Clifden Arts Highlights – Coming Home to Clifden

Clifden Arts Festival

The longest running community arts festival in Ireland, Clifden Community Arts Weeks, now in its 41st year will take place from September 12-23rd 2018.

The Clifden Arts Festival yet again promises to have something to excite everyone in this years programme.

Audiences can expect a very high quality artistic programme with a superb literary musical and visual art content which again will have the community arts of Clifden and the surrounding hinterland as a central focus with creative writing, music, theatre, graphic design and film workshops and performances taking place in the local schools for the duration of the festival.

The theme of this year’s Clifden Arts Festival (September 12th – 23rd) will explore the concept of “home” as well as showcasing Ireland’s diverse and artistic culture through compelling events which promise to enchant and educate people of all ages.

Brendan Flynn, Festival Director explained,

“The physical place of birth holds a special place within us, while for others it isn’t physical but rather the feelings, the emotion, the character, the people and the culture, that shape it and make it.

“We hope to capture that feeling and explore a sense of home and how it is unique for each of us.”

The line-up at this years Clifden Arts Festival is very strong with a handful of names that would have headlined at much larger events over the years.

This festival in the heart of Connemara had humble beginnings when it was conceived 41 years ago by a small community committee who wanted to give local artists a public platform and provide a small programme of cultural events.

It has of course gone from strength to strength and has indeed made its mark on the annual calendar of festivals around the country with over 11,000 expected to attend the various events.

A mixture of traditional, classical and C&W as well as contemporary music is on the menu among the 200 events over the twelve day festival which will take place in a number of venues and around Clifden.

Among those events are poetry and prose readings, art exhibitions, book launches, theatre and talks.

The RTE Concert Orchestra and RTE’s Contempo Quartet both make the journey to Clifden this year. Other big names in Irish music performing at the festival are Aslan, Máirtin O’ Connor, Maighread Ní Dhomnaill, Martin Hayes, Bill Whelan, Lisa Hannigan, Declan Nerney, Frankie Gavin and Fiachra O’ Regan, Seán Keane, Charlie McGettigan, Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny and Paddy Glackin to mention a few.

Aosdana members, Paul Durcan and Rita Ann Higgins will give poetry readings and new novelist, E.M Reapy, a Mayo native, whose novel Red Dirt is set in Australia, gives a reading alongside Sligo born Galway based, Michael Gorman.

There’s a one man play, ‘Padraig Potts’ by Séamus O’ Rourke and there’s a play about Constance Markievicz written by journalist Mary Kenny and performed by Jeananne Crowley.

If you want to hit a funny bone, fresh from his tour at the Edinburgh Fringe, award winning comedian Danny O’ Brien brings his ‘Lock In’ show to Clifden.

The visual arts programme will showcase a major exhibition by Irish artist Brian Maguire. The exhibition brings together Maguire’s latest body of work from his visit to Syria in 2017.

The Aleppo Paintings document the ruined buildings of the city, offering a visceral and stark insight into the physical consequences of war and the international arms trade that fuels all conflict. Maguire’s approach has led him into settings usually regarded as remote from the rarefied domain of the art world, the result of which is an emotionally evocative exhibition.

Highlights of the visual arts programme also include exhibitions from internationally renowned Mick O’Dea, the current President of the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), as well a spectacular collection from the acclaimed Connemara based Dorothy Cross.

There’s loads to do and see for family entertainment, like Fidget Feet’s spectacular acrobatics, free activities and workshops. Fidget Feet are a pint-sized aerial circus company from Ireland. They tell stories from anywhere they can think of; from cranes, forests, or swinging from buildings. In recent years the Festival Finale has established itself as one of the must-see events.

The festival kicks off on September 12 and continues daily until September 23.

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