Here’s some of the best NI festivals, events and experiences this July and August
It’s time to embrace a giant summer of sport, music, food and literature as Northern Ireland’s festivals and events get back in full swing.
As well as huge concerts attracting headline acts and tens of thousands of fans, there will also be a packed programme of smaller festivals which celebrate Northern Ireland’s traditional music, fantastic food and drink and of course local world-famous writers.
To help you plan your summer itinerary, Discover Northern Ireland has put together an event listing for some of this year’s upcoming festivals, events and experiences.
The Celtic Classic; July 7-10, Londonderry & Belfast: An absolute must for car enthusiasts, the Celtic Classic is a celebration of motoring combining some of the most breath-taking drives in Northern Ireland. The event includes a static car display at Ebrington Square in Londonderry plus a visit to the Titanic Experience in Belfast. The drive from Londonderry to Belfast takes in one of the world’s great road journeys along the Causeway Coast. The event concludes with a ceilidh and gala dinner with live entertainment and dancing.
Lunar Observing Experience at OM Dark Sky Park & Observatory; July 8 and August 5, Cookstown: For all the astronomers out there, you can join a lunar session and observe the Moon’s landscape through a 14” Meade telescope exploring craters, mountains, and plains. Using some of the world’s latest technology, you can share the same visions first witnessed by Neil Armstrong and learn more about the lunar landscape and features you will be able to see.
Craig Hella Johnson Choral Festival; July 9, Ulster Hall, Belfast: Belfast plays host to six travelling choirs from the United States this July for the 2022 Craig Hella Johnson Choral Festival. This will be an unmissable celebration of choral music which will bring together over 100 talented voices. The choirs participating this year include the Atlanta Young Singers, Beau Chant Community Choir, Belling Burley HS Bel Cantos/Bella Voce, Canticum Collective, Friends of CHJ and Wisconsin Ensembles.
Camp Dalfest; July 16-17, Glenarm Castle: With headline acts including Melanie C, Tom Odell and Amy McDonald, Camp Dalfest is gearing up to be a real highlight of the summer music calendar. Originally known as the Dalriada Festival of Music & Food, Camp Dalfest is a musical and gastronomical adventure in the grounds of the spectacular Glenarm Castle. With local comedians, shows for the kids as well as cooking demonstrations, Dalfest ensures great music, great food and great times.
Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival; July 22-25, Enniskillen: Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the festival returns for the first since the pandemic with a packed programme of Samuel Beckett-inspired performances. The five-day festival will celebrate the centenary of Beckett’s attendance at Portora Royal School from 1920 to 1923. The festival will host three ‘Made in Fermanagh’ productions of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Inferno – Not I and Ohio Impromptu which is directed by Line of Duty star, Adrian Dunbar and takes place on Devenish Island.
Belfast TradFest; July 23-29, across Belfast: Belfast TradFest returns with a programme packed with some of the finest traditional musicians, singers and dancers. Featuring a summer school and a full programme of concerts, workshops, talks, lectures, sessions, céilís and festival club, Belfast TradFest also brings together both the Irish and the Ulster-Scots musical traditions, in a shared celebration of culture and heritage. Festival headliners include Sharon Shannon and Hothouse Flowers frontman, Liam Ó Maonlaí.
Carnival of Colours; August 6-7, Londonderry: In Your Space Circus returns to Londonderry for the Carnival of Colours, a street party like no other filled with mesmerising acts and artists. Back in the city centre, this year’s line-up includes Granny Turismo with her banging moves and super cool dance moves, Cikada Circus with their amazing acrobatic skills, Frankie Magilligan and the TeaTime Company with their contemporary circus show, Stick-Stok. There will also be a host of local artists taking to the Stage in The Peace Garden along with workshops in graffiti and circus skills.
Hillsborough Honey Fair; August 6-7, Hillsborough Castle & Gardens: You’ll be buzzing for the return of the Hillsborough Honey Fair. With over 50 high quality local producers and food vendors, this is an event for foodies keen to celebrate Northern Ireland’s outstanding produce. Set against the historic and picturesque backdrop of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, sample delicious local food and drink whilst relaxing to live music in the 100 acres of gardens. There will be a host of bee and honey related activities to keep you ‘bizzy’ all day.
Féile an Phobail; August 4-14, Belfast: The west Belfast Feile an Phobail returns to the city in August with concerts from Imelda May and Paul Brady. For those who are a little older there will be a Back to the 80s concert packed full of the hits from your younger days. There will be the usual line-up of concerts, sports events, debates and discussions, plays, carnival parade, family events. Last year’s festival was the biggest in the Feile an Phobail’s history with 250 events taking place and this year organisers have promised that 2022 will be epic.
Lughnasadh: Tales of the Past; August 5 – 7, Navan Centre & Fort: This exciting weekend begins with an evening of storytelling and music as it delves into some of the greatest stories in Irish mythology exploring ‘Tales of the Past’. On 6th August, there is a family fun day called ‘Games of the Past’ which is influenced by the ancient Tailteann Games. The weekend concludes with Sunday morning’s ‘Wellness for the Future’, with yoga, meditation, drumming & dancing.
ISPS HANDA World Invitational; August 11-14, Galgorm Castle & Massereene GC: This unique global event, which is a must for local golf fans, is part of the main European Tour, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour. One of the most innovative events in world golf, it features two separate tournaments with 144 men and 144 women, including Irish LPGA star Leona Maguire. The ISPS Handa World Invitational will take place simultaneously at Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Club. Some of the best players in the world will be competing for two equal prize funds of US$1.5million each. With a global audience of 640million in 2021, this is a fantastic opportunity to tell the world that Northern Ireland is Made for Golf.
Belfast Mela; August 20-28, Belfast: Celebrate Belfast’s diversity with a spectacular week-long programme of world music, dance, food and art across the city. Bringing communities together, Mela hosts a series of events which culminate in a fabulous festival finale in the city’s Botanic Gardens. A first for this year is the Mela Carnival which will bring together hundreds of participants and artists for a spectacular carnival parade and celebrations in the Mela Global Village in the grounds of City Hall.
NI Masters EuroPro Tour; August 18-20, Clandeboye Golf Club, Bangor: The EuroPro Tour returns to Northern Ireland again in 2022 for the Northern Ireland Masters, with local golf fans expected to turn out in their thousands. With the demanding Clandeboye course set to challenge anyone not on top of their game, this event will be a masterclass for the spectators. Last year’s event saw a world class field, including Dermot McElroy, Brendan Lawlor, Mitch Waite and local man and host, Jonathan Caldwell who was instrumental in getting the Tour to the Bangor course he has been playing since he was a junior. This year we can expect to see a bigger and better tournament at the world class Clandeboye Golf Club.