‘Fire and Shadows’ for Hallowe’en

Fáilte Ireland in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media has launched “Fire and Shadows”, 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, with 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:

“This initiative marks yet another 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.”

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.”

Also during Halloween, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park will host its biggest Halloween celebration yet when “Monsters, Misfits and Mayhem” take over the castle grounds from Saturday October 28th to Monday October 30th.

From ghosts swooping from the skies to a deathly torture chamber in the castle basement and from the witches’ kitchen to the haunted train that snakes through the Folk Park, no gravestone will be left unturned at the 26-acre visitor attraction later this month.

The Witch’s Kitchen, located within the nearby Loop Head Farmhouse, will see Grandmother Witch prepare her latest magic spell in a cauldron filled with secret ingredients. The Witches come under suspicion too during the Witches Trial as Ardcroney Church is transformed into a courthouse for the event.

The solemn wake of Mickey McNamara will be hosted in The Shannon Farmhouse where the farmer demonstrates he has some unresolved business to attend to as his family pray for their beloved. Visitors to the neighbouring outhouse will marvel at the antics of the Incredible Talking Head.