Longford’s expanded Dead of Night Festival 2023 to feature ‘Fire & Shadows’ Samhain Procession

Longford links up with Fáilte Ireland and Waterford’s Spectacular Street Carnival company “Spraoi” 

Longford County Council is delighted to announce the return of Dead of Night Festival to Longford with an expanded five day offering for Halloween 2023.

The festival will take place this year over the entire Halloween bank holiday weekend kicking off on Friday, 27 October and concluding with a spectacular Samhain Procession and fire beacon finale in Connolly Barracks on Halloween night Tuesday, 31 October.

The scaling up of this year’s festival is the result of a partnership between Longford County Council, Fáilte Ireland, Milestone Inventive and Waterford’s spectacular street carnival company ‘Spraoi’. It’s all part of Longford’s inclusion in Failte Ireland’s three-year pilot scheme to show that Ireland is the true “Home of Halloween”.

Longford is playing its part in the pilot by raising awareness of Ireland as the original birthplace of Halloween through its ‘Samhain Town’ event in Connolly Barracks and Longford’s ‘Fire and Shadows’ Samhain Parade.

Samhain mythology is interwoven with tales of creatures of nature.  On Halloween night (Tuesday, 31 October) in Longford, the owl, the fox, the stag and the crow will cross over from the otherworld to stalk the streets of Longford town. Mirroring the local Longford legend of Midir and Etáin, the parade will culminate in a stormy, fierce, and fiery finale at Connolly Barracks where the Samhain fire will banish the spirits back to the otherworld.

The full list of the schedule of events will be announced in the coming weeks, however families and Halloween fans of all ages can all expect to find something to enjoy over the course of the long weekend. For example, ‘Samhain Town’ in Connolly Barracks on Saturday and Sunday, 28-29 October will feature:

  • A pumpkin patch*
  • The haunted house experience in the old army headquarters,
  • Halloween craft tent – decorate a pumpkin, decorate a tombstone, and mask making for taking part in the Samhain Parade
  • Music and children’s entertainment,
  • Food and craft markets*

*Additional purchase required

Entry to ‘Samhain Town’ will be €5 per child with all activities included, while accompanying adults go free. Tickets will be available online in advance. For full details on sale dates, follow posts from Longford County Council on social media or see longfordcoco.ie

All events will have community and public participation at their core, ensuring that the tradition of communities and families gathering to mark the transition to the old year is sustained.

In addition, there are a number of collaborative events taking place over the weekend, including night-time music and entertainment at a number of venues around Longford town. Over the course of the festivities, visitors to Longford town can also #ShopLongford for refreshments and snacks available for purchase from local businesses.

In the run up to the Dead of Night festival, an awareness campaign will be launched by Longford Local Community Safety Partnership, working with the Longford County Council Environment Department and Fire Service as well as An Garda Síochána, creating a safe Halloween, free from anti-social behaviour, illegal fireworks and bonfires.

Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Colm Murray is encouraging everyone to visit Longford Town for Dead of Night. “So many Longford people have great memories of Dead of Night, and it is great to see it moving from strength to strength with the introduction of the professional street theatre elements. There is so much happening at the event this year. I encourage everyone to make their way in to see all that is in store – if you’re brave enough!”

Longford County Council Chief Executive Paddy Mahon said, “The Council is proud to support this community-focused event and offer opportunities for families, teenagers, kids, adults and everyone else to enjoy a safer and inclusive Halloween.”

The Dead of Night Festival is a Night-Time Economy initiative brought to you in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.