Culture Night at a glance
Next Friday, September 22 will see a Culture Night blitz on County Cavan like never before. Frustratingly it’s impossible to get to everything as there’s over 50 free events spanning the 100km between Dowra and Tierworker. So difficult decisions, careful planning - and occasionally booking - is required. Here DAMIAN MCCARNEY picks out some of the many many highlights to catch in an uber-busy Culture Night.
TRAD & FOLK
With tickets for Drumlane seven piece Éiru already snapped up for the Ramor Theatre, the choices are a little easier. McDermott’s Bar, Ballinagh anticipate a lively mix of music, dancing, singing and recitation as they host Breffni Trad Orchestra from 7.30pm. However, the most enchanting venue of any event this Culture Night is the Rath Church in Killeshandra where the town’s CCE perform 8–9pm. Continuing on the intriguing venues theme are the trad sessions in ‘Connolly Brother’s Shop’ on Main St from 8-9.30pm with guests including the Ceolminers; and the Fair Green Community Garden where Martin Donohoe, singer Karina Charles and artist AlanJames Burns stage the Climatwise Culture Céilí for 4-5.30pm. For those out west, Cathal Hickey and Malcolm Kindness play Dowra Courthouse from 9.30pm.
Street Life returns after its rip-roaring success in 2022. Comedy, circus, and absurdity prevail in these shows guaranteed to make all ages laugh!
The Townhall Cavan, Outdoor Performance Area hosts “modern day vaudevillian”, Jack Wise. Winner of the coveted title of Festival World Champion his show is a rollercoaster ride of magic, sword-swallowing and hilarious ventriloquism! Jack will share the stage with ‘The Trap’, a performance lauded as “Sublime slapstick and poetic pratfalls, mad music, peculiar props and hilarious physical comedy.”
Meanwhile Morbid & Sons sees the Morbid family put the “fun” back in to funerals by singing humorous songs about hideous deaths, and hold a demonstration funeral.
There’s more kids’ fun over in Dowra too with pottery workshops with Jim Fee at Dowra Courthouse from 4pm (Booking essential. 0872502980) and percussion workshop aims to teach kids how to play a tune or two with Barbara & Tony at the same venue from 5.30pm.
Making a welcome return to the streets of Cavan Town is The Cottage Market which, organised by the amazing Imelda Mullen, is essentially a food festival within a festival. They will showcase Cavan’s food culture centred on the idea of “local, fresh, and seasonal.”
On Cavan’s Market Square you can catch the Fly-by-Night Parasol Jazz Band as this this fun group of local musicians perform New Orleans themed music under the parasol from 5-7pm. You needn’t move from the spot, as the music continues on the Market Square with Breffni band KCD showcase their own original music from 7-8pm. Expect to see a poet or two join them!
If that doesn’t float your boat in nearby Kilmore Church, Cavan ‘Performance’ sees Eileen Coyle and The Kilmore Ensemble featuring Fr. Darragh Connolly (tenor and uilleann pipes), Peter Flynn (classical guitar) and Eileen Tackney (piano) take to the altar from 7.30pm .
Elsewhere ‘Culture Night in Song’ at St. Mary’s Church, Castlerahan at 7.30pm promises to bring a smile to your face and send you home full of joy featuring the acclaimed Virginia Gospel Choir.
To end the night on the right note, one of the most exciting music acts to emerge from the county in years, Odd Numbers - AKA Ódhran O’Brien - will take to Blessing’s stage at 9.30pm for the very first time. He’ll be accompanied by his MC mates Wallfella and Flynn Johnson, for an energetic evening of contemporary Hip-Hop and R’n’B. Don’t miss it.
There’s so much visual arts, it’s impossible to get it all in here, but a few highlights include the inspirational Bailieborough Creative Hub launch their new group exhibition entitled ‘Perspective’ at their local Library at 7pm. ‘The Empty Vessel’ a gallery installation and film by Mark St. John Ellis (20 minutes) will be informally shown on a loop in the Gallery Space of Townhall, Cavan between 6–8pm, and the creative mind behind it will give a short talk in the Café at 7pm. Climb upstairs and you can meet the renowned sculptor Marie Smith who discusses her work on portraiture (4.30-6.30pm). Or you can call up to artist Jackie O’Neill’s First Floor studio at the corner of Main St and Bridge Street, Cavan for ‘The Cavan Town in Dreamtime’ group show launch. This brings together work from artists Mark Lawlor, Paul Galligan, and graphic designers Jonty O’Neill and Greg Meehan. Runs from 6-8.30pm.
Talented playwright Tara Maria Lovett premieres her new drama The Half Coat at Cavan County Museum in Ballyjamesduff. The play, which starts at 8pm, was inspired by an item in the first ever edition of The Anglo-Celt. The Determinator heads to its spiritual home as John McManus’s truly hilarious adventure, set in Dowra, is staged at the village’s courthouse (8–9pm). Starring the superb Charlie McGuinness it charts one young man’s seemingly impossible trek from Dowra to New York City to win back his ex-girlfriend’s heart.
Fresh from playing Smock Alley, the one-act theatre piece ‘Work in Progress’ plays Johnston Central Library at 7pm. Directed by Bernadette McDermott it follows Wilson Reynolds, who is unable to complete his drama script no matter how hard he tries.
GIVE IT A LASH
Culture Night isn’t just the chance to appreciate other people’s creative side - you too may be inspired.
Got a creaky stanza? Suffering from a wonky rhyme? Well poet and poetry pharmacist, Mairéad Donnellan will host a series of personal ‘clinics’ at Bailieborough Library lasting between 10-15 minutes where she’s bound to have a cure for all that ails your verse. Runs from 5–8.30pm; bookings. (042) 966 5779.
Widfest in Belturbet will celebrate a feast of culture - learn cúpla focal, taste homemade soda bread, join in the art of macrame and soy wax candle making. End the night with a variety of poetry, storytelling, and live music - all in The Widow’s Bar from 8pm.
‘Sip & Paint’ sees artist Laura Brady provide a fun step by step guided painting over two hours in Cronin’s Bar, Ballinagh from 7.30pm (booking essential), and after there’s a live trad session led by Lorcan Brady and Niamh Taggart till late!
And finally, for something totallly different - instructors from Cavan Kendo Kai will demonstrate three Japanese martial arts: Kendo, Jodo and Iaido at the Scouts Den, Cavan from 7.30–9.30pm.