The origins of Halloween date all the way back to the Celts of ancient Ireland, who celebrated the new year on the first of November!

Celtic crosses in Glendalough Cemetery, Wicklow Ireland

Though it has changed a lot, the origins of Halloween began as a pagan celebration over 2,000 years ago in Ireland as part of a festival known as ‘Samhain’ (pronounced Saw-when). Traditionally celebrated on the 31st of October through the 1st of November, the Celtic festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the annual harvest and the coming of Winter.

There are many Irish legends related to the Samhain. One such legend is that of the Hag of Beara. The hag (also known as Cailagh in Irish), was born on Samhain, so it is said. She was said to have ruled the winter months until the Spring, where her counterpart, Bridhge (or Bridget) would take over. The Hag of Beara, still has a great influence over Irish landscapes that bear her name, like the Beara Peninsula, where there is even a rock said to be her, turned to stone. There is also Hag’s Head at the Cliffs of Moher, where you can visit on foot on an exciting hiking trip. 

The Hag of Beara
Hag’s Head at the Cliffs of Moher

Today, practicing the ancient festival of Samhain is certainly not the same in Ireland as it was all those years ago, but the tradition carries on all over the world under the guise of Halloween. Today it’s about children and adults alike, dressing up in costumes, carving pumpkins, and enjoying candy! For those that still practice more pagan-like festivities, many leave food and drink offerings for the spirits and celebrate with bonfires to celebrate the end of the harvest. 

Ireland continues to offer festivals and fun-filled events to experience over this magical time, especially in Derry-Londonderry, which has quickly become the Halloween Capital of Ireland. Derry-Londonderry is now home to Europe’s largest Halloween Festival, where the Walled City of Derry welcomes the spirit of Samhain through its historic gates for a festival like no other! For four nights, the past and present collide to bring a dazzling street celebration of all thinks spooky!! The story of Halloween is brought to life through illumination, aerial performance, pyrotechnics, and music!

Halloween decor on house in Dublin City Centre, Ireland

2024 Special Halloween Spectacular Tour of Ireland

Experience an epic Spooktacular tour with Celtic Tours as you spend 6-nights in Ireland, with three nights in the Halloween Capital, Derry! Be a part of Europe’s largest Halloween Festival as the Walled City of Derry welcomes the spirit of Samhain through its historic gates for a festival like no other!

Tour Highlights

  • Eight (8) meals with six (6) breakfasts and two (2) hotel dinners.
  • Visit Dublin, Derry, and Donegal
  • Exciting opportunity to enjoy the largest Halloween Festival in Europe

Your Halloween Spooktacular Tour Includes

  • Excellent hotels – fix (6) nights of first-class and superior first-class hotels throughout.
  • Full Irish breakfast daily, except the day of arrival.
  • Two (2) hotel dinners.
  • Group transfers in morning of arrival and on last day.
  • Full sightseeing by deluxe touring motorcoach.
  • Professional Irish driver/guide to escort you throughout.
  • Scenic touring in Donegal.
  • Sightseeing of EPIC Museum in Dublin, 2-hour Ghost Bust Tour in Dublin, Derry Girls Tour, guided tour of the Guildhall and Navan Fort.
  • Opportunity to enjoy the biggest Halloween celebration in Europe in Derry with a festive parade and fireworks.
  • Porterage of one suitcase per person.
  • Tips & taxes in Ireland. Gratuities to driver/guide not included.
  • Celtic Tours flight bag and portfolio of travel documents.

Contact your travel advisor for more information!

Halloween Celebration in Derry, Ireland

Suggested Travel-Related Gifts

Rolling Duffel Bag

Craft Cocktail Kit

Disposable 35mm Cameras

Collapsible Water Bottle

Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones