Summer festival fun on Northern Ireland’s stunning coast


Fabulous food, fireworks and festival fun will light up Northern Ireland’s prettiest seaside towns and villages this August and September.

Northern Ireland offers visitors a host of fun events over the summer and into autumn and in its picturesque coastal villages there will be a focus on fabulous local food and family friendly events.

On the spectacular Causeway Coast, the seaside resort of Portrush will stage an evening of live music and entertainment, followed by an amazing fireworks extravaganza on 10 August. The town is known for its great beaches, surfing and lively vibe and is a great base from which to explore some of Northern Ireland’s top attractions including the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

Another top Causeway Coast resort is Ballycastle, home of the island of Ireland’s oldest fair, the Ould Lammas Fair. Running 24–27 August this year, the fair is a mixture of old-style horse trading, beach horse racing, artisan markets, amusements and live music and dancing. Famous for its food stalls selling the local specialities Yellow Man (honeycomb) and dulce (seaweed), the fair is a slice of the region’s history.

Summer Street Theatre in Portrush, nearby Portstewart and in Ballycastle will bring laughs galore to the streets with a programme of events running from 19 July to 23 August featuring slapstick comedy, fire juggling and circus fun.

As summer gives way to autumn, on the east coast of the beautiful Ards Peninsula the focus will be on wonderful local produce in the annual Taste Autumn programme of events (5–15 September). Showcasing the best of the area’s seafood, beef and harvest foods, Taste Autumn is a foodie delight.

A highlight of the Taste Autumn programme is the Tide and Turf Food Festival in Portavogie, a small village built around a fishing port. The village is famous for its locally caught Portavogie prawns and herrings which grace menus worldwide. On Saturday 7 September, Portavogie will host a celebration of delicious local produce with a focus on seafood and beef. There will be cookery demonstrations by celebrity chef Rachel Allen as well as live music and family fun.

As part of Taste Autumn, there will also be food-related events in the coastal towns of Bangor, Donaghadee and Groomsport. Bangor has an award-winning marina on its pretty seafront and is a favourite summer day-trip destination.