Month by Month
St Patrick's Day, March
Galway International Arts Festival, July
Willie Clancy Summer School, July
Féile An Phobail, August
All-Ireland Finals, September
Bad weather makes February the perfect month for indoor activities. Some museums launch new exhibits, and it's a good time to visit the major towns and cities.
Dublin International Film Festival
Most of Dublin's cinemas participate in the capital's film festival, a two-week showcase for new films by Irish and international directors. It features local flicks, arty international films and advance releases of mainstream movies.
Six Nations Rugby
The Irish national rugby team (www.irishrugby.ie) plays its three home matches at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin's southern suburb of Ballsbridge. The season runs from February to April.
Spring is in the air, and the whole country is getting ready for arguably the world's most famous parade. Dublin's is the biggest, but every town in Ireland holds one.
St Patrick's Day
Ireland erupts into one giant celebration on 17 March (www.stpatricksday.ie), but Dublin throws a five-day party around the parade (attended by over 750,000 people), with gigs and festivities that leave the city with a giant hangover.
The weather is getting better, the flowers are beginning to bloom and the festival season begins anew. Seasonal attractions start to open up around the middle of the month or at Easter.
Circuit of Ireland International Rally
Northern Ireland's most prestigious rally-car race, known locally as the 'Circuit' (www.circuitofireland.net), sees more than 130 competitors throttle and turn through 550km of Northern Ireland and parts of the Republic over two days at Easter.
Irish Grand National
Ireland loves horse racing, and the race that's loved the most is the Grand National, the showcase of the national hunt season. It takes place at Fairyhouse in County Meath on Easter Monday.
World Irish Dancing Championships
There's far more to Irish dancing than Riverdance. Every April some 4500 competitors from all over the world gather to test their steps and skills against the very best. The location varies from year to year; see www.irishdancingorg.com.
The May Bank Holiday (on the first Monday) sees the first of the busy summer weekends as the Irish take to the roads to enjoy the budding good weather.
Cork International Choral Festival
One of Europe's premier choral festivals, with the winners going on to the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition, is held over five days between the end of April and the beginning of May.
North West 200
Ireland's most famous road race is also the country's biggest outdoor sporting event; up to 100,000 people line the triangular route to cheer on some of the biggest names in motorcycle racing. Held in mid-May.
The third week of May sees the cream of the traditional-music crop come to Ennis, County Clare, for one of the country's most important festivals.
Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival
Belfast's Cathedral Quarter hosts a multidisciplinary arts festival, including drama, music, poetry and street theatre over 10 days at the beginning of the month.
Listowel Writers' Week
Well-known writers engaged in readings, seminars and storytelling are the attraction at the country's premier festival (www.writersweek.ie) for bibliophiles, which runs over five days in the County Kerry town of Listowel at the end of the month. There's also poetry, music and drama.
Father Ted Festival
Fans of the celebrated comedy dress up as their favourite characters and quote their favourite lines at this festival in Lisdoonvarna, culminating in tea and cake in the house where the TV show was shot. It takes place in early May. Gwan Gwan.
The bank holiday at the beginning of the month sees the country spoilt for choice for things to do. Weekend traffic gets busier as the weather gets better.
Cat Laughs Comedy Festival
Kilkenny gets very, very funny in early June (sometimes late May), with the country's premier comedy festival drawing comedians both known and unknown from around the globe.
Dublin LGBTQ Pride
Ireland's most important LGBTQ celebration sees 10 days of events, gigs, screenings and talks that culminate in a huge colourful parade through the capital.
Ormeau Park in Belfast hosts Northern Ireland's biggest music festival (www.belsonic.com), with a host of big international names keeping the 5000-or-so fans entertained over two weeks in mid-June.
Wallets are packed and fancy hats donned for the best flat-race festival in the country (www.curragh.ie), run during the first week of the month.
Edwardian dress and breakfast of 'the inner organs of beast and fowl' are but two of the elements of this Dublin festival celebrating 16 June, the day on which James Joyce's Ulysses takes place; the real highlight is retracing Leopold Bloom's steps.
Mourne International Walking Festival
The last weekend of the month plays host to a walking festival in the Mourne Mountains of County Down, designated an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Cork Midsummer Festival
Cork city's largest celebration of the arts takes place over a week mid-month at various venues throughout the city.
There isn't a weekend in the month that a major festival doesn't take place, while visitors to Galway will find that the city is in full swing for the entire month.
Willie Clancy Summer School
Inaugurated to celebrate the memory of a famed local piper, this exceptional festival of traditional music sees the world's best players show up for gigs, pub sessions and workshops over nine days in Miltown Malbay, County Clare.
Galway International Arts Festival
Music, drama and a host of artistic endeavours are on the menu at the most important arts festival in the country, which sees Galway go merriment mad for the last two weeks of the month.
Galway Film Fleadh
Irish and international releases make up the programme at one of the country's premier film festivals, held in early July.
A mini-Glastonbury in Dublin's Marlay Park, Longitude packs them in over three days in mid-July for a feast of EDM, nu-folk, rock and pop. In 2019 Grace Carter, Chasing Amy and Stormzy were the headliners.
Killarney gets all folksy in early July for this festival (http://folkfestkillarney.com) featuring music, beards and flannel from all over Ireland and abroad, including performers from Britain, the USA and elsewhere.
Schools are closed, the sun is shining (or not!) and Ireland is in holiday mood. Seaside towns and tourist centres are at their busiest as the country looks to make the most of its time off.
Féile An Phobail
The name translates simply as the 'people's festival' and it is just that: the largest community festival on the island takes place on the Falls Rd in West Belfast over 10 days.
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann
The mother of all Irish music festivals (www.fleadhcheoil.ie), held at the end of the month, attracts in excess of 400,000 music lovers and revellers to whichever town is playing host (in 2019 it was held in Drogheda, County Louth) – there's some great music amid the drinking.
Galway Race Week
The biggest horse-racing festival west of the Shannon is not just about the horses; it's also a celebration of Irish culture, sporting gambles and elaborate hats.
Mary From Dungloe Festival
Ireland's second most important beauty pageant takes place in Dungloe, County Donegal, at the beginning of the month – though it's an excuse for a giant party, the young women really do want to be crowned the year's 'Mary'.
Ireland's oldest festival is also its quirkiest: crown a goat king and celebrate for three days. Strange idea, but a brilliant festival that takes place in Killorglin, County Kerry, in mid-August.
Rose of Tralee
The country's biggest beauty pageant divides critics between those who see it as an embarrassing throwback to older days and those who see it as a throwback to older days. Wannabe Roses plucked from Irish communities throughout the world compete for the ultimate prize.
Kilkenny Arts Festival
One of Ireland's most important arts festivals brings musicians, artists, performers and writers to a variety of sites across Kilkenny city, including churches, castles, courtyards, townhouses and gardens. The 10-day event takes place in the middle of the month.
Summer may be over, but September weather can be surprisingly good, so it's often the ideal time to enjoy the last vestiges of sun as the crowds dwindle.
Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival
Over the last weekend of the month, Galway kicks off its oyster season with a festival celebrating the local catch. Music and beer have been the accompaniment since its inception in 1954.
Dublin Fringe Festival
Upwards of 100 different performances take the stage, the street, the bar and the car in the fringe festival that is unquestionably more innovative than the main theatre festival that follows it.
The weather starts to turn cold, so it's time to move the fun indoors again. The calendar is still packed with activities and distractions, especially over the last weekend of the month.
Dublin Theatre Festival
The most prestigious theatre festival in the country sees new work and new versions of old work staged in theatres and venues throughout the capital.
Wexford Opera Festival
Opera fans gather in Wexford's National Opera House, the country's only theatre built for opera, to enjoy Ireland's premier lyric festival, which tends to eschew the big hits in favour of lesser-known works.
Cork Jazz Festival
Ireland's best-known jazz festival sees Cork taken over by more than 1000 musicians and their multitude of fans during the last weekend of the month…even if some of the music sounds suspiciously like blues and rock.
Belfast International Arts Festival
Northern Ireland's top arts festival attracts performers from all over the world for the second half of the month; on offer is everything from visual arts to dance.
Christmas dominates the calendar as the country prepares for the feast with frenzied shopping and after-work drinks with friends and family arrived home from abroad. On Christmas Day nothing is open.
This is a quiet affair in the countryside, though on 26 December (St Stephen's Day) the ancient custom of Wren Boys is re-enacted, most notably in Dingle, County Kerry, when groups of children dress up and go about singing hymns.
A traditional Christmas Day swim at the Forty Foot in the Dublin suburb of Sandycove sees a group of very brave swimmers go for a 20m swim to the rocks and back.