Fantastic line-up confirmed for Ballaghaderreen Arts Festival ‘24

They said it couldn’t be done. Such was the success of the Arts Festival in Ballaghaderreen last August, people said it could not be repeated. Sorry! We, organisers of the ‘Ballaghaderreen Arts Festival ‘24’, beg to differ.  What is on offer this year – between Saturday, August 3rd next and Sunday, August 11th – is even better.

A flavour includes Vivaldi in the Cathedral with a 12-piece orchestra led by Ireland’s best-known conductor, David Brophy with a world premiere of ‘An Irish Four Seasons’ by leading Irish cellist Alibhe McDonagh.

  Blues and Trad at the Cathedral involves Ireland’s greatest jazz and blues singer, Mary Coughlan. Performing that night too will be Lúnasa, described as ‘the hottest Irish acoustic band on the planet’. In addition there will be the outstanding Cora and Breda Smyth who won over 40 titles for fiddle and tin whistle playing as children.

A highlight of the festival for all sports fans this year will be the GAA Night when retired RTE journalist Tommie Gorman conducts a public interview with outstanding football manager Jim Gavin, who led Dublin to win an unprecedented five All-Ireland senior titles in a row between 2015 to 2019 (inclusive).

Drama will bookend the nine days which begin with the incomparable Ballaghaderreen Players who, under the astute direction of Julie Sharkey, present that very black Martin McDonagh comedy ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’. In 1998 Ballaghaderreen woman Garry Hynes of Druid was the first woman ever to win a Tony Award on Broadway for direction – of ‘The Beauty Queen of Lennane’, also by Martin McDonagh.

On the second festival weekend, London’s Pilgrim Players will present Shakespeare’s comedy ‘As You Like It’ at Edmondstown House, with matinee and evening performances.

On Film Night Gerardine O’Mahony will interview –  with movie clips – Ireland’s longest-serving film censor and Ballaghaderreen man Sheamus Smith, who freed the Irish people to see Monty Python’s ‘The Life of Brian’ which was banned up to then. Sheamus picked up his passion for the movies growing up in Ballaghaderrreen, went to Hollywood as a young man and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Ballaghaderreen Cathedral Choir will present ‘Happy Birthday Percy French’, a tribute to one of Ireland’s most popular songwriters and entertainers, born at Clooneyquinn, near Tulsk, 170 years ago.

Other festival events include Finn McCumhaill – a Children’s Opera, with local schoolchildren, as well as a puppet show for younger people, while an Art Exhibition in Mulligan’s windows on Main Street throughout the festival will include works by leading painters Malachy Costello, Siobhán Cox Carlos, Michael Wann, and ‘local Michelangelo’ Conor O’Connell. There will also be workshops for artists and writers in the afternoons.

Concluding it all will be Stand-Up at Edmondstown House on Sunday evening, August 11th, headlined by the outrageous David McSavage.

Further details and ticket availability will be provided in coming weeks.