From 18 to 28 October, get set for Liverpool to be painted emerald green as the Liverpool Irish Festival kicks into gear.
Celebrating the relationship between what’s often called the 33rd county of Ireland or ‘the real capital’ and the original green isle, this year’s Irish Festival will see loads of events involving music, arts, food and drink and culture burst to life across the city in honour of the centuries long friendship between Liverpool and Ireland.
We can’t wait to celebrate everything Irish at the Shankly Hotel. Why not book a stay with us during the festival? Located only a short walk from the city’s main station and many of the cultural sites where festival events are taking place, you’ll be perfectly placed to enjoy every aspect of the festival while enjoying a luxurious stay in one of the city’s premium hotels.
Here’s our guide to the Liverpool Irish Festival 2018 with all the must-see highlights…
Music & Song
Ireland’s music culture lives large at the 16th Liverpool Irish Festival. From world-renowned bands to local jams in pubs around the city, you can find all sorts of musical antics going on this October. Our highlights include…
Seisiúns – Various locations
Head down to some of some of Liverpool’s favoured pubs and taverns to hear regular ‘sessions’ throughout the festival. These traditional music events are informal gatherings at which trad music is played, and enjoyed.
Budding musicians who know the tunes are invited to join in and experience the shared joy of Irish music but listeners are also welcome!
- 8pm, 19 and 25 Oct, The Old Bank in Aigburth
- 9pm, 19 Oct, Peter Kavanagh’s
- 9pm, 22 Oct, The Eddie (The Edinburgh)
- 10pm, 26 Oct, Liverpool Irish Centre
- 7pm, 28 Oct, Kelly’s Dispensary
Celebrate Samhain with Conleth McGeary
Samhaim, in Irish mythology, was a time when the doorways to the other world opened and allowed supernatural beings and the souls of the dead to enter our world. Celebrate the festival of the dead with Irish singer-songwriter Conleth McGeary as he performs at Kelly’s on Smithdown Road.
9pm, 26 Oct, Kelly’s Dispensary (Smithdown)
Credit: @livirishfest | Instagram
Catch one of Ireland’s best known acts celebrating their 30th year of performance with this live gig at the Arts Club. Having played in over 30 countries, including for the Dalai Lama, Kíla‘s eight members bring differing musical backgrounds to the stage, producing trad Irish music that breaks all the boundaries with freewheeling instrumentals, furious jigs and primal rhythms.
And don’t take our word for it: Kíla have previously collaborated with U2, The Dubliners and Sinead O’Connor.
7pm, 19 Oct, Arts Club (Seel St) – Tickets, £21.50
Film, Art and Animation
The future of Irish art is looking decidedly female, if the Liverpool Irish Festival is anything to go by. From an exhibition celebrating the Repeal the Eighth campaign, to an evening of Irish short films from women leads, the Irish sisterhood are out and about in the city. Our pick of the arts includes…
Repeal the Eighth
Head down to OUTPUT Gallery to catch some politically charged artwork inspired by Ireland’s momentous referendum result this year.
In a partnership with Liverpool Irish Festival, the gallery invited artists to respond to the Repeal the Eighth movement which successfully campaigned for the Irish public to permit legislation on abortion and remove the Eighth Amendment of the Constitutional Act.
12pm-5pm, 18-28 Oct, OUTPUT Gallery (Seel St)
Celtic Animation Film Festival
Get to grips with some Celtic-inspired short films as the festival returns for a second year to celebrate and encourage emerging animators to tell and share Celtic cultures and concerns through film.
Head to Liverpool’s Everyman for an afternoon of storytelling, as well as information on contemporary approaches to animation and the preoccupations of the industry.
1-5pm, 26 Oct, Liverpool Everyman (Hope St)
It’s the Travelling Life
Discover the home life of Ireland’s most misrepresented and maligned community with this two-part exhibition of Jona Frank’s photographs depicting the world behind Irish Traveller’s closed doors.
Taking place at two locations, this exhibition aims to show what home life looks like and reveal the day-to-day preoccupations of contemporary Irish Travellers. Catch it at The Brink and George Henry Lee’s on Williamson Square.
11am – 4pm, 11 Oct – 7 Jan, The Brink (Parr St)
11am – 5pm, 18 Oct – 28 Oct, George Henry Lee’s (Williamson Sq)
Performance & Poetry
Get cultural with some performance and poetry this October. Plays are leading the charge at the 2018 festival, with plenty of performances hitting Liverpool’s stages. From the comic (The Morning After The life Before) to the movingly emotional (Baggage – about friendship, homelessness and hope), there’s something for everyone down at the theatres…
To Have To Shoot Irishman
Catch this compelling production at Liverpool’s Everyman, as it charts the lives of 20th century Irish men and women in a time of conflict both at home and on the battlefields of Europe. Inspired by true events, the production uses live folk song to tell the story of rebellion, militarism and corruption in the wake of Dublin’s notorious 1916 Easter Sunday.
25-27 Oct, Liverpool Everyman (Hope St) – Ticket £10-£20
Discover the story of Derry woman Kitty Wilkinson and her influence in Liverpool helping to turn the tide on a cholera epidemic in this moving play at Liverpool’s Medical Institution. Exploring issues including class and gentrification, this production celebrates the incredible work of one women to help the city that she called home.
5pm, 25 Oct, Liverpool Medical Institution – Tickets £5
Poetry with Stephen James Smith
One of Dublin’s most exciting poets is performing at Liverpool Philharmonic’s Music room this festival. Stephen James Smith was central to the rise of spoken word in Ireland and has amassed a huge online following, with his videos reaching over 2.5 million views. Often commissioned by organisations such as the Irish St Patrick’s Day Festival and Dublin stadium sponsor Aviva, this is an exclusive opportunity to see one of the country’s hottest talents in Liverpool.
8pm, 28 Oct, Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room (Sugnall St) – Tickets £12-15
Food & Drink
It wouldn’t be a celebration of all things Irish in Liverpool without some beer. But if you’re bored of drinking the classic black stuff, there’s an Irish craft beer festival just for you…
Irish Craft Beer Festival
Smithdown Road’s Handyman Supermarket is hosting a number of small Irish brewers behind its bar during the Irish Festival alongside some favourite soft drinks from the green isle including Cidona (an apple-based drink) and and Club Orange. You’ll also be able to enjoy a complimentary menu of Irish stew, potato and leek soup and crisp sandwiches with Irish bread.
19 – 20 Octo, Handyman’s Supermarket (Smithdown Rd)
Family and Fun
Join all the family together to celebrate the Irish contribution to the city of Liverpool with all the family-friendly events taking place during the festival. Learn to dance the traditional Irish way, enjoy a whole day of Irish-related fun at the Museum of Liverpool or take the older members of the family for a right knees up at O’Neills…
Family Day at Liverpool Irish Festival
Credit: Museum of Liverpool | Facebook
Get all the family involved on 27 October in a day incorporating the very best bits of the festival for everyone to enjoy. With craft activities, plays monologues, music, dance, Irish artefacts, screenings, talks, storytelling and a whole load happening all around the Museum of Liverpool, it’s a perfect opportunity to find something for everyone from this broad-ranging celebration of Ireland.
Highlights from the day include a dance performance from the George Gerusson Irish Dance School, with music from Liverpool Comhaltas, a Liverbird origami challenge, the UK premier of GAEIL UK, a tv programme giving insight into the lives of Irish emigrants today, and an ensign making workshop with Alison Little.
10am – 5pm, 27 October, Museum of Liverpool
Get Dancing at the Family Céilí
Partake in one of the Irish community’s most joyous celebrations at the Liverpool Irish Centre’s céilí.
One of the festivals most popular events, visitors are invited to bring family friends and dancing feet to join in on the raucous fun, learning traditional dances with live music from the Liverpool Comhaltas.
And don’t worry if you’ve got no idea what you’re doing – their professional dance caller will guide you through the dance.
2pm – 5:30pm, 28 Oct, Liverpool Irish Centre (Boundary Ln) – Tickets £5 (£2 for concessions)
Head down for a Hooley at O’Neills
Get set for a good old hooley at O’Neills Irish pub in Liverpool city centre: a ‘big old Irish party with music, dancing and oodles of fun”.
The night includes live music, a warm Irish welcome and plenty of the black stuff. Irish band Prioland will be headlining.
10pm, 20 Oct, O’Neill’s (Hanover St)
Talks & Tours
Keep your brain cogs ticking over by trying some of the talks and tours going on during the festival. Our top picks include…
New Voices of Literature
Catch rising stars of Irish literature talking about and reading from their work at this exciting talk in the Victoria Gallery and Museum. The so-called ‘Salinger for the Snapchat generation’ Sally Rooney, Bailey’s Women’s Prize 2016 winnner Lisa McInerney and poet and musician Anthony Joseph will be in conversation with Guardian and Observer book critic Alex Clark about the new generation of writers they present.
10am, 20 October, Victoria Gallery and Museum (Ashton St) – Tickets £8
Irish Heritage Walks
Catch one of three heritage walks taking place in the city for an insider’s view on how the Irish have shaped Liverpool.
Find out about local history and heritage relating to the Irish community across the city, with three walks covering different areas. Book the South Liverpool Heritage Walk for a historical stroll through Liverpool’s Rodney and Hope Street areas, join in the Scotland Road Walk for an exploration of Liverpool’s world famous dockland district or take the more general Irish Heritage Walk to find out about Irish journalists, Italian craftsmen, Lancashire slavers and Polish impressionists who have all made an artistic mark on the Scouse city.
- Scotland Road Walk, 1pm, 20 October – £6
- Irish Heritage Walk, 1-am, 21 October – £6
- South Liverpool Heritage Walk, 10am, 27 October – £6
For more information and meeting points, check out the Liverpool Irish Festival website.
Stay at The Shankly Hotel for Liverpool Irish Festival
One of our luxury suites at The Shankly Hotel
Stay in the heart of all the action during Liverpool Irish Festival with a night at The Shankly Hotel. Located just a stone’s throw away from Lime Street Station, and with all the city’s most popular attractions just a short walk away, it’s perfectly situated for exploring everything Liverpool has to offer, including the Irish Festival.
A tribute to the life and legacy of one of football’s finest managers, our suites are as unique as Bill Shankly himself, offering comfort, style and space with a heritage twist. Indulge in luxury rooms and incredible amenities including Jacuzzi baths, flat-screen TVs and ultra-comfortable double beds.
For more information and to book your stay at The Shankly Hotel, call our team on 0151 236 0166 or visit our booking page today.