Galway Arts Festival

An installation at the Galway Arts Festival

By Declan O'Kelly, Assistant Editor
October / November 2008

The 31st Galway Arts Festival, which ran from July 14-27, was another huge success for both the city and lovers of the arts.  Though Ireland was soaked with enough rain to dampen the most ardent optimist this summer, for 14 days the city of the Tribesmen was drenched with music, theater and art.

One couldn’t take a stroll down the quays without encountering some jovial interference from the many street performers that combed the winding streets of the packed city.

Festival highlights included an installation exhibit by Toronto-based artist Max Streicher, who has spent over 17 years working with large-scale inflatable forms.

The Northlight Theatre Company from Chicago made its Irish debut at the festival with Better Life.  John Mahoney, frequent visitor to Galway and co-star of TV’s Frasier, was lauded for his performance in the play by Larry Gelbart.

Music acts from Blondie to  Tinariwen, and The Dandy Warhols to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, graced the Festival Big Top at Fisheries Fields. Irish stars Ash, Damien Dempsey, Cathey Davey and Lisa Hannigan kept the home flag flying, while the likes of Lúnasa and Maigh Seola made sure traditional Irish music was well represented.

As well as the big names, scores of impromptu musicians and groups busked on the streets in the evenings. Roll on 2009!

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