Clifden Arts Festival 2018 - get ready to come 'home'

Clifden - a unique home for an arts festival.

Clifden - a unique home for an arts festival.

ASLAN, MÁIRTÍN O’Connor, Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, the poet Paul Durcan, award winning comedian Danny O’Brien, and Irish artist Brian Maguire are all performing at the Clifden Arts Festival, which this year, will explore the theme of 'Home'.

The Clifden Arts Festival, now in its 41st year, will take place from September 12 to 23, and feature concerts, theatre shows, comedy, the visual arts, book launches, and talks. In all, more than 2000 events will take place at venues throughout the 'capital of Connemara'.

A strong music line-up, covering a diverse range of genres, will see concerts from The RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the Contempo Quartet; rock band Aslan, Planxty and Sweeney's Men founder member Andy Irvine; The Bothy Band's Donal Lunny and Paddy Glackin; Galway based trad music titans Máirtin O’Connor and Seán Keane; fiddle greats Frankie Gavin and Martin Hayes; Riverdance composer Bill Whelan; singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan; along with Maighread Ní Dhomnaill, Declan Nerney, Fiachra O’Regan, and Charlie McGettigan.

Aosdana members, Paul Durcan and Rita Ann Higgins, will give poetry readings, while Mayo born writer, EM Reapy, whose debut novel Red Dirt was awarded the 2017 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and who is currently a Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Writer-In-Residence, will read alongside Sligo born, Galway based writer, Michael Gorman. Also reading will be poets Fred Johnson, Aifric Mac Aodha, and Louis De Paor. There will also be the launch a new book about The Gate Theatre, entitled The Gate Theatre, Dublin - Inspiration and Craft, edited by Brian Friel, Conor McPherson, and Denis Johnston.

The publication, which is edited by academics David Clare, Des Lally, and Patrick Lonergan, is the very first scholarly essay collection devoted entirely to the theatre. It gathers together leading academics and critics who explore the Gate’s achievements in new Irish writing and new Irish theatre practices. In addition to the launch of the book, a host of key literary commentators and figures will take part in a panel discussion on the phenomenal legacy of a much loved Irish institution.

The festival's theatre strand will see a one man play, Padraig Potts, by Séamus O’Rourke, as well as a play about Constance Markievicz, written by journalist Mary Kenny, and performed by Jeananne Crowley. Danny O'Brien, a rising star of Irish comedy ("one suspects it won’t be too much longer before stadiums come calling" - The Examiner ) will also be taking to the stage to perform his new stand-up show, Lock In.

The visual arts programme will showcase a major exhibition by Irish artist Brian Maguire, featuring new work which draws on his visit to Syria in 2017. The Aleppo Paintings document the ruined buildings of the city, offering a stark insight into the physical consequences of war and the international arms trade which fuels all conflict. There will also be exhibitions from Mick O’Dea, current president of the Royal Hibernian Academy, and a collection from the acclaimed Connemara based Dorothy Cross.

Regarding the festival's theme of 'Home', Clifden Arts Festival director Brendan Flynn, said: "The physical place of birth holds a special place within us, while for others it isn’t physical but rather the feelings, the emotion, the character, the people, and the culture, that shape it and make it. We hope to capture that feeling and explore a sense of home and how it is unique for each of us."

Family entertainment will come from Fidget Feet and its spectacular acrobatics. There will also be free activities, workshops, and the annual Festival Finale. For further information visit


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