The May Bank Holiday weekend is the perfect time to see Dingle at its best. Féile na Bealtaine Music & Arts Festival takes over the peninsula that weekend, so if you’ve booked a holiday home at Killarney’s Holiday Village, take the scenic one-hour drive to Dingle and enjoy the best of music, film, street entertainment, visual art, poetry, and lots more.
Origins of Feile na Bealtaine
Feile na Bealtaine dates back to Celtic times, when the year was divided into Ó Samhain go Bealtaine (from September to May – or Good Fire) and Ó Bealtaine go Samhain (from May to September). The festival was designed to bring the local community out of hibernation and into the light of summer. The festival in its current form originated in the 1990s as a low-key one-day affair founded by the late poet and GP, Dr. Micheal Fanning, and a dedicated local committee. It is now a five-day extravaganza featuring more than 100 events, all fusing art with passion and harnessed by the enthusiastic muintir an phobail (local community).
The arts in all their forms are celebrated, with local and visiting artists involved, and interactive events promising delights for all the senses.
Whatever your taste in music, you’ll find something to enjoy, be it traditional, classical, rock, indie, folk, dance or world music. Then there is trapeze, dance, and up-cycling workshops, as well as the perennially popular poetry morning in Dick Macks – one of the original events.
If you visit on Sunday, you’ll see the streets of Dingle awash with colour as the annual Féile na Bealtaine Parade winds through them. The local schoolchildren have been preparing for months, spending hours on their incredible costumes to tie in with the theme for the year. The hundreds of onlookers certainly appreciate their efforts. Your children will also love the clowns, the jugglers, the puppeteers and acrobats, and all the other street entertainers that make this event so special.
All Over for another Year
The festival goes out with a bang on Bank Holiday Monday with a political symposium and the ever-popular annual sheep-dog trials.
You’ll return to Killarney full of enthusiasm and making plans for 2019. The festival seeks to showcase Dingle’s traditions and bilingual culture and to introduce art from elsewhere to the people of Corca Dhuibhne. I think you’ll agree it does a wonderful job of both.