Arts festival promises plenty of family fun this weekend

Festival Garden in Eyre Square to host events for all the family

The Museum of the Moon on display in Shop Street. Photo:- Andrew Downes, XPOSURE

The Museum of the Moon on display in Shop Street. Photo:- Andrew Downes, XPOSURE

Half-way through the first week of the 41st Galway International Arts Festival and the organisers are predicting that attendances are expected to break the 200,000 mark, with events running to July 29.

The festival includes a range of free, outdoor, and family-friendly events. In a major new development, Eyre Square has become a festival hub with the Festival Garden open daily from 12 noon to 10pm, serving food and drink.

This weekend in the square, children and adults are invited to immerse themselves in the unique sensory experience of Miracocco Luminarium, a large inflatable walk-in sculptural maze with various chambers flooded with light and colour. It is open from 11am to 8pm from tomorrow until Saturday July 28. Tickets €5. Children under-two go free.

This weekend also features street spectacle with Close Act's illuminated stilt-walking creatures, Birdmen, roaming the streets of Galway tomorrow and Saturday at various times, and The Museum of the Moon, a spectacular giant moon featuring detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface, in NUI Galway's Human Biology building (11am to 7pm, daily until July 29 ).

This weekend also marks the start of the First Thought Talks, featuring 43 speakers. This year it will examine the theme of ‘home’ and Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D Higgins [pictured above], will launch the series with his public talk on Saturday. GIAF is also bringing The People Build back to Galway. Hundreds of volunteers will build two structures from cardboard, tomorrow and Saturday, from 11am to 4pm, at Eyre Square and at Waterside. On Sunday, the public will demolish the structure at Waterside at 3pm, while the Eyre Square demolition is at 6pm.

The Festival Gallery on Market Street is hosting art exhibitions by Turner-prize nominated artist David Mach; Sarah Hickson; and Galway artist Jennifer Cunningham. To find out more abotu all the above events see www.giaf.ie

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