Explore the region’s traditional culture, heritage and literary traditions where festivals abound and the craic is, as they say, mighty!
Music, dance and tradition
Embracing some of the most unspoiled and undiscovered parts of Ireland, there is a strong sense of culture, tradition and heritage alive in the Lakelands. Traditional music and dance is a passion of the people and a traditional session in a local pub or a cracking céilÍ (dance) is an incredible experience. To get a feel for the region’s traditional culture, visit the Dun na SÍ Heritage Centre at Lough Ree, with genealogy, music, song, dance and storytelling. Culture in Ireland has always focused around the pub, which transforms into a gathering place for rural and urban communities. For a truly authentic traditional Irish pub, try The Sheelin in Bellanaleck, Upper Lough Erne, which occupies a delightful thatched cottage, and nearby you could also check out The Sheelin Irish Lace Museum, which has almost 700 exhibits dating between 1850 and 1900 and offers a unique insight into one of Ireland’s most traditional and famous industries.
Inspiring and captivating, it’s no surprise that the Lakelands are indelibly linked to some of the country’s – and the world’s – finest writers. Oscar Wilde and Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett both attended Portora Royal School in Enniskillen; John McGahern spent his childhood in the parish of Aughawillan, County Leitrim; while Oliver Goldsmith beautifully evoked the charms of Counties Longford and Westmeath. To understand what made such an impression on these great artists, you have to see for yourself the landscapes that sculpted their minds...
Festivals and events
When summer arrives, it can only mean one thing: world renowned festivals. Everything from music, the arts and even the gardening world is celebrated in style. Music lovers will adore The World Fleadh (July/August) in Portlaoise, which is widely recognised as Ireland’s biggest Irish and Celtic music festival; the Electric Picnic (Sept) in County Laois, which has been cited by international experts as ‘everything a festival should be’. Arts and culture afficionados will enjoy The Terryglass Arts Festival (August) in Lough Derg, which is a wonderful family affair that covers a broad range of arts; while the Mid-Shannon area is a hive of activity with the Ballinasloe River & Arts Festival (July), the Ballinasloe Horse Fair (Oct), and the Tullamore Phoenix Festival (July) just a few of the many events to entice you to this glorious region.