Mark your diaries – it’s festival season

Here’s a round up of some of the best festival line-up’s country-wide, from Ailin Quinlan.

Mark your diaries – it’s festival season

THE Bloomsday Festival is on June 16 because that is the date in 1904 on which the action of James Joyce’s acclaimed novel, Ulysses, takes place.

Whether popping out to the Martello Tower, at Sandycove, where Joyce stayed as a guest of Oliver St John Gogarty, or lunching on the gorgonzola sandwich favoured by Ulysses’ protagonist, Leopold Bloom, Bloomsday is a great day to roam Joyce’s Dublin.

Today, Saturday, June 13, continues this year’s run-up to the main day of the festival, with a Yeats/Joyce event at 7.30pm, at the James Joyce Centre at North Great George’s Street. It will feature songs, stories and poetry from the work of WB Yeats and Joyce.

Tomorrow, Sunday, June 14, brings Bizarre Bloomsday Brunch, with a street party afterwards, on North Great George’s Street, from noon to 5pm.

Next Tuesday, June 16, is Bloomsday; it’s celebrated with a conversation in the O’Reilly Theatre between Stephen Fry and David Norris.

Other events include dressing up like the book’s characters, in period costume, readings, performances and tours of locations and establishments referenced in the novel: 01 8788547; ;

Immrama Festival of Travel Writing, Lismore, Waterford

The Lismore Festival of Travel Writing, which begins on June 11, is not only a renowned international literary festival, it’s also the only Irish festival dedicated to travel.

Today, Saturday, June 13, has workshops on digital publishing, writing and readings, and the presentation of the Molly Keane award in the local library.

Actor and adventurer, Charley Boorman, speaks at the Blackwater community school at 3pm today, while the war reporter and Independent newspaper’s Middle East correspondent, Robert Fisk, is at the same venue at 8pm.

Tomorrow, Sunday, June 14, there is a literary breakfast at the Ballyrafter Hotel, a family fun day at the Millenium Park, a talk by writer Gerard Taylor, a farmer’s market, and a cricket match between Lismore and Dublin writers. ;

West Cork Literary Festival, July 12-18

The West Cork Literary Festival, in Bantry, has welcomed the likes of Michael Palin, Annie Proulx, Mary Robinson, Melvyn Bragg, Michael Parkinson, Ben Okri and Michael Morpurgo.

This year, the festival boasts a lively line-up, featuring comedian Graham Norton, writers Dervla Murphy, David Nicholls and Michel Faber, and three- and five-day writing workshops on subjects like the novel, poetry, writing for the stage, the short story and investigative journalism.

Each day is filled with readings, seminars, book launches and evening events.

There are free events in Bantry library and Bantry Bookshop, while the nearby Whiddy Island will again host poet Mick Delap, novelist Cormac James and nature/memoir writer Katharine Norbury.

And let’s not forget the children’s festival. Phone 027-52788, ;

Laya Healthcare’s City Spectacular, July 18-19

This two-day event in Cork City’s Fitzgerald Park boasts a colourful line-up of international street performers, a music stage, Kids’ Court — where kids can get their parents back by pie-ing them in the face and soaking them — a food village, children’s workshops, and a petting zoo.

01-6613788; ;

Caherciveen Festival of Music and Arts, July 31- August 2

The Caherciveen Festival of Music and the Arts, now in its 20th year, is a riotous celebration of music, history and culture. It has an action-packed programme of events and quality musical entertainment.

It’s also a family fun festival, with terrier races, fancy dress parades, a Kids’ Olympics, a fun run, and live music, with top bands like The Original Rudeboys and Hells Bells on the main festival stage.

Visitors can also enjoy guided walks of the area’s stunning scenery, as well as a bridge-fishing competition, history talks, and workshops. ;; www,

Masters of Tradition, August 19 - 23

Masters of Tradition celebrates traditional music in its purest form, and this year’s festival gives performers the freedom to choose what they play, in the glorious surroundings of the stately Bantry House and the tranquillity of the town’s St Brendan’s Church.

The festival is headlined by Martin Hayes, the fiddler from east Clare, whose distinctive touch and extravagant virtuosity has brought the tradition to new levels.

His famous, trance-evoking sets with Dennis Cahill have mesmerised audiences; 027-52788; ;

Spraoi International Festival of Street Arts, July 31- August 2

Now in its 23rd year, the outrageously colourful Spraoi brings street art performers and musicians from all around the world to Waterford, in a packed programme run by 300 volunteers.

This year’s programme of fun events includes spectacular street theatre, starring the Fanzini Recording Company’s ‘circus jukebox’ on a bespoke stage, the Inferno Fire Show and Cirque Exalte’s Furieuse Tendresse, to live music, with Irish and international performers, and a Children’s Festival, not to mention the magical annual parade.

Be amazed and entertained, in the historic and beautiful environment specially created by Spraoi — and all for free — in Waterford. 051-841808; ;

Kilkenny Arts Festival, August 7-16

Ireland’s oldest multi-disciplinary arts festival, Kilkenny’s programme of classical music, theatre and dance, street performance, literature, visual art, craft and family events attracts 45,000 spectators over 10 days, when the city bursts into life with a carnival of entertainment.

This year’s programme ranges from an epic series of 18 concerts, exploring the music of Bach, to street entertainment, literary events, exhibitions, theatrical performances, and family events.

056-7763663; ;

Tread Softly 2015 - Yeats Arts Festival, July 28 - August 8

Where else would a Yeatsian-themed arts festival take place, but in Sligo, the spiritual home of one of Ireland’s greatest poets?

Tread Softly 2015 is broadening the attraction of the Yeats-Sligo connection, through a rich programme of spoken word, art and music performances.

The festival, in collaboration with the Yeats International Summer School, attracts local and overseas visitors interested in William B or the extended Yeats family.

Sligo is the spiritual home of the Yeats brothers (Jack was a renowned painter) and was the wellspring of their inspiration.

As Yeats was arguably one of the greatest English language poets of the 20th century, it’s only natural that an event celebrating his work should be held in the Sligo region, the area he so loved and whose folklore and culture he celebrated in his works.

The festival features a diverse array of high-quality performances and exhibitions in theatre, music, the visual arts, community arts and street performance.

Visitors can also enjoy new interpretations of Yeats plays, as well as theatrical performances that will be produced in and around Sligo.

A number of interesting, spoken-word performances connected with theatre and song-writing, and the links between music and poetry, will also feature on the programme.

071-9171905; ; ;

Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival August 20 - 23

From an hilarious Guinness World Record attempt for the ‘largest ever gathering of people dressed as Charlie Chaplin’ to a non-stop conveyor belt of films, comedy events, music, workshops, and nightly and street entertainment, this unusual festival, in the picturesque Co Kerry tourist town of Waterville, is dedicated to the memory of the diminutive, moustached comedian and is a sure-fire winner.

By day, enjoy exhibitions with Laurel and Hardy, street entertainment with a famous Charlie Chaplin impressionist, vintage cars, comedy films, animation, and comedy workshops for all ages; by night, there are comedy acts in local pubs, Charlie Chaplin films and other funny films in various venues in the village.

There’s also dancing to live bands, ending the night with a disco in the Big Top, while Saturday night features a Gala Awards evening with a live dance band.

The dress theme throughout the weekend is, of course, ‘Charlie Chaplin lookalikes’ or 1920s-style fashions, all of which add to the ambience of this unique festival. 066-9478818, ;;;

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