Top 13 Adventure Things to do in the West for Christmas & New Year’s

With all the giving and getting, spending and consuming, it can be very easy to get a little overwhelmed and frazzled at this time of year. Our solution is to get outdoors into this stunning place we call home and give the best gift you can give to friends, family, those in need; your time.

There is nothing like the West of Ireland air to blow out the cobwebs and refresh the mind after all the Christmas indulgence.

If you REALLY want to experience Christmas in the West, dive in! Brave the freezing waters for the traditional Christmas morning swim. Find the perfect gift among the stalls at the Christmas Markets and show off your Gaeilge with a breezy ‘Nollaig Shona Duit’.

Best Christmas & New Year’s Swims

There is NO better way to clear the cobwebs than a teeth-chattering dip in the Atlantic. So get your hip flasks ready and check out our pick of the best Christmas and New Year’s Day swims across the West.

Galway:
1. COPE Galway Christmas Day Swim.


This is the 29th annual Christmas Day Swim organised by COPE, where swimmers gather in Salthill and brave the icy waters together to raise money for the most vulnerable people in our society.
Last year over 450 people took time out of there Christmas Day to take the plunge, raising €28,900 for COPE’s services in Galway. Registration for the Christmas day Swim is €10 for one person or €30 for the family.

Anyone who wants to take the time out of the holiday season to help those who aren’t so fortunate can register online here.

The Christmas Day Swim will take place at Blackrock Pier in Salthill from 10am to 1pm. copegalway.ie/get-involved/events/christmas-day-swim/

2. Inis Mór, Co Galway

The Aran island has a variety of swimming spots, the most famous of which is Pól na bPéist – home to the Red Bull divers in the summer. The island’s population dwindles in winter, there are still plenty of intrepid souls who meet for a post-Mass gathering on December 25th.

3. Sligo: The Christmas Day Splash in Rosses Point

This annual charity swim raises much-needed funds for the MS North West Therapy Centre. The swim takes place from Rosses Point Yacht Club at 12 noon.

25 Dec, Rosses Point, Co Sligo facebook.com/Christmas-Splash-Christmas-Day-Rosses-point-Sligo-121508774625721/

There are a plethora of other charity swims in Sligo including Streedagh, Mullaghmore and Raughley.

4. Roscommon: Lough Arrow Annual Swim
Christmas Day 2018 sees the 18th Lough Arrow Annual Swim in aid of North West Hospice. The swim will start at 1pm at Flynn’s Pier, Lough Arrow and will see participants braving the picturesque Lough Arrow for a Winter dip. There is lots on offer for swimmers and spectators alike with a truly festive atmosphere of family fun on the lakeside including a DJ spinning Christmas tunes, hot whiskeys & mulled wine to warm the cockles as well as soft drinks for children. Events will kick off from 12:30pm Christmas Day with the swimmers going into Lough Arrow at 1pm. The annual swim has raised over €184,000 for the Hospice since it began in 2001. northwesthospice.ie/events/lough-arrow-christmas-day-swim/

5. Donegal
Culdaff, Co Donegal: The New Year’s Day swim at is Inishowen’s largest, hundreds of people from across Inishowen, Donegal and Derry take the annual plunge at Culdaff beach. This year’s swim kicks off 2.30pm on New Year’s Day.

Bundoran, Co Donegal: The Christmas Day swim takes place on the main beach at 12.15pm

6. Clare

kilkee christmas swim

Kilkee is a swimmer’s utopia. Its Pollock Holes are natural deep pools that replenish each time the tide recedes. Newfy (or Newfoundout as its officially called), has two diving boards which Richard Harris used to frequent. The annual Christmas Day swim is on Kilkee Beach at 12.30pm in aid of Kilkee Sub Aqua Club’s search-and-recovery activities.

25 Dec, Kilkee, Co Clare loophead.ie/events/christmas-day-swim-in-aid-of-cancer-research/

Solstice Celebrations

7. Winter Solstice Labyrinth Walk, Loop Head, Co Clareloop head labyrinth
Welcome the return of the light on the eve of the shortest day of the year. Create an intention in your heart and walk the Labyrinth with family and friends this Winter Solstice.

At the centre, is the beautifully crafted statue of Danu, mother Goddess of the Tuatha de Danaan. Danu represents the protector of the Earth. The Triskell on her pregnant belly represents Earth, Sea and Sky.

You are invited to chant the healing mantra with us in the Yoga centre afterward. Donations are welcomed to help the Hope Foundation who support the vulnerable on the Streets of Calcutta. Please rug up well, wear comfortable shoes and bring a torch or lantern. Bring a little jar to hold a tea light.
loophead.ie/events/winter-solstice-labyrinth-walk/

8. Celebrate the solstice in Sligo with a Pagan Adventureseatrails christmas

Celebrate Pagan New Year on the 21st of December with marine archaeologist Auriel from Seatrails.

To mark this important day, you will first explore the interesting Caves of Keash where remains of extinct fauna were discovered at the turn of the 20th Century and a place that is steeped in Irish mythology. You can enjoy fabulous views from the caves out onto the rural landscape.

carrowkeel auriel

Then you will head to the incredible Stone Age passage graves of Carrowkeel, (a most inspiring place to be at solstice) to see the sunset over a majestic landscape and the moon rise lighting up the ancient tombs and the spirits of those who were buried there thousands of years ago. These people were farmers and fully in sync with the pagan calendar year. This was an important time for them as they looked forward to the lengthening of the daylight and the start of Spring, a rebirth of crops and animals and not to forget, a brand New Year!

Finish off with complimentary mince pies and hot chocolate out in nature ‘al fresco’. The cost is €25 for adults and €10 for children. Meeting time is 12 noon. Booking is essential. Dec 21.

Auriel is also running a Christmas ‘Heritage On Horseback’ With Seatrails on 29 December. Full details and booking at Seatrails.ie

Christmas Adventure Festivals and Events:

9. Blow the cobwebs away with a Christmas Paddle on Lough Gill

Here’s a day out with a difference for friends and families – kayaking on gorgeous Lough Gill with Sligo Kayak Tours. The three-hour tours are for everyone; no experience is necessary, and all equipment is supplied. Knowledgeable tour guides bring the lake, its legends and characters to life. A thoughtful stop off at a secluded island for a seasonal mulled wine and mince pies puts the icing on the cake so to speak. It’s a special time of year to be out with family and friends and Lough Gill is a beautiful place to spend a few hours.

Every day from St. Stephen’s Day to New Year’s Day (26-31 December) Sligo Kayak Tours run three-hour paddles starting at 10.30am. The cost is €40 per adult and €30 for the under 16s. Advance booking is essential 086 1999015 or sligokayaktours@gmail.com. facebook.com/SligoKayakTours/

10. Sturrall Headland Rock Climbsturral donegal

Winter climbing in the County of Donegal in the North West of Ireland is quite simply outstanding, alas it has a very fleeting window of opportunity. Due to its coastal position and relatively low lying mountains good winter conditions in Donegal are a rare commodity indeed.  Usually, temperatures have to be below 0 for 5 days consecutively, and down to -5 at night, and an ill-timed dump of snow can spoil it all. To take advantage of these fleeting conditions you have to drop everything, and brave the inevitably appalling road conditions to get there, for rest assured, it won’t last!

The winter light along Ireland’s most remote coastline is incredible. Around New Years Day adventurer Iain Miller visits the summit of the Sturrall in Donegal. The Sturrall Headland is one of the most outstanding sea cliff features in Ireland it is a true monster of a headland sitting isolated and far from the real world. It sits equidistant between Glencolmcille Village to the South and the An Port road end to the North. The ridge is approx 800m long and 180m at its highest point.

As this outing is very weather dependent, to confirm availability it is best to email Iain Miller directly. For more visit Iain’s website at uniqueascent.ie

11. Galway Skates ( 18th November 2018 – 16th January 2019)

Galway Skates brings Christmas Ice Skating on a real ice skating rink to Galway City for Christmas 2018. Visitors can expect to see Galway’s Leisureland transformed into one of Ireland’s premier Christmas attractions with one massive 500m2 ice rink.

www.galwayskates.com

12. Fanore Burren Christmas 2018 – 10k/5k Event

Get ready for 2017 by burning off the Christmas excess at the 6th annual Fanore Burren Christmas 10k/5k starting at 12 from O’Donohues Pub on the R477 “Wild Atlantic Way”. Registration open from 10.30

The Fanore event has built up a reputation for its high-quality finishers medal and this year we have pushed the boat out with a beautiful medal marking the centenary of the Easter Rising. You won’t find a better one.

The 10k course is challenging with a 400-foot climb in the first half – most, of course, is tarmac with 1km on the green road. 5k is a flat course on tarmac suitable for all.

Numbers can be picked up from 10.30 at start. Registration on the day from 10.30 to 11.30 by cash or cheque. Saturday 29 December 2018  active.com/fanore-clare

13. Achill New Years Eve:

At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve there is a tradition in many villages on Achill Island in Co Mayo for their pipe bands to welcome in the New Year. A short parade followed by a rally of three or more Achill pipe bands provides a rousing and unforgettable New Year’s celebration for all the family. For the ‘morning after the night before’ how about a bracing dip in the Atlantic at the traditional New Year’s Day swim at Dugort. achilltourism.com/newyear

winter elves

Top 10 Things to do in the West of Ireland before Christmas

Twinkling lights, frosty winter air and festive cheer around every corner – welcome to Christmas in the West.

The most wonderful time of the year? We think so! Think bustling streets filled with festive shoppers, hot drinks enjoyed in front of a roaring turf fire and carol singers belting out your favourite Christmas tunes.

Check out our list of the top things to do in the West this festive season.

Santa with a Twist

1. Santa at the Arigna Mining Experience.  Visit Santa underground at the Arigna Mining Experience in Co Roscommon, a world-class attraction using bona fide miners as guides. Given the rocky authenticity of the surroundings, this Santa visit is like no other. Santa will be in his underground grotto where he will meet all the children. There will be daily entertainment which includse face painting, story telling and lots more fun activities for the kids.Until 22 Dec. arignaminingexperience.ie/santa/

christmas westport house

2. Winter Wonderland at Westport House. Winter Wonderland at Westport House is a magical family experience brimming with Christmas cheer that will leave the kids starry-eyed and the whole family believing in fairy-tales!

Escape the wintery weather outside for the warmth of our open fires in this stunning historic house. Soak up the twinkling lights, lush green garlands and tinsel trimmings spilling festively from every corner of Westport House as the little ones enjoy a fun-filled Christmas experience that they are sure to remember forever.

Until 23 Dec. Westport House, Westport, Co Mayo. westporthouse.ie/event/winter-wonderland-2/

3. The Christmas Experience at Tullyboy Farm, Boyle, Co Roscommon

Down on Tullyboy Farm in Boyle in Co. Roscommon there is a chill in the air and all the animals are tucked up warmly in their beds awaiting the arrival of baby Jesus. The atmosphere is buzzing with excitement. The pudding is being made, Santa’s bags are being packed and the Elves are eager to bring you through the ten stages of the Tullyboy Farm Christmas Experience.

Parents and children can warm themselves with hot chocolate and marshmallows and mulled juices/mince pies in the Yuletide Kitchen where you can also help out with stirring the pudding and don’t forget to make your wish. Hear the story of Christmas in front of the big fire in the inglenook fireplace, then up the spiral staircase to Santa’s bedroom to see Santa’s old-fashioned bed and the naughty elf.

Visit the Christmas Experience at Tullyboy Farm until 23 December. tullyboyfarm.com/visitorfarms/christmas/

4. Visit Donegal’s Lapland

The longest running and most popular Christmas show in Donegal is back again for 2018 and you do really have to pass the North Pole to get here, we kid you not!

Santa’s Lapland in Donegal includes a live show, with an elf telling the nativity story as it unfolds on stage. Santa arrives down the chimney with a small gift for each child. They move on to Santa’s home, visit the toy factory and sit on his sleigh. There’s a second chance to meet Santa at his home, and have photos taken. See donegalslapland.ie

5. Santa’s Workshop at Ailwee Caves, Co Clare

Santa Claus has been taking up his annual residence at Aillwee Cave in Ballyvaughan especially to meet children and their families since The Millennium. He works very hard as he prepares this unique event.

Along with Mrs. Claus and his team of happy Elves, Santa ensures a very special personalised visit for each child. He arranges lots of exciting entertainment for all the family which continues right throughout each day. There is face painting, a puppet show and lots of carnival entertainment to be enjoyed.

Santa Elves are waiting with their LISTS of the boys and girls visiting every day. They will guide everyone along the cave passageways singing Christmas Carols all the way. Santa Claus with his helper will meet and chat with each child and of course, have a present for everyone. Mrs. Claus is there to greet the grownup with a glass of Hot Punch and a Mince Pie.

Santa’s train is available for rides all day long which will take you to visit the Birds of Prey Centre. There you will enjoy a complimentary visit to meet a Snowy Owl or a Happy Harris Hawk! A visit to Santa’s Workshop at Aillwee really is a unique, thrilling, fun filled day out for every generation of your family.
Until 22 Dec. facebook.com/aillwee

6. Brigit’s Garden, Galway

If you’d like to take the focus away from presents, you might like Brigit’s Garden in Galway. Their “Santa’s Christmas Magic Show” includes music and dancing, followed by the lighting of candles, and then the lighting of the Christmas tree – by magic. There are no individual presents for children (though there is a “symbolic gift” for each family). So if you’re worried about the commercial side of Christmas, this might be the one for you.

Until 23 December. brigitsgarden.ie

Christmas Markets

Nothing gets people in the Christmas mood more than a colourful market. Eating delicious festive food at markets will get us all warmed up for the Christmas dinner.

galway christmas market

7. Galway Continental Christmas Market

Galway Christmas Market

The Galway Continental Christmas Market makes its return to the City Of The Tribes from 6pm on Friday 16th November until Saturday 22nd December 2018.

The Galway Continental Christmas Market received over 350,000 visitors last year and there were more than 50 wooden chalets located Eyre Square along with the Santa’s Grotto, the German Bier Keller numerous other theatrical delights throughout the four week fair.

This year marks the Christmas Market’s ninth year in Galway, with artisan foods and Christmas present ideas from both local and international traders.

Signature amusement rides will be returning, including a 32 metre high Big Wheel, Helter Skelter and traditional Carousel.
Until 22 Dec. facebook.com/ChristmasMarketGalway/

8.The Mistletoe Market and Frosty Salmon Festival in Ballina.

The Frosty Salmon Christmas Festival returns to Ballina from the 6-23rd of December and promises plenty of festive cheer and seasonal celebrations. Ballina Mistletoe Market is a European style Christmas market which will bring Ballina back to its historic market town origins and will boast a range of local, traditional crafts and artisan food while the festival also boasts a host of concerts, carol singing, street performances at various venues and late night shopping for those last minute gifts.

A major addition to this year’s festival is the inclusion of Ballina on the Coca-Cola National Christmas Truck Tour. Stopping at the Military Barracks in Ballina on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 12, the truck will delight families with its the iconic ‘Holidays are Coming’ jingle, made famous in their Christmas TV adverts. Featuring a glittering winter wonderland setting nestled amongst a festival of lights, visitors will be able to enjoy a can of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Original Taste while enjoying exclusive photography opportunities and creating magical memories that will last a lifetime. This year, Coke merchandise will be available to purchase with proceeds going to St. Vincent de Paul and each truck tour stop will encourage consumers to recycle their cans, in line with Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste global commitment to collect and recycle a bottle or can for each one sold by the year 2030.
Irish Rail’s Polar Express Christmas Train runs on three dates this year – December 8, 15 and 22. Once again this special hour-long trip to Manulla and back with Santa and Mrs Claus on board promises to be a truly memorable experience for children of all ages. Tickets are now on sale from Ballina Train Station priced at €12.50 per person.
northmayo.ie

Strandhill Christmas Market9 Strandhill People’s Market, Sligo Airport, Strandhill

Strandhill People’s Market, now in its fifth year, opened its Christmas market last Friday, 08 December. Based in the unique surrounds of Sligo Airport’s Hangar, the market has become one of the biggest along the Wild Atlantic Way with over 50 stalls to choose from on each date.

The organisers behind the family-friendly venue are constantly looking for new ways to expand its audience and make it an event for everyone to enjoy.
This December, they’ve brought back late-night opening at the market – it’s on every Friday leading up to Christmas.
The market has already proven to have had a significant economic impact on the surrounding area, creating employment, generating visitor spend, and making a substantial contribution to the winter economy in Sligo.

Details: December 2, 9, 14-16, 21-23, strandhillpeoplesmarket.ie

galway food tours10. Galway Food Tours Christmas Gift Tours

Shopping local has never been as important, and it is the best way of finding that novel and unique gift. So, Galway Food Tours (GFT) have teamed up with Galway institutions including McCambridges, My Shop Granny Likes it, Tigh Neachtains, Pálás Arthouse Cinema and The Tasting Room (America Village Apothecary) to offer the best food tours with the best local produce. More here.

 

 

ireland west airport

New state of the art Visitor Discovery Centre opens at Ireland West Airport

On Friday 30th November Ireland West Airport celebrated the official opening of the new state of the art Visitor Centre and the launch of Ryanair’s new service to Cologne.

Under the Rural Economic Development Zone (REDZ) initiative programme with Minister Michael Ring and the Department of Rural & Community Development the construction of a new innovative and state of the art Visitor Discovery Centre was completed at Ireland West Airport in early November. The project was a collaboration with seven local authority partners in Donegal, Galway City, Galway County, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo and the Western Development Commission.

The new Centre will feature information on attractions, activities, events and visitor experiences from across the region and present opportunities for local suppliers to showcase local crafts, food tastings and also facilitate musical performances from local musicians throughout the year.

Arthur French, Chairman Ireland West Airport , speaking at today’s event said ‘This morning we marked the official opening of the new state of the art Visitor Discovery Centre at the airport, which is a result of a unique partnership between central Government, our Local Authority partners and the Western Development Commission. We wish to thank Minister Michael Ring TD and his department for their support for this project. Today is a very positive example of what can be achieved when resources are combined with a regional approach to tourism promotion. This new Centre will be the first of its kind at any airport in the country and will showcase the very best of what the West and North West has to offer and demonstrates the airport and Local Authority partners commitment to providing overseas visitors with a first class offering as they arrive into the West of Ireland’.

Speaking at the official opening Minister Michael Ring, TD, said ‘This is a great day for the West of Ireland with the opening of a magnificent new state of the art Tourist Visitor Centre at the airport. I’m delighted that my department was able to assist in bringing this project to completion and it will be a fantastic resource for the region to promote and showcase all the West of Ireland has to offer’.

On Friday Ryanair also officially launch their new twice weekly service to Cologne which starts on the 1st of June 2019 which will see Ryanair offer services to 13 destinations across the UK and Europe carrying over 600,000 passengers through the airport in 2019. Last week Ryanair welcomed its 8 millionth passenger on flights to/from the airport since their inaugural flight in 1986.

Speaking at the launch, David O’ Brien, Chief Commercial Officer, Ryanair said ‘I’m delighted to be here in the West of Ireland to officially launch Ryanair’s new service to Cologne. Over the last 32 years Ryanair has seen a huge demand for its routes at Ireland West Airport as customers in the West of Ireland snap up Ryanair’s lowest fares to top destinations including Bristol, East Midlands, Liverpool and London Stansted as well as to a host of European destinations in Spain, Portugal, Italy and now Germany. We are looking forward to working with the team at Ireland West Airport in 2019 to ensure the Cologne service is a major success for the West of Ireland.’

More at irelandwestairport.com/

atlantic economic corridor

Atlantic Economic Corridor: €500k funding announced for the Western Development Commission (WDC)

Michael Ring, TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, and Seán Canney TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, today (10 December 2018), announced additional funding of €500,000 for the Western Development Commission (WDC) to support the work of the Atlantic Economic Corridor initiative and to maximise the use of the Western Investment Fund which provides financing for micro-enterprises and SMEs in the Western region.

Speaking at a meeting of the Atlantic Economic Corridor Taskforce in Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim, Minister Canney said: “The AEC project is a collaborative initiative, with public and private stakeholders working together to develop the strengths and assets of the cities and towns along our western seaboard, from Donegal to Kerry.”

“The aim of the project is to connect the economic clusters and catchment areas of the region to attract investment, support job creation and improve the quality of life of the people who live there.  The project is overseen by the Atlantic Economic Corridor Taskforce, which I chair, involving key stakeholders from the public and private sectors who share a common vision for the growth of the region.“

Minister Canney continued: “As the AEC initiative develops and grows, the importance of strengthening the collaboration between stakeholders and in communicating our message is paramount.   I have therefore asked the Western Development Commission to take on a co-ordinating role to support the work of the AEC Taskforce and its Subgroups. The support and knowledge that the WDC can bring to the AEC project at regional level will be invaluable to my Department and to the development of the Atlantic Economic Corridor project as a whole.”

To support the WDC in this work, Minister Ring said: “With Minister Canney, I have secured €500,000 in additional funding for the WDC for 2019, which will help them to strengthen their resources, both to support the AEC project and to maximise the impact of the Western Investment Fund which provides investment for micro-enterprises and SMEs in the Western region.  I want to thank the Board and Chief Executive of the Western Development Commission for agreeing to carry out this new AEC coordination role and my Department looks forward to working closely with the Commission to help deliver on the AEC’s objectives.”

The announcement comes just weeks after projects based in the AEC region secured €50 million in investment from three Government funds to support rural and urban regeneration and enterprise development.

Tomás Ó Síocháin, Chief Executive Officer of the WDC, said: “There is significant alignment between the work of the Atlantic Economic Corridor and the goal of the Western Development Commission in building a sustainable future for vibrant communities. The work of the AEC Taskforce will benefit the full length of the western seaboard. The WDC, in co-ordinating business, state and community effort, can bring the benefit of 20 years of investment, development and policy experience to bear in helping the AEC to become a globally competitive region of scale.”

More at atlanticeconomiccorridor.ie

congregation

Ideas Spread Through Mayo for CongRegation 2018

The 6th annual CongRegation ‘Mind Mesh’ in Cong Village from November 23rd to 25th will see over 100 Irish and international speakers debate, discuss and share their expert insights into the world of ‘Ideas’.

Consisting of 7 separate events over the weekend in 10 different venues the conference features an evening of talks in Ashford Castle, Adults Physics Workshop, Full Day Unconference, Children’s Smart, Music and Clay Modelling workshops, a learn the Ukulele bar music workshop and finishing with foraging walk in Cong wood.

The centrepiece of the weekend is the unconference which sees coffee shops, bookshop, art gallery, restaurants and shops in Cong Village turned into mini-conference centres or huddles with attendees debating Ideas from the perspective of artificial intelligence to how to get ideas off the ground.

As part of the festival, a problem-solving muse is being offered to attendees.  Simply enter a problem at thypia.com and a creative muse will deliver an anonymous personalized response.

The price of entry to the 3 days of the conference is a 600-word unique article on the theme of ‘Ideas’ that is posted on the conference website.

“The structure and the different events at CongRegation are designed to not alone share information more effectively but to allow the attendees to get to know each other better in a relaxed and informal peer-based environment.  These combined have produced lots of serendipity in previous years” commented organiser Eoin Kennedy.

Speakers at the Ashford Castle evening of ‘Ideas Talk’ include businesswoman Daphne McKinley on establishing the Sean Edwards Foundation, Valerie Cox on her 21 years experience of ideas as a journalist in RTE, Lee Tunney Ware on what are ideas, David Gluckman, ideas innovator and inventor of Baileys and a poet on how the creativity community approaches ideas.  This evening will finish with a Semicon(g)ductor Physics session with Mags Amond and Richard Millwood, where the attendees will literally try their hand at conducting – electricity.

While the adults are enjoying the mind mesh in Cong Village on Saturday 24th their children will be enjoying a series of workshops including a smart fabric workshop by Common Ground Design followed by a music (drums) and finishing with a clay-modelling workshop in the Crossroad Centre.

After the conference dinner on Saturday attendees will be taught how to play the Ukulele from scratch by Sean McGrath in Danaghers Hotel followed by a music session.

CongRegation will finish with a foraging walk in Cong Woods on Sunday morning.

“We are looking for open-minded people with a curious mind, from very different backgrounds and a unique insight on ‘Ideas’ to submit their thoughts via the entry on the website,” added Kennedy.

“Mayo County Council and Mayo.ie are delighted to be able to support this year’s Congregation event. Over the last 5 years, Congregation has become firmly established as an important forum for sharing ideas, generating debate and exploring innovative approaches. This year’s theme is ‘Ideas’ and goes to the heart of the concept behind the initiative. I’m really looking forward to reading the submissions and meeting everyone again this year,” said John Magee,  Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Mayo.

The event is proudly sponsored by Mayo.ie, the Advanced Productivity Skillnet, MKC Communications and Blacknight.

Top 10 Things to do in the West of Ireland this Halloween

Autumn is officially here; despite lamenting the passing of an incredible summer we are definitely enjoying the beautiful blue skies and mellow fruitfulness Autumn brings to the West.

With the October bank holiday and Halloween just around the corner, we thought it would be useful to highlight just some of the great festivals and events taking place across the West over the coming weeks.

westival website

1. Westival, Westport Music and Arts Festival, Co Mayo

We are beyond excited to see the brilliant line-up for Westival (Westport Music and Arts Festival ) which in Westport, Co Mayo runs from Wednesday October 24 to Monday October 29, incorporating the Halloween Bank Holiday Weekend.

Westival takes pride in being an Autumnal-Halloween-festival of comfort, many of the events take place during the long evenings, around open hearths of softly-lit rooms, or during dusk where the imagination can play part in interpreting the world with magic and intrigue.

Le Galaxie and Lisa Hannigan lead the line-up for the first ‘Westival’ festival in County Mayo. 24-29 Oct, Westport Co Mayo. westival.ie

 

burren food fayre

2. Co Clare: Burren Food Fayre
The Burren Food Fayre kicks off for another year on October Bank Holiday weekend. With Food demos, Farmer’s Market, Burren Bellini & Best stall competition and delicious local, artisan and Wild Food. The theme for this years Fayre is “Taste Without Waste”. The Pavillion, Lisdoonvarna, 28 Oct burren.ie/event/burren-food-fayre-4/

3.  Galway City: Macnas Street Festival

The annual Hallowe’en parade by Macnas (who celebrate their 32nd anniversary this year), will take place on Sunday 28th October 2018 at approximately 5.30pm. The narrative theme of this year’s parade is ‘Out of the Wild Sky’ which celebrates the act of transformation being unleashed upon the city by bringing a world that is hypnotic, intoxicating, mysterious and filled with shadowy and noble things. Expect signature Macnas giant creations and sculptural images, pyrotechnics, bespoke costumes, and epic performances to live and original music. Street-hopping, traffic-stopping excitement and chaos will be orchestrated by the hundreds of performers from the Macnas Young Ensemble, Youth Ballet West, the Macnas Youth Drummers, The Hit Machine and the Public participation programme. Spectators are encouraged to wear costumes too. Galway City, 28 Oct, macnas.com

4. Sligo Town: Sligo Live Festival

Sligo Live celebrates folk, roots, and indie music. Over the years it has carved out a niche as a relaxed, intimate and enjoyable music festival, attracting visitors from all over Ireland and abroad. Sligo Live is one of the most relaxed, friendly and enjoyable music festivals in Europe, having hosted major international and Irish folk, roots and indie artists in intimate indoor venues for 12 years. Headliners this year include the Boomtown Rats, Lisa Hannigan and Saint Sister. Sligo, 24-29 Oct, sligolive.ie

5. ‘Gaeilge Galore ar an Turas Mór’, Sligo

Ceolteoirí Tireragh wishes to preserve and promote the Irish language by undertaking a bus tour of historical sites in the West Sligo region, with an emphasis on the Irish language throughout the journey and sites.

The ‘Gaeilge Galore ar on Turas Mor’ bus tour departs on Monday 29th October, leaving Dromore West Community Centre and visiting six historical sites in the West Sligo area. This event is free to join. Conversation takes place in Irish along the way, with information given at each site and refreshments and an Irish music and song session to end the event. Dromore West, Sligo, 29 Oct. To book a place call 086 876 5545 after 6pm.

carrowmore halloween6. Samhain Sunrise at Carrowmore, Co Sligo

Celebrate the changing of seasons with sunrise at Carrowmore Megalithic tombs in Sligo. The Carromore complex of passage graves dates back to 3,700 BC.

Samhain means Summers End and is also the start of Winter, which starts on November 1st.   The changing of the season is marked in Carrowmore; this is also the last day of our season. All are welcome on October 31, but you need to get there early. 31 Oct, Sligo. facebook.com/carrowmoreopw/

7. Haunted House at Westport House, Co Mayo

Are you ready to scare yourself silly this Halloween?!

Westport House will be hosting it’s annual Halloween Fest from 20th and 21st October as well as the 27th to the 31st of October from 11:00am to 5:00pm.

Get ready for plenty of ghoulish delights, scary stories and creepy fun that all the family will be able to enjoy!

  • Head to the Haunted Estate House, transformed into a spooky old mansion for Halloween Fest.
  • Gather ‘round the cauldron for Scary Story Time, with wicked tales from the White Witch of Westport.
  • Brave souls can visit the dark dungeons, where the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley locked up her prisoners.
  • Carve a creepy pumpkin* and decorate some ghoulish goblin cakes at the Spooky Spoons Workshop.
  • Get your Michael Jackson zombie moves on at the Thriller Dance Class.

Westport House, Westport, Co Mayo westporthouse.ie/halloweenfest

8. Kinlough People’s Market, Co Leitrim

The Kinlough peoples Market is a new venture, and has had it’s first very successful market, but getting into the spirit of things they are now presenting a new Halloween Market, with their wide range of products shown and the ‘Fairy Forest’ for the kids it is a day out for all the Family.

With the Halloween market on the 28th of October, the market will continue on regularly on the last Sunday of each month. 28 Oct, Kinlough, Co Leitrim. facebook.com/kinloughpeoplesmarket/

9. Castle Adventure Open Farm Spook Fest, Co Donegal

Family Halloween Event at Castle Adventure Open Farm. Kids haunted House, Face painting, storytelling, spooky disco and much more.

No Booking Required.

lough key halloween10. Lough Key Halloween Spook Fest

A wide variety of fantastic activities will be running from 27th October – 2nd November for the whole family to enjoy this Halloween at Lough Key

All activities are open for the week with some being weather permitted

Join Lough Key this Halloween for the ‘Spoooky Scenes’ in the visitor centre, all the adventures at the Adventure Play Kingdom, the Tree Canopy Trial, the Zipit Forest Adventure, splashy fun at Lough Key Boat Tours and many more fun activities and adventures. An experience like no other for this Halloween. 27 Oct – 02 Nov. Lough Key Forest Park, Co Roscommon. loughkey.ie

 

 

 

Energise Your Business – how to take your innovation to the next level

You are cordially invited to
FREED Project Event
Tuesday 16th October 2018

9:30am – 2pm
Registration & Refreshments from 9:30am | Event Start 10:00am | Lunch & Networking 12:45pm

DETAILS
Is your start-up business or SME struggling to get an energy innovation to the next level? Then join us to hear from companies that have succeeded in this with the help of the  FREED Project.
Getting your ideas from the blueprints into the markets can be a long, difficult journey, which all innovations and companies are not be able to complete. Various business support organisations and enterprise agencies offer support for starting entrepreneurs and companies, but they do not target energy innovations in particular. However, these are the ones that are sorely needed, as energy is a key driver of climate change.
Funding Resources for Innovation in Energy Enterprise Development (FREED) is a three year project funded under Interreg’s Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme. FREED has been supporting SMEs and start-ups working on energy innovations with the aim of getting the innovations faster into the real world, where they can make a difference. The experiences of these SMEs and the support mechanisms developed in the project can help other innovations make it too.

During this event you will hear from:

  • SMEs who have been receiving support from the FREED Project and how it has helped them progress
  • Public Funding Specialist Ian Brannigan (Western Development Commission)
  • Business Angel Investor Nick Lyth (Green Angel Syndicate
  • You will also learn about the FREED Service platform – a funding match-making platform for SMEs, Investors and Enterprise Agencies.

To attend this event please Register HERE

fort wayne metals mayo

Fort Wayne Metals Announce €5m Investment in Co Mayo Site

Fort Wayne Metals Ireland is preparing an investment of €5 million at a site owned by the IDA. Planning permission was granted by Mayo County Council in October 2017 for the new facility at an IDA owned site adjacent to the existing Fort Wayne Metals premises at Moneen.

Since commencing its operations in Castlebar in 2002, Fort Wayne Metals Ireland now employs 60 staff. Mayo County Council Chief Executive Peter Hynes welcomes this morning’s significant announcement:

Fort Wayne Metals has been an important employer in Castlebar since 2002. It is a real success story and this morning’s announcement further safeguards its position as an international organisation thriving in the county.

This announcement is testimony to the positive, enterprise focused environment for international and local business that has been fostered in Co Mayo by Mayo County Council through the Enterprise and Investment Unit and the wider Council in the delivery of its services and supports.”

Caothairleach Blackie Gavin also speaking of the announcement: “I am delighted that Fort Wayne Metals are continuing to invest in their Castlebar operation. This is a great announcement for Co Mayo and for Castlebar and I wish them best wishes for continued success into the future”

Fort Wayne Metals Ireland is a leading manufacturer of medical materials, producing precision wire and components for all types of medical devices in Ireland, Europe and Asia. The parent company, headquartered in Indiana, USA, is a privately held company with nine manufacturing plants.

Via Mayo.ie here

Marble Beach, Donegal

Best West of Ireland Heatwave photos

The summer of 2018 is the summer that keeps on giving. We can’t keep up with the amount of Caribbean-esque shots we have seen of the stunning beaches we have right across the West of Ireland.

Is anybody feeling a little bit smug about where they live now?

Here are our top Insta picks from the heatwave so far.

With the current forecast, we think we will have to do Round Two next week. If you would like your shots to be included, please tag us @lookwestie and include #lookwest on your shots!

Co Clare:

Hands down one of the best #cliffsofmoher shots we have soon. There are over 400,000 on Instagram so that is quite an achievement @reeyco

Co Galway:

Where do we start with Galway? The shots from SeaFest alone could feel a whole article. Then those Connemara beach shots!!

Seriously though how stunning is this shot of Lettergesh Beach in Connemara?

Having all the bants in Salthill!

With thanks to @kokine009 for #repost: “☀When it’s summer in Galway ☀”

A post shared by Barnacles Hostels (@barnacleshostels) on

 

This one is an old Red Bull shot from Poll na bPéist, couldn’t not include it!

Connemara

A post shared by Aidan Maguire (@aidanjmaguire) on

Co Mayo:

Baywatch eat your heart out!

Wowza, having all the craic in Louisburgh!

Co Leitrim:

Zen-est sheep in Ireland award goes to?

Co Roscommon:

Blogger Magnumlady nails the Gaelic Chieftain at sunset.

Gaelic Chieftain sunset #roscommon #Ireland #irish #heatwave #statue #sculpture

A post shared by Val (@magnumlady) on

Co Sligo:

Sligo photographer Mark Capilitan seems to have the work-life balance nailed. Follow his feed for lots more stunning shots!

If it wasn’t for the beach & kayak, you’d think this water was a swimming pool!!

A post shared by Mark Capilitan (@markcap_photo) on

Its gonna be another one of those weeks 🌞🌞🌞

A post shared by Mark Capilitan (@markcap_photo) on

 Beautiful children at sunset shot from John Keating in Sligo.

Co Donegal:

South African photographer Ian Mitchinson’s feed is always a stunning feast of adventure shots from the North West. This Bundoran shot is a cracker!

 

Featured Image: Marble Hill Beach, Co Donegal via Ireland’s Content Pool

2018 Westport Food Festival Launched

Mid-Summer Banquet is highlight of Westport Food Festival Westport House Friday 29th June

The undisputed highlight of Westport Food Festival and the social event of the year is the gala Mid-Summer Banquet in the glorious environment of Westport House. It’s a glittering affair featuring black tie and evening dresses as befits the stylish setting. The date is Friday 29th June and limited tickets are available through Hotel Westport (098 25122).

The evening starts with a complimentary trip from town on the Westport House Train. It might bring guests just a kilometre on the ground, but it transports them to another world. It’s Downton Abbey – but it’s better, because it’s for real! From the chilled Pimms on arrival to the handmade canapés, gourmet tasting menu and accompanying fine wines, this is a step back into history. Walk up those historic steps and imagine several hundred years of bejewelled guests and famous figures preceding you. Opportunities like this don’t come along too often.

The Midsummer Banquet takes place on Friday night, 29th June. The epicurean seven course feast showcases the combined talent of seven local chefs led by Eoin McDonnell of the Wyatt Hotel who is also Chairman of Westport Food Festival. The wine pairings are from Cabot’s of Westport, guaranteeing a perfect match for the taste buds. The team of chefs has developed a stunning menu with a strong focus on local and Mayo food. It promises to be a real celebration of the senses.

Tickets for this unique event are in high demand and as there is quite literally no room for expansion in the dining rooms, people are advised to book without delay. Contact Hotel Westport (098 25122).

Westport Food Festival continues over the weekend until Sunday 1st July with a busy programme of events including the Fairgreen Food Village on Saturday with a full programme of chef demonstrations and plenty to keep the kids occupied too. Kiddie workshops on Pizza Making and Cup Cake Decorating can be booked on the day and the little ones can enter the fun Fast Food Race too. Go foraging for mushrooms or seashore delicacies. Two local producer tasting tours are on the menu– Mescan Brewery and Mussel and Oyster Farm.  Wet your whistle with the Gintastic Gin Appreciation, Whiskey Tasting and Come Wine With Me. There’s something there to tempt everyone’s tastebuds. Check out the website www.westportfoodfestival.ie for full details.