Artsy findings on the street in Castlebar

Castlebar’s first silent movie theatre, an all-female tug-of-war battle by Hat Factory workers in 1958, a street crammed with flying linen flags and an interactive light display in a derelict building are all part of a unique arts project being launched in Castlebar tomorrow (Saturday ).

FIND is a series of temporary artworks, installations and events by six Mayo based artists, in and around the town, which runs until April.

The project examines the town’s past and stirs up memories of former social, cultural and industrial hubs in Castlebar, which have been long forgotten by many.

A partnership between the arts office in Mayo County Council and the Linenhall Arts Centre, one aspect of the FIND project charts the history of the old Star Picture Palace, one of Castlebar’s first silent movie theatres on Main Street.

The theatre was open from 1919 to 1923 behind what is now Patrick Fahy’s Gift and Hardware Shop and saw local musicians play improvised music to accompany the screenings of the films.

The installation by artist Joanna Hopkins pays homage to local pianist Grace Delaney and uncovers the cinematic history in the heart of Main Street.

Another feature of FIND will see a reenactment of an all-ladies tug-of-war event on The Mall in 1958.

The event was organised by workers in the Hat Factory, one of Castlebar’s biggest employers over four decades from the 1940s to ‘80.

A further project by artist Alice Dixon, working with Anthony Champa, will see a derelict building on Ellison Street turned into a lit-up art installation at twilight each evening, which triggers as pedestrians pass by.

Other projects include an installation of linen flags flying over Castle Street by Nuala Clarke and Crystal Gandrud, a series of miniature portraits of landscapes from around the world by Chris Leach, and a virtual flame display on Linenhall Street each evening from 6 to 11 pm by artist Ian Wieczorek.

Gaynor Seville, public art coordinator with Mayo County Council, said the project really “shines a light on Castlebar in a different way”.

“The project is a really interesting model of how you can work with local artists and produce very contemporary work in a public setting but on a modest budget,” she explained.

The official launch of FIND takes place tomorrow at 2 pm in the Linenhall Arts Centre followed by a guided tour of the art works. For more, visit


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