A feast of festivals as 170 events get funding
YOU could be trying out the Charlie Chaplin festival in Kerry or enjoying the Ukulele Hooley in Dun Laoghaire.
Or how about warbling along at the Joe Dolan festival in Mullingar or joining in the Rock 'n' Roll Dublin half-marathon?
Festival-goers will be spoiled for choice next year after €685,000 in funding was approved by Failte Ireland for 170 local festivals and events across the country.
The funding boost coincides with the major tourism initiative The Gathering, which aims to attract more than 300,000 Irish ex-pats and tourists home for a year of celebrations.
The huge range of festivals being supported by Failte Ireland under the Regional Programme of the Festivals and Events Initiative includes:
• Bray Jazz Festival, Drogheda Samba Festival, Dingle Tradfest and the Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Tullamore.
• Sports events such as the Galway International Rally and the European Championships of Australian Rules Football.
• Food events such as the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival, the Roscommon Lamb Festival and the Kenmare Food Festival.
• A spoof sporting festival in Cork, which includes a 400m crawling race and a mobile phone throwing competition.
• Cultural events such as the Cape Clear International Storytelling Festival, Kilkenomics in Kilkenny and the Sarsfield's Day Pageant in Limerick.
There will even be a Narnia Festival in Christ Church in Bray, based on one of the children's books by CS Lewis.
Junior Tourism Minister Michael Ring is set to announce details of the funding today.
He said the local festivals and events were the perfect opportunity to showcase what Ireland had to offer.
"Local festivals are central to the Government's plans to develop the tourism industry. It's estimated that they are worth some €450m for the economy, and they provide vital bednights in communities everywhere," said Mr Ring.