In Ohio, it’s possible to travel to Dublin and experience the luck of the Irish without ever leaving the country. The City of Dublin in Ohio is not only proud of its Irish heritage, but it also celebrates the Irish culture each year in a big way with the Dublin Irish Festival.
The community rallies together to host the festival, which is considered one of the largest events in the entire world to celebrate the heritage and culture of the Irish. This annual festival weekend is in August, and it’s one of the best things to do in Dublin Ohio.
The Dublin Irish Festival: Fast Facts That You Need to Know
The Dublin Irish Festival is the largest three-day Irish festival on the globe that takes place in Dublin Ohio every summer. It’s hosted in Coffman Park – one of the 60+ Dublin parks – and is dedicated to showcasing the best of Irish music, dance, culture, and heritage.
For more than 35 years, the people of Dublin have been hosting this city-wide celebration, welcoming people from throughout Ohio, the Midwest, and the country to celebrate all things Irish.
Events, Activities, & More
The festival consists of a variety of events and attractions, including concerts, dance performances, competitions, and races. It attracts visitors of all ages, but it’s mostly geared toward adults who love to listen to Irish tunes and move to the music.
The concert schedule is extensive and varies from year to year, which is something that regular visitors appreciate. They love the fact that they have the chance to enjoy a new music lineup filled with old favorites and new sounds every summer.
While the festival largely centers around performances geared toward an adult audience, there are still activities for kids and families to enjoy. This allows everyone in the community to feel as if they’re involved in the festival and welcome to join in at any time.
Spanning more than 29 acres, this massive Irish festival brings more than 100,000 people into the city to experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of this magnificent culture.
Coordinated by the City of Dublin, it’s more than just a bright spot on the calendar for people in the community — It’s an economic force that’s integral to the community’s overall success throughout the year.
The History of the Dublin Irish Festival in Ohio
What’s now considered to be the largest festival celebrating all things Irish in the country actually began as a small Celtic performance on a tennis court in 1988. The first Irish Festival was a simple affair, featuring several Irish dancers and a local band.
Known at the time as the Irish Brigade, this hometown event quickly became a tradition that took place every summer. During those first few years, it was a fun-filled event that was largely attended by those who lived in the area.
In 1993, the Dublin city officials decided to sponsor the festival and began to grow it into the event that it is today. That first year, the festival brought in more than 10,000 attendees. Within 10 years, the festival organizers were seeking to break records year after year.
Some of the most notable moments in the festival’s history include hosting the world’s largest Irish jig in 1997 and hosting the band Flogging Molly’s debut concert in 2002.
Dublin Irish Day Activities and Events
Throughout the course of the three-day festival, you’ll find that there are endless activities and events to enjoy. Some of the featured events on the festival itinerary include:
- Concerts — At nearly any given moment, Irish musicians are performing live concerts for festival attendees. The festival musicians and concerts are considered the highlight of the festival. It’s worth noting that you’ll need to purchase tickets in advance to attend a concert.
- Dance Performances — Traditional Irish dance performances are given throughout the festival as well. Some of these performances may require tickets.
- Cultural Activities — Festivalgoers will find that they have the opportunity to participate in many Irish activities, such as learning how to play a traditional instrument or using resources to research their own Irish genealogy.
- Adult Beverage Tasting — In the beverage tasting area, adults over the age of 21 are invited to sample Irish beer, whiskey, and mead. Don’t forget to grab a pint of the stout that’s brewed exclusively for the Dublin Irish Festival each year. It’s the true flavor of the community!
- Wee Folk Pavilion — The Wee Folk Pavilion is the special section of the festival that’s designed specifically with the youngest attendees in mind. In this area, kids can burn their energy on the Pot o’Gold Playland or climb the rock wall. There also are inflatables, rides, and Gaelic games to enjoy. In addition, young children can experience Irish heritage and culture for themselves by completing Gaelic crafts, taking an Irish dance lesson, watching a magician, or listening to a traditional Irish story. One of the highlights of the festival each year for children is the Irish-themed contests, in which they might win the award for having the greenest eyes or the most freckles.
- Celtic Sports — During the festival, the Highland Heavyweight Games are hosted, and visitors are able to become spectators to some traditional sporting events, such as the caber toss or the weight throw. For those who would rather participate, there are darts competitions and cornhole games.
- Sunday Services — Perhaps one of the most moving and iconic parts of the festival is the Sunday Services event, which is held on the final day of the festival. The morning begins with a traditional Irish breakfast for the entire community, and then attendees can select a service of their preference, such as a Catholic Mass performed in Gaelic or a Druid service.
- Celtic Canines — For animal lovers, the Celtic Canines section is a must-see. In this area of the festival, visitors will be able to see many of the dog breeds that originated in Ireland.
- Gathering of the Redheads — It seems that red hair is synonymous with Irish culture, which is why the festival includes a Gathering of the Redheads event. Anyone who rocks their ginger hair can gather at a specific time during the festival, and a photo is taken of everyone sporting their strawberry locks with pride.
- Dublin Irish Festival 5K — Another event that’s fun for the whole family is the Dublin Irish Festival 5K, which also includes a Kid’s Fun Run and Walk. Anyone who’s interested in participating in the race should register in advance.
- Marketplace — The Marketplace showcases the finest gifts, trades, and wares of the Irish, giving you the opportunity to shop from numerous festival merchandise vendors.
Lodging Near the Dublin Ohio Irish Festival
If you aren’t from Dublin but want to experience every moment of the festival, consider staying at a nearby hotel or campground.
Hotels are a popular option among out-of-town attendees, and two top local hotels in the area are the Embassy Suites by Hilton Columbus Dublin and the Springhill Suites Dublin. Both of these hotels promote affordable rates and spacious accommodations, which appeal to those who want to spend most of their time at Coffman Park.
Camping is another option for staying near the festival. While tents or RVs aren’t permitted on the festival grounds, there are several nearby campgrounds where you can stay.
Cross Creek Family Resort, for example, is a locally-owned campground that’s ideal for families who want to enjoy the beauty of the area and the excitement of the festival.
The Dublin Irish Festival Dedication Walkway
The Dublin Irish Festival has become a mainstay in the community during the past three decades. As a result, the community as a whole wants to pay homage to it in a permanent way.
In honor of the 35th anniversary of the festival in 2022, the Dublin Irish Festival Dedication Walkway has been developed. It will serve as a place where families can place their lasting memories from the festival in stone in Coffman Park. Also, it will become the entryway to the festival.
People who want to commemorate their family memories or honor the important role that the festival has played in their lives are invited to purchase a brick that will be laid in the walkway.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Dublin Irish Festival
When does the Dublin Irish Festival take place each year?
The exact event dates change each year. However, the Dublin Irish Festival lasts for three days and typically takes place during the first week of August.
Are tickets required for the Dublin Irish Festival?
The event takes place at Coffman Park, and there are many activities to enjoy that don’t require a ticket or registration, including the children’s area, the marketplace, and some of the street-side performances.
However, the concerts and theater performances do require tickets for entry. If you’re interested in participating in the 5K race, you’ll need to register in advance.
Are kids welcome to attend the Dublin Irish Festival?
Yes, children are welcome and encouraged to come to the Dublin Irish Festival. The Wee Folk Pavilion is a special area that’s geared specifically for young children who may not be old enough to attend the concerts or performances.
Can I bring my own food or drinks to the Dublin Irish Festival?
You’re allowed to bring a small, soft insulated bag to carry snacks or food in. Also, you can bring two sealed, nonalcoholic beverages into the concerts with you. No glass bottles are permitted, and alcohol isn’t allowed.