Babaro, Galway's children's arts festival, runs from October 12th-17th - with an emphasis on theatre. Travelling Light (UK) is bringing its version of Into the West into the west after its Dublin Theatre Festival outing; Martha from Scotland's Catherine Wheels (soon to be the only Scottish production company ever to open a show on Broadway) explores the life of an old and eccentric woman; Storybox Theatre (UK) is bringing its tale of a curious half-chick hopping off to see the king (The Half Chick and Two Tales) to the festival; France's Compagnie Coatimundi's Zany Waves sees Monsieur Lemercier leaving his humdrum life behind and re-inventing himself for a wild adventure, while Ireland's Puca Puppets will tackle the old stories of The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse and The Tortoise and the Hare.

The musical events sound wonderful too, with Force Five, a wind quintet formed by musicians in the NSOI and the ICO performing a special concert for children, and Graffitti Classics from England hosting a string quartet workshop. Children's writers Siobhan Parkinson and Gabriel Rosenstock will give readings and the National Gallery will travel to schools for discussions and workshops.


Feile 2000, which will run in Galway from October 19th-25th is an exciting development on the Irish language arts calendar. Among the juicy plums on the programme are Micheal O Conghaile's translation of Martin McDonagh's Beauty Queen of Leenane, directed by Diarmuid de Faoite and designed by Paraic Breathnach, and the premiere of Tom MacIntyre's new version of Merriman's Cuirt an Mhean Oiche, presented by the Abbey Theatre. Other events include a reading by Cathal O Searcaigh with Aonghus Dubh Mac Neacail, a major Scots Gaelic poet and a debate on the future of seannos.


Two thousand candles will light up the sky in Clifden, Co Galway tonight, in an effort to, in the words of Seamus Heaney, "set the darkness echoing". The candles will be placed on the quayside around 8 p.m. and will light up Monument Hill, and no, there will not be a downpour, which would make you think the angels have turned on hose-pipes and are aiming them directly at Co Galway. Instead, the denizens of Clifden will be hopping at the Millennium Festival, with the millennium drum booming to kick it off at 8.30 p.m., followed by concerts by Picture House (The Square, 9 p.m.); Colm Stride O'Brien (the Rock Glen Hotel, 10 p.m.), John Gerard Walsh (accordion), Martin Sullivan (flute) and Michael McEvoy and Sean Ryan, (tin whistle) at Lowry's at 10 p.m.; and a evening of sean-nos singing (the Alcock and Brown Hotel, 10 p.m.).

Highlights of the last weekend of Clifden Arts Week include the Millennium Parade with Macnas, Spraoi, Belfast Circus and a group called Diced Carrots, with local national schools and community groups and "anyone who wishes to sing or dance the darkness away", followed by a a fireworks display (Saturday, from 8 p.m.) and Mairtin O'Connor squeezing his box with One for the Road at Foyle's Hotel (Sunday, noon)

Programme details on

You saw it here first. Jeffrey Archer has contributed this modest saxophone, coloured canary yellow, to the Celebrity Art Auction which will be held tonight at the Shelbourne Hotel. Other contributions include a bodhran from Bertie Ahern - Tony Blair signed the stick to make it a "Peace Bodhran", Ronan and Yvonne Keating's tin whistle and Brian Kennedy's pencil sketch of Billie Holiday. All proceeds will go to ICROSS, which has been working in Kenya for 20 years, and is implementing an Aids Prevention and Home Care programme there.

Contact Rebecca Burrell on 01-6761771 for tickets

"Let's do it again", goes the headline. Michael Billington wrote in yesterday's Guardian that the Gate's Beckett Festival at the Barbican showed that punters crave the "enlightenment" a single-author event allows. "Even a reading of Beckett's poetry and prose produced the kind of ticket fever you associate with the World Cup." He also praised John Crowley's production of Juno and the Paycock at the Donmar Warehouse, which features Colm Meaney as Captain Boyle and Dearbhla Molloy as Juno. It is a "sombre, tragic" reading, he wrote, and complements Garry Hynes's more comic version, showing the endless possibilities in O'Casey's "multi-hued masterpiece".

The formal launch of the Sligo residency of the Vogler String Quartet from Berlin took place on Monday. The three-year scheme is innovative in a range of ways. The quartet will involve themselves in the local community, not only as performers, but as educational activists - "teachers" would be too narrow a definition for the range of youth, community and music-student oriented activities that the musicians will be involved in. They will, of course, be giving concerts, too, not only in a subscription series in association with the Con Brio Sligo Music Association, but also in a new ESB Vogler Spring Festival over the May bank holiday weekend. The project is being supported in a ground-breaking partnership between Sligo County Council, Sligo Corporation, Music Network and the Arts Council.

Similar projects are being mooted for Waterford (a brass quintet) and Galway (a wind quintet). Music for Galway's Jane O'Leary says "We're green with envy. We think it's a marvellous idea and we hope to see it in Galway soon. The main thing is to have professional musicians living and working here. This is essential to developing a deeper interest in music in a community. The permanence makes a huge impact. We're having a mini-residency with the Edinburgh Quartet next year. A small step in the same direction."