2013 Shorelines Arts Festival, Portumna, Co. Galway from 19th-22nd September

As Portumna swells with pride to have been selected as County Galway’s first ever Village of Culture, we embark on a series of cultural events to be held throughout 2013-2014, beginning with our spectacular arts festival, theShorelines Arts Festival from Thursday, 19th to Sunday, 22nd September,www.shorelinesartsfestival.com.

A Shannon/Lough Derg Mirage!

Shorelines Arts Festival, now in its 6th year, launches the Yarn Bombing project, Shore to Shore, on Portumna Bridge on Sunday, September 15th at 3pm. Over 700 nets, from Peru to Loughrea, New Zealand to Kells, have been produced by friends, locals and groups of yarn enthusiasts under the artistic hands of Kathryn O’Brien, Textile Artist. These rainbow-coloured nets will be reflected in the waters of the Shannon as they are festooned from the bridge, while those crossing the bridge will see four of the Riverheads of Ireland, depicted in yarn, mounted on the piers. A small flotilla of boats will gather to see writer Nicki Griffin launch this event at 3pm, and we’ll be celebrating with traditional music, followed by refreshments at the nearby Ferry Inn.


L-R Noelle Lynskey, Chairperson Portumna Arts Group with committee members, Eileen Smith and Joan Gordon.

The official Opening of Shorelines will take place on Thursday, Sept 19th with the effervescent Ciana Campbell, broadcaster and Chairperson of the Ennis Book Club Festival, presiding. The opening of the festival will also mark the opening of the Gallery at the Workhouse, a brand new exhibition space for the mid-west of Ireland.


·        A reading by Paul Durcan on Friday 20th September, with Miriam Donoghue singing at the same event.

·        Music is always a big feature of Shorelines and we are delighted to announce that Luka Bloom will perform with guests Ruth Smith and Joe Caseyon Saturday, 21st September.

(Tickets are available online or in local shops for both events, and people are encouraged to buy ahead as seating in the intimate Church of Ireland is limited.)

·        Much-loved Galway-based street theatre company Macnas will perform‘Cockroach and The Inventor’, bringing fun, intrigue, and surprise to the streets of Portumna with their family friendly outdoor show.


Literary guests this year include Dave Lordan who has been shaking up the Irish writing scene with his passionate, risk-taking writing for a decade. He recently ran the New Planet Cabaret series of creative writing workshops for RTÉ and New Island Press. Shorelines Arts Festival literary committee welcome Dave as facilitator for the Shorelines Writing Workshop on Sunday, Sept 22nd3.30pm-5.30pm. Drawing on his innovative writing practice, and long teaching experience, Dave will set unusual writing prompts intended to generate creative responses from participants at all levels of experience. This workshop will be intense but very engaging, and Dave’s feedback will be friendly but rigorous. Booking essential as numbers limited – call Mary 086 366 3439. Fee €10

Reading alongside Dave on Sunday evening will be Galway’s emerging short story writer, Alan McMonagle. For Saturday’s annual Shorelines Literary BrunchGalway-based writer Gerardine Burke, poet Patrick Deeley, and novelist Loretto Leary (US), a Portumna native, will read from their work.


The local Pen Pushers creative writing group will read work inspired by paintings submitted by local artists to the first ever Shorelines Art Exhibitionat The Gallery in the Workhouse. Professional artists Clive Bright, John McNulty, Eithne Joyce and Charlotte Kelly will exhibit their work alongside that of local amateur and professional artists. Talks, readings and events are planned for the Gallery, along with exhibitions from Bramble Art, Funerary Art and lots more.

In addition, a national travelling exhibition Traces of the Past will take up residence in The Gallery in the Workhouse from 1st-31st October. It showcases Ireland’s archaeological heritage viewed through the lens of aerial photography and the latest in surveying technology, offering visitors a unique view of their cultural heritage.


At the Friday morning Country Market, discussions and demonstrations will be presented by food enthusiasts Margaret Hickey, Peter Ward and Diana Murray, starting off a full Culture Day here in Portumna.  An Gairdín will host a one-day textile art workshop with Ann Moore on Saturday and on Sundaymorning meet up at the Shannon Swimming area where Dave Gradwellreveals fascinating secrets of the sun.  


In the field of drama, we are proud to present the premiere of two locally written plays, as well as a staging of Riders to the Sea, a fitting event as the theme for Shorelines 2013 is Making Waves. Free passes for these two events, to be staged in Portumna Castle, are available at local shops. A Youth Theatre workshop for teens completes a varied and exciting programme of drama.


Children (and adults too!) will be thrilled as Macnas’s Giant Cockroach roams the streets! In addition, there will be a Circus Skills workshop, Peas in a Podstory-telling, face painting and balloon art, plus the awards for a children’s writing competition. Most of these events take place on Saturday afternoon in the Square. On Sunday afternoon, a drama/ dance workshop with Brook Tateand The Exploration Dome will entertain all.


Local talented film director, Aisling Ahmed’s film The End of the Counter, winner of the best short at Galway Film Fleadh, will have several screenings. Other films include Bye Bye Now and the award-winning  Irish Folk Furnitureby Tony Donoghue.


Other attractions include exhibitions of art from Portumna Community School, an exhibition of funerary art by Rory O’Shaughnessy to accompany Grave Art, a tour of grave symbols and art in three local graveyards with Christy Cunniffe. Photographic images of Clonfert Diocese from 1864 will be presented by Declan Kelly.

Young singer/songwriter Knoeline Keane will be performing over the weekend, and students of music and singing will be showcased at Shorelines RecitalsMusic Matters, the East Galway Suzuki School of Music, will play at the final recital of the weekend.

And watch out for the hotly contested annual Nicholas Treacy RecitationCompetition, the High Stool singing session, our amusing Shorelines Limerickcompetition, a Shorelines Gospel Mass with Ennis Folk Choir. And if that isn’t enough, Laura Browne, Dave Gradwell, Treenie Hogan, Omna Singers, plus aSign Out Youth café session and more will bring arts to all members of the community.

For more information see www.shorelinesartsfestival.com or call 0872931055.

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