Failte Ireland launches new festival
A new tourism festival which aims to position Ireland internationally as the home of Halloween has been launched by Failte Ireland.
'Púca' is a joint initiative developed in partnership with Louth and Meath County Councils and will boast a full programme of events taking place in Drogheda and Trim from October 31st until November 2nd this year.
Rooted in ancient tradition, the festival will celebrate Ireland as the birthplace of Halloween.
With a spectacular arrayt of music and light complemented by rich harvest-inspired food experiences, Púca will celebrate a time when light turns to dark, the veil between realities draws thin, rules can be broken, and the spirits move between worlds.
Announcing the name of the new festival, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, said: 'I'm delighted to announce Fáilte Ireland's new festival, Púca. The Government is committed to investing in the development of new and compelling reasons for visitors to choose Ireland as a destination.'
According to Irish folklore and more recent archaeological evidence, Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic tradition of Samhain. 'Summer's end' in old Irish, Samhain marked the end of the Celtic Year and the start of a new one and believed to be a time of transition, when the spirits of all those who had passed away since the previous Oíche Shamhna (31st October) moved onto the next life.
Samhain was the last great gathering before winter, a time of feasting, remembering what had passed and preparing for what was to come. 'Púca', a character from Celtic folklore often associated with Samhain, was chosen as the name for the festival following consumer research in key markets.
At Halloween, the Púca comes alive, changing the fortunes of those that cross it and immersing them in the true spirit of Halloween.
Head of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland, Orla Carroll, said: 'The development of tourism festivals is part of Fáilte Ireland's strategy to attract domestic and international visitors to areas outside traditional tourism hotspots and peak times. Our new festival, Púca, is just one of a range of exciting new initiatives in the area of festivals that will benefit tourism across the country.
'Our market research tells us that overseas visitors are motivated to visit Ireland to attend the Púca festival.
'Over the next three years, we are investing €1.5million to develop Púca as a world class festival that positions Ireland as the home of Halloween internationally. We believe it has the potential to motivate 100,000 overseas visitors to come to Ireland and generate €12m in revenue for the local region.'
The festival is being funded by Fáilte Ireland, Meath County Council and Louth County Council.
It will be delivered by arts-led creative production company, Curated Place, overseen by a Steering Group made up of representatives from Fáilte Ireland, Meath County Council, Louth County Council, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Office of Public Works and Boyne Valley Tourism.
Joan Martin, Chief Executive of Louth County Council, added: 'Púca is an excellent opportunity to showcase all that Louth and the Boyne Valley have to offer to a global audience and we look forward to an amazing line-up of events to celebrate the area's mythical past. Full programme details will be announced this summer. Local businesses who wish to be involved in the festival can visit the Curated Place website for more information.
Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive of Meath County Council, stated: 'Meath and the Boyne Valley are steeped in rich history and we are delighted to work with Fáilte Ireland to develop the existing Halloween festivals.'