My first real festival adventure of the year was actually three events rolled into one. First I headed to the very top of Donegal, to a village called Malin for Guth Gafa Documentary Festival
followed by a week in Dublin visiting friends and volunteering with both Dublin Writers Festival
and Dublin Dance Festival
. As you can imagine this made for a busy schedule, just the way I like it.
It was Guth Gafa’s first year in Malin and the festival team got an enthusiastic welcome by the local community. We stayed in a couple of lovely houses near the village with sheep grazing outside the window and a short walk to the Green where the festival tent was pitched. There was also the pop-up cinema truck and the world’s smallest cinema, an old phone booth ‘screening’ a short film called Bye Bye Now, about the disappearance of phone booths around Ireland. You can watch it here
. Despite summery temperatures one day and a flood the next, it was a blissful weekend, spending time with old and new friends, volunteers, filmmakers and local folks. I also discovered two lovely bands, who both performed as part of the festival: The Henry Girls
and Kate O’Callaghan
and her husband Seamus.
Then I was off to Dublin, which was exciting after nearly three years of being away, but I also felt like I’d outgrown it somehow after living in Vancouver and now London. Still very nice to be back. Spent a week alternating between Dublin Dance Festival and Dublin Writers Festival, incredible fun! Both festivals had the usual fantastic programme of international and Irish guests and I got to know a lot of interesting people. A typical day would consist of doing a meet & greet with authors at the festival hotel or walking them to the venue, stewarding at a dance performance and helping with box office followed by a few hours at the writers festival club for a gig at the Clarence hotel.
Some of the many highlights at both festivals were: Rebecca Solnit
(brilliant creative essayist), Tom Keneally
(eloquent author of Schindler’s Ark), Kevin Powers
and Ben Fountain
(both ex-soldiers who wrote fascinating novels about the experience of war); the ‘dual’ between Caitlin Moran
(1200 people at sold out NCH!) and Jon Ronson
, both fabulously entertaining; the Dennis O’Driscoll tribute evening with Seamus Heaney; Untrained by Lucy Guerin
(two professional dancers and two non-dancers, humorous and thoughtful performance); Egg Charade
by Aoife McAtamney and Nina Vallon (intense, ironic and playful two-women piece)
It was really one of my best festival trips in a long time and the perfect start to another summer of festivals!
What a lovely tea and cake fuelled evening it was! Thanks to all of you who joined us for DubTeaUp in the Exchange in Temple Bar last night. If you couldn’t make it, here is what you’ve missed:
over 40 tea drinking, cake munching DubTeaUpers from Ireland, France, Poland, the UK, Croatia, Germany and the USA
more than 10 homemade cake offerings including rhubarb tarte, lemon drizzle cake, flapjacks, brownies, cupcakes and welsh cakes
about 30 cute and colourful, feline and other fabulous tea mugs and teapots of all shapes and sizes
two lovely musical interludes by Welsh DubTeaUpers
Some more pix of the night can be found here, feel free to add your own ones.
Thanks to the Exchange for providing the beautiful venue, Dairine of Clement and Pekoe for the enticing tea selection, all the cake bakers and everybody else who contributed in some way or another! 🙂
Here are a few impressions of the Dublin Handel Festival Let’s Walk and Talk Guided Tour and the Messiah in the Street Performance on 13 April 2009
The Let’s Walk and Talk Guided Tour of Handel’s Dublin attracted about 250 history and music enthusiasts on Easter Monday. According to our knowledgeable guide, Pat Liddy, Handel’s contemporaries would have been a lot more rowdy than us. We still managed to stop Dublin traffic a couple of times during our two hour exploration of the city.
Our Lady’s Choral Society performed excerpts from Handel’s Messiah at the original site where its world premiere took place in 1742.
Some patriotic punters came well prepared for whatever the weather would hold. But, hallelujah, umbrellas and rain ponchos weren’t really needed while a strong voice and a good sense of humour were definitely an asset!
Who is it for?
Anyone who likes Handel’s music or enjoys singing and a bit of European history while strolling through some nice parts of Dublin.
Why should I go?
Both the walk and the concert were free and it’s great for meeting new people from all over the world.
What’s the atmosphere like?
There was a mix of people of all ages, it’s not exactly party central, but if you feel like learning something about Dublin without too much of an effort on your part and without spending much money, it’s a brilliant way of seeing the city and listening to some great classical music.
Where can find out more?