Excitement builds for Cashel Arts Festival, September 19 - 22

The centre-piece of the festival is once again the Culture Night Street Spectacular, on Friday (September 20)

Eoin Kelleher


Eoin Kelleher



Excitement builds for Cashel Arts Festival, September 19 - 22

The Procession of Light starts at St John the Baptist Cathedral grounds on Friday September 20. Gathering 7.45pm for 8pm start

Cashel Arts Festival, now in its seventeenth year, runs from Thursday, September 19, to Sunday, September 22.

The centre-piece of the festival is once again the Culture Night Street Spectacular, on Friday (September 20).

This year’s show by LUXE, will give us music, dance, theatrical lighting, sound, sculptures and costumes in celebration of Cashel’s 700-year-old walls, culminating in a fire drawing finalé in The Rock Car Park.

Padraig O'Mahuna: A Retrospective Exhibition will celebrate and honour Cashel native, Pádraig Ó Mathúna as silversmith, goldsmith, painter and enamellist.  As well as an extensive display of his work there will be talks by his daughter Siobhán Ní Mhathúna and his nephew Cian O’Carroll promising a fascinating insight into the life and work of one of Ireland’s foremost silversmith’s who died earlier this year.

The music and song element of the festival will feature The Trintones, an unaccompanied-singing male voice harmony group of students from Trinity College, Dublin, one of whom is local man Eoin Hand.

There is also sweetly melodic pop music from David Kitt, while as a free event on Culture Night we have the Drawing Room Opera Company with operatic duets by Puccini, Mozart, Bellini, Berlin, Hammerstein and more (see story top right). Also free on Culture Night is the ever lovable Wig Wam Glam Band while if you fancy a tinkle on our ivories our Community Piano is there for you the whole weekend.

In theatre there is a powerful play based on one man’s experience of growing up in a GAA community.

Spliced is just back from a highly successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe and this very visceral piece of physical theatre can be seen at the handball alley; (Thursday, Sept. 19 at 8.30pm); while in Áran agus Im, Manchán Magan bakes his bread while chatting in Irish and English about the priceless wisdom we have in our native language.

In the literature, talks and poetry part of our programme, pride of place goes to The Bolton Lecture in the Cathedral (Saturday, 6pm) which this year features the world renowned international human rights lawyer, Philippe Sands.

His talk will be based on his latest book East West Street: On the Origins of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide and will reflect on the origins of modern justice and will be interspersed with pianist Guillaume de Chassy on the Grand Piano playing music by Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Misraki and Leonard Cohen.

We are also delighted to feature Cashel children’s writer Rebecca Lenehan who in conjunction with Cashel Heritage and Development Trust will help the little ones discover the secrets and stories of the walls of Cashel including the Hackett Effigies.

Trevor Sargent, life long environmentalist and one time Green party leader will give a talk and demonstration on the theme of American hero Johnny Appleseed, whose love of apples changed the course of history. Trevor, who is a fluent Irish speaker, was ordained a priest in the Church of Ireland in 2017.

This year’s poetry event invites you to join poets Thomas McCarthy, Rachel Hegarty, Mark Granier and Grace Wells at the Rock of Cashel as they read poems on the theme of heritage. The four poets will tour the Rock in a spirit of poetic reflection and will return in 2020 to present new work inspired by their visit to the Rock.

In a new departure for the festival the visual arts programme is being curated by local artist Emma Lucy O’Brien (artistic director at VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow).

Stone sculptures will be created by artists working with local children in celebration of the association in legend between the Rock of Cashel and the Devil’s Bit mountain. Stories will be told; an exhibition of work will be held and a film will be made. A separate exhibition will feature the pottery of three Irish pottery pioneers, Graham Freyer, John ffrench and Cormac Boydell.

The children’s programme includes workshops in dance, arts and crafts, music, lantern and mandala making and storytelling. There is a horrible histories puppet show as well, of course, as the street spectacular on Culture Night. Emma-Lucy O’Brien will open the festival, with the Pádraig Ó Mathúna Retrospective Exhibition and Cashel Arts Festival Ceramic Tile Project on Thursday, September 19 at 7pm.

The festival will run until Sunday, Sept. 22. Booking at the Heritage Centre 61333 or at Cashelartsfest.com. Or pick up a brochure at your local library or The Bookworm, Thurles. Any queries please to Paul Maher PRO at 087 4135228.