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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.

Why bring festival archives together?

Creating a central repository for festival archives will ensure they are preserved and made accessible to the public. These arts festivals are key platforms for cultural expression and creative output and contributors to both the financial prosperity and identity of communities.

This collection will provide researchers from multiple disciplines, including art history, cultural studies, history or geography, with a single destination where they can have access to the extraordinarily rich world of late 20th century and early 21st century Irish arts festivals.

The Arts Council’s Strategy 2016 – 2025 regards the arts as ‘the hallmark of our creativity as a people’. Festival archives represents a unique insight into the distinctive power of the arts and their capacity to express the histories and experiences of Irish people. The links established between Irish Festivals and UCD present opportunities to build new partnerships between the arts and third-level education in Ireland into the future.

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;
  • festival programmes and posters; 
  • 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

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


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 is 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 

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Festival News and Updates

Festival Makers logo

The Festival Makers Conference (formerly Change Makers), organised by the Arts Council in partnership with Drama and Theatre Studies (University of Galway) and Creative Europe Desk Ireland was held on the 11th and 12th May, 2023 in Galway city.

Dr Lucy Collins and Ursula Byrne presented a short talk at the conference, on the work of the Irish Arts Festival Archive, which is held in UCD. 

This event was 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 :


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

Dr. 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.

IAFA Advisory Group

New Collections

The following archives were recently deposited in the archive: 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.