Arts your way around Ireland: A festival tour

Suppose you wanted to spend 2016 touring Ireland in festivals. Here’s one route, to get your cultural year on the road.

 

Suppose you wanted to spend 2016 touring Ireland in festivals. Here’s one route, to get your cultural year on the road.

Beat the blues
Embrace the wintry vibe of January with Galway’s Music for Midwinter concerts, which feature music written in and about captivity, contextualised by introductory talks and open rehearsals. It’s a complex and often heartbreaking topic, but the music itself is intensely life-affirming.
musicforgalway.ie

Bring a stack of books to Clare
We tend to associate Ennis with traditional music above all else, but the Co Clare town has also built a literary festival – and it will celebrate its 10th birthday this year with a weekend of page-turning events in early March. Also, for the first time, Ennis Book Club Festival will include a strand for young readers, including babies.
ennisbookclubfestival.com

Compare notes in Dublin and Belfast
Lia Mills says that she wrote her historical novel Fallen in “an attempt to imagine what it might be like when the streets of your home town suddenly erupt in a murderous chaos”. This year’s One City One Book festival doubles its reach as readers north and south of the Border respond to, and discuss, Mills’s intimate account of the 1916 Rising. Throughout April, a series of book-related events will take place both in Dublin and Belfast.
dublinonecityonebook.ie

Linger in the woods of Laois
They’re building stages out of storm-damaged trees. They’ve got a crannóg that a colleague described as “a function room from Middle-Earth, complete with a border of soft furnishings and its own moat”. They’ve got the sort of sense of humour that allows them to call their festival Bare in the Woods and, by way of headline act last year, book the amiable Roots Manuva. If all that isn’t enough to entice you into Garryhinch Woods, near Portarlington in Co Laois, on June 11th, there’s a mammoth mixture of music on hand into the bargain. And a party island.
bare.ie

Visit New Zealand – oh, wait, it’s actually Donegal
One glance at the photo gallery on the Earagail Arts Festival website and you’ll be packing your bags and booking your tickets for this summer assemblage of arts among some of Ireland’s most dramatic landscapes. The festival has a strong record in collaborative projects – it has brought together Toumani Diabaté and Liam Ó Maonlaí, among many others – and this year will see a piece of music commissioned from the cult Scottish artist and producer Gawain Erland Cooper and the indie singer-songwriter Hannah Peel, as well as a new multidisciplinary production on the subject of the northwest’s industrial heritage.
eaf.ie

Be nautical and nice in Cork
Cork’s spectacular harbour is the place to be in September as boats of all shapes and sizes assemble for a feast of music, food, dance, film and visual art, aka the Sounds from a Safe Harbour maritime festival. Yachts, dragon boats, currachs and naval frigates: there’s something to give even the most determined landlubber a taste for life on the ocean wave. (But you can also stay safely on terra firma if you want to.)
soundsfromasafeharbour.com

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