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A Tale of Talks at the Clifden Arts Festival

By August 21, 2017No Comments


Launching on September 14th, the Clifden Arts Festival 2017 will feature over 200 diverse, eclectic events with an innovative programme filled to the brim with literature heavy weights, charming theatre, exciting music events and incredible visual arts spectacles. Renowned for its tales of invigorating talks and fascinating lectures from some of Ireland’s gold standard speakers, this year they will range from symbolism, astronomy, mindfulness to lectures surrounding some of the most important Irish writers of the latter half of the twentieth century such as Seamus Heaney and John McGahern.

Mankind has often long gazed toward the heavens, searching to put meaning and order to the universe around him. David Moore is Ireland’s best known astronomer, who will enlighten audiences at the festival with his exhilarating astronomy talk. In 1990 he founded Astronomy Ireland which has grown to become the biggest astronomy society in the world relative to population with nearly 15,000 Irish people joining in its first 25 years.

Consultant general surgeon Brendan Harding and renowned singer Eleanor Shanley will present a short introduction to basic Jungian psychology and how the unconscious speaks to us through symbols entitled “Jung, symbols and songs of the soul”. They will tell stories from the experiences of clients and how they healed themselves through work with symbols. Harding began Jungian studies 35 years ago and is a teaching member of the international society for Sandplay therapy.

Join spiritual guru Kevin McAleer for a mind-splitting evening of living hilariously in the moment, with his talk entitled ‘Saying Yes To Yes’. He will discuss meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, tree visualization, bananarama yoga, straw bale therapy, psychic flower arranging, firewalking with dolphins, and ego massage. McAleer is universally recognized as Tyrone’s leading Zen Buddhist saint, having trained for thirty three years under the legendary Deepjoy Chakra in Peru.

Eoghan Harris is an Irish journalist, fiction writer, director, columnist and politician. He currently writes for the Sunday Independent newspaper. A member of Seanad Éireann from 2007 to 2011, he has held posts in various and diverse political parties throughout his career. He has also been a short-lived adviser to John Bruton, and an adviser to the Ulster Unionist Party. He is also noted for his screenwriting work; he lectures at IADT, the Irish national film school, and teaches a screenwriting workshop. Harris was for a time a central figure in shaping the current affairs output of Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ). Harris will speak about “Humble Hearts, Gentle gazes, exacting eyes” in a lecture regarding John McGahern who was arguably the most important Irish novelist since Samuel Beckett and William Trevor KBE an Irish novelist, playwright and short story writer. One of the elder statesmen of the Irish literary world, he was widely regarded as one of the greatest contemporary writers of short stories in the English language.

A graduate of Trinity College, Professor Roy Foster was a Foundation Scholar in history, and then subsequently became Professor of Modern British History at Birkbeck College, University of London, as well as holding visiting fellowships at St Anthony’s College, Oxford and Princeton University. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1989, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1986, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1992, and an honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2011.

He specialises in Irish cultural, social and political history in the modern period but has also written about Victorian political history, and is the author of the authorized two-volume biography of the poet W.B.Yeats. Foster will discuss the late Seamus Heaney, the 1995 Nobel laureate in literature, who was often called the greatest Irish poet since Yeats, in a talk entitled “Stations and Islands: literature, memory and negotiating with Irish history”.

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About Clifden Arts Festival

The longest running community arts festival in Ireland, Clifden Community Arts Week, now in its 40th year will take place from September 13th – 24th and yet again promises to have something to excite everyone in this year’s programme. Audiences can expect a very high quality artistic programme with a superb literary, musical and visual art content which again will have the community arts of Clifden and the surrounding hinterland as a central focus with creative writing, music, theatre, graphic design and film workshops and performances taking place in the local schools for the duration of the festival.

2023 Festival Programme