Cashel Arts Festival launched in the Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary

Eoin Kelleher


Eoin Kelleher


Cashel Arts Festival launched in the Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary

Cashel Arts Festival 2017 was launched in the medieval splendour of the Vicar’s Choral, Rock of Cashel, yesterday evening at 6pm, promising a wealth of art, drama, music, and culture to suit every taste over the coming weekend. 

Chairperson Anne Marie O’Donnell said the theme of this year’s festival is ‘home’, and it was particularly fitting to host the launch adjacent to the audio-visual room which will show the Wexford based film ‘Staid’ this evening (Friday Sept. 22 at 9pm) which stands for much of what the festival is about.

“The modernity of the projector contrasting with our ancient traditions here in the Rock of Cashel,” said Ms O’Donnell. “On Sunday, ballad singers will sing ancient stirring ballads in that same room next door. The festival offers a juxtaposition of the ancient and the modern, the old, the new, the traditional, and the innovative.”

 “Our festival is unified under the theme of ‘home’. Home is a concept that refuses to be tied to a single meaning, brought to life through half-remembered fragments of poetry, the rhythm and rhyme of a voice raised in song. Home can be sparked by a photograph, the image speaking to memories locked in time and held in the heart. These memories can be released by feel, texture, smell or simple representations of craft,” added Ms O’Donnell, and all the workshops and arts events this year reflect this in one way or another.

Opening speeches were also made by Cllr John Crosse and Cllr Roger Kennedy, representing the Comhaoirleach and Leas Comhaoirleach of Tipperary Co. Council.

Cashel native Diarmaid O’Leary officially opened this year’s festival and Pat Looby’s exhibition in the Vicar’s Choral, Rock of Cashel. Diarmaid is uniquely positioned to speak on the theme of ‘home’ as he has worked and lived abroad for many years in his role as a diplomat in the Civil Service. Diarmaid, who worked in overseas missions to the EU (Brussels), Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Japan, joked that he might not be regarded as a ‘blow-in’, but could be seen a ‘blow back’ to Cashel after so many years in far flung regions.

“I have to confess that when I left first, after finishing in the old CBS on the Golden Road, that I couldn’t wait for the adventure ahead, first in Dublin, and then overseas. My emigrant experience was probably quite different to many others’, because I worked for the State. That sense of Ireland, and Cashel, being ‘home’ was always very immediate,” said Diarmaid.

“ It took absence, and return, to realise that Cashel, and the Rock, is a “really powerful anchor, and gives us an extraordinary sense of identity, and place, when you’re based overseas. For me, that manifested itself in pictures of the Rock hanging on walls, and displays of local arts & crafts. We certainly didn’t serve Ferrero Rocher at Receptions,” joked Diarmaid. “We served Cashel Blue Cheese!”

The full programme of events can be downloaded at and and continues today, and over the weekend until Sunday.