There’s a range of events happening around Offaly to keep the whole family entertained this Halloween mid-term break. Here are just some frighteningly good festivals and attractions to check out:
Dust off your capes and polish your broomsticks, as PÚCA Spooka, returns to Tullamore – and it’s expected to be bigger and better than ever. Taking place at Lloyd Town Park, PÚCA Spooka features a range of attractions and entertainment. These include the popular B*Witched in the Woods, where resident witches will be doing scary storytelling and street circus activities, the Scarecrow Pumpkin Patch, a pop-up Monster Market, art installations, a funfair and food trails.
There’s also a variety of new attractions added to the line-up for 2023. There’s the new Disney Disco, the Viking Village, the Afterdark Fireshow, The House of the Dragon (featuring a live dragon!) and much, much more. There’s something for all ages at this family-friendly event – it’s one that’s not to be missed this Halloween season!
The Cathaoirleach of Tullamore Municipal District, Cllr Declan Harvey, said, “We are delighted to see this event growing in popularity and scale on an annual basis. Visitors can be assured of a spooky but warm welcome when they visit Tullamore this Halloween.”
PÚCA Spooka is taking place on Saturday, October 28th and Sunday, October 29th 2023. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more information and updates
Follow a Halloween trail
Embark on a fun Halloween Trail at Birr Castle Demesne this mid-term break. Wander through the 120 acres of parklands to search for all the letters of the word ‘Halloween’, which are lost within the gardens. You’ll be given a map at reception to follow, and the Trail is included in the general admission. An adult ticket is €11, a child is €6 and a family ticket (two adults and two children under 17 years is €30).
The Halloween Trail takes place daily from 9am-3:30pm, from Saturday, 28th October until Sunday, 5th November. The Courtyard Café will also be open each day of the Halloween mid-term break, and kids can enjoy access to the Treehouse Adventure Playground, which will be open daily too. Wearing costumes is encouraged during your visit to Birr Castle Demesne at Halloween!
You can book tickets here
Due to incredible demand after a sell-out in 2022, Lukers of Shannonbridge is bringing back their Halloween Pumpkin Patch to The Boatyard for a weekend of Halloween fun on Saturday, 21st October and Sunday, 22nd October.
Family ticket €35 includes entry for 2 adults and 1 child and 1 pumpkin per family – each extra child is €5 (with pumpkin for each child)
Pick your own pumpkin straight from the field, and design and carve it to keep the ghosts away this Halloween. There are also some other fun activities taking place over the weekend including a magician’s show from 3pm-5pm and face-painting in the Halloween Hay Barn, as well as donkey-viewing. Heehaw!
Book tickets here
Tricks and treats!
Halloween isn’t really Halloween without some treats! And you’ll be in for a right treat at SOLAS Eco Garden Shop on the Offaly-Laois border in Portarlington this spooky season. SOLAS is hosting a Chocolate-Making Workshop, where kids can learn to be real master chocolatiers and create their own Halloween-themed chocolate creations.
The Chocolate-Making Workshop is taking place on Saturday, 28th October from 12pm-1pm and 2pm-3pm, with entry costing €20 per person. It’s suitable for children aged 8-16 years and must be booked online in advance.
At SOLAS, there are even more events taking place over the Halloween weekend, including the chance to explore a Halloween haunted house filled with eerie decorations from Saturday, 28th October until Tuesday, 31st October. Tickets cost €5 per child and adults go free. On Sunday, 29th October, there’s a pop-up cinema showing some classic scary films such as Hocus Pocus and Scream 1 (15 years and over). Discount is available for a family of 4+ when you book online (€8.50 /pp), and there’s free popcorn for every child.
And top off the weekend with SOLAS Eco Garden Centre’s Family Halloween Party on Monday, 30th October, with plenty of traditional Irish family Halloween games, a Spooky Scavenger hunt and more. Tickets cost €15 per child and children must be accompanied by an adult. And put on your best fancy dress – there are prizes for the best costume!
To book events, click here
Festival of horror
Calling all horror film lovers! This Halloween, Esker Arts Centre in Tullamore is hosting its inaugural horror film festival. Curated by Lee Hamill, the festival will show a collection of films focused on the sub-genre known as ‘folk horror’, which examines the dark and macabre happenings in the isolated and left behind places of the world.
On Friday, 27th October, Irish psychological thriller ‘You Are Not My Mother’ will be screened, while on Saturday, 28th October, there’ll be a showing of the 1974 version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre’. Tickets are €7.
For more information and to book tickets, click here
Did you know that Offaly is home to the world’s most haunted castle? Built in the early 1500s under the supervision of the powerful O’Carroll clan, the Leap Castle has a turbulent and bloody history, and is said to be home to many spirits. Do you dare to enter?!
While the Leap Castle is a private residence (yes, people actually live among the spirits!), it is open to visitors from 10am-5pm on Monday-Saturdays. You can email the owner Sean Ryan at email@example.com.
Offaly has another castle said to have haunted credentials – Kinnitty Castle Hotel. The spectacular Gothic castle sits on a spot once inhabited by druids and bards and it’s supposedly haunted by several figures including a monk. Whether you spot a ghost or not, Kinnitty Castle Hotel is a real gem for a family staycation this mid-term break, offering a Halloween vibe with its medieval interiors. Check out the hotel’s Dungeon Bar and Restaurant for delicious food and drinks, and enjoy a peaceful stroll around the grounds.