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A Celebration Of Creativity in Clifden

Launching the Clifden Arts Festival programme of events 2016 is world renowned sculptor John Behan , Des Lally, Clifden Arts Festival and Fidget Feet Aerial Circus Performer Sianna Bruce. The Clifden Arts Festival is Ireland’s longest running arts festival featuring over 200 events including: arts, theatre, music, literature, exhibitions, workshops and cultural offerings. , this year’s festival will be held from September 15th – 25th. Photo by Martina Regan

Ireland’s Longest Running Arts Festival Announce Stellar Line Up

Hermitage Green, The Kilfenora Ceili Band, Paddy Cole, Phil Coulter and Johnny McEvoy are among the many names who will be taking part in the 39th Clifden Arts Festival, which runs from September 15th – 25th. This festival features over 200 diverse, eclectic events with an exciting programme filled to the brim with literature, theatre, music events, workshops, comedy and visual art spectacles. Renowned for nurturing the arts amongst young people, this autumnal festival inspires and enchants visitors and locals. Taking place in venues across the picturesque town of Clifden, nestled amidst Connemara’s breathtaking mountain scenery and beautiful rugged coastline, ten days of artistic adventures await old and young alike at Ireland’s longest running arts festival.

Highlights include a concert by Europe’s most successful quartets – The Vanbrugh Quartet, gifted musician and composer Colm Mac Con Iomaire will take to the stage with mesmerising guitar playing. The multi-award winning “We Banjo 3” will also perform and they combine the power of the fiddle, guitar, mandolin and banjo in an incredibly emotive way. Literary events will see dozens of readings with some of the most celebrated authors and poets in the world, such as the Gallery poets, Abbey Theatre playwright Michael Harding and writer Donal Ryan who won the European Union Prize for Literature last year as well as being nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize for his novel ‘The Spinning Heart’. Another huge crowd pleaser will be an award winning one man show written and performed by Aidan Dooley, which tells the heroic tale of Tom Crean, the intrepid, Irish Antarctic explorer.

Spectacular theatre and drama productions will also be present throughout the festival. Following their appearance in the Kilkenny Arts Festival, the internationally acclaimed Footsbarn Theatre Company will also showcase their unique blend of visual theatre, music and magic for two nights of great shows at the Arts festival. Renowned for its exciting adaptations of classics such as Shakespeare and Moliere they have transcended the barrier of language through gold-standard performances such as “The Incomplete Works of Shakespeare” and “The Cuckoos Nest”.

This year the festival has pop up cinemas which will include a screening of Fís na Fuiseoige -The Lark’s View, the directorial debut by west Kerry man Aodh Ó Coileáin,who brings to the fore the voluptuousness of the Irish language in both the history it carries, its connection to place and the differing understandings of life that it carries. Using drone technology, Ó Coileáin offers a slow contemplative picture of the Irish landscape seldom captured so evocatively before.

The visual art dimension includes an exhibit of inspirational works by internationally renowned sculptor John Behan. The annual Clifden arts trail will transform the town of Clifden into a gallery as public spaces will host a variety of group and solo exhibitions, resulting in a fabulous array of colourful and imaginative displays. The well renowned RHA exhibition will showcase various artistic genres and eclectic collections from numerous contemporary Irish artists such as; James Hanley, Una Fealy, Alice Maher, Donald Teskey and Mick O’Dea, to name just a few.

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, a joyous blend of visual arts and song, the culmination of unique collaborations and unmissable performances. The finale also features the Grand Parade, which will see acrobats, jugglers, face painters, singers, dancers, a live music and the famous fireworks extravaganza.