Inaugural festival with French flavour comes to Ballina

Following on from the huge success of the Humbert’s Festival, Ballina Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Jackie Clarke Collection, Ballina Arts Centre, Mayo County Council and MayoNorth.ie, presents French Ballina festival 2015, which highlights Franco-Irish cultural and historical connections, including the 1798 rebellion, through film, theatre, music and the physical transformation of some of Ballina’s streets and venues.

The weekend will commence on Saturday August 22 with a special open-air concert featuring Beyond the Barricade, a musical phenomenon performing show-stopping classics from Les Miserables, Ar Maen Du (The Black Stone ), a captivating traditional Breton group, and the concluding act for what is likely to be the musical event of the year in the region, the renowned accordion and fiddle player, Sharon Shannon.

On Sunday Ballina’s Pearse Street and Walsh Street will see a dramatic transformation. A day of events including amazing food, exhibitions, crafts, children’s activities and much more, will pay special tribute to the town’s Franco-Irish cultural and historical connections. Visitors will get the chance to experience the atmosphere of a bustling French boulevard with themed cafés and stalls, and magnificent props and characters. Local musical talent on the day will include the sensational Moffatt School of Dance, the award winning Bofield Ceili Band and pan-European mistros No Crows.

The Jackie Clarke Collection, the historical centre of the French Ballina Festival 2015, will host a self-guided, 1798 exhibition, displaying documents not on show in the collection until now. Discover the part played by the French in "L'Année des Français"(The Year of the French ). In a family-friendly atmosphere, let the children enjoy a guided tour and treasure hunt through the collection. Let them visit the Seomra exhibition space for an arts and crafts demo where they’ll create a copy of Theobald Wolfe Tone's National Army Cockade - the very cockade that was worn at his trial in Dublin and which is on display in the collection.

For more details stay tuned to the Mayo North Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mayonorth and visit www.mayonorth.ie for updates.

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