Words: Emily Mullen
The festival will be running across the ancient Boyne Valley in Meath and Louth from October 23-31
A lot of the key aspects of modern holidays have been adapted over time, things like Santa’s red coat, Easter eggs and dressing up for Halloween. But most holidays are deeply rooted in ancient traditions, things just got a little mixed throughout time.
Thanks to festivals like Púca, we can learn about what some of these celebrations once were.
Tapping into the ancient traditions of Samhain, the Púca Festival is a celebration of Halloween in its purest form.
Held across four important historical sites across the Boyne Valley, Athboy, Drogheda, Trim and Slane, the festival celebrates the marking of the Gaelic New Year with a programme of folklore, food, myth and music.
Running from October 23-31, during a time in a calendar when the light turns to dark, the veil between realities draws thin, rules can be broken, and the spirits move between worlds.
The festival begins in Athboy, the hill once known as Tlachtga, was a ceremonial enclosure used for feasting and celebration over 2,000 years ago, then a fire was lit from which all the fires in Ireland were rekindled, the light from the new year first emanates.
The festival then moves to its newest site, Slane Castle, where the grounds have been transformed into a playground for the spirits of Halloween. Púca, Boann, The Morrigan and Fear Dearg roam the woodlands and spectacular illuminations and installations bring the landscape to life.
Following along the banks of the Boyne, the town of Trim will be opening its doors to visitors, hosting music and performers for a late-night cabaret.
There’s a playful programme of musical performances, comedy, tours and illuminations across a range of locations, with music from Jerry Fish, MayKay, Aoife Scott, comedy from Joanne McNally, and loads more (click here for the full programme).
Sites like Trim Castle will be illuminated for the festival, and the grounds of Slane Castle will be transformed into a playground for the spirits of Halloween.
Speaking of the return of the festival Orla Carroll, Director Product Development in Fáilte Ireland, said “we are excited to welcome visitors back to Púca Festival this October to celebrate Ireland as the birthplace of Halloween.”
Carroll added that festivals play a crucial role in creating visitor experiences, “providing visitors with a unique reason to choose a destination and with a distinctive programme of events from music and spectacle to food, there is something for everyone this year at Púca.”
Púca Festival has been developed by Fáilte Ireland in conjunction with the National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland and in partnership with Meath and Louth County Councils.
For ticketing information and to find out more information on the Púca Festival visit the website.