Cruinniú na nÓg: A dizzying array of free, creative activities for children on Saturday

This week’s cultural events, online and offline, include Cruinniú na nÓg and Midsummer Moments

Resilient/Resilience, a large-scale street art project with Joe Caslin (Cruinniú TV South Dublin)

Resilient/Resilience, a large-scale street art project with Joe Caslin (Cruinniú TV South Dublin)


Cruinniú na nÓg this Saturday has this year migrated online and Ireland’s national day for children and young people has an almost dizzying array of free, creative activities for under-18s.

The third year of Cruinniú, a collaboration between Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Creative Ireland, local authorities and RTÉ, is wrapped into the #InThisTogether campaign.

Creative Ireland director Tania Banotti says after deciding to go ahead with it this year “we could not have anticipated the extraordinary response from our partners in the local authorities. We’re thrilled with the ingenious solutions they have come up with, considering the challenge of making meaningful opportunities for children and young people to be creative on June 13th”.

There are downsides to having to go virtual, but one big advantage is that it opens up access for youngsters, unconstrained by location limits.

A random selection among the workshops, calls to action and activities includes: Céilí in the Kitchen (that’s in your kitchen, with guidance); Let’s Go Fly a Kite, in your county colours; Become a Story Keeper, with Fighting Words and Great Lighthouses of Ireland (ages 7-12); Create a Video Game App in digital skills virtual classroom tutorials.

There’s Tunes from Me Gaff Irish Youth Music Awards live streaming on Saturday at 3pm on Dublin City Council’s Arts Office Facebook; drama and musical workshops, how to make a micro-video, video tutorials for crafts and heritage projects, creative writing workshops, podcasts, family history, yoga and mindfulness.

There are over 300 events and activities, some running on through the summer, and some needing advance registration. All are free, many of them paid for by investment of our taxes. It’s well worthwhile taking time before Saturday to explore what’s available to suit your ages and interests, by searching

The alternative version of Cork Midsummer Festival, which they’re calling Midsummer Moments, kicks off today (running till June 21st). The “series of events and experiences” will take place outdoors, at home, with artists-in-residence, and in discussions.

Corcadorca theatre company responded to the Covid-crisis by collaborating with the festival to bring a travelling performance, Contact, to greens and open spaces in communities across the city (supported by the council), so audiences can experience live performance reflecting our shared challenge around human contact – from their own gardens.

The Glucksman’s Cork Midsummer project is the city-wide New Light, bringing art outdoors on billboard walks across the city, to view art in person again, safely.

Work by eight Irish artists (Carol Anne Connolly, Mark Kent, Leanne McDonagh, Peter Nash, Sarah O’Brien, Shane O’Driscoll, Emma O’Hara, Pádraig Spillane) will be on five walking routes, with an online guidebook.

It aims to encourage people to look again and take time to reacquaint with Cork’s pathways and passages. Glucksman director Fiona Kearney is “in awe of the stunning artworks – each is a reminder of how precious it is to see things in a new light”.

Little Druids for Humanity, a long-distance arts project for children and young people, families and neighbourhoods, is created by Chilean theatre makers Teatro Container (who hosted last year’s festival picnic) along with Midsummer and Cork artists . Starting with handcrafted wizardry and cooking ancient magic potions in Ballincollig bedrooms, it’s been building towards online celebration for Cruinniú na nÓg on Saturday.

Midsummer director Lorraine Maye’s imaginative and nimble line-up also has site-specific audio walks created by Tom Lane; Shelter & Place by Leon Butler and festival artist-in-residence Peter Power, using 3D imagery to upload lockdown experiences and build a world of hidden moments; an online performance by soprano and contemporary musician Kim Sheehan; online film, sound and visual art in Day of the Straws, where artist Marie Brett and writer Katie Holly relate the social history of the 1832 Cholera epidemic to Covid-19; an artistic twist on TV in Binge, and even individualised at-home versions of the festival’s usual Long Table Picnic.

“The strangeness of all of this/ I’ve taken to washing the messages/ I wash/ and I wish/ and I watch/ The strangeness of all of this/ The news was very sad at six.” Lisa O’Neill’s solo concert on Friday night, livestreamed from the National Concert Hall, promises to be special.

Lisa O’Neill, NCH streaming
Lisa O’Neill, NCH streaming

The Ballyhaise, Co Cavan singer-songwriter goes beyond folk and traditional categories . Her last album, Heard a long gone song, sets her distinctive and unforgettable voice against impressionistic instrumentals.

The second of a series of four concerts live on NCH’s Youtube and Facebook pages and, O’Neill follows livestreams from Paul Noonan, and Tara Erraught and Dearbhla Collinsover the past couple of weeks, which are still available on (where Barry Douglas performs live on June 19th).

Friday’s third batch of arias in Irish National Opera’s five bite-sized Friday Opera Sessions, continues with performers singing from their homes about the pain of socially distant love.

In a Madama Butterfly aria, soprano Rachel Croash waits for the return of her absent husband Pinkerton, while father-in-law Georgio Germot (baritone Gyula Nagy) imposes social distance on Violetta and Alfredo in La traviata.

Rachel Croash Irish National Oera sessions
Rachel Croash Irish National Oera sessions

“We also have two characters that are locked down,” says INO director Fergus Sheil. “The Ottoman Sultan Bajazet (tenor Andrew Gavin) has been captured by Tamerlano, Emperor of the Tartars in Handel’s opera, while in Bernstein’s Candide, the soprano Condgonde (Emma Nash) is trapped by circumstance in the home of the Sultan and Marquis where she has to put the bright side out in Glitter and be Gay. Meanwhile in Massenet’s Manon Chevalier Des Grieux (tenor Dean Power) tells Manon about his dream of owning a home and garden with her.”

This week’s Friday Opera Sessions will stream on INO’s YouTube and Facebook at 5pm Friday June 12th.

Aoife Dunne, with her work Transcending Time. Photograph: Leon Farrell
Aoife Dunne, with her work Transcending Time. Photograph: Kilian Waters

Artist Aoife Dunne’s new immersive mobile digital installation for the Dublin Fingal community, Transcending Time, finishes up an initial three days of travel/exhibition today. The “exhibition” involves booking a van with large digital screens to come to your doorstep, promising to “mesmerise its suburban spectators with multi-disciplinary confections”.

Part of Fingal County Council Public Art Programme’s Let’s Stay Together, connecting people and ideas during Covid-19, it hopes her trademark esoteric visual and audio offers release from the ennui of lockdown.

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