Birdy: Live from Wilton's Music Hall
Thursday, April 15th, 8pm, €18.50-€50, universe.com
The hugely talented Jasmine Lucilla Elizabeth Jennifer van den Bogaerde, better known as Birdy, celebrates the upcoming release of her fourth album, Young Heart, with this global livestream from the world's oldest grand music hall. Birdy's career took wing after she won the Open Mic UK contest in 2008, aged just 12. Now, as an accomplished singer-songwriter with three acclaimed albums under her belt, Birdy is doing this career-spanning multicamera livestreamed concert. She'll be accompanied by a new band that features eight string players, a clarinet and a French horn, so expect a rich audiovisual experience given added dimension by the acoustics of Wilton's Music Hall.
Franco-Irish Literary Festival
Thursday, April 15th, to Saturday, April 17th, free, francoirishliteraryfestival.com
France has its share of great writers – Proust, Camus, De Beauvoir – but a recent news story suggests it may now have too many authors. A top French publishing house has asked budding writers to stop sending it manuscripts – seems a lot of people used pandemic downtime to finally finish their epic novels. So we might have to wait for the next big name in French literature, but we can still enjoy the Franco-Irish Literary Festival, the annual rendezvous between French and Irish authors, which this year takes place online under the banner of Making a Better World/Refaire le Monde. On the French side we have the journalists Nicolas Hulot and Aymeric Caron, the writer Serge Joncour and the Quebec poet Natasha Kanapé Fontaine. Irish writers include Sara Baume, John Connell, Manchán Magan, Éilísh Ní Dhuibhne and Michael Longley, all taking part in online panel discussions, readings and interviews.
David Kitt and Kevin Barry present… Cornaleena
Friday, April 16th, 9pm, free, musictown.ie
You need a whole city to contain the combined creative energies of the musician David Kitt and the writer Kevin Barry. Here the two artists come together for a virtual meeting in the fictional town of Cornaleena, somewhere in the west of Ireland, where everyone is "a bit rattled" and "the air is heavy with a long-gone lonesome blues". If this place is anything like Barry's fictional City of Bohane, then it promises to be pretty out-there. This evolving modular project, part of MusicTown 2021, features a cast of collaborators to bring Cornaleena to life, including the film-makers Frank Sweeney and Cóilín O'Connell and the musicians Jennifer Walshe, Katie Kim, Jonny Dillon, Sinéad Lynch and the folk legend Seán Garvey.
Tulca and Galway 2020 present UnSelfing
Friday-Sunday, April 16th-18th, tucla.ie
The Tucla Festival of Visual Arts has teamed up again with Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture to present a weekend of visual-arts events under the banner of UnSelfing. Reimagined to reflect the impact of the Covid pandemic, it features three distinct projects: a film, book and radio play/podcast. First up is A Visit, A Ceremony, A Gift (Friday 16th, 9pm), a new film created by the artist and philosopher Elisabeth von Samsonow and the curator Kate Strain, exploring how we use poetry to connect with nature. Next up is the launch of a new publication, XVIII: Stories of Tulca (Saturday 17th), which chronicles 18 years of the Tucla festival and its unique connection with Galway. The weekend finishes with a flourish: the launch of Weather Gods, a podcast play by Isadora Epstein inspired by Iris Murdoch's concept of unselfing.
Saturday, April 17th, 9pm, free, galway2020.ie
Galway's vibrant music scene has taken a serious hit since the pandemic. This showcase is a reminder of the magic that can happen when talented musicians gather for a seisiún in the City of Tribes. The idea behind Amhráin is simple: members of the Citóg Records music collective – including Field Trip, Dylan Murphy, Katie O'Connor, Eoin Dolan, Emma Lohan and The Curly Organ – take some of their favourite songs by local artists, and breathe new life into them. These intimate performances are beautifully filmed in locations around Galway City, including the Cornstore, Bell, Book & Candle and Galway Arts Centre. It's all part of the reimagined Galway 2020 programme.
Beoga Live from the Limelight in Belfast
Saturday, April 17th, 8pm, €14.08-€56.04, momenthouse.com
It was only three years ago that the trad combo Beoga were on the Glastonbury stage with Ed Sheeran, and supporting him on his stadium tour of Ireland. The world has changed since then, and the band have had little opportunity to showcase their musical chemistry in a live setting. But the show must go on, and the Grammy-nominated group will be playing a livestreamed set from the Limelight in Belfast on Saturday, April 17th, to coincide with the release of their new five-track EP, Breathe.
Queer Love: Paul McVeigh, James Hudson, Emer Lyons & Shannon Yee
Tuesday, April 20th, 7pm, €5, westcorkmusic.ie
To whet the appetite for the upcoming 2021 West Cork Literary Festival, this online event showcases the work of three writers from Ireland's LGBTQI+ community who have contributed stories to a new book, Queer Love: An Anthology of Irish Fiction. The anthology is edited by Paul McVeigh, who will be chatting with James Hudson, Emer Lyons and Shannon Yee about their inspirations and their struggles to gain recognition for their talent. Hudson is a Dublin-based writer of speculative fiction whose short story You Roll features in the anthology. Lyons is a New Zealand-based poet, originally from west Cork, who has been nominated for a Pushcart prize for fiction; her short story Daytime Dogger is included in the anthology. Yee writes from multiple perspectives, including as an immigrant living in Northern Ireland, a queer artist-parent, and a person with a disability. She contributes the short story Thumbnails.
The Visiting Hour by Frank McGuinness
Thursday, April 22nd, to Saturday, April 24th, 7.30pm, €15-€50, gatetheatre.ie
Some people sit by and simply watch events unfold; others get pen and paper and shape their own response to what's happening around them. Frank McGuinness has written a play set during the pandemic, addressing issues close to our hearts as we are forced apart, and performed and recorded in the Gate Theatre auditorium. Stephen Rea stars as an elderly father, with Judith Roddy as his daughter who visits him in the nursing home. The conversation takes place through the nursing-home window, as father and daughter share their very conflicting memories of the past. Beware: this is one family visit that may leave you emotionally drained. The play is directed by Caitríona McLaughlin as part of the Gate at Home initiative to bring bespoke productions streamed from the Gate straight to your gaff.