Despite the devastating impact of last week's floods, the 43rd Clifden Arts Festival will go ahead, with a spirit of resilience and sense of community ensuring the continuation of Ireland’s longest running community arts festival.
The festival, which Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D Higgins, has called "a unique and outstanding experience...forged on a profound respect for community and belonging”, runs from Thursday September 17 to Tuesday 22. The festival will take place in accordance with HSE guidelines to ensure the safety of guests, artists, and volunteers. A new digital platform will also open the event up to online audiences.
Among the highlights this year will be a special St Joseph’s Church performance by Iarla Ó Lionáird (The Gloaming, Afro Celt Soundsystem ), accompanied by Steve Cooney for an exploration of the sean-nós tradition (September 18, 8pm ); singer-songwriter Ultan Conlon at Clifden Town Hall (September 17, 2pm ); and classical guitarist John Feeley at Clifden's Church of Ireland church (September 20, 3pm ).
Other highlights will be when Peadar Ó Riada, alongside Seán O Sé, debuts new material at Clifden Town Hall (September 19, 1pm ); classical pianist Finghin Collins in St Joseph's Church (September 20-, 8pm ); and a concert from Máirtín O Connor, Zoë Conway, and Dónal Lunny, also at Clifden Town Hall (September 19, 8pm ).
Literature and talks
Specially curated pre recorded digital events will see readings and discussion with award-winning essayist Sinéad Gleeson (Constellations ), poet and novelist Elaine Feeney (As You Were ) - pictured above, and bestselling Booker-nominated author Colum McCann (Let the Great World Spin ).
RTÉ current affairs presenter David McCullagh, will bring his recent Éamon de Valera biography Rule: 1932-1975 to the Station House Theatre for an insightful examination of a controversial and key figure in Irish history (September 19, 3pm ). Pioneering Irish film-maker Bob Quinn will give a public interview with journalist Lorna Siggins in the Station House Hotel (September 22, 10am ).
Clifden Arts Festival will pay homage to the late writer, cartographer, and Roundstone resident, Tim Robinson (The Connemara Trilogy, Stones of Aran ) and his wife Máiréad, with a panel discussion featuring Dr Nessa Cronin, NUIG; poet Moya Cannon; and Dr Fidelma Mullane, exploring the couple's extraordinary contribution to the region.
Druid Theatre Company will bring its outdoor production of DruidGregory - featuring the plays of Lady Augusta Gregory, and directed by Garry Hynes, to the Station House Hotel complex (September 22, first performance 2.30pm; second performance at 6.30pm ).
The festival has also adapted its famous visual arts 'studio trail', which this year will see an open studio with artist and Aosdána member Margaret Irwin West.
For more information and tickets go to www.clifdenartsfestival.ie