3rd Sarajevo Irish Festival


Trí, an uimhir an draíochta!

Like many ancient cultures, the number three has significant resonances in Ireland, not least for being the pivotal number in that great Irish obsession – luck! This year we celebrate the third Sarajevo Irish Festival – flying the Festival’s flag emblazoned with our Celtic three-spiralled triskelion logo and wearing three-leafed shamrocks pinned to our chests – so we expect the luck of the Irish to be overflowing!

The 2018 Sarajevo Irish Festival represents a broadening in the profile of our guests. This year we will present a compact tri-location festival with a melting pot of live music, dance and film, focusing on work that links the home country to Sarajevo through artistic cooperation, shared insight and celebration.

The Festival will kick off with Gala Night at Dom oružanih snaga BiH on Friday 16 March, co-hosted with the Embassy of Ireland and in the presence of the Irish Ambassador accredited to Bosnia and Herzegovina and supported by the Slovenian Embassy in Sarajevo. Expect a surprise happening as the night gets into swing!

The evening will include a performance by Dónal Lunny – the godfather of Irish contemporary music or, as Bono calls him, “the Quincy Jones of Ireland” accompanied by accordionist Pádraig Rynne and the Slovenian Irish Dance Troupe “Šola irskega plesa”.  Broken House Band – The Bosnian Irish traditional band will support the performance.

Of course there will be craic, caint, bia agus deoch provided by Jameson, Guinness and Tikki’s Superfood.

Saturday 17 March – Saint Patrick’s Day – will start bright and early and will see SIF going out to meet the public with a lunchtime flash mob dance off at Mercator’s flagship store at Ložionička street led by “Šola irskega plesa” followed by a dance class for kids.

Meanwhile back at Kino Meeting Point a surprise screening for early birds will be followed by showing and discussion with the producer Jane Doolan and Stephen Burke the director of “Maze”. Maze is 2017 Irish film inspired by the true events of the infamous 1983 prison breakout of 38 IRA prisoners from “Her Majesty’s Prison”, which was to become the biggest prison escape in Europe since World War II.

No Sarajevo Irish Festival would be complete without the rapidly-becoming-traditional live showing of the Ireland vs England Rugby match, where refreshments with an Irish flavour will be provided and traditional Irish music with a contemporary twist provided by Broken House Band.

The third Sarajevo Irish Festival has been made possible by the entirely voluntary work of Nerma Sofić, Niamh Mercer, Liam Alford, Sean Tankosić-Kelly, Oggi Tomic, Ahmed Ananda and Lisa Stewart with the key sponsorship of Culture Ireland, Comtrade, Embassy of Ireland, Raiffeisen Bank, Courtyard by Marriott, Mercator, Jameson (Pernod Ricard), Guinness (Carlsberg), GGE, Porsche and many others.

Go n-éirí an bóthar libh!

Garret Kelly, festival director


This Festival is dedicated to Fergal Joyce and Sarah Aherne who helped through 2016 and 2017 to make the festival what is, but have now returned to Ireland with their new daughter Aoife.


The Festival promoted on this website and advertised in media is organised by a group of volunteers for the purpose of promoting and celebrating Irish culture and heritage. The events are supported by Culture Ireland, Embassies and businesses who want to be part of the festival and part of promoting the shared history between Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. All funds raised are used to pay for the services provided in organising the events and are not for profit for any or all persons volunteering with the festival committee.