Puca festival to be first after restrictions ease

The Puca Festival returns to Meath and Louth at the end of October.

With restrictions lifting on 22nd October on festivals and events, Puca could well be the first of its kind and size, launching the very next day and running up to 31st October.

Athboy, Drogheda and Trim will be joined this year by Slane as the focal areas of entertainment.

In 2019, the inaugural Puca Festival was a resounding success but was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid.

The programme of events is diverse including illuminations, walking trails, comedy, and music events.

Aisling Dempsey, chairperson of Boyne Valley Tourism said; “I am acutely aware of what a vital role events like Puca will have on our local economy’s recovery and further marketing of our local areas.

“As a member of its Steering Group, I am delighted to welcome the Puca Festival’s return next month”.

This year, for the first time, Slane Castle will become home to the mischievous spirits of Púca, Boann, The Morrigan and Fear Dearg as they roam the woodlands, spectacular illuminations and installations

A 1km walk through the grounds takes the audience past Stephen James Smith’s ‘Our Darkest Night’, Mark Anderson’s ‘Fireflies’, Matthew Nolan’s Samhain Whispers and a special Halloween weekend performance by the aerialists of LUXE.

On hand to keep festival goers warm and satisfied will be a whole host of local food and drink producers, not least the team from Slane Distillery, who will be serving up a specially created Púca Punch.

The Púca Festival town of Athboy is an important hub of Halloween tradition, with ancient manuscripts telling us that Tlachtga or The Hill of Ward was a site of great Samhain gathering.

Festival goers can experience the might and mythology of this ancient site via ‘The Tlachtga Experience’ hosted by Dr Ciara Ni Crábhagáin who is a local historian and Irish mythology expert.

‘Awaken the Spirits’ will see the mystical Trim Castle illuminated in spectacular fashion with a specially commissioned display lighting up the dark nights that lead up to Halloween.

For those keen to go inside and learn more about the castle’s history, The Murder Hole Tours at Trim Castle with Cynthia Simonet is sure to open eyes and chill souls.

As part of the festival’s late-night offering, Trim Castle Hotel will play host to the hugely popular Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow who will take over Trim Castle each night from the 29 – 30 October.

Drogheda will act as a backdrop for a whole host of daytime and evening events from ‘Candle Lit Tales’ storytelling sessions that bring folklore and fantasy to life, to music from the award-winning singer-songwriter Aoife Scott and internet sensation Jiggy.

There will also be late-night comedy from Joanne McNally.

'Púca' is typically a shape-shifting creature from Celtic folklore, a familiar character in Ireland's narrative of Halloween.

As Samhain also marked the end of the harvest season, Púca festival embraces the enormous wealth and quality of the local produce on its doorstep, making food and drink another star in the show.  Púca festival has been developed by Fáilte Ireland in partnership with Meath and Louth County Councils, to claim ownership of this internationally celebrated event and to tell the story of the origins of Samhain, or Halloween.

The Púca festival is produced by the award-winning festivals and events company, Curated Place.

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. Festivals play a key role in delivering brilliant visitor experiences and 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.”