The annual Halloween event Púca Festival has announced its return to Meath, with Trim and Athboy the festival hubs for the festivities from Friday 27th to Tuesday 31st October 2023.
Púca celebrates “Ireland as the birthplace of Halloween,” with emphasis on Irish artists, storytellers, performers, traditional ceremonies, celebrations, folklore, food myth and more.
Musically speaking, this year’s festival has announced The Charlatans, The Waterboys, Damien Dempsey, Hot House Flowers, Sharon Shannon, Jack Lukeman, Mack Fleetwood, The High Kings, Ennio Morricone Experience and Remembering Joe Dolan on his 15th Anniversary, as the music acts so far.
There’s also comedy and performance from Reginald D Hunter, Jason Byrne, Emma Doran, Gunther Introduces Waterford Whispers Live, Tony Cantwell, Shane Daniel Byrne, Sinead Quinlan, Sharon Mannion, Ross Browne and John Colleary along with The Davina Devine Drag Show.
Storytelling and folklore will be brought to life with events headlined by Dr Kelly Fitzgerald and Candlelit Tales.
Events will take place across various venues in Trim and Athboy and tickets go on sale on Friday, 30th June 2023. See pucafestival.com/
About Púca Festival
Púca Festival has been developed by Fáilte Ireland (the National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland), in partnership with Meath County Council, to celebrate Ireland as the birthplace of Halloween and to tell the origin story of Samhain or ‘Summer’s End’.
In Irish and Celtic traditions Samhain is the end of the harvest season, when all the crops have been picked and stored for the ‘New Year’. This was historically a time of celebration, involving lighting fires, feasting on the crops of the harvest, music, gathering, and storytelling. A familiar character in Ireland’s narrative of Halloween, Púca (pronounced poo-kuh) is a shape-shifting character from Celtic folklore that comes alive at ancient new year to roam the night and change the fortunes of those that cross it.
This year’s festival hubs are Athboy and Trim, both steeped in Samhain legend and tradition.
Trim, Co. Meath
Five supernatural nights of music, comedy and Halloween spectacle will take place in the heritage town of Trim and its stunning castle grounds, including the opening procession on Saturday 28th October to officially kick off the festival. This all-new procession will blend outdoor theatre, street performance and music in a wild celebration of Samhain lore, nature, ancestry and the looming darkness. As light turns to darkness and the veil thins, so too will the visions of otherworldly, shape-shifting spirits on their journey through the original home of Halloween.
Athboy, Co. Meath
The Púca Festival town of Athboy is an important hub of Halloween tradition, with ancient manuscripts telling us that Tlachtga (pronounced Clackda) or The Hill of Ward was a site of great Samhain gathering. As the sun sets and the ceremonial fire is lit on Tuesday, 31st October, visitors will gather at the Fair Green in Athboy to view the closing ceremony ‘An Lasadh Suas’ (to light up); a symbolic event connecting the landscapes of Tlachtga, Tara, Loughcrew, Tailteann and Uisneach, to a central Púca flame, laden with messages to our ancestors. As the flames ignite, the stage will be set and a night of music and celebration will ensue.
While Trim and Athboy are serviced by a strong public transport network, a number of extra services will be added to bring visitors from Dublin, Drogheda, Navan, Mullingar and Kells, in addition to a regular bus running between Trim and Athboy