The end of October may not seem like the ideal time to visit Ireland. The days are getting shorter, the air a bit cooler, the pubs a wee bit quieter.
But if Halloween is your favorite holiday, I would encourage you to visit Ireland as Samhain (SOW-een) draws near. As the final harvest approaches and the seasons change, Ireland takes on the golden glow cast by bonfires, jack-o-lanterns, and hearth fires of her Celtic past.
For families I highly recommend celebrating Halloween in the west of Ireland for a memorable vacation of myth and magic.
Where to Celebrate Halloween in the West of Ireland
If your plans include only the western coast of Ireland, arrive and depart from Shannon Airport.
Historic and Mystic Lough Gur
Begin celebrating Halloween in Ireland in County Limerick at Lough Gur.
Home to some of Ireland’s oldest history, a visit to the Grange Stone Circle and the Giant’s Grave are simply awe inspiring.
The annual Halloween festival takes place over 5 days and includes storytelling, theatre shows, and a tale of creepy creatures. While you’re here take advantage of the incredible, interactive visitor’s centre as well as the audio-guided walks.
Where to stay: The Old Bank B&B in Bruff
Shannon Heritage Castle Festivities
Both Bunratty Castle and King John’s Castle, operated by Shannon Heritage, host a Halloween event. Usually held the Monday prior to the holiday (as kids are off school this week), you can expect crowds out to enjoy traditional games, storytelling, spooky creatures, and plenty of fun. Costumes are optional- but you will see plenty of people dressed up to make the most of the fun.
Halloween in the Burren
Further north in this rocky region at the Burren Nature Sanctuary Biddie the witch presides over Spooky Wooky, taking you into her haunted home. After your ghoulish visit enjoy a walk through the Fairy Woods.
Where to stay: Doolin Hostel
Ashford Castle’s School of Witchcraft & Wizardry
A spectacular treat for your small witches and wizards (as well as yourself!) is a stay at Ashford Castle – which magically transforms to a School of Witchcraft & Wizardry for Halloween.
While the kids, proudly wearing their wizard robes, spend their evening with the House Elves, Mom & Dad get 6 hours (!!!!) to themselves to enjoy the beautiful grounds, relax, and savor an adults only dinner in the 5 star dining room.
Halloween in Westport
Ireland’s famous Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley, once had a castle in Westport. Westport House now sits upon the dungeons where she may have stored her treasure- or kept her prisoners.
During Halloween Fest the historic home is transformed to a mansion of magic- listen to witchy tales in the library, learn to dance like a zombie in the Formal Dining Room, carve scary pumpkins in the basement, and create creepy edibles at the Spooky Spoon workshop.
For a more traditional look at Samhain, Halloween in Ireland, and daily life, be sure to visit the Museum of Country Life near Castlebar. Here you’ll see carved turnips, learn more about the Celtic seasons that became holidays we celebrate today, and life in rural Ireland.
Be sure to check local tourism websites to find more fun events to celebrate Halloween in Ireland during your visit!