Key festivals to check out for the adventurous in Dublin

From Oktoberfest to podcasts, Mairead McCarthy looks at the best events this autumn

With the majority of Colleges starting back for the new term this month, each September we experience a significant spike in fresh, new events cropping up as a result. It can be a bit of a pain trying the wade through the bottomless pit of Facebook events and fleeting word of mouth, so take a peek at these top picks for what’s on in Dublin. From Bratwurst on the Docks to Hitchcock on the screen, there is something on offer for every niche interest in the city this month, so read on for a guaranteed good time, even on a penniless student budget.


Oktoberfest comes to Dublin this month at George’s Dock. The well-known German celebration of beer and great food has been a growing hit in Dublin over the past few year, and with Oktoberfest Dublin celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, it’s looking like this could be its best year yet!

The event boasts a range of opportunities to delve into German culture, with a plethora of delicacies on offer, including bratwurst sausages and sauerkraut, and the Bavarian band The Mostlandstūrmer taking over the marquee once again to provide some authentic Oktoberfest music. Sample some of the best Weiss beer from the world’s largest Weiss-Beer brewery, Erdinger. Dance your socks off to ‘Fliegerlied’, Germany’s arguably superior equivalent to the Macarena.

Fair warning though: after 7pm the event will be over 21s only. Also, a beer stein will cost you €12 for a litre (or €6.50 for a half litre), which has definite potential to do some serious damage to your purse strings. There is also a system in place whereby for every drink you buy, you pay a €5 deposit and receive a token, which must be returned along with the cup in order to get your deposit back.

The event will be running for twenty days from September 14 to October 6, from midday, seven days a week. It’s free admission from Sunday to Thursday, and €10 on the door Friday and Saturday for a ticket which also entitles you to a Germanic meal. It’s looking to be great event so head over to Oktoberfest Dublin this month if you’re looking for something a bit different! If you survive all the food and beer, you might even want to make a repeat appearance the following year!

The Dublin Theatre Festival

The Theatre Festival will also be taking place over the course of the coming weeks. Whether you’re an avid theatre-goer, interested in getting a bit of culture in this month, or simply on the hunt for a great night out over the coming weeks, this festival promises to have something for you.

The Festival will be taking place shortly after the close of the Fringe Festival, beginning on the September 27. You may have seen their little pink and white programme books dotted around the cafes and pubs of the city. Distinct from the Fringe Festival, the Dublin Theatre Festival is eighteen days of live performances, featuring both international and home-grown talent, along with a series of industry events, children’s theatre, and development programmes for artists.

This year the festival will have even more of a focus on theatre and events centred around exploring the professional landscape of artists, both in Ireland and internationally. Nevertheless, whether you’re looking to improve your craft, get some help with breaking into the industry, or simply want to see a fun show, the Dublin Theatre Festival is set to offer more events than you could ever possibly ask for at a range of prices depending on your budget. By all accounts, it’s going to be three weeks of events that you’d be crazy to miss out on!

Presenting Alfred Hitchcock at The Lighthouse Cinema

As winter gradually comes swooping in with its gale force winds and general murkiness, it may be time to accept that the weather will be returning to character and the sunny interlude of the past few months is well and truly behind us. However, there’s no need to enter total mourning and retreat entirely into the dark crevices of the pub – or alternatively for some of us, our fairly grim student flats – since there are plenty of alternative and cosy events happening at the moment.

The Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield is a wonderful gem in which you can hide from our winter weather. It offers up a cornucopia of activities for the cinephile and casual-goer alike. With a great mixture of mainstream favourites, new releases, and obscure oddities, the Lighthouse simply never disappoints! It’s often well known simply for its classic film screening seasons, which at the moment sees Alfred Hitchcock return to the big screen. Familiar to most for his 1960 thriller Psycho, Hitchcock is often deemed to be one of the greatest and most ingenious directors of all time.

The screenings will be running until October 10 and include Psycho and Marnie to name but a few. There are also multiple showings of some of his most popular masterpieces, and with a student ticket deal of €7 it’s absolutely terrific value for a guaranteed evening well spent. Afterwards, if you’re feeling a little too on edge to head straight home to bed, there’s no better spot to be in for an evening tipple, with Token, Dice Bar, and Frank Ryan’s to name but a few all only a stone’s throw away.

Dublin Podcast Festival

The rise in popularity of the podcast in recent years has been nothing short of a rapid phenomenon. The nature of the podcast as an accessible, on-the-go, and informative fountain of education is well-suited to our modern day, fast-paced lives. Nowhere is this fact more evident that in the success of the Dublin Podcast Festival, returning this month for its second year.

The festival will be running from September 26 to October 17 and features a whole host of well-known podcasters from both home and abroad. Dublin will be rife with headliner shows, workshops, live podcasts, and discussions across the city. While headliners The Blindboy Podcast, The Guilty Feminist, and The Adam Buxton Podcast are sold out, there is a ton of events still on offer across all genres!

Dreamgun: Film Reads will be providing the comedy with their skewed and wholly unrehearsed take on cinematic favourite, The Matrix, in The Workman’s Club on October 8. If it’s the weird and the wonderful you’re after this month, check out the Pod Skwod at The Sound House on October 4, where the hosts will delve into the weirdest news from around the internet that you’ve most likely missed out on. Finally, the Dublin StorySlam will be at The Sugar Club on October 16 for an open mic storytelling show and podcast, inviting audience members to volunteer their own personal, true stories inspired by the theme of fear.

You’d seriously be mad to miss all of these events on offer. So throw caution to the wind and try something new. You never know where you might end up…

Mairéad McCarthy

Mairéad McCarthy is a former Deputy Life Editor for Trinity News.