Ardara Festival Capital of Donegal

Ardara Festival Capital of Donegal

Ardara Festival Capital of Donegal – Poised on the neck of three peninsulas the heritage town of Ardara is situated on the Owentocker River and has the rolling Bulestack Mountains as a  scenic backkdrop.

With a full and varied programme of events throughout the year this vibrant town has been dubbed “The Festival Capital of Donegal” . A number of the festivals reflect the towns thriving traditional music scene.
Some of the main Festival events are as follows:-

  • January Country Music Weekend.
  • March International Walking Festival.
  • Cup of Tae Festival.
  • Jazz & Bluegrass Festival
  • The Ardara Agricultural Show
  • Johnny Doherty Festival, Ceile, Barn, Sets. Live Music
  • November Matchmaking Weekend

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January Country Music Weekend.

This event includes Country Music in all the local pubs. It also features Jiving and Line Dancing Workshops on the Saturday.
The 2011 Country Music Weekend will be held on Friday 28th to Sunday 30th January


March International Walking Festival.

The Annual Ardara Walking Festival offers the some of the best walks of any Walking Festival in Ireland. The festival is designed to challenge and exhilarate the experienced walker and encourage and satisfy the less experienced walker.

The festival takes place over two days in March. The programme includes easy, moderate and strenuous routes, taking in the Maghera and Loughros Bays, the banks of the Owenea River and an ascent by Assaranca ( Eas a’ Ranca) Waterfall on Glengesh Hill. In the best interests of the Festival and personal safety the organisers may alter walks and routes.


Cup of Tae Festival


This is a festival honouring the best musicians in Traditional Music with Workshops & Schools of Music. In 2010 the festival honoured John “Simi” Doherty. The Festival has been in existence since 2000 and is regarded as one of the most popular festivals on the calander of events. Many of Ireland’s and Scotland’s top traditional musicans have attended the Festival at some stage so if you have not been there, it is the place to go.
Cup of Tae Festival 2011 will be held Friday 29th April to Monday 2nd May


Jazz & Bluegrass Festival

The Ardara Jazz & Bluegrass Festival was established in 2008 and is now held in July each year. The festival includes Schools of Music, Lectures & Educational workshops as well as performances fromsome of the top names in Irish Jazz & Bluegrass.


The Ardara Agricultural Show

For over 100 years, Ardara has been the location of an award winning Agricultural Show. It is now one of the top agricultural shows in Ireland. The show programme includes sheep dog trials and both horse and livestock judging. There are also peformances of traditional dance and music and a wonderful display of local crafts, weaving, knitwear and art. You don’t want to miss the annual ‘show’! Held each year in August.


Johnny Doherty Traditional Music & Dancing Weekend

To Celebrate the life of one of the finest Donegal Fiddlers ever (Johnny Doherty) some of the finest acts in Irish Music converge on Ardara in late September.This is a wonderful weekend of concerts, ceilis, pub sessions andstreet sessions. There are also workshops in Fiddle, Guitar Flute,Piano,Mandolin, Accordion & Singing.


November Matchmaking Weekend

Crowds from all corners of Ireland pack into Ardara for the annual ‘Match Making’ festival . This is a weekend of music, dancing and matchmaking based on an old idea of matchmaking once prevalent in Co Donegal.
The festival incorporates a Blind Date Competition, Speed Dating, Matchmaking, free jiving lessons and music in all the pubs. A number of top bands also play over the weekend.

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Holiday homes in the Ardara Area


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