Here at Lang Atholl Experience we are often asked when the best time to visit Scotland or Ireland may be. We normally describe the best months to visit as between May and September however we have created the below listing of events to incorporate into your experience.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival: 5th August – 29th August 2022
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world and is held within Scotland’s Capital City of Edinburgh every August for the majority of the month. The event has an interesting history; The Edinburgh Art Festival (which still runs during this period today) was originally established after the Second World War to increase tourism in Scotland’s capital and boost the economy here. Unfortunately, the decision was taken to allow only established artists and acts to perform at the festival. In protest amateur artists and performers created their own festival on the “fringe” of the arts festival and thus The Edinburgh Fringe Festival was born. Today the Fringe has far surpassed the original arts festival and sees comic, music, art and drama performers from all over the world descend on Edinburgh along with an estimated 500,000 visitors.
Glasgow Comedy Festival: 10th March – 27th March 2022
The Glasgow Comedy Festival was incorporated in 2002 and has been held annually in March ever since. One of the largest comedy festivals in Europe, the Glasgow Comedy Festival has gone from strength to strength since its conception and is said to suit the atmosphere of Scotland’s largest city very well. The festival was named as one of the many reasons which lead to Glasgow being named as the most cultural and creative city in the United Kingdom in 2019.
Enchanted Forest: 29th – 30th October 2022
The Enchanted Forest is a rather unusual, yet brilliant event held in October each year within Faskally Forest in Pitlochry. The event was designed by the forestry commission designed to raise awareness and funds to support Scotland’s beautiful woodlands. For the above dates Faskally Forest, on the banks of Loch Faskally in the picturesque town of Pitlochry, is transformed into a wonderful light show which becomes more elaborate each year. From live art exhibitions incorporated into the forrest to stories displayed during a fountain show on the loch set to originally composed music. This event drew in over 80,000 visitors in 2019 and is back with a bang for 2022.
Red Stag Rutting Season – Throughout October 2022
The Red Stag is a famed emblem of Scotland and synonymous with our nation. During the month of October we see the rutting season of these beautiful creatures in full swing. Take a trip to the isles of Jura and Rum to witness males of these magnificent creatures compete for dominance in a yearly event.
St Andrew’s Day: 30th November 2022
St Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland who’s emblem is emblazoned on our national flag, The St Andrew’s Cross. This specific cross is used to signify the crucifixion of Saint Andrew, who believed himself not worthy to die in the same manor as Jesus Christ and thus asked for his crucifix to be laid on its side rather than being upright. On the 30th of November each year the Scottish people come together to celebrate Saint Andrew’s legacy and their national day.
Hogmanay: 31st December 2022
Hogmanay is the term used for New Years Eve in Scotland. There are numerous events throughout the country to signify the turn of the year. A few of note are the modern festivities of Edinburgh and Stirling Castle which are complete with live music and fireworks to the pagan traditional festivals of Comrie and Stonehaven. These see fire festivals on show with fireballs displayed through the towns accompanied by a local pipe band. This ritual is performed to signify cleansing the villages of evil spirits to begin the new year with good omens.
Highland games have been a part of Scottish Culture for centuries and are just as popular today as they have ever been. The games see individuals and teams compete against each other in various ancient events from The Caber Toss and Tug O’ War to Highland Dancing and Bagpipe and Drum competitions. Below you will find a list of notable highland games with their dates. Two key highland games of note are at Braemar which is, historically, attended by members of the British Royal Family and Cowal Highland Games which is the largest in the world.
Atholl Highlanders Parade & Gathering: 28th & 29th May
Strathmore Highland Games: 12th June
Luss Highland Games: 2nd July
Dundonald Highland Games: 6th August
Bridge of Allan Highland Games: 7th August
Crieff Highland Games: 21st August
Cowal Highland Games: 25th – 27th August
Braemar Highland Games: 3rd September
Pitlochry Highland Games: 10th September
Saint Patrick’s Day: 17th March
St Patrick’s Day is a holiday which needs very little introduction, held on the 17th of March every year. Ireland and the World celebrate Ireland’s Patron Saint. The origins of St Patrick’s Day stem back to the 17th century where “The Feast of St Patrick” began, this was observed by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran Churches. The date signifies the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and celebrates Irish Culture and Heritage. Today this famous day is celebrated with Parades, Ceilidh’s, Feiseanna and the wearing of green attire and Shamrocks, the national flower of Ireland.
Fleadh Nua: 29th May – 6th June
Fleadh Nua is translated from Irish as “New Festival” and has been a festival celebrating Irish Culture held in the town of Ennis since 1974. The festival originally began in Dublin in 1970. This festival of Irish music and dancing takes over the town of Ennis each year and is a wonderful time to be in and around this town in Co. Clare.
Bloomsday: 16th June
Bloomsday celebrates the life of the famed Irish author James Joyce and is named after the protagonist of his most famous novel, Ulysses. The day is observed annually in the Irish capital city of Dublin. The day is celebrated by public readings of his novel Ulysses along with “pub crawls” and other events hosted by The James Joyce Centre.
Galway International Art Festival: 11th – 24th July
The Galway International Art Festival was founded in 1978 and is based around the ideology that “First Thought Talks”. The festival displays works of art from theatre, music, opera, street spectacle, dance, discussion and comedy with 25% of all exhibits being free to the public. In 2018 the festival set its record attendance of over 250,000 visitors.
Puck Fair: 10th – 12th August
One of Ireland’s oldest festivals, the Puck Fair stems from the Irish word Poc which translates as a male goat. The fair has taken place annually in Killorglin since 1613. The festival sees the people of the town hike into the mountains to catch a wild goat. The “Queen of Puck”, usually a young schoolgirl, crowns the goat King of Puck which signifies the beginning of the festival. During the festival pubs remain open until 3:00 am and there is a party atmosphere in the town. At the end of the festivities the goat is released back into the mountains.
Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann: 31st July – 7th August
The Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann translates roughly to The Festival of Music. The first festival was held in Mullingar (where it will be held in 2022) in 1951 and is separated into categories of age (under 12, 12-15, 15-18 and 18+).
Rose of Tralee:19th – 23rd August
The Rose of Tralee is an annual festival held in the town of Tralee in County Kerry. The festival takes its inspiration from a 19th century ballad by the same name. The ballad is based around a woman called Mary who, due to her beauty, was called The Rose of Tralee. In modern practice a young lady is crowned as The Rose based on her ethics and for being “lovely and fair”.
Galway Oyster Festival: 23rd – 25th September
This annual food festival is held on the last weekend of September each year in the city of Galway, County Galway. September marks the first month of Oyster Season with the festival being the brainchild of the Great Southern Hotel in 1954. The events within the festival involve the Irish and World Oyster Opening Championships, Masquerade Gala, Silent Disco, Family Day and Cooking Demonstrations.
Dingle Food Festival: 30th September – 2nd October
Dingle is a picturesque village on the southern tip of the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. The village has become well known in foodie circles which lead to the beginning of the Dingle Food Festival. During this time all local restaurants offer specialised tasting menus along with a Taste Trail which is set up for the festival.