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A Sophisticated Blend of Two Traditions

Garda Gala Concert & Cara O’ Sullivan

One of Ireland’s most prestigious and longest running festivals, the Clifden Arts Festival will take place from the 13th-24th of September 2017. With an eclectic, diverse repertoire of events, this year’s festival promises to enchant and educate people of all ages. Taking place in venues across the picturesque town of Clifden, nestled amidst Connemara’s breath-taking mountain scenery and beautiful rugged coastline, one of the most highly anticipated events will take place on Friday the 15th of September and features the sensational Gala Concert Garda Band accompanied by phenomenal opera singer Cara O’Sullivan.

The Garda Band was established shortly after the establishment of An Garda Síochána. They gave their first public performance on Dun Laoghaire Pier on Easter Monday, 1923. They made such a significant impact that they were invited to play at various functions and events throughout the country. Under the direction of the first Bandmaster, Superintendent D.J. Delaney, a céile band, pipe band and dance orchestra were formed from within its ranks. In 1938, the Dublin Metropolitan Garda Band which was based at Kevin Street and the Garda Band amalgamated.

The newly formed band was based at the Depot in the Phoenix Park. In 1964, the Band toured the USA and Canada under Bandmaster Superintendent J. Moloney. They were disbanded the following year but were re-established in 1972 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of An Garda Síochána. Besides providing superb music for official Garda functions such as Graduation Ceremonies at the Garda College, the Band undertakes a heavy community-orientated programme each year performing at schools, festivals and sporting events.

This unique band has a long association with Lansdowne Road for Rugby and Soccer Internationals, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin and the Rose of Tralee Festival. The Band has also travelled to many international events and has represented the country on a number of occasions at police festivals and concerts in Switzerland, Germany and Northern Ireland.

One of Ireland’s best loved sopranos, Cara O’Sullivan, will join the Gala Concert Garda Band for an exquisite and expressive evening of song and music. Cara O’Sullivan is an artist with an impeccable operatic pedigree. An instinctive performer with a remarkable full and smooth voice, exciting and dramatic, she has shown herself to be a fearless vocal artist, whether singing Mozart, Verdi, Donizetti or Puccini.

Her operatic engagements have taken her all over the world, performing leading roles with Glyndebourne on Tour, The Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera, Opera de Nantes, Opera North, Opera Ireland, Opera de Paris, English National Opera among others, and her ability to engage with her audience ensures her concert performances are truly a delight.

This sophisticated blend of two traditions will create an evocative and distinctive sound which will leave you wanting more and is certainly not to be missed.

For programme information about the Clifden Arts Festival and ticket sales, please visit www.clifdenartsfestival.ie

For additional information about The Clifden Arts Festival please contact Think PR – 091 79 25 26 – 087 9004145 or pam@thinkpr.ie – Pam Finn

About Clifden Arts Festival

The longest running community arts festival in Ireland, Clifden Community Arts Week, now in its 40th year will take place from September 13th – 24th and yet again promises to have something to excite everyone in this year’s 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.

 

 

 

**Press release for immediate release**

The Nicest Man in Oxford

Bernard O’ Donoghue & Michael Longley

A stellar line up of literary heavyweights will be welcomed to Clifden this year taking place from the 13th-24th of September, as Ireland’s longest running festival celebrates 40 years of continued success. Literary events will see dozens of readings with some of the most celebrated authors and poets in the world. Taking to the stage will be renowned poet Bernard O’ Donoghue, commonly referred to as the ‘nicest man in Oxford’ for his restrained and simple eloquence of his thought-provoking verse and manner. One of Northern Ireland’s foremost contemporary, political poets, Michael Longley will also feature at the festival with the quiet beauty of his compact, meditative lyrics. These renowned literary geniuses will feature together at the Clifden Arts Festival on Saturday the 16th of September.

Bernard O’Donoghue’s poetry is marked by a gift for poetic portraiture, sketching characters and vividly bringing them to life. Born in Cullen, County Cork, Ireland, he moved to Manchester, England, when he was 16, where he attended St Bede’s College. He has lived in Oxford, England, since 1965. From encounters during his childhood in Ireland, to recollections of academics and poets in Oxford, O’Donoghue’s readers are met by a generous yet understated control of voice.

His poetry has been described as having an emotional intensity conveyed through a controlled yet impeccably natural language. Each portrait delivers a miniature, crafted narrative, encapsulating through a brief, controlled moment the full emotion of living. At their most potent, O’Donoghue’s poems seem to act as epitaphs to well-lived lives, but their achievement for a reader is that they do so without sentimentality, nor by trivialising.

Of particular delight for audiences are the introductions O’Donoghue provides for each piece. These are delivered in as gentle a voice as the poems themselves, positioning each intimate poetic moment in a broader cultural and imaginary landscape. A political fire runs through the poems, but never lifts into anger.

In 1995, his superb poetry collection Gunpowder, won the Whitbread Prize for Poetry and a selection of his poetry was published by Faber in 2008, followed by Farmers Cross, which was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. In 2009 he was honoured by the Society of Authors with a Cholmondeley Award. O’Donoghue edited the Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney and has produced a number of translations of medieval works, including Gawain and the Green Knight and, forthcoming from Faber, Piers Plowman. Until recently, O’Donoghue has taught and worked for Oxford University, specialising in medieval verse and contemporary Irish literature.

Known for using classical allusions to cast provocative light on contemporary concerns, including Northern Ireland’s “Troubles”, Michael Longley’s poetry is also marked by sharp observation of the natural world, deft use of technique, and deeply felt emotion. Born in Belfast to English parents, Longley was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, and subsequently read Classics at Trinity College, Dublin.

In 1969, his debut volume, ‘No Continuing City’, heralded the arrival of a new talent from a region which had already produced recognized talents like Seamus Heaney and Derek Mahon. His meticulous technique means that critics have described Longley’s poems as masterpieces of “lucidity, economy, sincerity”. Longley’s work engages diverse subjects, including Homeric literature, the landscape of Carrigskeewaun, jazz, Walter Mitty, and the politics of Northern Ireland.

Regarding his more political poetry, his compassionate yet unsentimental voice, and attention to detail restores specificity at a point in history when it was most in danger of being lost in abstraction—numbers, dates, death-tolls counted beyond comprehension.

After a 12-year publishing silence, Longley’s 1991 return, ‘Gorse Fires’, won the Whitbread Poetry Prize. Subsequently, ‘The Weather in Japan’ won the Irish Times Literature Prize for Poetry, the Hawthornden Prize, and the T.S. Eliot Prize. In 2001 Longley was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

With a reading from the Doire press featuring acclaimed authors Martin Malone and Karen J. McDonnell and award-winning poets Paul Durcan, Paul Muldoon, Catherine Bateson and Jane Williams, the Clifden Arts Festival is filled to the brim with some of the finest poets and authors in Ireland. These masters of mood and atmosphere, create a mythical energy which intervenes and transforms many of our daily activities into symbolic and transcendental entities.

For more information about the Clifden Arts Festival and ticket sales, please visit www.clifdenartsfestival.ie

ENDS

For additional information about The Clifden Arts Festival please contact Think PR – 091 79 25 26 – 087 9004145 or pam@thinkpr.ie – Pam Finn

About Clifden Arts Festival

The longest running community arts festival in Ireland, Clifden Community Arts Week, now in its 40th year will take place from September 13th – 24th and yet again promises to have something to excite everyone in this year’s 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.