Portumna Shorelines Arts Festival starts today

ODAY SEES the opening of the Shorelines Arts Festival, which will be held throughout this weekend, in Portumna, selected as County Galway’s first Village of Culture.

Ciana Campbell, broadcaster and chair of the Ennis Book Club Festival will open the festival today and this will also mark the opening of the Gallery at the Workhouse, designed as a new exhibition space for the mid-west of Ireland.

The highlight of the festival will be a reading by leading Irish poet Paul Durcan tomorrow, with singer-songwriter and guitarist with indie-rock band Dott, Miriam Donoghue, also singing at the event.

Another highlight will be Luka Bloom, one of Ireland’s best and longest established singer-songwriters will play on Saturday in the Portumna Church of Ireland church. Support is from Ruth Smith and Joe Casey.

Literary events include Saturday’s annual Shorelines Literary Brunch which will feature Galway-based writer Gerardine Burke, poet Patrick Deeley, and novelist Loretto Leary.

Writer Dave Lordan will facilitate the Shorelines Writing Workshop on Sunday (3.30pm - 5.30pm ). Dave will set unusual writing prompts intended to generate creative responses from participants at all levels of experience. Booking is essential as numbers are limited. Call Mary on 086 - 3663439. The cost is €10.

The Sunday evening will also hear a reading from Dave and Galway city short story writer, Alan McMonagle.

Literature and art will join forces when the local Pen Pushers creative writing group read work inspired by paintings submitted by local artists to the first Shorelines Art Exhibition at The Gallery in the Workhouse.

Artists Clive Bright, John McNulty, Eithne Joyce, and Charlotte Kelly will exhibit their work alongside that of local amateur and professional artists. Other exhibitions are from Portumna Community School; an exhibition of funerary art by Rory O’Shaughnessy to accompany Grave Art, a tour of grave symbols and art in three local graveyards with Christy Cunniffe; photographic images of Clonfert Diocese from 1864 presented by Declan Kelly; and An Gairdín will host a textile art workshop with Ann Moore on Saturday.

Macnas will take to the streets to perform Cockroach and The Inventor, while in Portumna Castle there will be productions of two locally written plays, as well as a staging of JM Synge’s Riders To The Sea. Free passes for the latter two events are available at local shops. There will also be a youth theatre workshop.

Children and family events will see a circus skills workshop, Peas in a Pod story-telling, face painting and balloon art, plus the awards for a children’s writing competition. Most of these events take place on Saturday afternoon in the Square. On Sunday afternoon, a drama/dance workshop with Brook Tate and The Exploration Dome will entertain all.

Film buffs can look forward to a variety of film screenings, including The End Of The Counter, winner of the best short at Galway Film Fleadh, and made by local film director, Aisling Ahmed; Bye Bye Now; and the award-winning Irish Folk Furniture by Tony Donoghue.

Gourmets can also look forward to events at the festival with tomorrow morning’s Country Market, featuring discussions and demonstrations by Margaret Hickey, Peter Ward, and Diana Murray.

Other events to look out for include gigs with singer-songwriter Knoeline Keane; concerts from the Shorelines Recitals, Music Matters, the East Galway Suzuki School of Music, the Shorelines Gospel Mass with Ennis Folk Choir, the Omna Singers, and a Sign Out Youth café session.

There will also be the Nicholas Treacy Recitation Competition, the High Stool singing session, the Shorelines Limerick competition, and on Sunday morning meet up at the Shannon Swimming area where Dave Gradwell reveals fascinating secrets of the sun.

For more information see www.shorelinesartsfestival.com or call 087 - 2931055.

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