Its not all work, work, work here in The Liberties. There’s plenty of time for fun too. The area’s calendar is increasingly packed with great festivals and events that offer you the chance to engage with the locals, experience The Liberties’ great cultural offer and explore its fascinating history. The area is also well represented in citywide festivals from St Patrick’s Festival through to Halloween. Here’s a taster of what’s on offer.
St Patrick's Day on 17th March is Ireland’s national holiday. In recent years, what was a day of events has expanded into the capital's biggest festival of the year, with five days of culture, fun and spectacle all across Dublin. Of course the highlight of every St Patrick's Day is the parade, and Dublin's parade ends (or occassionally starts!) right here in The Liberties at St Patrick's Cathedral. However, there is so much more to enjoy with a wide range of music, theatre, arts, street performance and more. Look out for many of the area's landmarks which 'go green' to mark the holiday. And experience Dublin at its most lively and vibrant, whatever the weather!
Culture Date with Dublin 8 is a new initiative of Dublin City Council and national cultural institutions in Dublin 8 to foster local awareness of the wealth of cultural heritage in their midst. Spanning The Liberties, Kilmainham, Islandbridge and Inchicore, CDWD8 takes place over one weekend in mid May with a packed programme of special tours, exhibitions, walking tours and talks and free entry to many of the area's iconic attractions. Combine Baroque splendour and contemporary art at IMMA in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, uncover Ireland's revolutionary past at Kilmainham Gaol and Richmond Barracks, or experience 800 years of history at St Patrick's Cathedral.
The National College of Art & Design on Thomas Street holds its annual Graduate Showcases each June and July. The shows are the culmination of the year's work by students and celebrate achievements across fine art, sculpture, fashion, textiles, product design, visual communications, digital and much more. The shows are the perfect opportunity to explore the NCAD campus at its liveliest and you may even pick up a bargain or two in the famous CEAD exhibition in July!
The Liberties Festival takes place each July and it's Dublin's longest running community festival. In 2020 the Festival will celebrate its 50th annversary. The Festival brings the streets of The Liberties alive for five days with a packed programme of arts events, fun days, opera in the open and well-loved perennials such as the Blue Rinse Ball and Garda vs Traders Football. The Festival is organised by a local community development organisation called SICCDA and is supported by Dublin City Council, Diageo Ireland and local partners.
Mid-August is dominated by National Heritage Week - a ten day celebration of built, natural and cultural heritage sponsored by the Heritage Council. National Heritage Week is part of European Heritage Days. Expect a week of walks, talks, special events, access to historic buildings and gardens and much more. All events are free. Heritage Week 2020 will take place from Saturday 15th – Sunday 23rd August with 'Heritage and Education: Learning from our Heritage’ as its theme.
Culture Night is Ireland‘s largest cultural extravaganza, taking place in cities and towns across the country. For one magical night in mid-September, cultural institutions, venues, historic buildings and public spaces come alive with free arts, culture and history events. Here in The Liberties & Historic Quarter you can experience everything from our two majestic cathedrals, to historic churches, the new urban distilleries, libraries, galleries, community groups, pop-up venues and more. The annual Culture Night programme is announced each July.
In recent years, Dublin City Council has worked actively to develop a lively, safe and family-friendly programme of events around Halloween, which falls on 31st October. In 2019 the Council held Liberties Haunt, an action packed evening of activities across The Liberties that saw thousands of local residents take part and enjoy All Souls Eve. In future, the ambition is to continue and grow this great new community festival.
Each November, this Festival marks the extraordinary accomplishments of one of Ireland’s most treasured authors. The Jonathan Swift Festival is hosted by Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and produced by a small but dedicated team of Swift enthusiasts. Supported by Failte Ireland, Dublin City Council and UNESCO City of Literature, the festival is a vibrant collaboration between a number of creative bodies and cultural institutions across the city who have a historic or cultural links to Jonathan Swift’s life and work.
Have a look back at some of our top posts from over the years.
A packed couple of months beckons for culture vultures and history lovers in Dublin 8
The Liberties - Hands down Dublin's most colourful and interesting neighbourhood
New additions in The Liberties feature in this year's expanded programme
2019 has been an eventful year for The Liberties and wider Dublin 8. With a swathe of new developments transforming the streets in the area,…