One of the only countries in the world to have a bank holiday for Hallowe’en, Samhain, its original Gaelic name, is celebrated with music, dance and fancy-dress parades. The last Monday of October marks the end of the summer harvest season and incorporates the pagan festival of the dead so expect to see a grand parade with a ghostly theme. It’s also the same day as the Dublin Marathon through the city centre.
Ireland might be green but an autumn break in Dublin means rich golden colours. Enjoy lush St Stephen’s Green and admire the changing colours of the leaves on the trees, even better against a backdrop of a crisp blue sky. Take a peaceful Sunday morning stroll along Grand Canal from the dock westward to Portobello, past locks, basking ducks, quaint bridges and statues.
In Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest city centre park, you can hire a bike to pedal through thousands of trees, including beech, sycamore and horse chestnut, and you may spot deer on the way. At the superb Botanic Gardens in the northern suburbs, the rust-coloured trees contrast with the lush palms in the glasshouses.
You can enjoy Dublin’s theatres year-round, but the Dublin Theatre Festival from late September celebrates drama from around the globe. As well as top performances in the Abbey, Project Arts Centre and the Samuel Beckett Theatre, there are also workshops, free panel discussions and plenty of children’s events. A touch more unorthodox, the fortnight-long Dublin Fringe Festival in September sees a melange of contemporary high-octane performing arts, from risqué circus in makeshift arenas to escapology in public squares.