Artist plans to live on the Liffey for Fringe Festival


IRELAND IS to get a new island in September. It will be 10 metres wide, have one occupant and be in the Liffey by Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre for just two weeks.

It will be created by artist Fergal McCarthy as part of this year’s Absolut Fringe Festival, the programme for which is announced today. From September 10th he will live on the island full-time for 10 days – although he will have a nearby rescue boat and many thousands of passers-by keeping an eye on him. “I love the idea of living on the Liffey, because it feels so underused, forgotten and overlooked,” explained McCarthy of his project, titled No Man’s Land.

“It’s playful, but there is also the thought of the desert island as a metaphor for the times we live in as a country, which has been cast adrift slightly in the past year or two. Given that it’s located in the heart of the financial district, people can see it that way if they want.”

His island will be halfway across a 120-metre wide part of the river and will consist of a pontoon perched on top of concrete-filled tractor wheels.

It will be attached to ropes that will allow it move with the tide, and it will be covered in a “sandy glue” that will not wash off into the river. Palm trees, of course, will be a feature.

McCarthy – who last year placed large Monopoly houses on the river during the festival – will have a gas stove, a portable toilet and lights to keep the island glowing at night. His tent “will be lined with timber on the inside in case anything is jettisoned across the Liffey”.

No Man’s Landis among the highlights of the fringe, running from September 10th-25th. Emphasising its reputation for innovative and eclectic theatre and art, the theme of this year’s fringe is Brave New World. Festival director Róise Goan said: “It’s a response to the situation we find ourselves in. We sent out a call asking artists to imagine what a radically altered Ireland might look like and what art can contribute to changing our world.”

Highlights will include Twenty Ten, written by 80 anonymous contributors, and tracking a “tumultuous year” through a week of “episodes” that will be put together into a six-hour whole. Other shows include Man of Valour– about an “office drone” with a wild imagination – and Eternal Rising of the Sun, a dance show focusing on a single mother.

An Australian programme will bring four acclaimed works from Down Under, while Whenever I Get Blown Up I Think Of Youwill be a personal take on London’s 7/7 bombings.

Once again, several unusual venues will feature, including a car park, “peepholes” in clothes shops and a day-long series of tours on South William Street.

The Absolut Fringe will be inaugurated on September 10th with a performance by street theatre group Macnas – a free but ticketed event at the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks.

Further details: