Lonely Planet Writer

People from around the world celebrate their amazing hair at the Redhead Convention in Ireland

A town in Ireland drew in visitors from around the world this weekend to celebrate one very unique feature many of them had in common – red hair.

Redheads gather in Ireland at the annual convention.
Redheads gather in Ireland at the annual convention. Image by Redhead Convention

The seventh annual Redhead Convention was held in Crosshaven, Co. Cork, bringing together more than 2000 people to celebrate the rarest hair colour in the world. While redheads’ unique feature makes them stand out from the crowd, the festivalgoers tended to blend in for the once-a-year event, taking part in a redhead-only parade through town, and listening to music from redheaded artists.  The convention even saw the crowning of a new “King and Queen of Gingerdom”, Andy O’Neill from Kilkenny and Emma Ni Chearuil from Galway.

Redheads gather in Ireland at the annual convention.
Redheads gather in Ireland at the annual convention. Image by Redhead Convention

Redheads – along with their friends and family – came from around the world to take part in the celebration. Some even won titles, like Debbie Murphy from Atlanta, Georgia who won Best Redhead Granny, Jean Remley of California who won the Longest Red Hair Award and Thomas Gronemeir from Frankfurt who won the Best Ex-Redhead Award. According to the organisers, only 0.6% of the global population has red hair. Ireland has the second highest proportion of redheads at 10%, while less than 2% of America has red hair.

Redheads gather in Ireland at the annual convention.
Redheads gather in Ireland at the annual convention. Image by Redhead Convention

Festival founder Joleen Cronin said in a news release, “Our ginger-loving festival continues to go from strength to strength.  We are delighted to welcome hundreds of redhead friends – old and new – from all over the world. Redheads are very proud of their redhead identity. The festival is a fantastic coming together for gingers and wonderful celebration of everything to do with fabulous red hair.  Through social media, the redhead community is truly global and it is wonderful that the festival attracts people from as far away as Australia, Europe and the US.”

The event is organised by a non-profit organisation that has partnered with the Irish Cancer Society and has raised more than €30,000 for the charity.