A Midsummer Marvel… Féile na Gréine: Solstice Arts Festival June 21st – 23rd

A Midsummer Marvel… Féile na Gréine: Solstice Arts Festival June 21st - 23rd

Féile na Gréine: Solstice Arts Festival returns to Tech Amergin in Waterville, Co. Kerry from Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd June, after a one-year break.

The festival is an eclectic mix of theatre, music, literature, visual art, crafts, children’s events, workshops and much more; celebrating Gaelic arts from both Ireland and Scotland. Pipe and harp music at a prehistoric solar site; an exhibition by Pauline Bewick, one of Ireland’s best loved artists; poetry and readings; The Boys of the Lough in concert; a premier performance of a new play by dynamic playwright, Donal O’Kelly and lots more is sure to please visitors at this exciting festival. Féile na Gréine kicks off on Thursday 21st at with ‘Ceol na nGallán: Music at the Megaliths’, a solstice celebration at the Íochtar Cua Standing Stones near Waterville, a 4,000 years old, spectacularly sited alignment, overlooking Ballinskelligs Bay and Lough Currane. The festival will bring it to glorious midsummer life with Alan MacDonald on the Scottish pipes, with harpist and singer Marina Cassidy, as well as a creative dance piece choreographed by Catherine Young specifically for the setting. The event is part of the Love Live Music festival.

The majority of the events take place in Tech Amergin, the intimate festival venue which seats 100, and usually reaches capacity for all events. Festival organiser, Fíona de Buis said “The smallness of the venue, a beautiful state of the art purpose-built arts centre, in this tiny seaside village on the Ring of Kerry is a focal point for our midsummer festival; it’s a beautiful place, ideal for cultural tourists to meet the friendly residents, experience the stunningly spectacular scenery and enjoy our eclectic three days of the arts.”

Minister for Arts, Heritage agus Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, will officiate at the Official Opening of the festival at a wonderful exhibition of visual art entitled ‘Through Pauline’s Eyes’ by Pauline Bewick, one of Ireland’s most renowned artists at 7pm in Tech Amergin on the opening night. This will be followed by ‘A Mildly Mad Midsummer Marvel’ – music and stories with literary raconteur Senator David Norris, harpist Marina Cassidy, composer and pianist Declan Walsh, Norwegian composer singer and guitarist  Kyrree Slind and piper Alan MacDonald, in concert.

Daily workshops take place from 10am to 1pm, ranging from Poetry Writing and Appreciation with James Harpur and Landscape Painting with Helen Richmond, to Gàidhlig and singing with Beathag Mhoireasdan and Celtic Calligraphy with Anya Gnauck. Renowned potter, Louis Mulcahy will hold intimate sessions for small groups, while Michael Herrmann will lead a photo walk on the Kerry Way.

Day two has something for all the family, with Clann Lir, Children’s Theatre in the morning; followed by Poetry, Music and Song in Scotland’s three languages from Scotland’s national poet, playwright and creative livewire, Liz Lochead and poet, Aonghas MacNeacail; music and song with Alan MacDonald celebrating his seventieth birthday this year; and Gerda Stevenson, who played the part of Mother MacClannough, Braveheart’s mother-in-law in the famous film.

A newly choreographed piece entitled ‘Getting to Know You’ by integrated dance company Spoken Dance, performed by Sultan Kakar and Lisa Cahill takes place at 8pm on Friday 22nd, in which the dancers’ abilities are challenged through a process that explores how they can be at once still and also in motion together with and without wheels.  Following this, the World première performance of ‘Saoi no More’, a new play written and performed by the much-acclaimed Donal O’Kelly, takes place in Tech Amergin.

On Saturday 23rd, ‘Beyond the Here and Now’ will see John F. Deane, James Harpur and Paddy Bushe, three writers whose poetry is informed by widely varying beliefs, read from work; followed by bilingual poetry from Filí Chorca Dhuibhne, some of the poets from what is probably Ireland’s liveliest poetry scene.

As Féile na Gréine draws to a close, The Boys of the Lough will perform an intimate concert where Kevin Henderson, Cathal Mc Connell and Gary Ó Briain will belt out a couple of hours of top-class traditional music and songs. The three day festival culminates with ceol agus craic with Ardú and local musicians at the traditional midsummer bonfire on St. John’s Eve Bonfire, also known as Tine Chnámh na Féile Eoin, and all are welcome.

Féile na Gréine is supported by the Arts Council, Poetry Ireland, Kerry County Council, South Kerry Development Partnership, Kerry Film Festival, Colmcille and Kerry Education Service.

A number of events are free and tickets prices vary for all other events. Further information on ticket prices, performers and full festival schedule is available on www.feilenagreine.com, on facebook (Féile na Gréine) or by calling (066) 9478956.

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