Arts Week with Judy Murphy
Forgotten women from Irish history will come out of the shadows and into the light this weekend as part of a new festival being held in Galway and all over the country.
Illuminate Herstory is taking place as part of Herstory, a national cultural movement created to tell the stories of extraordinary women from history and today.
Too often, these women have been consigned to the shadows. So, it’s appropriate that Illuminate Herstory is a festival of light, centring around the traditional Nollaig na mBan or Women’s Christmas – which is ceelbrated annually on January 6.
This Friday, January 6, women are invited to come forward and celebrate other women, dead and alive in Illuminate Herstory, which is being celebrated in all four provinces, thanks to the work of Lesley Tully of Illuminate and Melanie Lynch of Herstory. It’s being curated in Galway by Dani Gill, formerly of the Cúirt Festival of Literature.
County and city councils including Galway City Council have commissioned light installations, while arts groups here in Galway and countrywide are hosting a range of events.
Galway’s celebration will kick off this Friday evening at 5.30pm outside Lynch’s Castle on the city’s Shop Street with the official launch of a light installation. Women, past and present, will illuminate the exterior of Lynch’s Castle on Friday and Saturday night as part of the festival.
There will be two different themes to these illuminations: one will be a night of contemporary photography by Galway-based photographer Julia Dunin, and one a night of historical images, including Ireland’s first female civil engineer, Alice Perry, as well as the women of the Galway fishmarket, and the legendary queen of Connacht, Queen Meadhbh.
Nearby restaurant, 56 Central on Shop Street, will host an evening of art, food, music and dramatic recitals entitled I’ve Never Heard of Her, following the launch of the light installation.
That will run from 6pm until late and will feature local actors and musicians. Tickets for I’ve Never Heard of Her can be pre-booked online at Eventbrite.ie and cost €25 per person, which includes a selection of nibbles from the 56 Central kitchen and a glass of wine on arrival.
Saturday will see two free events in the city.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.