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Carlow Arts Festival

June 7, 2017 - June 13, 2017



Carlow Arts Festival: the first big cultural event of the Irish Summer, runs from 7 to 13 June 2017. The festival celebrates its 38th year with a host of events taking place in Festival HQ at Carlow College, St. Patrick’s and VISUAL, as well as at local landmarks. Visitors can immerse themselves in national and international artistic adventures and world festival premières over the week-long festival, filled with spectacular free performances, live music, visual art and family friendly events.



O’Hara’s Pavilion, sponsored by O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beer, at Carlow College St. Patrick’s, will be the beating heart of music at Carlow this summer, with tickets on sale now for stellar musical events announced.

Friday 9 June: Writer & performer Emmet Kirwan, of internet film sensation Heartbreak will kick off proceedings followed by RTE Choice Music Prize winners Rusangano Family. Today FM’s Kelly-Anne Byrne will be spinning disco until the late hours.

Saturday 10 June: The Strypes play a no-nonsense set of speed blues, joined by special guests Exiles. Late night, join R.S.A.G (Rarely Seen Above Ground) for a virtuosic eruption of percussion mixed with hypnotic tunes.

Sunday 11 June: Late afternoon, join Body & Soul Favourite Sing Along Social – a zero-commitment choir and gather together to sing along to your favourite tunes. 10-piece urban-street funk band Stomptown Brass take to the stage at 8pm supported by Sarah O’Gorman whose music encompasses neo-soul and neo-folk. Sarah’s EP Concrete Rain launches at 2pm on Sunday 11. Tickets for all events at O’Hara’s Pavilion can be purchased via

Tuesday 13 June: Crash Ensemble, Ireland’s première contemporary music group, will provide a beautiful end to the festival with a unique performance at the ruins of the gothic revivalist Duckett’s Grove at dusk. This is a free event but ticketed.


Family fun is a big focus of Carlow Arts Festival this year with a range of eclectic and free family friendly events taking place. Festival HQ is the place to be for all the family.

The family highlight and Saturday Night Spectacle on 10 June is from the extraordinary Ondadurto Teatro (Italy) who come to Ireland for the very first time with their huge spectacle performance C’era Una Volta (Once Upon A Time). Ondadurto Teatro bring the audience on a surreal and fantastical journey, passing through stories and legends with fascinating moving objects, projection, sound effects, spectacular water effects, fire and of course… fireworks!

On 10 and 11 June, enjoy pop-up performances from Pietr Kloon (Theatre Lovett), Professor Plunger (Fanzini Brothers), the original hand balancing and acrobatics from Sevesfeather. Theatre De La Toupine (France) will take children on a fantastic trip on their theatre-carousel Cow Go Round. Visit The Book Doctors from Children’s Books Ireland who will be writing prescriptions for the next books your child should read. Plus don’t miss the multi-award-winning PSS PSS (Switzerland) on Friday 9 June: ‘5 Stars…extraordinary… riveting …infectious… one of the most magical shows on the circuit…’ THE STAGE


Carlow Arts Festival and VISUAL present Hotron ART WORKS, the 38th Annual Open Submission exhibition and Hotron Art Prizes. Selected by Eoin Dara, Head of Exhibitions at DCA (Dundee) and Emma Lucy O’Brien, Curator, VISUAL, the exhibition celebrates the energy, creative power and diversity of visual arts practices in Ireland. The Hotron Éigse Prize of €3000 for an outstanding piece of work and the Hotron ART WORKS prize of €1000 for work by a recent graduate will be presented at the exhibition launch of the Hotron ART WORKS at VISUAL on June 7 at 7pm. All Welcome.

Selected Artists: Kevin Gaffney, Lee Welch, Aisling O’Beirn, Atoosa Pour Hosseini, Sarah O’Brien, Jonathan Mayhew, Vera Ryklova, Pádraig Spillane, Karl Burke, Martin Boyle, Robert Moriarty, Damien Flood, Doireann Ni Ghrioghair, Tom Fitzgerald, Lorraine Neeson and Saidhbhín Gibson. Invited artists: Miguel Martins, Emma Haugh, Tonya Mc Mullan.

SITE WORKS presents six new site-specific works of art. Inspired by Carlow and its rich narratives, these works create new perspectives on old stories and inhabit locations in unexpected and refreshing ways. There’s a long tradition of inviting artists to Carlow to make and present works of art. SITE WORKS continues this legacy offering a unique platform for artists to come, explore and respond.

Also in VISUAL, on 7 June, Daria Martin New Works show includes Martin’s latest trilogy of 16mm films, Theatre of the Tender (2016); At The Threshold (2015); and Sensorium Tests (2012). And using cartoonish costumes and bright colours in a bizarre exploration of modernity, see The Triadic Ballet (1922) by Oskar Schlemmer.


Don’t miss Pss Pss (Companie Baccalà, Switzerland) on Saturday 10 June as two modern day clowns will take to the stage at VISUAL. Inventive, exciting, ridiculous, this breath-taking pas de deux of mishaps and acrobatics, Pss Pss is an hour of happiness. Pss Pss are winners of 14 international prizes including the Cirque Du Soleil prize.

Roger Gregg & Crazy Dog Audio Theatre Co present The Rapture of Hugo Ball, a dark comedy staged as a radio show with live music and sound-effects. Ticketed but free on Wednesday 7 June.


Carlow Arts Festival will host to a world festival première with the screening of Philip Glass’s opera Einstein on the Beach. This epic work runs to 4.5 hours and presents an opportunity to indulge in the visual and aural fantasy world he created with director Robert Wilson and choreographer Lucinda Childs.

Carlow Arts Festival have partnered with the Irish Film Institute to present Carlow on Film, a unique collection of vintage and contemporary films that will screen at VISUAL.

Our Outdoor Cinema event will be the winner of the Mystery Movie (as voted for by visitors to


This year’s festival not only features stellar international artists, but also showcases some of the best of what Carlow has to offer.

Carlow’s Berlin based singer-songwriter Sarah O Gorman will launch her new EP on Sunday 11 June, as well as supporting Stomptown Brass later that evening, and synth-trio Exiles will play support to The Strypes at the O’Hara’s Pavilion on Saturday 10 June.

In VISUAL on Friday 9 there is a treat for fans of Film, Carlow and History, as the Irish Film Institute presents Carlow on Camera – an exciting, programme of films about Carlow which are preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive. Dating from the 1930s to the present day the programme creates a vibrant social history of the county and a colourful kaleidoscope of years gone by.

It includes Activities of Carlow Town, made by PP Fr Jackie Moran (1935 – ’58); Radharc’s documentary about Pattern Day in St Mullins (1966); Gael Linn’s Amharc Éireann newsreels of the county (1960s); Journeys down the Barrow (1960s) and the elegiac What Remains (2013) co-directed by Carlow filmmaker Tadhg O’ Sullivan and Pat Collins. The programme highlight will be the Irish modern-day première of the recently re-discovered silent boarding-school drama Some Say Chance, directed by Carlovian Michael Farrell in 1935 and accompanied by internationally renowned cellist Kate Ellis.

Extensive International open calls have resulted in the programming of locally based artists Saidhbhin Gibson, whose work Peripheries will be installed at VISUAL as part of ART WORKS, and the commissioning by Carlow Arts Festival and Carlow Arts Office of Orla Ryan and Brian Hand’s film installation The Wolf O’Brien on Tullow Street for SITE WORKS.

This Thumping Heart is an exciting new piece created by young local dancers together with internationally profiled choreographer Emma Martin, featuring Carlow Youth Orchestra and in association with Carlow Regional Youth Services which will be presented in VISUAL on Thursday 8 June.

Carlow landmark, Duckett’s Grove, will be the venue for the festival finale, CrashLands – a ground-breaking new music project. This ambitious collaboration commissions and showcases new work from Irish and international composers in the ruined splendour of gothic Duckett’s Grove.

A festival favourite in 2016, the Outdoor Cinema will return this year… but this time with a twist. The movie will be chosen by the people of Carlow via


June 7, 2017
June 13, 2017
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