Galway Talks

Galway Talks

On Frdiay the Galway Talks  team of Keith Finnegan and John Morley head out to the beautiful creative hub of Clifden as The 46th Clifden Arts Festival gets under way.   Join Keith and John from 9 until 12 noon  as they explore this year’s festival schedule of events.  The 46th Clifden Arts Festival takes place from  September 13-24, 2023.   Clifden Arts Festival is set to embrace those special  unplanned moments that Seamus Heaney called “the music of what happens”.

Ireland’s longest-running community arts festival will light up venues across the region with a programme that displays the community-led spirit and diversity of inspiration that President Michael D Higgins hailed as a “unique and outstanding experience”.


And as ever, an exciting array of cultural luminaries have accepted the invitation of festival linchpin Brendan Flynn, the onetime schoolmaster who first envisaged this annual celebration of art, music
and illumination on the doorstep of his community.

Clifden Arts are overjoyed to be welcoming back the great Christy Moore and his treasury of songs for what promises to be a very special performance. There’s also a chance to see three of the greatest singer-songwriters – Lisa Hannigan, Paul Noonan, and Gemma Hayes – perform together in what is one of the most talked-about collaborations of recent years. Ireland’s eminent crooner and a consummate showman, Jack L live has long been a by-word for a brilliant night out, as Clifden is about to discover.

Classical music lovers, meanwhile, will be well served with visits by the Irish Chamber Orchestra and West Ocean String Quartet. As part of the schools’ programme, Clifden Arts are charting new ground in the company of Out of the Ordinary, an award-winning virtual-reality community experience from Irish National Opera. And then there’s Graffiti Classics, whose singular blend of strings and surprises is a must for anyone looking to let off some steam.

Clifden’s tradition of nurturing expansive conversation continues with a programme that includes historian Diarmaid Ferriter, broadcaster and political historian David McCullagh, and the inimitable hotelier and TV personality Francis Brennan. They are also delighted to welcome the poet, Oxford academic, and close friend of Seamus Heaney, Prof Bernard O’Donoghue.

Renowned geriatrician Prof Rose Anne Kenny will share her experiences from the medical frontlines, while this year’s annual John Moriarty Memorial Lecture will be given by celebrated poet and Aosdána member Mary O’Malley. A founding director of the world-renowned practice  A2, Peter Carroll is one of the most visionary architects of his generation and no stranger to Connemara either. Expect an absorbing and enlightening conversation on his Clifden Arts Festival debut.

As part of a typically multi-textured visual arts programme, the town will host Rhona Byrne’s Bolthole, an immersive installation that previously graced IMMA and the Tate Modern, while local legend Dorothy Cross will discuss her recent Egyptian project Kinship. Rounding things off will be a suitably spectacular finale of magic, light, and performance from landscape theatre company LUXE.

“A unique and outstanding experience… a ‘meitheal’ between artists and audience forged on a profound respect for community and belonging”
President Michael D Higgins