Celebration time in Clifden


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Celebration time in Clifden Celebration time in Clifden

Lifestyle – After two years of a scaled-back programme due to Covid, the Clifden Community Arts Festival is preparing to return to normal this year, with a host of guests, outreach programmmes and a street parade. Des Lally of the festival tells JUDY MURPHY why the 2022 event is an ‘ ómós’ to creativity and its role in community.

Ómós is the theme of this year’s Clifden Community Arts Festival which will run from  September 15-25 and will feature Canadian writer and environmentalist, Margaret Atwood, and renowned wildlife photographer and cameraman, Doug Allen, alongside a host of local and national artists. A new, specially commissioned 20-minute film from Renvyle filmmaker Tristan Heanue, a collaboration with Cleggan actress, Olwen Fouéré, will also be screened at the event.

This year’s Clifden festival is a homage to creativity and the arts after two tough years during which everything was curtailed because of Covid.

“We are very grateful that we had two festivals over two years, although they were trimmed down,” says Des Lally, who co-programmes the annual event with Brendan Flynn.  “We are so aware of the importance of the arts in a rural community, and having performances last year and in 2020, even if we could have only 45 people at them, was vital.”

Similarly with online events that allowed people to attend remotely.

Now, however, Clifden is set to return to its normal scheduling, and “we want to pay ómós to the arts for keeping us going”.

Des and Brendan are delighted that the schools’  programme, which has been central to the Clifden festival for more than four decades but had to be cancelled for the past two years, will be restored this year.

The festival, which is now in its 45th year, is also preparing to welcome back the many regular visitors “who wanted to come in 2020 and 2021 and couldn’t”, says Des.

The gig rig, festival parade and outreach programme with St Anne’ s Community Nursing Home are back too and while there’s a great sense of relief at all of this, Des and Brendan are grateful to the many people who helped keep the flag flying while Covid was at its height: the volunteers, the businesses and the festival’s loyal audiences.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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