Whether you sing in a choir, you are a huge choral fan or you are just eager to discover some wonderful choral music while having a ball in Ireland’s second largest city, you should definitely consider a visit to Cork during the Cork International Choral Festival on 29th April – 3rd May 2020!

Cork – Ireland’s ‘rebel city’ – is one of the most vibrant cities in the Country and its county is filled with stunning sites and breath-taking landscapes. Every year the Cork International Choral Festival brings Cork to life with song for a celebration of choral music in all its many forms, as thousands of participants travel there for a programme of world-class performances. By participating to the Festival you’ll make memories that will last a lifetime!

A reminder to all international choirs that the closing date for non-competitive entries is 30th November 2019.

There’s a lot of things to see, eat, drink and do during the Festival week. Here we reveal 10 reasons why you should join us for the Cork International Choral Festival:

1. A warm welcome

The Irish are famed for the for their friendly and accepting attitude and Cork’s pubs and restaurants are filled with locals and tourists alike, coming together to have a good time.

Likewise, the Cork International Choral Festival is renowned for the friendliness of its welcome as our Festival Team does their best to offer choirs and participants an unforgettable Festival experience! All international choirs are met on arrival by one of our fáilteoirí. The fáilteoir’s job is to ease the choir members’ stay in the city, ensuring they know where they are supposed to be and supporting the choir throughout the Festival.

Choirs and locals singing in a pub at a Choral Trail performance / Ph. Jed Niezgoda

2. An international atmosphere

The international vibes are strong during the Festival week! The presence of choirs from throughout the world gives audiences and choirs alike the unique opportunity of hearing a diverse range of repertoire performed and get to know different cultures. International choirs participate in a wide range of Festival events, which see choirs popping up throughout Cork in new and unexpected locations throughout the duration of the Festival! A Meet & Greet session (open to the public and free) is also organised to allow international participants to get to know each other. You will experience the unifying power of choral singing!

The Women's Choral Society of the University of Oslo (Norway) performing at the 2019 Festival / Ph. Jed Niezgoda

3. Foodie destination

Cork tastes amazing! No surprise that it has been defined Ireland’s food capital, thanks to a perfect combination of high quality local products and a multitude of creative and passionate chefs. Take a stroll to the centuries-old English Market or enjoy the city’s many cafes and restaurants. Don’t miss the choral performances at the outdoor Festival Market in Emmet Place on the Festival weekend, and let the Festival’s Food & Drink Trail inspire you for your meal stops!

English Market, Cork City / Ph. Ireland's Content Pool

4. An unexpected heritage

Feel the cultural and artistic pulse of the city and enjoy the many historical buildings and cathedrals in the Cork area at the Festival Choral Trail and Fringe Concerts. Cork is home to numerous treasures, major monuments or little-known gems that can be discovered wandering the city streets and exploring its County. St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, the Cathedral of St Mary & St Anne, Triskel Christchurch, Blackrock Castle, Blarney Castle, St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh, the Methodist Church in Kinsale – These are only some of the gorgeous venues that you can visit while listening to some fine choral music!

While attending the Festival, take also the chance to discover Ireland’s Ancient East and visit places filled with quirky and memorable experiences. With the maps and itineraries available here as your inspiration, you will discover a region of legends and stories, from ancient times to modern day.

Cheep Trill (Australia) performing at Blarney Castle during the 2019 Festival / Ph. Jed Niezgoda

5. A colourful County

The colour green is closely associated with Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day, but Ireland is much more colourful than that! Cork’s building cover the full colour wheel. No one is sure of the origin of painting houses in bright colours. One theory is that fishermen used what was left over from painting their boats. Discover Cork City and County while attending the Festival, and take home with you memories (and, why not, also photos) of some the brightest and most colorful spots in the country!

Shops in downtown Kinsale, Co. Cork / Ph. Ireland's Content Pool

6. Choral fun for all the family

The Festival makes the perfect occasion for everyone to enjoy choral music at the Festival’s many free events. In particular, the Afternoons in the Atrium have become a very popular Festival feature and are the perfect setting for families and festival goers who want to relax in the hotel’s bright atrium and experience the Festival atmosphere in full flow. Afternoons in the Atrium provides a weekend of energetic and entertaining performances by national and international choirs in the fresh, modern setting of the Clayton Hotel.

Families at the 2019 Festival Market / Ph, Magdalena Bednarek

7. Unique Gala Concerts

Every year the Festival welcomes some of the finest international talents of the choral world to Cork for a programme of 6 headline Gala Concerts. It is the perfect way to enjoy the surroundings of some of the most stunning venues in Cork (Cork City Hall, St Fin Barre’s Cathedral and the Cathedral of St Mary & St Anne) while attending world-class performances.

Groups and participating choirs can avail of a special discount on the tickets. Another great way to get tickets for the Gala Concerts is becoming a Friend of the Festival. The package includes a range of fantastic benefits guaranteed to bring you a jam-packed festival experience at unbeatable value for money. Gala Concerts will be announced in the coming weeks. Don’t hesitate to contact the Festival Office to pre-book your tickets.

2019 Opening Gala Concert in Cork City Hall / Ph. Jed Niezgoda

8. Learning is serious fun

We believe that everyone should have an opportunity to sing in the Festival! For this, each year the Festival undertakes a series of (free!) educational programmes especially developed to widen access to both the novice and experienced. Join us in 2020 for The Big Sing and the Choral Symposium, as the Cork International Choral Festival continues to push forward the development and reach of choral music. Singing with others can bring people together in a unique way and provides an unbeatable feel-good factor!

A worskshop during the 2019 Choral Symposium / Ph. Magdalena Bednarek

9. A Festive city and home of incredible “craic”

Proud of its artistic and musical traditions, blessed with a well-established festive temperament, Cork is a lively and effervescent city. Join us for some great “craic” during the Festival week! If you have no idea of what “craic” means, you may feel better knowing that everyone new to Ireland wonders at its meaning when they first hear it. “The craic” (it’s pronounced crack) is one of the best-known terms in Ireland, however, some say is indefinable. The closest you get is “fun” (here you can read more about the top levels of craic you can reach).

If you are attending the Festival, you don’t want to miss the Festival Club! It is the perfect place to kick back and relax with festival choirs and guests (free entrance). There is something for everyone, depending on whether you are in the mood to sing, dance, drink or mingle your way into the small hours!

Participants at the 2019 Festival Club / Ph. Jed Niezgoda

10. Breath-taking views

We hope that we proved that Cork has got a hell of a lot more than that postcard scenery, but, yes – we agree that when you think about Ireland, its natural wonders are probably the first thing that springs to mind. County Cork is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the world, stretching from smart south-coast Kinsale to three rugged westerly peninsulas (Mizen Head, Sheep’s Head and Beara) reaching into the wild Atlantic. While attending the Festival, take some time to discover the lush landscape surrounding Cork!

Kinsale Harbour, Co. Cork / Ph. Ireland's Content Pool

If you are interested in participating in the 2020 Cork International Choral Festival with a choir, a group, or as an independent visitor, don’t hesitate to get in touch at info@corkchoral.ie. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions!