Ballina 2023 release events programme for next year - Visit North Mayo

First announcements for Ballina 2023 include Macnas Parade, RHA West Exhibition, Youth and Sports programme and Music Events.

Ballina 2023 announce Community Events Fund to support local community based events to mark 300th Anniversary

Ballina 2023 is a year-long celebration that will mark the 300th Anniversary of the official founding of the town and will feature a series of public events throughout the year.


The internationally acclaimed spectacle and street theatre company Macnas will deliver one of the highlight events taking place as part of Ballina 2023.  Macnas’ work is unique for the hybrid of professional artists and volunteers collaborating on an event and throughout the year. The company will work with community participants to develop and deliver one of its renowned parades on the streets of Ballina.  The event will take place on July 15th 2023 as part of the Ballina Salmon Festival. 

Communities Creating Change

Ballina 2023, together with The Mary Robinson Centre, Mayo County Council and the University of Galway, will hold a week-long international sustainability assembly. Called, Communities Creating Change it will take place in July 2023.   The programme will focus on the theme of sustainable development and enabling grassroots community climate action, exploring the international, national  and local perspective in Ballina, connecting communities, practitioners, agencies and government with academics and researchers through dialogue, deliberation, arts and music.  The event will happen July 4 – 8, 2023.

Connacht Fleadh

Another highlight of the programme for 2023, Ballina is honoured and excited to host the Connacht Fleadh. In addition to the weekend long competition event, there will be a series of traditional music and dance performances. This will showcase the traditional arts tradition of North Mayo and West Sligo. It will take place in venues across Ballina from June 28 to July 3, 2023. 

Community Sports Programme

Ballina 2023 are partnering with the Celtic FC Foundation to deliver a year long Community Sports Programme. It will include year-round community football sessions, coaching and education in schools and an estate based league for communities in Ballina and the wider region.  There will be a series of summer camps, local games, tournaments and celebratory events with teams visiting from the US and Northern Ireland.  In addition, the GAA communities of Ballina will welcome adult football teams in March. Teams will travel from Donegal, Meath, Tyrone, Dublin and Galway to participate in the re-ignited ‘Shannon Medals’ tournament. This will provide a spectacular GAA competition.  

RHA West Exhibition

The Royal Hibernian Academy is collaborating with Ballina 2023 and Ballina Arts Centre to site a collection of its current artist members’ artwork in Ballina. This will take place across two months in the autumn of 2023.  The RHA is one of Ireland’s principal public art galleries. It hosts world-class exhibitions of Irish and international artists. It is the oldest artist-led visual arts institution in the country, being founded in 1823.  The exhibition, titled RHA West, will feature works by many of Ireland most famous living artists. Artists include painters such as Mick O’Dea and Geraldine O’Neill. In addition to sculptors like Eilis O’Connell and Eileen McDonagh and multi-media artists such as Dorothy Cross and Alice Maher. Over 50 artworks will be shown to celebrate Ballina 2023 and to mark the 200th year of the RHA celebration exhibition. 

Tom Meskill light sculptures

In addition, renowned Mayo based artist Tom Meskill will work with Ballina 2023 to create a magical series of hand made light sculptures. They will form an installation animating a unique location in Ballina throughout early next year. 

Year of the French

Ballina 2023 is also collaborating with the French Embassy, Ballina Municipal District and In Humbert’s Footsteps to commemorate the ‘Year of the French’ . The events organised will take place throughout the year including a Festival running August 19 – 22, 2023. This will mark 200 years since the death of General Humbert, and 225 years since his landing in Killala Bay. The Year 2023 will also celebrate 30 years of our twinning with Athis-Mons.

Town Twinning Events

Ballina 2023, together with Ballina Municipal District, is also working with Ballina’s Twin Towns of Pittsfield, Massachusetts and Scranton, Pennsylvania for events during  2023. They will have visiting officials and community members conducting exchange visits during the year.   Pittsfield and Ballina will celebrate 25 years of twinning in 2023.  

On The Road show with BCRFM

Ballina 2023 are delighted to partner with Ballina Community Radio to present On The Road. This is an offsite broadcaster that will visit the people and places of Ballina and the surrounding regions throughout 2023.   On the Road will broadcast weekly on BCRFM and online.   If you would like the Broadcast Bus to visit your community or event throughout the year, details will be available on how to book in early 2023.  

This Giant Tent – multi-cultural event

The programme will also include This Giant Tent. This is a multi-cultural event celebrating Traveller culture in Ballina and the myriad of cultures and communities that call Ballina home.  It will build on a very special project by children celebrating culture and identity that happened in Ballina 2018-2019 involving the Involve Youth Project and Scoil Íosa.   For 2023, the project will be developed into a public event rooted in community and celebration, dates to be announced.  

Spotlight on the River Moy

On July 8thth 2023, Ballina 2023 will shine a spotlight on the River Moy with a day long celebration of water based activities and cultural events.  The River Moy Swim will kick off the day. There is an ambition to have 300 participants to mark Ballina’s 300th anniversary. The event will conclude with very special performances along the River Moy. 

For the first time in Ballina, Inland Fisheries Ireland will offer a series of public guided tours. They will provide participants the rare opportunity to experience first hand the Moy Fishery Salmon Weir.  Tours will feature a tour of the Salmon Weir structure and Weir building. They will include insight into the history of the Moy Fishery and Salmon Weir and a demonstration of the fish counters and hydraulics.  Tours will happen on selected dates during March, April and July with numbers strictly limited.  Booking will be available Spring 2023.  

Plant a Tree for 2023

Ballina Community Clean Up is working with communities across Ballina to plant a minimum of one native broadleaf tree for each person in the town by the end of 2023.  An ambitious project, the group has already begun sourcing and planting trees for Plant A Tree for 2023. They are inviting groups who wish to be involved to contact them directly through their social media sites.  

International Dive Rally

Grainne Uaile Sub Aqua Club will present an International Dive Rally for Ballina 2023. They will invite scuba divers from around the world to attend a Dive Rally in Killala Bay. This event will take place from August 11th – 13th next year. The geographic positioning of North Mayo as Ireland’s closest land base to the Continental Shelf is the driving force of marine biodiversity to its coastline. It lends itself to being one of Europe’s top scuba diving destinations.

Ballina, Poetry Town

Ballina 2023 is delighted to partner with the Ballina Fringe Festival. Together they will present Ballina, Poetry Town. Appointing a Ballina Poet Laureate who will act as Poet in Residence throughout September and October 2023.  As part of the residency, the appointed poet will compose a new Poem for Ballina to mark the 300th anniversary celebration.  

Musical Performances

St. Muredach’s Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Regina Deacy, will perform Handel’s ‘Messiah’ for the first time in Ballina. They will have guest orchestra and soloists in St Muredach’s Cathedral.  The ticketed event will take place on Saturday November 11th 2023, with tickets going on sale in September 2023.  

To mark 300 years since the civic founding of Ballina by Lord Tyrawley in 1723, Ballina 2023 invite from individuals and community organisations in Ballina and its hinterland to also host an event for Ballina 2023.  Applications to the Ballina 2023 Community Events Fund will open in January 2023 with further details. 

A full music programme will be announced in the Spring 2023. Further events will be announced as details are confirmed. 

Legacy of Ballina 2023

As part of its legacy programme, Ballina 2023 is also providing an exciting opportunity for young people aged between 18 and 24 who are from Ballina, North Mayo or West Sligo. This opportunity will enable them to gain experience and training in events, music programming, radio and digital broadcast media, sports training, the arts, community leadership and youth voice.  Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with BCRFM, Rio Ferdinand Foundation, Macnas, Warner Music and Ballina 2023. They will receive mentorship, training and accreditation as part of the programme.  

Hopes and Ambitions for the Year Ahead

Speaking about the programme, Cllr. Jarlath Munnelly, Chairperson of the Ballina 2023 Steering Group said: 

“Excitement is building ahead of 2023 in Ballina.  I’m happy to say that a lot of work has gone into developing linkages across the entire community in Ballina. I’m really hopeful that every member of the community will see something for them as part of the 2023 programme.”  He added, “Equally importantly, I think there will be a significant legacy from the Ballina 2023 celebrations, which I hope will include more civic pride amongst everyone in Ballina, better involvement from people across the community and critically better involvement from young people.”

Programme details are available from and their Social Media Sites.

Ballina 2023

This will be an amazing year for the town of Ballina, its surrounds and North Mayo in general. Browse our website for details of other things to do and places to stay whilst here.

Ballina 2023 is funded by: Mayo County Council and Ballina Municipal District, the Arts Council of Ireland, Celtic FC Foundation, the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Fund and Creative Ireland Mayo.

It is supported by: Ballina Chamber of Commerce, Mayo North Tourism, Moy Valley Resources and the Lions Club, Mayo Volunteer Centre, Volunteer Ireland, Mayo North East SICAP, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, TUSLA, Mayo Sligo and Leitrim Enterprise and Training Board and the French Embassy. 


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