Big fun and a big five from the Big House

There is a fantastic sense of exploration in the programme for the Big House Festival in Celbridge in August

Who’s trad? LAPD members Liam O’Flynn, Andy Irvine, Paddy Glackin and Dónal Lunny at Grand Canal Dock, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Who’s trad? LAPD members Liam O’Flynn, Andy Irvine, Paddy Glackin and Dónal Lunny at Grand Canal Dock, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


The Big House Festival takes place from August 3rd to 5th at Castletown House in Celbridge, Co Kildare. It is one of the most interesting arts festivals in the country this summer. The house is a beautiful setting, the team involved draw heavily from their experience as the acclaimed Performance Corporation, the events vary in style and audience, and the art on show stretches across several forms. There is also a fantastic sense of exploration both within the programme and on the site itself, so it’s worth looking beyond the big hitters to make the most of the festival. Here is our list of the five best things at the Big House Festival, just to start you off. All events take place throughout the festival, unless otherwise stated.

With 40 dancers and an expanse of meadowlands, Flock is an exciting choreographed piece by Aoife Courtney that is perfectly positioned to emerge in a flurry from the grounds of Castletown to delight kids and dance nerds alike.

Monday August 5th
Liam O’Flynn, Andy Irine, Paddy Glackin and Dónal Lunny are giants of traditional music and make awesome, energetic, invigorating music that rocks.

Eat My Noise: Spindle
Eat My Noise have set up in Castletown House and have created an electro- acoustic choral event in the forest on the grounds for the occasion. Sounds cool, no?

Big House Parliament
Considering William “Speaker” Connolly built Castletown House, it would be remiss of the festival not to include a key piece of chatter. Enter a clutch of honorary speakers – Mary O’Rourke, Fergus Finlay and Brendan Halligan – and motions posed by the likes of Philip Boucher-Hayes, Colm O’Gorman, Orla Tinsley, Julie Feeney and plenty more. Then bring in the members of the parliament – that’s you, by the way – and you have yourself a Proclamation of the People.

Ponydance: Anybody Waitin’?
Ponydance, one of the most fun dance companies around and stars of a recent mockumentary, make accessible theatre out of biting performances, which has won them fans around the world. Hilarious, daring and uplifting stuff.

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