Fire and Shadows Processions announced for Halloween 2023
- Fáilte Ireland launch new Samhain night processions in Limerick, Longford and Waterford
- Pilot scheme aims to further establish Ireland’s position as the Home of Halloween
- Investment of €200,000 from Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media in support of the Night-Time Economy.
Fáilte Ireland in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media is pleased to announce Fire and Shadows Processions, a series of Samhain night processions taking place in Waterford, Limerick and Longford across the October Bank Holiday weekend.
The Fire and Shadows Processions Pilot Scheme was launched in early 2023 to enhance and raise the profile of existing Samhain and authentic Halloween festivals and events. Following an investment of €200,000 from Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Night-Time Economy Taskforce, the initiative aims to strengthen Ireland’s position as the ‘Home of Halloween’, attract more visitors and create new economic opportunities within destinations, and support a more vibrant and diverse Night-Time Economy.
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. Over many centuries, customs and traditions have been handed down around Samhain, and have travelled around the world through emigrant communities, particularly in the USA where they became established as Halloween customs.
Fire and Shadows Processions brings it all back home to celebrate Ireland as the original birthplace of Halloween. In Limerick, Longford and Waterford, the Samhain night processions will take visitors on a journey through the realms of darkness and light, where spirits, mythical creatures, and ethereal beings converge. A captivating fusion of Celtic mythology, eerie folklore, and the spirit of Samhain / Halloween, to mark the thinning of the veil between the living and the departed.
In each location Fire and Shadows will be a grand procession that will fill the streets during the twilight hours.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD, said:
“I am very pleased to announce the launch of the Fire and Shadows Processions. This initiative marks yet another exciting step in furthering the ambitions of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce to diversify our cultural night-time offering. Festivals play an important role in delivering engaging visitor experiences, giving local communities, domestic and international visitors the opportunity to experience the very best of our culture, people and places. They are also key economic drivers for local businesses. Halloween is a globally recognised holiday and the Fire and Shadows Processions are excellent platforms to promote Ireland as the place where it all began and encourage locals and visitors to experience the rich culture and heritage of Limerick, Longford and Waterford and the surrounding areas.”
Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland added:
“The development of festivals is part of Fáilte Ireland’s strategy to attract domestic and international visitors to areas outside traditional tourism hotspots and peak times. The Fire and Shadow Processions present a unique opportunity to build on existing Samhain events to further showcase Limerick, Longford and Waterford’s strong tourism offering, while encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more. Working in close partnership with Night-time Economy Taskforce, and local authorities across the three counties, we have developed a series of processions that will bring the story of Samhain to life and celebrate Ireland as the Home of Halloween.”
Legend has it that Samhain is the night on which the gates that separate the living and the otherworld are thrown open. In Waterford, seven gates to the underworld will be revealed from which will erupt a series of demons ghouls and fairies to roam the City causing mayhem and mischief before they are banished back from whence they came!
Date: Friday 27 October
Location: The People’s Park
Samhain: Limerick’s Halloween Festival
Samhain: Limerick’s Halloween Festival, presented by Lumen Street Theatre, will awaken the spirits of the mighty Shannon River from ancient times and up to its most famous wraith, the Bishop’s Lady who has caused havoc in the city for centuries! Mythical creatures including the Great Queen Morrígan and the Badb, will wind their way through the city’s medieval streets culminating in a fiery performance at the Potato Market.
Date: Saturday 28 October
Location: Merchant’s Quay
Longford Dead of Night Festival
Samhain mythology is interwoven with tales of creatures of nature and on Halloween night the owl, the fox, the stag and the crow will cross over from the otherworld and stalk the streets of Longford town. Mirroring the Longford legend of star-crossed lovers Midir and Etain, the parade will culminate in a fierce and fiery finale at Connolly Barracks where the Samhain fire will banish the spirits back to the otherworld.
Date: Tuesday 31 October
Location: Earl St and Main St to Connolly Barracks