European Festivals this summer on Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder


It’s summer time so this week I’ll be chatting with Ivan about the range of fun festivals to suit every taste all around Europe. Starting off in the UK with a fun performance festival that’s been going since 1947.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival – other things to do in Edinburgh

How to get there – Ryanair – fares from €18.35 one way

  • Edinburgh Castle – you can buy tickets online and skip the ticket line. The tickets are €20.54 and kids go free.  You’ll learn about Scottish monarchs and see the Stone of Destiny and Crown Jewels.  Listen out for the firing of the One O’Clock Gun.
  • Harry Potter Walking Tour – this takes in some of the famous sites from our favourite wizard. Adult £12  /  Student £10 and Child £5


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If you’ve a young person going to one of the music festivals around Europe this summer see my post about Surviving Festivals and see checklist from The Tropical Medical Bureau

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Lollapalooza Berlin – Sep 7th & 8th  2019

Return Flights Dublin to Berlin

2 Nights Stay in 3* Lutzow Hotel

2 Day ticket to Lollapalooza

Prices from €559 pp

Acts include

Swedish House Mafia, Kings of Leon, Rita Ora, Hozier, Khalid, Martin Garrix , Twenty One Pilots

Billie Eilish, Underworld & many more

For more information, visit, or call 0818 – 332500 or email

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If you (or your kids) really want to go hard core then a festival on a beach in Croatia is the up and coming place for trendy travellers -The Hideout Festival. Great support for visitors if anything goes wrong with Croatia Tours… there is a huge line up of acts at The Hideout Festival

This package with Croatia Tours contact them on their website 

This package is for the 18-30 year olds

Village Apartments 3* on Island of Pag. Transfer from Zadar flying with Ryaniar including 20kg bags. Including one hour by road connects mainland from island.

One week from July 1st 2019 price €890

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Gay Pride Festivals – With Click and Go

The Madrid Festival – includes packages with flights and staying at Ilunion hotels – which I have mentioned in the past because they are a chain that cater for guests with special needs and employ 40% of their staff with some sort of disability. Good quality four star hotel

Three nights in Madrid including Flights going out 5th July flights are with Ryanair and cost is €343 pp for Three nights

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If you want to celebrate Pride in Prague the Festival runs from 5th – 11th August 2019

Spanning the Vltava river, the famous Charles Bridge is lined with local artists selling drawings and paintings – it’s the perfect place to pose for a selfie. The lovely area of Mala Strana (lesser quarter), Old Town Square with the gorgeous Astronomical Clock, Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral, Jewish Quarter and Wenceslas Square are all points of interest and should be on everyone’s itinerary.

The writer Franz Kafka lived in Prague and is remembered in a museum and his grave can be seen in the new Jewish Cemetery.The Church of Our Lady of Tyn, a fairytale like structure, said to be the model for Disney’s Cinderella Castle, is worth a visit to participate in a church service and listen to the sweet music. In fact, Prague is well known for performances of classical music and there are many locations throughout the city to enjoy recitals.

The local restaurants are high on atmosphere and a hearty stew with dumplings or a meaty goulash, washed down with a local Pils, will set you up for a day of sightseeing. Little statues of the Infant Jesus of Prague are popular souvenirs, as are handmade puppets and, of course, stunning Bohemia crystal and glassware.

Walking around the cobbled streets, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the delightful local ambience, where history greets you at every turn.

This offer is great value at €319 for three nights in August 9th staying at  3* Charles Central hotel

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Finally with Click and Go

Pride in London falls in July this year with the parade on 6th July and 6000 events in the two weeks running up to this and this package is for two nights at a fourstar hotel flying with Aer Lingus – there is always the Notting Hill Carnival in August which is a bucket list event….

 Flights Aer Lingus going out 5th July for two nights staying at Doubltree Hilton Excel €284

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Institute of Culture Travel have three summer festivals for lovers of good music and food and wine


Arena di Verona Summer Opera Festival

21 June to the end of August 2019

The 2019 Festival takes place from 21 June to the end of August and this year features performances of  La Traviata, Aida, Il Trovatore, Carmen, Tosca, Carmina Burana, Roberto Bolle and Friends and Placido Domingo 50 Arena Anniversary Night. The festival has previously hosted some of the world’s greatest opera singers and 2019 will see Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov perform in Verdi’s Il Trovatore for three performances, set to be a defining moment of the 2019 festival.  This really is a once in a lifetime Operatic thrill. You will need to book early as Verona 2019 looks set to be a sell-out.

Institute of Culture and Travel can offer tailor-made packages to include flights into Verona with Aer Lingus, a 2-3-or-4 night stay in a centrally located hotel and tickets to the opera of choice.  A sample package can be seen at


Full performance dates and ticket prices can be viewed at

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Budapest Wine and Food Festival

05-08 September 2019

The Budapest Wine and Food Festival takes place from 05-08 September and this is a fantastic time to visit the city.  The festival is held up at the Castle district. We have packages available from €389pps which include return Flights with Aer Lingus, taxes and charges, two-nights on a bed and breakfast basis in 4* The Budapest Castle Fashion Hotel

Enjoy the great wines on offer at the Budapest Wine Festival, one of the eagerly awaited events in Budapest in the autumn season. The Wine Festival, set in the grounds and courtyards of the scenic hilltop Buda Castle in Budapest takes place every year in September and features a fascinating Harvest Procession in the Buda Castle, as well as many concerts and performances to help you enjoy your wines better.

Budapest Food and Wine Festival 

3-days, from only €389pps
Departing 06 September 2019

Direct flights from Ireland

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Salzburg Summer Opera and Music Festival (limited availability)

20 July – 31 August 2019

Visit the picturesque city of Salzburg during the legendary Summer Music Festival.  Salzburg, with its Baroque architecture and ornate churches, and towered by the famous Hohensalzburg fortress, is known as one of the most beautiful cities of the world. The cities history can be traced back to 696 when St. Rupert founded the Abbey of St. Peter and Nonnberg Abbey. Under the rule of the Archdukes, the religious sovereigns of the country, the Fortress of Hohensalzburg was built and became a Baroque residence. In 1816 Salzburg became a part of Austria and in 1920 capital of the Austrian province.  Today, the city is famous for its many musical connections and of course the famous move “The Sound of Music”.


Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the 2019 Salzburg Festival.

We have packages available from €879pps which include return Flights with Aer Lingus into Munich , taxes and charges, four-nights on a bed and breakfast basis in 4* Acortel Castellani Salzburg and tickets to the morning concert on 28 July by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

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A bucket list wish of mine is to travel to India and nobody offers a better package there than the Travel Department. This package includes celebrating The Festival of Light and it’s with sister company TD Active Holidays



01 637 1633

Click on link below to see details

Explore Rajasthan & Celebrate the Diwali Festival of Lights

From €1,449pp

9 nights

Hotel & traditional home-stay accommodation

Daily breakfasts, five evening meals

Included: return flights, transfers, accommodation and excursions with an expert local guide

Departing 22nd October 2019


  • Celebrate the Diwali Festival of Light with a local family at your authentic homestay in Jaipur. This ancient religious festival signifies the victory of light over darkness. You will participate in a prayer ritual known as Pooja (a Hindu tradition which is practised during important events), enjoy live music, exchange gifts and sample some authentic Indian sweets, before creating rangolis – an art form which sees patterns created on the floor using lights, coloured sand or flower petals. Witness fireworks and join in with the lighting of firecrackers
  • Guided tour of New Delhi
  • Guided tour of Old Delhi by bicycle through bazaars and narrow lanes, bypass temples & places of worship, and gaze upon old colonial buildings
  • Explore Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the finest Mughal forts in India
  • Spend time at Sheroes Hangout, a community hub – women who work at Sheroes Hangout have lived through devastating acid assaults
  • Sunrise at the Taj Mahal
  • Visit the Chand Baori Step Well – one of the largest stepwells in the world, with 3,500 narrow steps arranged in perfect symmetry, descending 20m over 13 floors to the bottom of the well
  • Guided city tour of Jaipur, often referred to as the Pink City
  • See a Bollywood movie at Rajmandir, which is the most regal Single Screen Cinema Hall in India, known for its rich interiors
  • Small group size allows for a more immersive experience


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