Halloween is a special occasion right around the world now, but not everyone knows that it had its origins in the ancient festival of Samhain, which was celebrated for perhaps thousands of years in pre-Christian Ireland.
Samhain was an important end of year festival and a pagan festival of the dead, when it was believed that the present world and the after-world intermingled.
Traditionally huge fires were lit at sundown to ward off bad spirits and overcome the power of darkness, costumes and masks were worn and hollowed out turnips with ghoulish features set in windows to frighten evil spirits away.
Nowadays these ancient traditions are mixed with newer customs from overseas, so pumpkins have replaced turnips and ‘trick or treating’ has become part of the celebration. It’s a big event in Ireland, the day itself is a Bank Holiday, most people have no work and all schools are closed, so people can and do get out and into the spirit of the occasion.
Image: Dublin shop window by Steve-h
This is a small festival in a room over Kavanagh’s pub in Portlaoise, but if comedy is what you are looking for this Halloween you are not going to be disappointed.
It’s a great line up with plenty of less well known comedians to discover alongside some of the top names in Irish comedy.Read More
Derry claims to host Europe’s biggest and best Hallowe’en festival, and it is certainly an action packed weekend with lots of fantastic events for every age.
Halloween night itself is the highlight of the weekend, starting with ‘Carnival of Lights’ Parade and ending with a spectacular fireworks display with almost all those attending dressed in suitably ghoulish costumes.Read More
Famously haunted, Wickow Gaol will be a place of untold horror this Hallow’een with a series of spooky events for Halloween Week!
There is ghost story telling, fancy dress and a Scary Movie Night, a family hog roast in the goal yard and night tours which are extra terrifying and suitable only for over 18s.Read More
The tiny peaceful village of Tooban will be home for Halloween to a scary band of vampires, mutants, zombies and walking corpses.
It all takes place in the local pub, so if your nerves give out at least there will be remedies available on the premises!Read More
Venture in darkness into a lighthouse where ghosts and ghouls await and there are frights around every dark corner.
If you’ve never been to Hook Lighthouse Halloween is a great time to go for one of the special spooky tours which run daily in the week leading up to the scary night itself.Read More
A truly scary Halloween event which promises blood-curdling frights, ghoulish entertainers and life-threatening fear, all on a farm near Navan.
This is not a kids event and is only for hardy adults – but it is genuinely scary and a must for those who like to be completely petrified out of their lives at Halloween.Read More