Before we get to the start line of this list of the Best Outdoor Events to do in Ireland in 2023, this list is subject to change as the details of each event are updated/changed but we will try and keep the list as up-to-date as possible! 

Challenges

1.Ride Dingle 

Date: 15 April 2023

Cost: 55km – €45, 120km – €65

Event Info – Ride Dingle

Dingle in Co Kerry and the surrounding area is an Irish cycling paradise! As spring is in full swing cyclists take to the road around this peninsula to test themselves, enjoy the epic views of the Atlantic and support local charities around Dingle. You can choose between a 120km and a 55km cycle, both of which take in some spectacular roads. Entry to Ride Dingle is planned to open in early December 2023 so fingers on the ready!

If you would like to receive a priority link to register for Ride Dingle 2023, please express your interest now via the link 

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Quest Adventure series

Date: 11 March 2023, 1 April 2023, 9 September 2023, 7 October 2023

The Quest Adventure series is a must-do in 2023. With 4 different outdoor events in the series, you are bound to find one that suits you, and with each event offering a variety of distances, there is lots of variety to suit all ability levels from beginner to winner! The series kicks off with Quest Kenmare early in the season and runs all the way through until Quest Killarney at the beginning of October. The entries for all of the Quest Adventure Series races are now open and waiting! Still not convinced check out our top reasons your should do an adventure race article!

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3. Wicklow 200

Date: 12 June 2023

Photo by Kevin Mcfeely

An absolute right of passage for any Irish road cyclist, the Wicklow 200 is one of the most well-known and toughest sportives on the Irish cycling calendar. The event starts in Bray and takes in many of the most famous climbs in Wicklow before returning to Bray for a hot meal. There is always a great buzz around this event and it’s well worth doing. If you’re not up for the 200km, challenge there is a Wicklow 100 that happens on the same day!

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4. Ironman Cork

Date: 20 August 2023

Widely known to be one of the most challenging mass participation sporting events, the Ironman triathlon will push you to your limit. Ironman Cork will take place this August in the town of Youghal. The 3.9km swim will take place in the bay before the athletes tackle the 180km bike course which is comprised of two laps. The marathon (42.2km) takes place in the town of Youghal and the 4 lap course will ensure that there is always a buzz of spectators cheering you on!

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5. Waterville Trail Running Festival (WTF)

Date: 28-30 April 2023

The Waterville Trail Running Festival is a series of 4 trail races taking place over 3 days along the Lough Currane/Derrynane loop of the Kerry Way, on the Atlantic tip of the Iveragh Peninsula. It is set to take place from 28 to 30 April 2023 with distances ranging from a difficult 25km to a drastic 130km. All of these races take place in some of the best landscapes that Ireland has to offer. If you are looking for a trail ultra this year we would highly recommend the WTF.

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6. Reeks Skyline IMRA

Date: July 2023*

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Edward Casey, Joe O’Leary, and Brian Buckley, Ascending Cnoc Toinne, on their way to the summit of Carrauntoohil. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

A new favourite of the Irish mountain running calendar is the Reeks Skyline. This epic 24km race packs 2400m of climbing into it as you traverse some of Ireland’s tallest peaks, including ascents of Carrauntoohil (Ireland’s tallest mountain) twice, once from each side. Adjacent to this race are a few other races worth considering if the Reeks Skyline race doesn’t appeal.

The Carrauntoohil Classic takes place the following day, and, as the name suggests, will see runners tackle an ascent and descent of Ireland’s tallest mountain. There is also a fast trail race from Cronin’s Yard and potentially a new route for 2023 that is yet to be confirmed. Either way, it is a weekend to be missed if you are a keen mountain runner or just fancy a new challenge!

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7. The Irish Bouldering League 2022 – 2023

Dates: Round 4 – Suas Climbing Centre ,14-29 January; Round 5 – Awesome Walls Dublin, 4-19 February

The Irish Bouldering League (IBL) is a 5-part bouldering competition that takes place over the indoor climbing season (winter) every year. Come the New Year, the first 3 rounds of the competition will be behind us, but it is not too late to get involved. The first round of 2023 will take place in the Suas Climbing Centre in Limerick. Suas is the midwest’s first and only dedicated indoor rock climbing centre. If you don’t get down for the Bouldering league, which takes place from 14-29 January, we highly recommend visiting this brilliant facility that is bringing the joy of climbing to the midwest.

The final round of the IBL takes place in the epicentre of Irish climbing, Awesome Walls Dublin. The competition runs from 4-19 February. It can be hard to find the motivation to stay active at times, especially in February, as the weather is usually quite grim in Ireland. The IBL is the perfect remedy for this. Lots of high-quality boulder problems from easy to extreme for you to tackle.

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8. Kilmac Running Festival 

Date: TBC

In 2021, the Irish Mountain Running Association began their own annual autumn running festival. The festival consists of 5 races which include the Women’s Night Challenge and the Junior Race. There is always a great buzz around the Kilmac festival and it gives people a great introduction to trail and mountain running!

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9. EcoTrail

EcoTrail Wicklow is one of the most European feeling trail races on offer in Ireland. On a Saturday morning in September, Bray promenade becomes a place of congregation for trail runners far and wide. EcoTrail Wicklow offers an 80km, 45km, 30km, and 19km race to suit a variety of different abilities. The courses take in some of the best that northeast Wicklow has to offer. There is a great buzz around this event and is definitely one we would recommend doing this year!

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10. Run The Line

Date: November 2023

Run the Line is a fundraiser event for the Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team and takes place in the Dublin Mountains in November.  There are two distances available to competitors, a 12km short course and a 26km long course. The 12km course completes a lap of Ticknock Hill including the summit of Fairy Castle. The 26km course also takes in Tibradden Hill as well as the beautiful Cruagh woods. The event is extremely well run, as one would expect from a Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team event, and is a great end-of-season challenge.

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Culture

11. Puck Fair

Fair warning: Don't come down for Puck or Kenmare this year - Independent.ie

Why not attend Ireland’s oldest festival? Located in Killorglin in the heart of County Kerry Puck Fair is one of Ireland’s oldest and longest celebrated fairs. It offers 12 hours of free family entertainment! This is one of Ireland’s most unusual festivals and should be on your summer list!

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12. Achill Film Fest

Date: May 2023*

Over the course of a weekend, you will be able to choose from over 100 films. Set in one of the country’s most idyllic locations, the iconic Achill island, every year the festival hosts many worldwide premieres, exclusive screenings and Q&As with cast and directors. A brilliant weekend event. This is one for the 2023 calendar.

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13. Earagail

Dates: 8-23 July 2023

fest-collage

Offering 16 days of music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, circus and carnival in gorgeous Donegal, Earagail Arts Festival is a bilingual (Irish and English), multidisciplinary summer festival which traditionally takes place each July along the Wild Atlantic Way. The programme is an exciting mix of traditional Irish and International music, drama and creative workshops. Not to be missed!

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Outdoor

14. Wanderwild 

Dates: 24-26 March 2022

Wander Wild Festival | Eco Friendly Hotel | Killarney Park Hotel

Taking place in the stunning setting of Killarney National Park, Wanderwild is the country’s great outdoors Festival. Over the weekend, there will be loads of outdoor events to choose from, including photography workshops, a trail running race in Torc Wood, guided cycles and film events. This is definitely on our list for this year.

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15. Boyne Walking Festival

Dates: End of September*

The Boyne Valley Trails Walking Festival is back and is offering 6 days of unique walks. Offering easy ambles, strenuous hikes, historical walks and talks, and whiskey tours this one has something for everyone!

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16. Carlow Walking Festival

Date: 30 September – 2 October 2023*

All roads lead to Carlow for the Autumn Walking Festival which take place from 30 September to 2 October 2023! With a selection of 17 graded walks to choose from over the weekend, this festival has something for everyone!

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17. Connemara Hillwalking Festival

Date: 9-10 September 2023*

The goal of the festival is the let you experience what this fabulous community has to offer while getting close to some of the best scenery, nature, history and geology along the Wild Atlantic Way. There are walks designed to suit all levels of ability and let you fully immerse yourself in the wild Connemara landscape. The festival’s hikes are led by professional guides who are not only highly trained mountain leaders but also passionate about what they do to help make your experience worthwhile.

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18. Women With Altitude

Date: May 2023*

Women with Altitude is a Mountaineering Ireland initiative to encourage women to take on greater challenges in mountaineering, be they personal challenges, technical or leadership challenges. The location moves each year but expect a brilliant programme of subsidised activities over the weekend.

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19. Women’s Rock Festival

Date: 23-25 June 2023

This event is open to female climbers of all ages and abilities and offers the opportunity to meet other likeminded climbers, to get their technical support, start networking and create new bonds. It is a great opportunity to meet leading female climbers during the inspirational talks and to ask questions about their challenges in rock climbing.  There is a technical workshop focused on the fear of falling and yoga classes to prepare both body and mind for the rock climbing challenges.

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20. Bike Fest

Date: 14-22 May 2023

A part if Bike Week, Bike Fest is a celebration mountain biking and is hosted by the Glencullen Adventure Park (The GAP). Over the course of the weekend there will be coaching, free rentals, access to the wide range of trails at the GAP, entertainment and food, as well as a demo day where people are invited to try some high-quality gear. This has been a great event the past few years and we highly recommend attending it this year, whether you are an established biker or just want to try something new!

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21. Come Try It Orienteering – Killruddery/Belmont/Little Sugarloaf

Date: 23 April 2023

Orienteering should be on your list of sports to try in 2023! If you want to give it a go but don’t know where to start we highly recommend you go along to this Come Try It event in the beautiful Killruddery Estate. Orienteering Ireland is a community of outdoor enthusiasts and you are bound to find other beginners at this event. It is a non-competitive, family-friendly environment to give it a go.

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22. Bloom 

1-5 June 2023

The Bord Bia Bloom Festival is the largest gardening festival in Ireland. Bloom showcases some of the best quality Irish produce, from food to flowers. There is something for everyone. Spend the afternoon watching one of the many live cooking demonstrations that take place across the weekend. Get some garden inspiration on a wander around the show gardens. Entertain the whole family with a one of the many family-friendly activities. Definitely one of our favourite outdoor events of 2023.

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Music

23. Sea Sessions

16-18 June 2023

Sea Sessions is an outdoor enthusiast’s music festival. Every year the biggest surf and music festival in Ireland takes to the waves in the northwest coastal town of Bundoran, Co. Donegal. With top-class acts across the weekend, surfers travelling internationally to compete in the Atlantic Technological University Surf Competition, and beach sports taking place all weekend long, you are sure to find an activity you’ll enjoy. There’s also an urban street jam, festival camping, and even yoga.

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24. Galway Arts Festival

17-30 July 2023

Festival 2023 | Galway International Arts Festival

The Galway International Arts Festival is something everyone should experience at least once! This festival has an electric atmosphere. The spectacular setting of the banks of Galway’s River Corrib will play host for the 2023 festival. The 2023 edition will include the largest and most ambitious programme to date. Expect new opera and theatre, including four world premieres, and an extraordinary lineup of visual art and street spectacles.

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25. Tradfest

25-29 Jan 2023

TF22_Kila_web

TradFest Temple Bar is a joyful celebration of Irish music and culture that takes place each January in Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland. Experience live music in the best pubs and music venues in Dublin. Each January, Trad Fest showcases the best of established and emerging musical talent at a landmark festival which is rooted in the historic and atmospheric setting of Temple Bar, Dublin’s cultural quarter. Over 50 live music concerts take place in some of the best pubs in Temple Bar, as well as key historical landmarks in Dublin. A cultural must-do!

By Matthew McConnell

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