This year’s Éigse an Spidéil will kick off on Wednesday next March 6 and will run until Sunday, March 10, featuring music, poetry, visual art, storytelling and a local walk.
The festival highlight will be the world premiere of Sruth, a newly-composed suite by Mary Bergin and Johnny Óg Connolly, to be performed by a group of invited musicians on Saturday, March 9.
An exhibition. which will open on Wednesday next at 8.30pm in Leabharlann an Spidéil will feature the work of artists Martha Williamson, Ruth Cadden, Ciara Ní Chualáin and Kevin O’Kelly and will run until March 10.
The Éigse proper will open on Thursday at 8pm in Óstán na Páirce – Park Lodge Hotel – and that will be followed by a concert of young sean-nós singers from the local arts school, An Gaelacadamh. At 9pm a CD of songs from local sean-nós singer Pat Phádraic Tom Ó Conghaile, who died in 2010 will be launched. The evening will close with a music session in Tigh Hughes starting at 10pm.
Poetry and music will take centre stage on Friday, March 8 in Ardán na hÉigse at An Tobar in the village. The event, which starts at 8pm, will feature guest poet Nuala Ní Dhómhnaill and guest composer Máire Breatnach as well as an Open Mic session for Connemara poets.
This will be followed by a traditional music session in An Tobar, starting at 10.30.
On Saturday, March 9 events kick off at midday with Peatsaí Ó Cheannabháin’s sean-nós singing competition for under 18s in Óstán na Páirce. Later that afternoon, from 1.30-4.30pm there will be an Accordion Workshop with Paudie O’Connor and a Fiddle Workshop with Aoife O’Keefe. Both will be in Coláiste Chonnacht and the cost is €20 each.
At 8pm the Éigse an Spidéil Concert will take place in Óstán na Páirce, with music in the first half from Tommy Keane, Jacqueline McCarthy and Pádraic Keane.
That will be followed by the first performance of Sruth, a suite commissioned by an Gaelacadamh and written by Mary Bergin and Johnny Óg Connolly.
Musicians performing the piece will include the composers as well as Máire Breatnach, Garry Ó Briain, Colm Gannon, Brian McGrath, Jim Higgins, Yvonne Kane, Éilís Lennon, Dearbhaill Standún and Plunkett Ó Tuathaill. Tickets for this concert are €15.
Afterwards, at 10.30 there will be a traditional music session with Paudie O’Connor and Aoife O’Keefe in the hotel.
The Éigse will come to a close on March 10 with a guided walk in Spiddal from 12 noon to 1pm. At the same time, actor Diarmuid de Faoite will host a storytelling session in Coláiste Chonnacht. Finally, at 2pm, there will be a closing session and presentation of the award ‘Laoch an Traidisiúin’ (Hero of the Tradition) with local musicians and singers at Tigh Hughes.