“New York has the Statue of Liberty, Galway has Con Mór,” says Artistic Director of Macnas, Noeline Kavanagh.
Internationally acclaimed spectacle theatre company Macnas, brings a giant king from the Tuatha Dé Danann to this year’s Halloween bank holiday. Promising a two-day event filled with surprise pop up performances from the Macnas drummers, Macnas stilt walkers, Macnas youth theatre and Macnas brass band, Con Mór is an interactive experience suitable for all ages.
In most recent years, Macnas’s Halloween performances in Galway have materialised in the form of a parade, passing crowds who are packed into doorways and alcoves along Shop Street, but this year’s concept returns to the company’s roots with an interactive giant.
“We’re returning to our roots with Con Mór. Who can forget Gulliver on the beach, and I feel that Con Mór celebrates the Macnas tradition of bringing giants into being,” enthused Noeline.
Unlike previous renditions of the Halloween parade which Macnas and its performers came to us, this year’s event will see us coming to them. Still promising the exhilarating, creative and breathtaking scenes from the parade, the event in Fisheries Field is much more substantial. Instead of passing by spectators and leaving them wanting more, Con Mór will remain in place for 48 hours.
“Con Mór is magic and lovely for people to come up close and personal to the art. It’s not the end of parade it’ll be back next year with bells and whistles, but this year we thought we’d have people come to us,” said Noeline.
The giant on display is Con Mór, inspired by Conaire Mór, a bird king from the Tuatha Dé Danann, and incorporates a theme of respecting and cherishing Irish ecology, mythology and nature. “I feel like us calling in the Tuatha and remembering the stories and spaces of who we are and where we come from, is very grounding. It reminds you of the ‘biggerness’ and collectivity of things, and that’s where Macnas rave and pilgrimage meet.
“Con Mór the bird king, in Irish his reign was described as enflaith, and is a myth which is interpreted as an ecological fable. It’s about loving the wilderness and actually minding it. This is centuries old and is a part of how Ireland lived and the community and what they prioritised, and nature was a priority and it was respected,” said Noeline.
Noeline assures young readers that the giant was found hibernating under the Fisheries Field and he is created entirely from local materials and from the landscape we live in, bar one crucial part, Con Mór is missing his wings.
With missing wings in mind, Kavanagh and the Macnas team would like to invite young attendees to bring along a feather, they can either create the feather or use one they have found, donated generously from the city’s birds. When a feather has been gathered, a message of hope of love should be added and this can then be placed in Con Mór, as by “bringing the feather to Con, they’re helping to make his wings and to fly, spreading his love around the country”.
For those wishing to make a feather, Dr Majorie Morrigan has a tutorial PDF on the Macnas website’s educational pack. Con Mór will be visiting Fisheries Field on Saturday October 29 and Sunday October 30 from 12 pm to 8 pm. Visitors are asked to bear in mind the ecological element of the event and to walk, car share, use public transport where and when suitable. To find out more, visit www.macnas.com