As the evenings darken Ballymaloe Grainstore lights up with a programme of shows and events that run the gamut from concerts to crafts, a Halloween family experience, a Christmas party night with music by Europe’s best ABBA tribute band, to a performance of Handel’s Messiah.

ABBA Forever – The Christmas Party Show on Thursday 6 December is already heavily booked.  A perfect Christmas night out for a company, club or group of friends, it starts at 7pm with mulled wine and a Swedish-inspired fork supper.  The band will then take to the stage at 8:30 for two hours of non-stop ABBA hits.  There will be plenty of room for Dancing Queens [and kings] to show their moves and enjoy a festive and informal holiday party.

The Grainstore welcomes back Johnny McEvoy (pictured), one of Ireland’s most enduring and talented singer-songwriters over the past 50 years, on Sunday 14 October.  Johnny’s nostalgic evening of song and story features all of his hits including Muirsheen Durkin, Boston Burglar, Those Brown Eyes, and Long, Long Before Your Time.

Little spooks will have a frightfully fun time at Boo! at Ballymaloe when the Grainstore is transformed into a wholesome Halloween experience for the whole family during the midterm break.  Follow the clues to free the Princess from the Giant’s castle and enjoy many spooky adventures along the way. It’s on from Saturday 27 October until Sunday 4 November.

The Ballymaloe Craft Fair on Friday 16, Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 November is firmly established as a weekend of quality Christmas shopping, offering work by scores of Ireland’s finest crafters and artisans.  Delicious food will be available from local food heroes, and small hands will be kept contentedly crafty in a dedicated children’s area.

After two sold-out concerts last year, Phil Coulter returns on Sunday 2 December with his ‘Gold and Silver Days’ show.  Phil will perform his personal favourites as he trawls through his fifty years of musical creativity, joined by special guest Geraldine Branagan.

East Cork Choral Society celebrates its 40th anniversary with a performance of perhaps the greatest and best-known work in the oratorio repertoire, Handel’s Messiah, on Saturday 29 December.  Fifty singers will be accompanied by an orchestra of eight professional players and four talented young soloists.  Rory Allen, owner of Ballymaloe Grainstore, is honoured that the Choral Society will dedicate the concert to the memory of his late mother, Mrs. Myrtle Allen.

Looking ahead to 2019, Sharon Shannon’s concert on Friday 15 February is on sale.

Adding a new dimension to an evening in the Grainstore, a selection of ‘small plates’ is served upstairs before every concert.  A light meal or snack of soup, quiche, sandwiches, homemade Ballymaloe ice cream and more is available from 7pm.

Ballymaloe Grainstore is a 300-seat venue on the grounds of Ballymaloe House in Shanagarry, East Cork.  Tickets may be booked online at or by phone on 021 475 7200.  Pre-concert dinner (6pm) in Ballymaloe House and accommodation packages are available for most shows.