We are well into the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and winter is not far away but fear not — there is still lots to do in Galway as we prepare for the shorter evenings ahead. So grab a scarf and an extra layer of clothing, and get out and enjoy October in Galway.
Start the month on the right note with this celebration of all things jazz. Now in its 14th year and with a strong sustainability theme to reflect the times we live in, the Galway Jazz Festival promises to be a swinging few days. The festival runs from October 2 to 6, with highlights including three specially commissioned shows.
Saoirse by Lauren Kinsella takes Connemara sean nos as its inspiration and explores our heritage and culture through compositions and improvisations. Roxy's Head is Melted by Donal O'Kelly is a jazz-words contemplation of the state of the world, through the eyes of Greta Thornburg's dog Roxy. The third show, Bog Bodies, features a live performance against the backdrop of a sonic landscape of field recordings collected in the Inagh Valley by Sharon Phelan.
The festival will also feature a stellar line-up of Irish and international jazz artists, ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy over the three days.
Ireland's flagship arts festival for children and families takes place from October 14 to 20, with performances, exhibitions, workshops and more for children of all ages. Take the little ones to a play, a reading, or a workshop in areas as diverse as robotics and building a fantasy world. From tiny tots to young teenagers, to adults who work with children, Baboró really does have something for everyone.
It's good to laugh, and it's even better when the cream of comedy descend on the city to provide the best of Irish and international comedy entertainment in Galway. From the hilariously highbrow travel tales of Bill Bailey to the brilliantly bizarre Bingo Loco, there will be plenty of opportunities have a good giggle.
Highlights of this year's festival, taking place from October 22 to 28, include Ardal O'Hanlon of Fr Ted fame, puppeteer extraordinaire Shappi Khorshandi, legendary grump Rich Hall, cheeky and charming John Bishop, and Today FM's Dermot and Dave. And if you like surprises, check out Ireland's Smallest Comedy Club, running in the Dew Drop Inn, or the magical mystery tour that is the Comedy Club Crawl.
Take to Ballybrit in October to soak up the atmosphere of a day at the races. There will be two race meetings this month — a one-day event on October 8, and the October Bank Holiday Festival from October 26 to 28. The bank holiday festival includes a Halloween-themed family fun day on Saturday, with a fancy dress competition, face painting, ghostbusters, and even a motorbike stunt show. And that's on top of the exhilaration of the racing, and the top class hospitality on offer at this world renowned racecourse.
This annual food symposium has quickly become a highlight of the Galway festival calendar. With The Future of Food as this year's them, the two-day event on October 21 and 22 features a stellar line-up of speakers from around the world. Designed to challenge our perspective of, and relationship with, food, the event is a must for anyone with an interest in the industry. Along with talks, masterclasses, and debates which are open to the public, this year's event will feature a not-to-be missed artisan food village where you can savour the best of Irish produce.
With tournaments, interviews, a cosplay competition, and lots more besides, this two-day event is a must for anyone who loves gaming. In fact it is Ireland's largest gaming festival, and is sure to be fun for everyone. Take to the esports arena to compete in tournaments, see your favourite YouTubers on the live stage, or relive the heyday of classic consoles and games in the retro zone.
Halloween in Galway promises to be a fun-filled frightfest with lots of entertainment for all ages.
Galway Aboo, the city's annual Halloween festival, runs over the Bank Holiday weekend from October 26 to 28 with lots of spooky fun for all ages. This is the biggest Halloween festival in the country, with highlights including the spectacular Macnas Halloween parade through the streets of the city on Sunday October 27. Get in the mood by joining the undead on the Prom on October 26 for the Salthill Zombie Chase, where zombies will attempt to catch their human prey before they make it to the safety of Salthill Park.
With a bonfire and storytelling in Brigit's Garden, frightening fun at Turoe Pet Farm, and spooky goings on in Galway Pumpkin Patch, there is plenty to do around the county as well.