Beginning at its home on the NUI Galway campus, the parade weaved its way through the heart of Galway. As the highlight of Ireland’s cultural calendar – and the largest free event in the country for Halloween – over 54,000 people lined the streets to be awed and amazed by this epic scale of storytelling, despite the cold weather.

This year’s story celebrated the act of transformation being unleashed upon the city. A world that is hypnotic and intoxicating, glittering, mysterious and filled with shadow and nobility.

Between the white fire of the stars and the whispering woods you can hear the breath of small kingdoms rising and falling, dreams floating light as moths among the branches of the trees, where sweetness and tangibility flickers amongst the dark hug of time.

Always a gigantic undertaking, this year’s parade featured the signature Macnas giant creations and sculptural images, pyrotechnics, bespoke costumes, and epic performances to live and original music. Delivering this wondrous chaos are hundreds of performers from the Macnas Young Ensemble, Youth Ballet West, the MacnasYouth Drummers, the Public Participation Programme, The Hit Machine and many more.

The Macnas parade includes the work of the Macnas creative ensemble, comprised of 45 professional artists and 300 volunteers directed by CEO/Artistic Director Noeline Kavanagh. The creative wizards behind this year’s inventions include Orla Clogher and Dave Young on design, Saileog O’Halloran on costume, Alma Kelleher on sound design, The Face on hair and Michelle Ruane on makeup. 

For the fifth year in a row, Macnas head to the capital on the bank holiday Monday to close the Bram Stoker Festival with the hauntingly beautiful, wild and tempestuous parade on the streets of Dublin. We’re already looking forward to next year’s festivities!

Here are some beautiful shots from the awe-inspiring parade!

Photography by Ruby LeePhotography by Ruby Lee

Photography by Ruby LeePhotography by Ruby Lee

Photography by Julia Dunin

Photography by Julia DuninPhotography by Julia Dunin

Photography by Julia Dunin

Photography by Julia Dunin and Ruby Lee