May Sunday Festival 2022

Glenbower Wood
29 April - 2 May
May Sunday Festival | | Ring of Cork

f you go down to the woods today… May Sunday Festival 2022 back with a bang!

The May Sunday Festival is thrilled to announce its 2022 programme, which invites you to immerse yourself in the beautiful natural surroundings of Glenbower Wood, and to get in touch with your own creativity. May Sunday takes place in Killeagh, Cork over the May bank holiday weekend, Friday April 29th – Monday May 2nd.

The first Sunday in May has heralded the transition to summer in Killeagh village for nearly 200 years. After pausing for almost 20 years, the festival was  revived by Greywood Arts in 2018 to celebrate the history, ecology and creativity of the area.

This year the festival welcomes the return of live performance with ‘KI’, a magical, light filled circus performance by Riuchi on Friday night. Saturday brings a festival fundraiser with the Lazy River Band playing at Greywood Arts. Women in Ceremony invite you to explore the magic of the woodland with them through song, story and ritual during guided journeys through the forest on Sunday. The cornerstone of the festival, the Open Air Dance & Picnic, will take place on Sunday from 1pm – 4pm, with the signature folk, country and trad tunes of Youghal’s very own Mick Mangan & Mark Ansboro, plus tasty treats from the Tipsy Taco Truck.

Performances are suitable for the whole family, and people of all ages are invited to make a May Bush on Friday at 7pm. There will be an Imagination Station perfect for kids at Saturday’s Art & Craft Market, which will take place next to the playground in Glenbower from 11am – 4pm. On Monday, Dogsercise are offering murder mystery “sniffari scent adventure” dog walks in the wood, and the Killeagh GAA have robust Family Fun Day offerings in Páirc Uí Chinnéide from 3pm – 5pm.

For those wanting to explore their own creativity, there will be outdoor movement, nature writing and song writing workshops, led by somatic artist Laura O’Brien, award winning author E.R. Murray, and talented folk musician Maija Sofia. All are welcome to drop into the Plein Air Drawing & Painting session in the wood on Saturday afternoon.

“This year’s festival celebrates life, light and live performance. It is steeped in ritual, yet creates new traditions for the people who live in — and love — the area. After two long, pandemic dominated years, we all deserve the chance to connect with one another in a beautiful, creative setting”  – Jessica Bonenfant Coogan, Artistic Director at Greywood Arts

The 2022 festival is supported by Youghal Credit Union, Cork County Council, The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, and 19 local businesses.

Patrick Heaphy, Manager at Youghal Credit Union said “We are delighted to support the May Sunday Festival – it is great to see it back in full swing this year and we hope everyone will support it, there’s lot of fun to be had for all!”

The full programme and booking details are available at Most events are free, with small fees for workshops and €20 tickets for the festival fundraiser with the Lazy River Band. For more information, please contact Jessica at or 083 845 1750.

May Sunday History

Glenbower Wood is situated on what used to be the De Cappell Brooke estate. In the 1830s the family made improvements to their home and surrounding land. To show off these enhancements, such as new bridges, De Cappell Brooke invited the entirety of the village to celebrate with music and dancing on the first Sunday in May. This became the yearly event we know as May Sunday – and it was the only day on which the land was open to the public. Now, a large portion of the woodland is owned by the community and looked after by the volunteers who make up Glenbower Wood & Lake Ltd.

May Sunday coincides with the much older Celtic festival of Bealtaine, which signifies the return of the light, and the start of summer. The festival has grown and morphed from its origins amongst the trees, spilling out into village in the 1920s. Many different community groups have organised it — adding pitch & putt in the 70s, and later a carnival atmosphere with swing boats and street vendors. After a nearly 20-year hiatus, Greywood Arts brought together a team of artists to collect memories and learn about the history of May Sunday in 2018 – and a new iteration of the festival was born.

About Greywood Arts
Greywood Arts brings artists and the East Cork community together in a welcoming space to explore the creative process, connect, and grow – and by doing so fosters empathy and a sense of belonging in our community. We believe everyone has creative potential, and that rural areas deserve access to quality arts programming.

Founded in 2017 as an artist residency, Greywood Arts quickly grew to offer responsive educational and community arts projects for our area, in addition to programming an array of cultural events. In 2018, Greywood Arts incorporated as a not-for-profit organisation and in 2022 began construction to develop a derelict coach house into an arts centre, which will significantly expand their capacity to deliver exciting creative programming next year.

Event Details

Organiser: Greywood Arts

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