Ireland’s longest running arts festival, the Clifden Community Arts Festival, begins today, and this year’s programme boasts a line up that includes Mary Coughlan, Mairtín O’Connor, Sharon Shannon, and novelist Dermot Bolger.
The festival, which runs until September 29, will be opened by internationally acclaimed theatre director, and Druid Theatre Company co-founder, Garry Hynes, this evening at 8pm in the Connemara Leisure Centre, Clifden.
“Clifden Arts Festival has always had a very special place in my heart since Druid first came to the festival 30 years ago,” Ms Hynes said. “Each year the programme is bursting with more and more highlights and unmissable events and this year is no exception. Brendan Flynn and all the team have excelled themselves once again and I am honoured to be opening the festival this year.”
Coming to Clifden to perform are the great jazz/blues singer Mary Coughlan (performing tonight at the Stationhouse Theatre ), Crossfire (tonight ), button accordion master Mairtín O’Connor, with fiddler Zoë Conway and guitar/bouzouki player Donal Lunny, (tomorrow ), Gyp-hop band The Latchikos (tomorrow and Sunday ), The Guinness Choir performing Handels’ Messiah (Saturday ), Sharon Shannon (Saturday ), singer-songwriter Declan Sinnott (Thursday September 26 ), The Callino Quartet with Tom Dunn (Monday 23 ), Cherish the Ladies (Tuesday 24 ).
Literary, theatre, and spoken word events include poet, publisher, and novelist Dermot Bolger and internationally renowned playwright, Bernard Farrell (tomorrow ); a writers’ workshop with Bernard Farrell (Saturday ); a public interview with four time Jacob Award winner and RTÉ veteran Mike Murphy and musician, composer, producer, and arranger Bill Whelan (Saturday ); performances of Silent (Tuesday 24 ) and Forgotten (Wednesday 25 ), both one man plays written and performed by Pat Kinevane and presented by Fishamble: The New Theatre Company.
There will also be comedy from Kevin McAleer (Thursday 26 ); a performance by Kaleidoscope Camino (Thursday 26 ); and readings from former Fianna Fáil TD and senator Mary O’Rourke (Saturday 28 ); Prof Diarmaid Ferriter hosts the annual John Moriarty Memorial Lecture (Saturday 28 ); poetry readings by Tony Curtis, Michael Longley, Carol Ann Duffy, Michael Coady, and Mary O’Malley.
There will be a special event to mark the passing of Seamus Heaney, who was a great friend of the festival. This intimate service will take place this Saturday at 11am in the Clifden Stationhouse Theatre.
Local schools will play host to a number of different events including workshops, a film festival, specialist talks and lectures, music concerts, and readings from poets and writers.
Visiting both primary and secondary schools will be Fidget Feet Theatre Company, Bramar Theatre Company, Humourfit Theatre Company, TG4’s Andrias de Staic, the Callino Quartet, and poets Tony Curtis, Michael Coady, and Gabriel Fitzmaurice.
A major family event takes place on Saturday September 28 with the festival parade. Expect dance, music, fire, and magnificent costumes as processional and landscape theatre company LuXe pass through Clifden.