These loaves traditionally were used as a fortune telling game and decorated on top with animals or birds

Ireland’s iconic Festival celebrating the birthplace of Halloween returns from 23-31 October

Discover the ancient Celtic roots of Halloween and see 3,000 years of tradition come to life

/PRNewswire/ — Did you know that everyone’s favorite fright-filled holiday began in Ireland? Trace Halloween right back to its origins and you’ll find yourself in the mists of pagan Ireland over 3,000 years ago – a time when the ancient festival of Samhain was celebrated in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East to mark the beginning of winter.

The modern practice of dressing up at Halloween is firmly rooted in old pre-Christian Celtic customs, as is the tradition of lighting bonfires, which began on hilltops in Ireland with clans and communities gathering to light huge ceremonial Samhain fires. 

Halloween in Ireland is all about traditions. Whether that is in the food we eat or the games we play. Typical harvest fare such as barmbrack and colcannon are staples at this time of year as we celebrate with our families and gather to bob for apples.

This Halloween the spirit of Púca returns to Ireland’s Ancient East, bringing more mischief and merriment than ever before.

Púca festival is a spectacular, fun and otherworldly festival celebrating Ireland as the original birthplace of Halloween. In 2021 visitors from home and abroad are being welcomed back for a week of music and mythology, sideshows and standup, cabaret and cocktails, and everything else in between.

Vibrant and contemporary, yet strongly rooted in tradition, Púca festival will take place across County Meath and County Louth, from 23 – 31 October 2021 and for the first time ever the (in)famous Slane Castle is being added to the location lineup, alongside the existing festival hubs of Athboy, Trim and Drogheda, each steeped in Samhain legend and tradition. re

‘Púca‘ is typically a shape-shifting creature from Celtic folklore, a familiar character in Ireland’s narrative of Halloween, which can be traced back to the ancient Celtic tradition of Samhain. The old Irish for ‘summer’s end’, Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the start of the New Year, which involved lighting fires, feasting on the crops of the harvest, music, gathering together and storytelling, all of which can be enjoyed by visitors from across the world at Púca Festival this October.


This year, for the first time ever, Slane Castle will become home to the mischievous spirits of Púca, Boann, The Morrigan and Fear Dearg – key figures in Irish folklore and the ancient origins of Halloween – as they roam the woodlands and spectacular illuminations, and installations bring the landscape to life.

A 1km walk through the grounds takes the audience past Stephen James Smith’s ‘Our Darkest Night’, surrounds visitors with Mark Anderson’s ‘Fireflies’, spooks with Matthew Nolan’s Samhain Whispers and wows with a special Halloween weekend performance by the aerialists of LUXE.

On hand to keep festival goers warm and satisfied will be a whole host of local food and drink producers, not least the team from Slane Distillery, who will be serving up a specially created Púca Punch to help wash down all the tasty treats on offer.


The Púca Festival town of Athboy is an important hub of Halloween tradition, with old manuscripts telling us that Tlachtga or The Hill of Ward was a site of great Samhain gathering. In 2021 visitors can experience the might and mythology of this ancient site via ‘The Tlachtga Experience’ hosted by Dr. Ciara Ni Crábhagáin who is a local historian and Irish mythology expert. 


Trim is an idyllic small Irish town surrounding a stunning medieval castle and this year ‘Awaken the Spirits’ will see the mystical Trim Castle illuminated in spectacular fashion, wowing all who pass and this specially commissioned display from will light up the dark nights that lead up to Halloween. For those keen go inside and learn more about the castle’s history, The Murder Hole Tours at Trim Castle with Cynthia Simonet is sure to open eyes and chill souls.

Part of the festival’s late-night offering, Trim Castle Hotel will play host to the hugely popular Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow. Jerry Fish is a shape-shifter, a showman and a songster and he and his eclectic and diverse group of performers will take over Trim Castle each night from the 29 – 30 October.


Drogheda is one of Ireland’s oldest towns flanking the River Boyne and in 2021 it acts as a backdrop for a whole host of daytime and evening events to delight every flight of fancy. From ‘Candle Lit Tales’ storytelling sessions that bring folklore and fantasy to life, to music from the award-winning singer-songwriter Aoife Scott and internet sensation Jiggy, and not to mention late-night comedy offering, Drogheda is the perfect places for friends, or families this Púca festival.

Tickets for Púca are now on sale at

For more information on Ireland as a vacation destination check out

Ancient Celts marked Samhain (Halloween) at the midpoint between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. During this time of year, hearth fires in family homes were left to burn out while the harvest was gathered and relit by the communal bonfire

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