. And there are few better ways to spend the long weekend than in the wilds of Co Donegal tackling the almighty wild Atlantic waves. Bundoran Surf Co has organised an action-packed surf package, which includes transfers from Dublin, accommodation, surf lessons , rental and a Halloween party on the Saturday night to boot.
Guinness Cork Jazz Festival
Various venues; October 25th-28th; guinnessjazzfestival.com
While some say the real jazz will be found in the pubs and clubs off the main circuit, there are still several headlining acts to catch at the Cork Opera House, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork City Hall and the Everyman Theatre. These include Tudo Bem, the Brazilian quintet led by Irish bassist and composer Ronan Guilfoyle, the Chicago-born jazz singer and songwriter Kurt Elling, the New York pianist Fred Hersch, the English saxophonist John Surman and the Swiss-Albanian singer Elina Duni performing with the English guitarist Rob Luft.
Ideal Home Show
RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin 4; October 25th-28th; idealhome.ie
The place to be to discover the latest trends in kitchen design, paint colours, lighting and furniture, this event is always popular among home owners and would-be home owners alike. The theme of this year’s show is sustainability so whether you are considering a new build, an extension or refurbishment, it’s time to put energy efficiency and renewable energies at the heart of your plans. Also there are a range of workshops with interior designers and quantity surveyors and free 20 minute ask the expert consultations.
Cork Opera House, October 26th; Vicar Street, Dublin, October 27th and 28th; ticketmaster.ie
The Dublin-born singer/songwriter is filling venues throughout Ireland on her comeback tour. Her incredible vocals and uncompromising personal style still draws audiences who grew up listening to tracks such as Nothing Compares to U, No Man’s Woman and the amazing Blood of Eden with Peter Gabriel and a new generation keen to discover her inimitable voice.
October 26th-28th; fitzwiltonhotel.ie/blog/wicked-woods-halloween-event
This Halloween, Carriganore Woods on Waterford’s Greenway will be transformed into a Samhain spectacle. You can expect lights, sound, effects, creatures and live performances as you take on the half-hour walk in the woods after dark.
Macnas Halloween Parade
Galway city; October 27th
The Galway-based street performance troupe, Macnas, will bring spectacularly costumed creatures, atmospheric music and pyrotechnics to the streets of Galway for their danse macabre performance on Sunday between 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Prepare yourselves for a strange, unpredictable, mesmerising parade from Macnas Young Ensemble, Youth Ballet West, the Macnas Youth Drummers, The Hit Machine and public participants. Spectators are encouraged to wear costumes too.
Merrion Square, October 27th; kbcdublinmarathon.ie
Moved to a Sunday a few years ago to suit athletes from abroad, this marathon through the streets of Dublin city and suburbs will see more than 20,000 runners from more than 50 countries partaking. Many international elite distance runners will compete against Ireland’s top endurance athletes joined by thousands of hardy amateur runners. The Dublin Marathon – now in its 40th year – begins at Merrion Square at 8.40am so go out and cheer runners along if you’re not participating.
Halloween Howl Mountain Bike Run
Glenties; October 27th; facebook.com/pg/TCGCyclingClub/events
Expect lung-busting ascents, heart-racing descents and a bucketload of mud throughout this mountain biking event. Set in the glorious Glenties area of Co Donegal, the views are guaranteed to be spectacular. Cyclists can choose between a 15km or 30km route, both of which will prove quite a challenge. Fancy dress is optional but the organisers say fun is mandatory. The event will kick off from the Glenties Community Centre, where registration will open at 10am.
Carrick Halloween Tour
Carrick-on-Shannon; October 28th-30th; eventbrite.ie/e/carrick-halloween-tour-tickets
A ghoulish character from Carrick-on-Shannon’s past will lead a tour through the dark streets of this famous town. The tour is suitable for adults and children. The guide will bring you to some of the town’s more famous landmarks while regaling you with scary tales from days gone by. There will also be a few spooky surprises along the way too. Fancy dress is optional. The tour will start at the tourist office and will take approximately one hour.
Halloween Family Spooktacular Cycle
Phoenix Park; October 28th-November 2nd; phoenixparkbikes.com/2018/09/03/halloweenfamilycycle
Taking place in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, this fun-filled event is perfect for all ages. A guide will tell you spooky stories as you pedal your way around the park. There will even be a scavenger hunt for the kids to add to the excitement. Fancy dress is optional, but strongly encouraged.
Samhain Festival at EPIC
The Irish Emigration Museum, Dublin’s Docklands; October 28th; epicchq.com/samhain-festival-at-epic
For the children who don’t like scary events, but do love spooky events that will entertain them. There’s a full day of free activities (that need to be prebooked) including Seanchaí storytelling, pop-up puppet shows, Halloween games, dress-up and musical events in the main CHQ space. Workshops in the historic vaults of the 200 year old CHQ building will include creative writing, Síoga and Piseóg craft workshops and even spell casting workshops.
Navan Arch Club Fun Run/Walk
Blackwater Park; October 28th; justrunsevents.ie
Taking place in Blackwater Park in Navan, Co Meath, this fun-filled 5km is a great way to get the family outdoors this bank holiday Monday. Participants can run or walk around the route so there is no base level of fitness needed. Fancy dress is not mandatory, but strongly encouraged. There will even be prizes for the best dressed on the day if you are in need of a little incentive. The event will kick off at 12pm and will be chipped timed for those who do wish to push themselves.
Samhain tour of Tara
Tara; October 28th ; sacredsites.ie
History- and story-lovers will be well catered for on this guided walking tour of Tara, Co Meath. Your guide, Treasa, will share her intricate knowledge of history and archaeology with a strong focus on the myths and legends that make the area so famous. This tour is outdoors and takes abouty two hours. Warm waterproof clothing and footwear should be worn. The tour is limited to 30 participants.
The Vampire Swim
Sandycove; October 28th; facebook.com/VampireSwimSouthDublin
The Vampire Swim will see 100 brave souls swim 25m in the frigid waters of Sandycove Harbour in Co Dublin on bank holiday Monday. The informal event has a strong focus on fun and camaraderie in a bid to raise funds for Blood Bikes East. There is a suggested donation of €10 or you can choose to donate blood prior to the swim, posting a selfie on the organiser’s Facebook page as proof. The event this year is plastic-free so bring along your own mug if you want to avail of a post-dip tea or coffee. Kick-off is at 11am.
Athboy, Trim and Drogheda; October 31st-November 2nd; pucafestival.com
This festival celebrates the ancient Celtic traditions of Samhain (Halloween). Festivities start in the village of Athboy with children’s Halloween workshops, followed by a gathering in Athboy Fair Green at 5pm to hear traditional Faerie warnings, the naming of the dead, poetry, and song and the lighting of the Samhain fires. Drogheda will host walks, theatre, and film and light installations at St Laurence’s Gate, the Tholsel and Old Abbey Lane. There will be musical performances and illuminations in Trim Castle over the three day festival.
Murder One International Crime Writing Festival
Smock Alley Theatre and Pearse Street Library in Dublin 2; November 1st-3rd; murderone.ie
Now in its second year, this literary festival includes crime-writing workshops, lots of interviews with crime writers and a panel discussion about Agatha Christie with John Curran, Andrew Wilson and Anna Carey. Forensic pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd will also speak about what he encounters in his work with crime writer Dr Paul Carson. There’s a speaker’s corner where crime writers will read from their work and even a chance to get your tarot cards read.
3Arena, Dublin; November 1st; 3arena.ie
This is the first performance in Ireland by the singer and actor, who holds the UK record for the biggest selling single of all time by a female artist for Believe. She will draw on her huge repertoire as well as new songs from the Dancing Queen album, Cher’s tribute to the music of Abba.