Top things to do in and around Doolin this October

Autumn is a fantastic time to enjoy Doolin and the magic of the Burren Geopark. Come September our lovely village gets a little quieter and allows visitors to enjoy this fantastic time of the year and unique festivals such as the Burren Winterage weekend with its Burren Food Fayre and a dip into our Celtic history with plenty of Halloween celebrations.

For thousands of years, Burren farmers have marked the end of summer by herding their cattle onto winter pastures in the limestone uplands where they spend the winter grazing.

Experience the Burren Winterage with the Burren Food Fayre and Halloween

The Burren Winterage Festival

The 2023 Burren Winterage Weekend takes place from Friday, the 27th to Sunday, the 29th of October 2023 and is an attractive activity for local and international visitors alike. 

For centuries, Burren farmers have signified the arrival of autumn by guiding their cattle onto the limestone uplands, referred to as “winterage” pastures and is where the animals spend the winter months grazing.

This age-old ‘transhumance’ tradition is synonymous with the Burren region and is crucial for the survival and prosperity of the area’s famous flora and fauna. The Burren Beo Cattle Drive starts at Michael Cusack’s GAA pitch as part of the event.

Celebrate the distinctive farming tradition of guiding cattle to their winter pastures, meet some of the Burren’s renowned food artisans, and discover why the Burren is famously referred to as “The Fertile Rock” during this unique festival. More information can be found here.

The Burren Food Fayre

Following a successful event in 2022, the Burren Food Fayre is set to captivate visitors. On Sunday, the 29th of October 2023, producers and culinary experts will unite to showcase the region’s culinary delights at one of its most cherished agricultural gatherings.

Among the participating food producers are renowned local producers such as Aillwee Burren Gold Cheese, Burren Distillers, Burren Smokehouse, Burren Beef, Clare Jam, St Tola Irish Goat Cheese, Flaggy Shore Oysters, Burren Free Range Pork, Doolin Pantry, and Hazelwood Bakery.

In addition, local Burren chefs will take the stage in the Calor Ireland kitchen within the marquee, demonstrating their culinary skills using the finest ingredients sourced from the Burren region (source).

The Burren Food Fayre will take place at Michael Cusack’s GAA pitch. Find the full program and further updates around the festival weekend here.

Halloween breaks in Ireland

If you are visiting Ireland this October, you want to make sure to take part in one of many Halloween celebrations. While Halloween’s commercialisation has spread worldwide, it remains deeply ingrained in Irish culture. In Ireland, Halloween is more than just a one-night event; it’s a month-long celebration. Cities, towns and villages across the country host parades, festivals, haunted houses, and costume competitions. Traditional games like bobbing for apples and snap-apple (a variation of apple bobbing) are still present at parties and gatherings.

Halloween holds a special place in Irish hearts, serving as a cultural touchstone that connects us with our ancient Celtic roots. It is a time when communities come together to celebrate their history, share stories, and embrace the supernatural. The rich traditions associated with Halloween in Ireland help to preserve Ireland’s unique cultural heritage.

The Celtic roots, haunting history and cultural significance of Halloween in Ireland

When we think of Halloween, images of costumes, candy, and spooky decorations often come to mind. However, the origins of this beloved holiday trace back to ancient Celtic traditions, particularly in Ireland, where it holds a unique and profound historical significance. 

The history of Halloween in Ireland can be traced back over 2,000 years to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-in’). Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the darker half of the year, as winter approached. Celts believed that during this time, the veil between the living and the spirit world was at its thinnest, allowing the spirits of the dead to return to Earth.

Bonfires, Rituals and early Christian influence

To honour the deceased and ward off malevolent spirits, the Celts lit bonfires and engaged in various rituals. They would dress in costumes made of animal heads and skins, attempting to confuse or appease wandering spirits. Food offerings were left outside homes, and people gathered around the bonfires to share stories and seek protection from the supernatural.

With the spread of Christianity in Ireland, Samhain gradually merged with the Christian celebration of All Saints’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd. This integration created a three-day celebration known as Hallowtide, with Samhain traditions still interwoven.

The role of the Jack-O’-Lantern

One iconic symbol of Halloween is the Jack-O’-Lantern (carved pumpkin), which has its roots in Ireland. According to legend, a man nicknamed ‘Stingy Jack’ is believed to have outsmarted the Devil on multiple occasions. However, when he died heaven rejected him. The Devil, still holding a grudge, sent Jack into the night with a burning coal inside a carved-out turnip to light his way. In Ireland, people began carving turnips or potatoes. This eventually transitioned to pumpkins when the tradition crossed the Atlantic to North America. Find out more about the history of the Jack-O’-Lantern here.

Visiting Doolin during Halloween

Doolin Village and the surrounding attractions host several Halloween specials and activities that can be found here.

Staying with us, you’ll have the best of the West on your doorstep while eloping in luxury and relaxation year-round.

From Doolin’s colourful houses to Ireland’s top attractions like the Cliffs of Moher, The Burren or the Aran Islands. Our Lodges provide a home away from home during your Irish dream holiday. 

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