Clonmel pupils celebrate the River Suir with special Junction Festival tapestry

Clonmel pupils celebrate the River Suir with special Junction Festival tapestry

Work underway on the magnificent tapestry at St. Oliver's NS in Clonmel.

 Clonmel Junction Arts Festival has sprung anew with the theme of this year’s festival centring around the River Suir and the wealth of creativity that springs from the area. 

The sheer number of amazing artists who hail from the town, or are connected to it in some way, is something that Clonmel is rightly proud of, and this year Clonmel Junction Arts Festival is celebrating these artists with our HOME-GROWN HEROES strand. 

From talented writer-director Eve O’Mahony to iconic DJ and activist Tonie Walsh, local artists are at the heart of CJAF18.  

Clonmel Junction Arts Festival is one for all the people and the Festival has programmed as broad a range of events as possible.

 Participation is back at the heart of the Festival and Creative Ireland have very kindly supported a number of programmes to help make this possible.  In the months leading up to the Festival, artists have been working with local schools and community groups, and the fruits of their labours will be proudly displayed in a series of unique events around the town from 02 – 08 July.  

This year’s Primary School Art Project – FLOW - sees artist Patricia Looby working with local primary school children to create a new artwork for the Festival. 

Throughout May and June, over 220 pupils from seven local primary schools have been at work on a magnificent hand-stitched tapestry celebrating the River Suir. 

The finished tapestry will be on display throughout the Festival at the old church in Kickham Barracks.  

Visiting St. Oliver’s primary school, on Friday, June 8, Creative Ireland Coordinator Róisín O'Grady spoke of the artwork as a great legacy to the principles of community engagement embodied by the Creative Ireland programme and the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival: “I was delighted to visit St Olivers to see Patricia Looby and the students work on the FLOW project. Using the River Suir and the Bayeux tapestry as her inspiration, this initiative is at the core of what the Creative Ireland programme is about in engaging communities in creativity. 

“I am very much looking forward to seeing the final piece on display in Kickham Barracks during the festival, a fantastic legacy to the project.” 

Other events in the Festival’s community participation strand include works from two more of our Home-Grown Heroes: leading-artist Maurice Caplice’s new sculptures The River Animals Take to the Streets and break-out choreographer Olwyn Lyons’ participatory project Age of Influence.  

Maurice Caplice has created The River Animals Take to the Streets, a series of public sculptures based on river animals, otters, heron and kingfisher, but he’s looking to the public to help complete them! 

During the Festival, you can unleash your creative side with this exciting new collaborative project that invites you to help finish these wonderful public sculptures celebrating the wildlife associated with the river. For more information please see the CJAF website or social media channels as the festival approaches.  

“We live in the Age of Influence, where anyone can build an audience, an image and a brand. But in a world of clicks, Twitter storms and ‘likes’, how do young people find their own voice?”  

During the Festival week, choreographer Olwyn Lyons will embark on an exciting new collaboration with young local dancers, exploring the ways in which information technology is shaping the views of young people in Ireland today. 

Drawing inspiration from Olwyn’s background in hip hop and contemporary dance, and accompanied by a rhythmical score, Age of Influence is set to be a powerful, imaginative dance piece showcasing the best of local talent.   Olwyn will also run a dance workshop for the over 55's in the Barrack Gym on Friday 6 July at 12pm.

 So, whether you’re into award-winning theatre or cutting-edge dance, the latest new bands or 1920s-style jazz, death-defying circus or clowning around, there’s something to satisfy all ages and tastes. 

Whatever you do this year, we hope you embrace the festival in all its many forms. You won’t regret it – it’s a #SuirThing. See the full programme today at