PÚCA Festival Returns for Halloween 2022
Festivalgoers and fans of folklore are in for a treat this Halloween as Púca Festival returns to Co. Meath. Celebrating Ireland as the birthplace of Halloween, Púca is an authentic, immersive, and otherworldly festival. Vibrant, fun, and contemporary in feel but strongly rooted in tradition, Púca will take place in festival hubs Trim and Athboy in County Meath, from Friday 28th to Monday 31st October 2022.
Working in partnership with Irish artists, seanchaí storytellers, and the local community Púca will showcase the best in contemporary Irish music, spectacle, and performance over three days and four nights in Ireland’s Ancient East.
Púca Festival has been developed by Fáilte Ireland (the National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland), in partnership with Meath County Council, to celebrate Ireland as the birthplace of Halloween and to tell the origin story of Samhain or ‘Summer’s End’.
In Irish and Celtic traditions Samhain is the end of the harvest season, when all the crops have been picked and stored for the ‘New Year’. This was historically a time of celebration, involving lighting fires, feasting on the crops of the harvest, music, gathering, and storytelling. A familiar character in Ireland's narrative of Halloween, Púca (pronounced poo-kuh) is a shape-shifting character from Celtic folklore that comes alive at ancient new year to roam the night and change the fortunes of those that cross it.
Devised to encourage more international visitors to visit Ireland during October and November, and to encourage domestic visitors to explore different regions of Ireland, Púca Festival is now in its fourth year.
Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland said: “Fáilte Ireland is pleased to announce the return of our live Púca Festival this October to celebrate Ireland as the birthplace of Halloween. Meath and the wider Ireland’s Ancient East region have so much to offer, and Púca celebrates this region’s significant heritage and culture while offering a fantastic visitor experience. Working in close partnership with Meath County Council and local tourism and hospitality businesses in our festival hubs of Trim and Athboy we have developed a unique and spectacular programme of events that will be of huge interest to domestic and international visitors alike.”
Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive, Meath County Council added: “Meath County Council is delighted to support the Púca Festival again this year and we look forward to welcoming visitors to celebrate the origins of Samhain in Meath with a very exciting programme of events. Working with Fáilte Ireland, the Púca team and local businesses to create an international festival from the story of Samhain will place the Boyne Valley centre stage, support the tourism economy of County Meath and share this unique folklore with the world.”
PÚCA FESTIVAL HUBS 2022
This year’s festival hubs are Athboy and Trim, both steeped in Samhain legend and tradition.
Trim, Co. Meath
Four supernatural nights of music, comedy and Halloween spectacle will take place in the heritage town of Trim and its stunning castle grounds, including the ‘Arrival of the Spirits’ on Saturday 29th October to officially kick off the festival. Create your own mask, join the spirit group of your choosing and be a part of a huge, lively procession through the streets of Trim to the illuminated castle walls, torch in hand.
Athboy, Co. Meath
The Púca Festival town of Athboy is an important hub of Halloween tradition, with ancient manuscripts telling us that Tlachtga (pronounced Clackda) or The Hill of Ward was a site of great Samhain gathering. Join the ‘Coming of Samhain’ celebrations at The Hill of Ward, a major ceremonial enclosure and one of the earliest sites to host Samhain, on Monday, 31st October for a spiritual and historical retelling of the original Halloween story, where the five ancient provinces of Ireland will be represented and symbolically reunited in flame.
Púca Programme highlights
Púca will comprise three breath-taking days of music, myth, food, folklore, fire, feasting and merriment in the country where Halloween began, with a range of ticketed and free events on offer. In addition to the traditional ceremonies, celebrations, and offerings across Trim and Athboy, the Púca’s proclivity for mischief and entertainment will be brought to life with high profile contemporary acts in music, comedy, and performance. They will conspire over four stages in Trim and Athboy, named after the goddess of the Boyne, Boann, the goddess of war, Morrigan, the faerie of mischief, Fear Dearg and of course the main Púca stage, to entertain followers of folklore and legend.
Music acts will include homegrown talent King Kong Company, Block Rockin Beats and The High Kings, while comedy headliners will include Neil Delamere, Jason Byrne, Joanne McNally, and David O’Doherty along with support acts. Storytelling and folklore will be brought to life with events headlined by Blindboy and Candlelit Tales. Events will take place across various venues in Trim and Athboy and tickets go on sale on Friday, 12th August 2022.
As Samhain historically marked the end of the harvest season, Púca festival embraces the enormous wealth and quality of the local produce on its doorstep in the Boyne Valley. Visitors can expect to indulge in traditional barm brack, colcannon and baked apples as they immerse themselves in the local harvest offerings, in what promises to be the most spirited Púca festival to date, casting a lasting spell on all the senses.
Myth & Mischief
Hosted in various locations in both Trim and Athboy daily will be various events involving immersive games and storytelling, including Banshee Bingo Hall, Comedy witch trials, interactive games of Werewolf, self-guided treasure hunts, traditional handfasting ceremonies at the Hill of Ward and much more.
Many more acts will be added to the line up over the coming weeks, and festivalgoers are advised to keep an eye on www.pucafestival.com for news and tickets.
Slán go fóill.