Visiting Ireland in July

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From surfing on the Donegal coast, alfresco dining at a Cork café, a day at the Galway Races, or a sunset stroll along a country road, July in Ireland brims with activity for visitors.

Part of July’s appeal stems from the extra hours of daylight. Ireland’s high latitude gives the country extraordinarily long days compared to the continental United States and southern Europe. Hints of the setting sun can still be visible at eleven o’clock at night. As a result, guests can arrive at a destination, enjoy a nice dinner, and still have time for an evening drive.

These extra daylight hours combine with Ireland’s best chance at fine weather to make July one of the country’s busiest tourism months. On the plus side, events are plentiful, attractions add extended hours, and the entire country is ready to welcome guests. On the downside, tourists crowd popular destinations, prices for rooms and flights and cars rise, and there’s still a risk that the weather dampen outdoor pursuits.

A sampling of the things to do in July:

• The Galway Races – The famed week-long event closes out July by drawing as much of a crowd for the horses as it does for its events filled with fashion, food, and fun.

Photo by Paolo Camera

• Willie Clancy Summer School – County Clare has hosted Ireland’s largest traditional music summer school since 1973.

• Street Performance World Championships – Every year Cork kicks off this gathering of the world greatest street performers before passing the torch to Dublin for back-to-back weekends of amazing, sometimes shocking, entertainment.

Photo by infomatique

• Kinsale Arts Festival – Ireland’s gourmet food capital extends its reputation to the visual and performing arts for this weeklong event.

• Australia Day in Cobh – The town that boarded the Titanic’s final passengers (back when it was still called Queenstown), Cobh welcomes over 1,000 Aussies and 400 Kiwis to this Down Under Celebration.

• 12th of July – Loyalist communities in Northern Ireland commemorate the Battle of the Boyne with parades and bonfires at different times throughout the month of July.

• Brú Ború – From the base of the Rock of Cashel, this entertaining evening of music, storytelling, dance, and food is only available in the heart of summer.

• All Ireland Pipe Band Championship – More than 6,000 musicians descend on Derry City to compete for the coveted title.

• Galway Arts Festival – Every venue in Galway jumps on board to turn the City of Tribes into a theatre/art/music/dance/street performance mecca.

Photo by Barnacles Hostels

• 4th of July in Limerick – The stars and stripes take over this Shannonside city with an American-style barbeque, cookie making, music, and a walking tour highlighting Limerick’s connections to the U.S.

• Street Festivals – With towns like Ennis, Clonmel, Killarney, Castlebar, and many more hosting events that will bring their streets to life, there’s something going on in every corner of Ireland in July.

Photo by infomatique

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