Festival Venues

Visit our festival venues – cathedrals, castles, historic homes and gardens…


Welcome to the beautiful festival venues across the Blackwater Valley, where Ireland’s Summer Opera Festival takes place each year. From cathedrals to castles, historic homes to Victorian bandstands and gardens, Blackwater Valley Opera Festival stages operas, concerts and recitals in some of Waterford and Cork’s most impressive locations.

In 2023 we are absolutely delighted to have the majestic Lismore Castle and Gardens as the home of our opera festival once again. The opera is performed within a purpose built venue, set against the breathtakingly beautiful surroundings of the castle and its historic gardens. Truly a unique and magical setting in which to experience world-class opera!

Lismore Castle

Lord and Lady Burlington graciously invite the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival to set up our opera set in the beautifully atmospheric castle stable yard each year, as well as allowing us access to the castle gardens that have been transformed in recent years by the hugely admired and talented Head Gardener, Daren Topps, and his remarkably able and hard working team. It is the perfect setting not only for our unique opera performances but also because it provides all the vital elements of hospitality including food and fine wines thanks to our wonderful sponsor, Edward Dillon.

The Castle is the Irish home of the Duke of Devonshire.  Formerly home to the Earls of Desmond, and, from 1753, the Cavendish family. During the mid-nineteenth century it was largely re-built in the Gothic style by William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire.  The historic Lismore Castle has two distinct gardens set within the its walls, comprising 7 acres, these gardens offer spectacular views of the Castle and surrounding countryside.

Lismore Castle Arts, an art gallery adjacent to the castle, displays temporary exhibitions of national and international artists, and is committed to the presentation and promotion of contemporary visual art in Ireland. The calibre of exhibits presented each year is akin to those presented in the art district of Manhattan.

EirCode: P51 EY68

Dromore Yard, Aglish

Dromore Yard is a romantic restored 19th century farm on the banks of the Blackwater River. Charming outbuildings and courtyards set the scene for the centrepiece, a large, chandelier-lit tin barn, with a terrace looking overlooking the river.  It’s a venue not usually open to the public and the acoustics are second to none. The setting is particularly special, transporting you away, right to the secret heart of the magical Blackwater Valley.

The roads leading to Dromore Yard are small and not suitable for large vehicles or high traffic volumes, so we ask that all traffic follows the routes below.  Please reduce speed and proceed with caution once on the smaller approach roads.

The venue will be signposted on approach roads.

Directions From Youghal
  •  From Cork take the N25 towards Waterford.
  • 3.6Km after the Youghal Bridge, there is a turning on the left, signposted Clonmel, Clashmore, Pilltown.
  • Take this turning.
  • After 100m you will come to a T junction, turn right following signs for the R671, Clashmore, Clonmel.
  • Proceed through the village of Clashmore.
  • Keep right at the top of the village following the sign for Aglish.
  • After 11.6km you will come to a turning on you left signposted Aglish.
  • Take this turning. The Venue will be specifically signposted from here.
  • After 600m you will come to a T Junction.
  • Turn left.
  • After 350m turn right at the stone cottage.
  • Stay on this road for 3.4km and you will arrive at Dromore Farmyard.

View Map

Directions From Dungarvan
  • If travelling from Waterford City direction – Before Dungarvan take the right Hand turning sigh posted Killarney/Lismore N72 opposite Paul Foley Oils.
  • If departing via Dungarvan – Take N72 for Cappoquin / Lismore / Fermoy 
  • Stay on N72 for 12.7km until you reach a left hand turning signposted Clashmore, Aglish R671
  • Follow the road for 8km.
  • You will pass a turning to the right for Aglish. Do not take this turn.
  • Continue on and take the next turning right sign posted Aglish – The Venue will be specifically signposted from here.
  • After 600m you will come to a T Junction.
  • Turn left.
  • After 350m turn right at the stone cottage.
  • Stay on this road for 3.4km and you will arrive at Dromore Farmyard

View Map

Directions From Cappoquin
  • Exit Cappoquin on the N72 heading for Dungarvan.
  • Stay on the Dungarvan road for 6km until you see a turn to the right signposted for Clashmore, Youghal, Aglish R671.
  • Continue on the R671 for 6.8km.
  • You will pass a turning to the right for Aglish. Do not take this turn.
  • Continue on and take the next turning right sign posted Aglish.The Venue will be specifically signposted from here.
  • After 600m you will come to a T Junction.
  • Turn left.
  • After 350m turn right at the stone cottage.
  • Stay on this road for 3.4km and you will arrive at Dromore Farmyard.

View Map

Salterbridge House & Gardens

The gardens of Salterbridge House are part of the Waterford Garden Trail.  Located near Cappoquin, this Victorian country house’s grounds are filled with camellias, magnolias, rhododendrons and many other woodland shrubs. The original house was built in 1751 by Richard Musgrave and was the center of an 18,000-acre estate.  It remained in the Chearnley family until 1947, when it was purchased Philip & Susie Wingfield. In 2021, property veteran Stephen Vernon become the third owner of this stunning historic property.

EirCode : P51 H985

Cappoquin House & Gardens

Cappoquin House and Gardens is a hidden treasure. Blink and you may easily miss the driveway, which flows unceremoniously from the pavement and meanders up the hillside, to the beautiful Georgian house. The high vantage point of the house, situated on the prominent site of a medieval Fitzgerald Castle, offers stunning views across Cappoquin and beyond to the river Blackwater. The entrance to Capoquin House is via the yard, where visitors are met by the owner, Sir Charles Keane, whose family have lived here since 1735. The recitals at Cappoquin House have become a tradition in our programme and we are delighted to be able to continue our wonderful recitals in such special surroundings.  We look forward seeing you there again this year.

EirCode : P51 D324

Tourin House & Gardens

The gardens at Tourin House extend over 2 hectares and include a walled garden. A fine collection of camellias, rhododendrons, magnolias and rare mature trees, including a Champion London Plane Tree, give beautiful displays of colour. Lovely walks along the paths lead to Tourin Quay and a pond with duck and other wild life. The House and Gardens are situated about 5km from Cappoquin and the heritage town of Lismore in Co. Waterford. Built in 1840, in the Italianate style, the main house overlooks the River Blackwater and the original historic 16th-century tower house can still be seen from its garden.

EirCode : P51 YY1K

Lismore Heritage Centre

Lismore Heritage Centre

In the heart of Lismore town, The Lismore Courthouse Theatre offers the perfect space for concerts, festivals, launches and other events. Fully equipped with theatre lighting and sound, it is in constant demand for a wide variety of artistic and community programmes.

The Lismore Courthouse Theatre is upstairs in the Lismore Heritage Centre building. Nearest carpark is the Millenium Park Playground carpark.

EirCode : P51 TP26

Woodhouse Estate Walled Gardens

Walled Gardens, Woodhouse Estate

An oasis of calm and tranquility situated right in the centre of the Estate, the beautifully restored Walled Garden is a perfect concert venue. Completely enclosed and surrounded by high stone walls the walled garden has flowers beds, beautiful green lawns, a water feature and a raised pergola overlooking the entire garden. Signage on the grounds will lead you to the Walled Garden. Parking on the estate grounds.


Entrance information:

Coming from Dungarvan- enter via the first set of black gates on your left.

Coming from Stradbally- enter via the third set of black gates on your right.

EirCode : X42 X942

St. Carthage’s Cathedral

In the historic town of Lismore, County Waterford, visitors will find St Carthage’s Cathedral, which dates from 1633. The ecclesiastical significance of the land goes back to the 7th century, when St Carthage founded a monastery here. Due to the presence of the religious community, Lismore was known throughout Europe as a place of learning. The cathedral is situated on a lovely hill, surrounded by greenery, and visitors can view its medieval tombs, stone carvings, fine stained-glass windows and more.

EirCode : P51 VX65

St. Carthage’s Church

St Carthage’s Parish Church, Lismore, was officially opened in 1884. Designed by W. G. Doolin, it is seen as one of the finest examples of Lombardo-Romanesque churches in Ireland. Local red sandstone and white limestone were used in the church’s construction and its bell tower rises to a height of 120ft, high above its richly detailed facade.

Above the doorway there is a mosaic of Christ the King, with the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet at either end of the arch over the mosaic. An arcade, with statues of saints, crowns the doorway, with a statue of St. Michael the Archangel standing between the main doors. A rose window, framed by the symbols of the apostles, may be noted above the mosaic, where a statue of St. Cartage stands in the alcove above the window.

EirCode : P51 C520

Villierstown Church

Laid out in the 1700s, by John Villiers, the 1st Earl Grandison, Villierstown is a picture-perfect village on the banks of the Blackwater. Approach it through the Dromana Gates, a Hindu-Gothic confection straddling the approach avenue, for maximum impact. The church itself is a charming Queen Anne-style building, with lovely acoustics. Enjoy the added attractions, before or after the concert here, which include tea and cakes from Tory’s Bakery, a firm Villierstown favourite, and boat trips on the Blackwater river courtesy of Blackwater Eco Tours.

EirCode : P51 VP4A

Millennium Park, Lismore

We are delighted to bring the free BVOF Open Air Lunchtime Recital to the people of Lismore, as part of BVOF 2022. The Lismore Millennium Park is situated in the centre of the town and hosts a number of interesting features including walkways, an ice house, a bridge and waterfall, a gazebo, an obelisk and a sundial.  The sundial was presented to the people of Lismore to commemorate the Jubilee Year of Foróige 1952-2002, The park has beautiful plants and trees, complementing the heritage of the area. There is also a chainsaw sculpture of trunk of dead beech tree showing St.Carthage and other Celtic knot work, in the centre of the park. 

Address: Town Centre, Lismore, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Walton Park, Dungarvan

We are delighted to bring the free BVOF Open Air Lunchtime Recital to the people of Dungarvan, as part of BVOF 2022. Walton Park is a tranquil haven in Dungarvan, which was named after Abbeyside native Professor Ernest Walton, a scientist and Nobel Prize Winner. This lovely park is in a stunning location at the start of the Waterford Greenway and offers visitors superb views across Dungarvan Bay, a beautiful water feature and fantastic children’s playground.. 

Address: The Causeway, Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Town Park, Fermoy

We are delighted to bring the free BVOF Open Air Lunchtime Recital to the people of Fermoy, as part of BVOF 2022. Fermoy Town Park is adjacent to the River Blackwater. It consists of a fully equipped children’s playground a leisure centre, acres of greenery and a walkway that is wheelchair accessible. It is one of the most pleasant places in Fermoy to take a stroll around or bring a picnic. A focal point of the park is the bandstand which hosts many events. 2022 is the first year that BVOF has hosted one of the free recital events in Fermoy, and strengthens our connection to the River Blackwater, and the Blackwater Valley region and communities.

Address: Rath-Healy, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland

youghal open air lunchtime recital

Green Park, Youghal

We are delighted to bring the free BVOF Open Air Lunchtime Recital to the people of Youghal, as part of BVOF 2022. The freestanding cast-iron public fountain and adjacent bandstand at Green Park in Youghal, were built in the late Victorian period, at a time when pleasure parks and promenading, particularly by the sea, were the height of fashion. The Victorian love of elaborate detail and inventive use of new materials is apparent. Overlooking Green Park beach, and with stunning coastal views all around, the park is convenient for the nearby Walter Raleigh Hotel which is just across the road, with ample parking and restaurant on-site. 

Address: Knockaverry, Youghal, Co. Cork, Ireland