'Púca' - Fáilte Ireland’s exciting new festival that aims to position Ireland internationally as the home of Halloween - takes place around Trim, Athboy, and Drogheda, from 31st October to 2nd November 2019.
The Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, announced details of the festival, which will take place this year in Ireland’s Ancient East, and has been developed in partnership with Meath and Louth County Councils.
Minister Griffin said: “I’m delighted to announce Fáilte Ireland’s new festival, Púca. The Government is committed to investing in the development of new and compelling reasons for visitors to choose Ireland as a destination. I am confident that Púca is well-positioned to attract visitors from around the world to come and celebrate our ancient traditions.”
According to Irish folklore and more recent archaeological evidence, Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic tradition of Samhain. ‘Summer’s end’ in old Irish, Samhain marked the end of the Celtic Year and the start of a new one and believed to be a time of transition, when the spirits of all those who had passed away since the previous Oíche Shamhna 31st October moved onto the next life.
Samhain was the last great gathering before winter, a time of feasting, remembering what had passed and preparing for what was to come.
A spectacular festival of music and light complemented by rich harvest-inspired food experiences, Púca will celebrate a time when light turns to dark, the veil between realities draws thin, rules can be broken, and the spirits move between worlds. ‘Púca’, a character from Celtic folklore often associated with Samhain, was chosen as the name for the festival following consumer research in key markets. At Halloween, the Púca comes alive, changing the fortunes of those that cross it and immersing them in the true spirit of Halloween.
Head of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland, Orla Carroll, said: “The development of tourism festivals is part of Fáilte Ireland’s strategy to attract domestic and international visitors to areas outside traditional tourism hotspots and peak times. Our new festival, Púca, is just one of a range of exciting new initiatives in the area of festivals that will benefit tourism across the country.
“Our market research tells us that overseas visitors are motivated to visit Ireland to attend the Púca festival. Over the next three years, we are investing €1.5million to develop Púca as a world class festival that positions Ireland as the home of Halloween internationally. We believe it has the potential to motivate 100,000 overseas visitors to come to Ireland and generate €12m in revenue for the local region.”
The festival is being funded by Fáilte Ireland, Meath County Council and Louth County Council. It will be delivered by arts-led creative production company, Curated Place, overseen by a Steering Group made up of representatives from Fáilte Ireland, Meath County Council, Louth County Council, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Office of Public Works and Boyne Valley Tourism.
Jackie Maguire, chief executive of Meath County Council, stated: “Meath and the Boyne Valley are steeped in rich history and we are delighted to work with Fáilte Ireland to develop the existing Halloween festivals in the area to attract more international visitors, in turn creating more revenue and employment for local communities.”
Joan Martin, chief executive of Louth County Council, added: “Púca is an excellent opportunity to showcase all that Louth and the Boyne Valley have to offer to a global audience and we look forward to an amazing line-up of events to celebrate the area’s mythical past.”
Full programme details will be announced this summer. Local businesses who wish to be involved in the festival can visit the Curated Place website for more information.