Celebrating Halloween in the West of Ireland

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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.

Halloween in Ireland
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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.

The entrance to fairy land at Lough Gur, County Limerick, Ireland
Would you dare hike to Red Cellar Cave- the entrance to fairyland- when the barrier between this world and the next is thin?

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.

Zombies at Church at Bunratty Castle. Ireland family vacation. Ireland vacation tips
Even the church at Bunratty Folk Park isn’t safe from Zombies at Halloween.

Read about our Halloween visit to Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

Halloween in the Burren

You’ll find plenty of Halloween fun in the Burren. Plan your visit to the Cliffs of Moher to coincide with their Spooktacular Halloween.

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.

Spooky Wooky at Burren Nature Sanctuary. Halloween in Ireland. Ireland travel tips
The Bat Cave is only the beginning of the spooky fun at Burren Nature Sanctuary.

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.

Ireland castle vacation. Visit Ashford Castle in County Mayo at Halloween and the kids can take part in wizarding school!
Ashford Castle becomes a School of Witchcraft & Wizardry each Halloween.

Read about our magical stay at Ashford Castle

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.

Carving jack-o-lanterns at Westport House. Halloween in Ireland. Ireland vacation tips
Not too spooky pumpkin carving at Westport House

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.

Learn harvest traditions and learn about life in rural Ireland at the Museum of Country Life

Where to stay: Hare’s Leap self-catering cottage or
this 2 bedroom riverside apartment via AirBnB. (new to AirBnB? Get tips + a special discount in this article!)

Be sure to check local tourism websites to find more fun events to celebrate Halloween in Ireland during your visit!

Halloween in Ireland - costumes and castles
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Would you celebrate Halloween in the west of Ireland?

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