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Irish Arts Festivals Archive: Introduction


Irish Arts Festivals Archive logo

The Irish Arts Festivals Archive captures and preserves the rich and diverse landscape of festivals held across Ireland. The IAFA  mission statement is to develop IAFA as a vibrant resource for festivals and festival research by housing the material records and oral histories of Irish arts festivals and by supporting the development of contemporary festival practice through creative collaborations, critical reflections and advocacy.

With festival archives being added every year, this central repository will become a resource of national scope and significance, ensuring current and future generations can appreciate and better understand the ecology of festivals across Ireland.

Festival collections, in the Irish Arts Festivals Archive are held in UCD Archives, and are part of the UCD Heritage Collection.

What is in a festival archive?

Archives may be made up of a mix of paper and digital material, and hold: 

  • business plans, strategic plans and award applications; 
  • minutes of board meetings (signed); 
  • correspondence from and to the festival; and press coverage.
  • programmes and posters published by the organisation each year; 
  • film footage and photographs taken at festival events; 

Irish Arts Festivals - a bibliography

Up-to-date information on publications about or relating to arts festivals in Ireland. 

Please let us know if you are aware of any document that is not included in the listing contact:

Arts Festivals in Ireland: a bibliography

The UCD Cultural Heritage Collection

UCD holds a rich variety of heritage collections made up of unique materials spanning four centuries of Irish history and culture, encompassing such diverse subjects as literature, Gaelic language and folklore, music, genealogy and political history.

The majority of archival collections are held in UCD Archives. Literary archives are held in UCD Special Collections.

Festival News and Updates

Festival Makers logo

The Festival Makers Conference (formerly Change Makers) , is on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 May 2023 in Galway City. This event is organised by the Arts Council in partnership with Drama and Theatre Studies (University of Galway)  and Creative Europe Desk Ireland

As part of this 2 day conference, Dr Lucy Collins and Ursula Byrne will talk about the work of the Irish Arts Festival Archive, which is held in UCD Archives.

This event is a great opportunity for festival makers, festival stakeholders and artists making work in a festival context to exchange ideas, share, map sector developments and discuss practices relevant to festivals in Ireland.

More at :

Festivals - Oral History Project

The IAFA Oral History Project is a collection of interviews with key members of Irish arts festivals. The project was established to complement and enhance the Irish Arts Festivals Archive collection, with each of the oral histories relating to a festival that has deposited, or is committed to depositing, its archive with IAFA. This project is led by Dr David Teevan, with occasional guest editors.

These interviews provide unique insights into the vision, imagination and personal commitment of Irish festival makers, and the contribution they have made to Irish cultural and economic life over the last forty years.

ISSN 2811-6097

IAFA booklet covers

Festival notes - new series coming soon


The IAFA Oral History Project interviews, which supplement the print and digital materials, have been made possible with funding from UCD Arts and Humanities Support Fund, awarded to the School of Art History and Cultural Policy (2021), and by the College of Arts and Humanities Support Fund (UCD Foundation), awarded to UCD Library (2022).

Festival Notes - Coming soon, an irregular series published when IAFA are provided with additional insights into the history of a festival by the public or by other festival organiser. We welcome suggestions for Festival Notes 

Oral History banner

Archive News

New Collections

With the arrival of the pandemic in March 2020, progress on building the archive was like many other projects shelved. Over recent months with the easing of restrictions, IAFA has begun to grow again.​ ​

The following archives were placed into the care of UCD​ ​Archives in 2021:  Strokestown International Poetry Festival; Ennis Street Arts Festival; St Patrick’s Festival;  and Carlow Arts Festival (formerly Eigse Festival).

Festival booklets

​IAFA Advisory Group ​

To help steer the archive, its founders Dr Lucy Collins, Ursula Byrne, Dr David Teevan and Kate Manning reached out to Dr Bernadette Quinn (TU Dublin), and Dr Victoria Durrer (UCD) inviting them to join an IAFA advisory group. The group that met for the first time, on August 26th 2021.


Launched in 2020, the Irish Arts Festivals Archive is created and managed by UCD Archives and UCD Library.

David Teevan, Arts Consultant and Researcher, has been pivotal to developing the vision of this archive which will help strengthen direct links between teaching and research, and foster popular interest in festival organisation and arts initiatives.

UCD Library has worked in partnership with the UCD School of English, Drama and Film, and collaborated with the Irish Arts Council to develop this collection.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with festival organisers, County Councils, and community and voluntary organisations.

We look forward to developing new partnerships as part of this initiative.

Preserving Digital Archives - UCD Digital Library

UCD Library provides national leadership in capturing and preserving digital expressions of our culture and our heritage.

The UCD Digital Library holds the “Data Seal of Approval”, an accreditation, recognised by the European Commission, which ensures that a sustainable infrastructure is provided for these cultural heritage collections. The expertise of Library staff helps to ensure that these materials are available for teaching and research both at home and abroad, increasing public engagement and creating new opportunities for artists.