Púca Festival is Ireland’s biggest October festival that celebrates the uniquely Irish origin of Halloween and Samhain with a programme of Irish art and culture from October 23rd to 31st this month across Meath and Louth.
Athboy, Trim, Drogheda and Slane Castle are hosting a lineup of music and mythology, sideshows and standup, cabaret and cocktails, and everything else in between.
The festival’s theme puts modern and contemporary culture through a prism of Samhain legend and tradition, and musically you can see that in the standout shows including:
Laura Quirke and Claire Kinsella are one of Nialler9’s favourite Irish folk duos.
Internet sensations Jiggy continue the traditions of their musical ancestors while bringing a whole exotic new flavour to their sound. A festival favourite around the world, their mercurial line-up mixes and melds traditional Irish music with world rhythms and cutting-edge dance grooves.
Camille O’Sullivan (Friday 29 October)
MayKay (Saturday 30 October)
Jack L (Sunday 31 October)
Jerry Fish is a shape-shifter, a showman and a songster. He brings his hugely popular ‘Electric Sideshow’ to Trim Castle Hotel for 3 wicked and unholy nights featuring his eclectic and diverse group of performers and friends. With different guests each night this Halloween entertainment guarantees the unexpected and a good dose of mischief.
Award-winning singer-songwriter, Dublin-based Aoife Scott already has many accolades to her name. Born into the legendary Black Family, Aoife is steadily rising to the top of the traditional and folk music scene and has long enjoyed success as an established artist in her own right.
Also taking place:
Double Take Projections work their magic to bring Slane Castle itself to life through intricate projection mapping. For the first time in its history the façade of Slane castle comes to life through film with the spirt of Samhain and the Púca centre stage. Music by Matthew Nolan.
Oíche Shamhna Whispers is a newly commissioned sound & visual installation for the woodland at Slane Castle. Composer Matthew Nolan and a filmmaker create a visually arresting soundscape whispering Samhain tales in the ears and minds of passers-by.
Follow a trail of local traditional musicians playing in some of Drogheda’s oldest and most loved pubs including Weavers, Clarkes and Brogans.
See pucafestival.com for all events and bookings.
This year, for the first time, Slane Castle will become home to the mischievous spirits of Púca, Boann, The Morrigan and Fear Dearg as they roam the woodlands and spectacular illuminations and installations bring the landscape to life.
A 1km walk through the grounds takes the audience past Stephen James Smith’s ‘Our Darkest Night’, surrounds visitors with Mark Anderson’s ‘Fireflies’, spooks with Matthew Nolan’s Samhain Whispers and wows with a special Halloween weekend performance by the aerialists of LUXE.
On hand to keep festival goers warm and satisfied will be a whole host of local food and drink producers, not least the team from Slane Distillery, who will be serving up a specially created Púca Punch to help wash down all the tasty treats on offer.
The Púca Festival town of Athboy is an important hub of Halloween tradition, with ancient manuscripts telling us that Tlachtga or The Hill of Ward was a site of great Samhain gathering. In 2021 visitors can experience the might and mythology of this ancient site via ‘The Tlachtga Experience’ hosted by Dr. Ciara Ni Crábhagáinwho is a local historian and Irish mythology expert.
Trim is an idyllic small Irish town surrounding a stunning medieval castle and this year ‘Awaken the Spirits’ will see the mystical Trim Castle illuminated in spectacular fashion, wowing all who pass and this specially commissioned display will light up the dark nights that lead up to Halloween. For those keen to go inside and learn more about the castle’s history, The Murder Hole Tours at Trim Castle with Cynthia Simonet is sure to open eyes and chill souls.
Part of the festival’s late-night offering, Trim Castle Hotel will play host to the hugely popular Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow. Jerry Fish is a shape-shifter, a showman and a songster and he and his eclectic and diverse group of performers will take over Trim Castle each night from the 29 – 30 October.
Drogheda is one of Ireland’s oldest towns flanking the River Boyne and in 2021 it acts as a backdrop for a whole host of daytime and evening events sure to tickle every tastebud. From ‘Candle Lit Tales’ storytelling sessions that bring folklore and fantasy to life, to music from the award-winning singer-songwriter Aoife Scott and internet sensation Jiggy, and not to mention late-night comedy offering from Joanne McNally, Drogheda is the perfect place for friends, or families this Púca festival.