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Top-class music in Festival Big Top



Elvis Costello.

Headline music acts at this year’s Galway International Arts Festival which runs from July 11-23  include Brit-pop’s Suede, with special guests Frank and Walters, who will play the Absolut Big Top  on Saturday, July 23.

Suede dominated Brit-rock throughout the 1990s, with  three UK number one albums and were  widely lauded as the instigators of Brit-pop, paving the way for the likes of Damon Albarn and Blur, and Jarvis Cocker and Pulp.

Music  fans are also in for a real treat the previous week, when Elvis Costello and his band The Imposters with special guests The Undertones take to the Big Top stage on Friday, July 15.

In a career spanning more than 35 years, Elvis Costello is probably best known for his time with The Attractions, The Imposters and for concert appearances with pianist Steve Nieve. He has collaborated with such diverse performers as Burt Bacharach, The Brodsky Quartet, Paul McCartney, record producer and songwriter T Bone Burnett, and the Roots. His global anthem She  featured in the hit film Notting Hill. Derry band the Undertones are best known for their hits Teenage Kicks and My perfect Cousin, and have a reputation as a terrific live band.

The following night, July 16, Dublin band Bell X1  return to the Big Top with special guest The Academic, following a hugely successful 2015 that included a sell-out acoustic tour of Ireland and playing support to Ed Sheeran at Croke Park in July. Bell X1 with their combination of electronic music and anthemic pop rock, are one of Ireland’s most popular bands, second only to U2 in terms of radio play and, according to Billboard, the second biggest live performers. Bell X1 last played the Festival in 2011, delivering one of the most memorable Big Top concerts of recent years, and their return is much-anticipated.

The Academic, a young four-piece from Mullingar, were one of the few Irish acts to play at SXSW 2016. Their latest album Different has been nominated for a Choice Music Prize for Song of the Year.

Multi award-winners Villagers with special guest and Meteor Music Award winner Mick Flannery will share what should be a melodic bill at the Big Top on Tuesday, July 19. Villager’s Conor O’Brien is a single-minded artist with considerable  songwriting powers. His most recent album Darling Arithmetic recently took home the prestigious Ivor Novello Album Award, while his 2010 debut, Becoming A Jackal and its 2013 successor Awayland were hugely acclaimed and Mercury-nominated. Awayland won Ireland’s Choice Prize while O’Brien also won an Ivor Novello in 2011 for Becoming a Jackal. Meanwhile, Cork native, Mick Flannery has been compared with songwriters such as Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen for his honest, heartfelt songs, which he delivers in an understated,powerful manner.

Imelda May and special guest Damien Dempsey will perform a double-bill in the Big Top on Thursday, July21. Imelda May’s star has risen rapidly since she released her debut album Love Tattoo in 2008. It went triple platinum in Ireland, while the singles Johnny Got A Boom Boom and Big Bad Handsome Man established her internationally.

Damien Dempsey is renowned as a fine live performer whose lyrics are delivered with passion and conviction. He has supported some of music’s most iconic performers including Bob Dylan, Sinéad O’Connor, Willie Nelson and Morrissey. Damien’s sixth studio album, Almighty Love,  was a critical and popular success.

■ The Absolut Big Top shows are being presented in association with the Róisín Dubh and tickets are available from and www.roisin, at the Festival Box Office in Galway Tourist Office, Forster Street, Galway, or phone 091 566577.


Artists offering unique tour of Galway



Quay Street by Fiona Bradley.

The Artist’s Eye on Galway is a new project involving work from 46 artists from Ireland, the UK and USA, all at various stages in their careers, which offers a unique, artistic tour of the city and county.

Led by a team of local artists, and co-ordinated by Terri Kelleher, the project is being supported by independent publisher, Ballinderreen-based Hoogledorf Press, which is publishing a book of the same name, containing images of all the artworks.

The project is also being supported by Galway Artist’s Forum, a social networking resource for artists and arts events locally, explains Terri.

The paintings are included in a 144-page, hardback book that’s designed to offer a virtual tour of local landmarks and scenery. This tour begins in Galway City and travels to South Galway, before  passing through areas east of the River Corrib and continuing on to Connemara.

The publication, The Artist’s Eye on Galway, also has a large section dedicated to the participants, as well as photos and statements about them and their work.

The book and accompanying exhibition will be officially launched in the city’s Galmont Hotel this coming Monday, July 4, at 7.30pm and the artworks will be available to view in the hotel from then until Wednesday, July 6.

Artists taking part in the project include Barrie Maguire, Sarah Murphy, Joan Finnegan, Linda Kennedy, Suzanne Kearney, Michael Moore, Dubravka Drenski, Alicja Natalicz,  Belinda Fair, Neal Whelan, Bridget Ryan, Fiona Bradley, Carol Feeney, Attracta Carbery, Cathal O’Malley, Róisín Ní Ghuidhír,  and Hank Weisbecker.

A full list of participants and more information on the publication is available at

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As the Crow Flies opens at Oughterard Courthouse



As the Crow Flies, a collaborative exhibition from artists Caroline McFadden and Susanne Keane, will open in Oughterard this Friday evening, July 1, from 7-9pm, as part of the Oughterard Courthouse Arts Programme (OCAP).

It’s a series of sculptures and paintings from the artists whose work reflects their connection with nature and their local landscape.

Susanne Keane is an abstract sea- and landscape artist whose paintings and drawings capture bog and marshes, hills, lakes and the sea.

Her vibrant palette aims to recreate the sense of wonder and magic that people experience when in nature. Susanne, who studied Art & Design and Fine Art at GMIT, has held numerous solo exhibitions and has participated in group shows and community events.

Caroline McFadden, who studied Fine Art part-time in GMIT for five years, practises ‘Authentic Movement’, which involves movement as a method of self-exploration and well-being.

The nature sculptures in this show came about following an exercise she was given in 2019, when she was asked to represent her ‘inner witness’. Caroline had a growing urge to work with her hands and to transform found nature objects into sculptures.

As the Crow Flies will run until Sunday, July 10, from Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm, and on Sundays from 12pm-5pm.  All are welcome.

Further information from

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Eclectic show from Belfast winners of Turner Prize comes to Galway



The exhibition includes an installation entitled The Drúthaib’s Ball, based on the notion of a síbín or illegal bar

Work from Belfast’s Array Collective, which won the 2021 Turner Prize for art in Britain will be shown in Galway City this August and September

It’s being presented by Galway Arts Centre and marks the first exhibition of this show in Ireland.

The Array Collective, which won the prestigious Turner Prize, is a group of 11 Belfast-based artists from all parts of Ireland, as well as from England and Italy. They live and work in Belfast, creating collaborative projects in response to issues affecting Northern Ireland and other issues, including access to abortion, gay rights, mental health, gentrification and social welfare.

Their work encompasses performances, protests, exhibitions and events. Each member has an individual artistic practice, but they won the Turner Prize as a collective – becoming the first artists from Northern Ireland to win it.

The Turner Prize, a highlight of Britain’s contemporary art calendar, is awarded to artist/s who are from Britain or are based there, for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work.

The National Museums of Northern Ireland, who acquired this work for their permanent collection at the Ulster Museum, have loaned it to Galway Arts Centre.

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

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