Skip to main content

Oireachtas na Samhna confirmed for Belfast in 2025

Date: 06 Mar 2024

Category: Culture and arts

Representatives from Oireachtas na Samhna and Irish language organisations join with the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy, to welcome Belfast's successful bid for Oireachtas na Samha.

Belfast is to host Oireachtas na Samhna – the oldest Irish language and arts festival on the island of Ireland – from 29 October to 2 November 2025.

Belfast City Council today announced that its bid to welcome the event, which attracts up to 10,000 participants and spectators each year, had been successful.

Oireachtas na Samhna celebrates Irish language, arts and traditions with a packed timetable of events, competitions, debates, film screenings, workshops, awards and more.

All events are delivered in Irish, providing a unique opportunity for those from Gaeltacht areas and Irish speakers from non-Gaeltacht areas to come together, exchange learning and celebrate language and culture.

Belfast last hosted the event in 1997, and other host cities have included Killarney, Dublin, Galway, Cork and Limerick. 

“Belfast has a thriving Irish language community, and its role within our rich and diverse cultural heritage was central to securing this major event for our city,” said Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy.

“As a council, we are committed to celebrating the cultural significance of language, including Irish, to communities and highlighting the importance of ensuring languages are used, and nurtured, for both present and future generations. 

“Bringing Oireachtas na Samhna to Belfast will, I believe, will create a lasting legacy for the generations of young Irish speakers to come, and act as a platform to showcase the many benefits that celebrating language can bring - creating vibrancy, fostering learning and forging new friendships.

“Securing an event of this size and scale also provides an amazing opportunity to highlight our city and our strengths - supporting our retailers, hospitality providers and tour operators, demonstrating what we can offer visitors and encouraging them to return again and again.”

The council has worked closely with the Department for Communities, the tourism sector and Irish language organisations on its bid for Oireachtas na Samhna, including Visit Belfast, Féile an Phobail, Fobairt Feirste, Conradh na Gaeilge and Fáilte Feirste Thiar.

The majority of festival events will be hosted in the ICC Belfast and the Europa Hotel, including Aonach an Oireachtais and Club na Féile, as well as smaller seminars, lectures and shows. Additional activities will also take place in venues right across the city.

A programme of events is currently being developed, and a team of Irish-speaking volunteers will also be recruited early next year to support visitors during their stay in Belfast.

Máirín Nic Dhonnchadha, CEO of An tOireachtas, said the organisation is delighted to bring their event to Belfast in 2025.

“We are very happy that the bid from Belfast City Council to host the 2025 Oireachtas na Samhna festival more than satisfies the criteria laid down by An tOireachtas,” she said. 

“The quality of the venues and accommodation in the city is second to none, the support for large arts and culture events is progressive and far-sighted and we acknowledge the meticulous attention to detail of councillors and officials in ensuring the success of the bid. 

“It is over quarter of a century ago since the festival last visited the city of Belfast and we look forward to a very successful, vibrant Oireachtas Festival by the banks of the Lagan in 2025.”

Read aloud icon Read aloud