Fáilte Ireland’s Brand-New Festival Celebrating Halloween in the Boyne Valley

Published: 30 Jul 2019

3 Breath-taking Nights of Music, Food, Light & Spectacle


The first look at an exciting programme of events for Ireland’s new three-day Halloween festival, Púca was announced by Fáilte Ireland today, 30 July 2019.

Púca is a spectacular, fun and otherworldly new festival celebrating Ireland as the original birthplace of Halloween. Vibrant and contemporary in feel but strongly rooted in tradition, it will take place in three locations across Meath and Louth from 31 October – 2 November 2019.

The 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 Halloween’s origins in Irish and Celtic traditions with a view to encouraging more international visitors to visit Ireland during October and November.

In its inaugural year, Ireland’s Ancient East will play host to the newly established contemporary and inspiring Púca Festival which is designed to capture the original and authentic spirit of Samhain across three breath-taking nights of music, food, light and spectacle.

Orla Carroll, Director Product Development in Fáilte Ireland said:

“Festivals play a key role in delivering brilliant visitor experiences and providing international visitors with a unique reason to choose a destination. That is why the development of tourism festivals is a key part of Fáilte Ireland’s strategy to grow domestic and international visitors to Ireland, in particular to areas outside traditional tourism hotspots and peak times.

We are very excited to be launching Púca, bringing together some of the best music, food and art in the country at a time of year that is synonymous with fun and celebration. Púca brings together the most breathtaking elements of entertainment and history to create a festival that will be an unforgettable celebration of Ireland as the birthplace of Halloween.”

“Our new festival, Púca, will deliver just that, with its distinctive programme of events that has something for everyone. We are excited to see Púca brought to life in October and are committed to developing it into a world class festival that positions Ireland as the home of Halloween internationally over the next number of years.”

Ms. Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive, Meath County Council added:

“We are pleased to partner with Fáilte Ireland and Louth County Council to host the new Puca Halloween Festival.  Celebrating the Boyne Valley as the home of Halloween and creating an international festival from the unique story of Samhain will place the Boyne Valley centre stage and develop and support the tourism economy of County Meath.”

Commenting, Joan Martin, Chief Executive, Louth County Council said:

“Louth County Council is delighted to partner with Failte Ireland and Meath County Council for what promises to be a fantastic celebration of the Irish and Celtic Halloween traditions. We look forward to welcoming visitors and locals-alike to the many musical and cultural events being held in Drogheda, including Drogheda de:LUX, a music and light installation that draws inspiration from Irish Halloween folklore, which will be held in locations across Drogheda.”

Have a look at the exciting new programme here and book tickets to concerts and events across the three festival hubs.  

• The walls of stunning and ancient Trim Castle and St. Laurence’s Gate in Drogheda will come alive after dark with some of the best projection artists in the world, including Seb Lee Delisle, Algorithm, Illuminos, and Ronan Devlin.

• Three festival hubs – Athboy, Drogheda and Trim –play host to Ireland’s best established and up and coming names in music including Lisa O’Neill, David Keenan, DJ KORMAC and Jerry Fish.

• The Púca Food and Craft Market in Trim will offer tasty treats and traditional handicrafts to satisfy Halloween appetites.

• The Coming of Samhain at Athboy will kick start the festival on 31st October recreating the symbolic lighting of the Samhain fires.

• Tickets on sale now at www.pucafestival.com

Some highlights attendees can expect from Púca include:

• The Coming of Samhain
Thursday 31 October, 5pm – Fair Green, Athboy. Free but ticketed.
A stunning historical and spiritual celebration in the shadow of The Hill of Ward (Tlachtga); the ancient site from which the light of the new year first emanates. 

• Puca Halloween Night
Thursday 31 October
Púca Festival opens with a spectacular series of immersive promenade events that commemorate Samhain and the beginning of the darker half of the year…

o Samhain Procession
Thursday 31 October, 5.45pm - 7.00pm. Free to join.
Gather on the streets of Trim as dusk falls to join the Spirits’ procession as it weaves its way through the streets to the Púca playground at the Castle.

o Arrival of the Spirits
Thursday 31 October – Saturday 2 November, Trim Castle, 7pm onwards. Free but ticketed.
Meet the original spirits of Halloween in this dramatic Festival opener and greet some very special Festival guests into the atmospheric surrounds of Trim Castle.

• Púca Light Spectacular
Thursday 31 October – 2 November. Nightly from 6pm. Admission Free.
The grounds at Trim Castle come to life each night with a host of illuminations and interactive interventions - from aerialists and Púca performers to castle projections to laser shows.

• Púca Food and Craft Market 
Thursday 31 October – 2 November in Trim from 2pm
A wonderful showcase of local producers in the grounds of Trim Castle.

• Trim Castle Concerts
Nightly from 8pm-11pm
The very best in contemporary Irish music join us for three massive entertaining nights, including:

o Jerry Fish’s Púca Sideshow
Thursday 31 October
Jerry resurrects his hugely popular Electric Sideshow – a wicked night of Halloween entertainment.

o Just Mustard + Pillow Queens + AE MAK
Friday 1 November
Breaking Tunes Púca Nite with some of Ireland’s best music-makers

o KORMAC + Irish Chamber Orchestra
Saturday 2 November
Acclaimed beatmaker and performer, Kormac brings his incredible multimedia Equivalent Exchange with his Big Band and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.


• Shadows Of The Tain (Táin Bó Cuailgne)
Thursday 31 October & Friday 1 November, Old Mollies, Drogheda. 8pm. Tickets €15
Immerse yourself in the fight between Ferdiad and Cúchulainn, and join Queen Medb and her Connacht forces as they invade Ulster at Samhain, in a unique re-telling by Candlelit Tales of the Irish Epic, Táin Bó Cuailgne.

• Haxan –
Friday 1 November, Droichead Arts Centre, Drogehda.  8pm. Tickets €12
For this special Púca screening a new score has been created by Dublin- based musician Matthew Nolan for Benjamin Christensen’s legendary silent horror Häxan (The Witches).

• David Keenan + Sive
Friday 1 November, Crescent Concert Hall, 8pm. Tickets €20
County Louth’s very own David Keenan is a singer-songwriter whose body of work is steeped in the poetic tradition of old but delivered in such a way that is entirely his own. The eerie and inspiring Sive joins Keenan on the bill with her unique, experimental arrangements.

• Lisa O’Neill,
Saturday 2 November, Crescent Concert Hall, 8pm. €15
Lisa O’Neill’s distinctive voice draws you into a surreal world influenced by all that is beautiful and strange in traditional Irish music and beyond.

31 October – 2 November, locations to be announced.
Over three nights Drogheda will play host to de:LUX - music and light installations which draw inspiration from tales of Irish folklore and the spirits of Halloween.

The festival programme can be found at www.pucafestival.com 

A portal to another realm! Visit us online for all event information, to buy tickets.

• Follow PÚCA on social
Follow us on social media and start a conversation with fellow festival-goers and keep up to date with all Púca news. Use the hashtag #PucaFestival and join the Púca conversation.

  • Facebook: @PucaFestival
  • Instagram: @PucaFestivalireland
  • Twitter: @pucafestival

• Keep up to date with PÚCA E-NEWS

Visit pucafestival.com/enews to sign up for our e-news and be the first to hear about all Púca Festival goings on. We’ll also give you exclusive pre-sale for future Festivals.

Why Fáilte Ireland is developing a new festival?
Fáilte Ireland recognises the important role of festivals in giving overseas visitors to Ireland a unique opportunity to experience the very best of our culture, people and place and deliver brilliant visitor experiences.

This project aligns closely Fáilte Ireland’s 10-year Vision of Tourism in Ireland to build brilliant visitor experiences.  By 2022, Fáilte Ireland’s goal for this new festival focusing on Samhain/Halloween is to create a large-scale international festival that will position Samhain/Halloween as a world class event that promotes Ireland internationally.  This year the National Tourism Development Authority have indicated that Púca has the potential to motivate 100,000 overseas visitors to come to Ireland and generate €12m in revenue for the local region.

The naming of Púca

A brand positioning exercise was commissioned by Fáilte Ireland for the festival, the strongest outcomes of which were rigorously tested in key markets; Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK, France, Germany and the US with Púca emerging as a clear forerunner. Research suggests that Púca drives genuine excitement and emotional engagement. It also signals our intent to ‘reclaim’ Halloween in natural and authentic way.

The meaning of Púca
At ancient new year when light turns to dark, the veil between realities draws thin, rules can be broken, and the spirits move between worlds. Púca comes alive, a shape-shifting spirit, roaming the night and changing the fortunes of those that cross her. Púca immerses you in the true spirit of Halloween transforming the night into a playground. Where Halloween’s story begins

About Curated Place
Curated Place is a multi-award-winning arts, festival and event company specialising in site-specific experiences of light and sound, performance & storytelling, and original commissions. We have developed and delivered hugely successful light & music festivals, events and installations in Manchester, Reykjavik, Torshavn, Helsinki, and Aberdeen working with some of the lighting installation world’s finest international talent. They focus on the creation of original works at the centre of everything they do, ensuring that our work is not simply a traveling carnival – but an event intimately connected to, and led by, the sites where we work that appeals to families and adult audiences alike.