Hig­gins, Moore for Féile na Laoch

Irish Examiner - County - - News - PEtkO’CON­NELL

Pres­i­dent and poet Michael D Hig­gins and singer-song­writer Christy Moore are among the artists to con­firm their par­tic­i­pa­tion in this sum­mer’s Féile na Laoch in Cúil Aodha.

Mr Hig­gins was among the po­ets on stage when Féile na Laoch — fes­ti­val of heroes — was last held seven years ago, shortly be­fore he was elected pres­i­dent.

A noted writer with four po­etry col­lec­tions to his name, Pres­i­dent Hig­gins re­turns to a field in Cúil Aodha on the Cork-Kerry bor­der at the end of July to take part in an ope­nair fes­ti­val with per­for­mances by ‘heroes’ of the arts of mu­sic, song, dance, story, po­etry, drama, and sport.

Christy Moore has also con­firmed his par­tic­i­pa­tion, hav­ing de­scribed the 2011 féile as “per­haps the best fes­ti­val I have ever at­tended”.

A multi-dis­ci­plinary arts fes­ti­val, Féile na Laoch is or­gan­ised ev­ery seven years in hon­our of the com­poser Seán Ó Ri­ada, whose works in­clude the mu­si­cal score for the iconic 1960 film Mise Éire.

The in­au­gu­ral féile in his adopted vil­lage of Cúil Aodha was a two-part cel­e­bra­tion both of Ó Ri­ada’s 80th birth­day and 40 years since his death. It in­cluded an overnight ‘Aer­aíocht’ com­mem­o­rat­ing the com­poser and a host of mod­ern-day cul­tural heroes.

The 2018 fes­ti­val will again be in two parts, the first tak­ing place be­tween July 27 and Au­gust 1, Ó Ri­ada’s birth­day, and the clos­ing part on Septem­ber 28-30, coinciding with the date of the com­poser’s death in 1971.

Among the high­lights of the first part of Féile na Laoch are:

An open­ing pa­rade and street party in Cúil Aodha on July 27.

Lá na gCe­oltóirí on July 28, in­clud­ing a pipers’ con­fer­ence led by Mick O’Brien, and a harpers’ con­ven­tion the same day, led by Laoise Kelly.

Past winners of both the singing and mu­sic com­pe­ti­tions named in hon­our of Seán Ó Ri­ada, the Corn Uí Ri­ada and Seán Ó Ri­ada gold medal, will per­form on the same stage for the first time, in a spe­cial con­cert on July 28.

A Pil­grim­age Day on July 29 be­gins with 10am Mass broad­cast live from Cúil Aodha on Raidió na Gaeltachta. At noon four sep­a­rate pil­grim­ages leave the vil­lage, to the ‘City’ at Cathair Crobh Dearg, the holy sites of saints Gob­nait and Abán in Baile Mhúirne and Naomh Lach­taín in Cill na Mar­tra, and to Gougane Barra, with talks at each site. A meet­ing on church mu­sic un­der the di­rec­tion of John O’Ke­effe of Maynooth Uni­ver­sity will be fol­lowed by a re­li­gious mu­sic Tene­brae, with the lights in Cúil Aodha church quenched one by one, to the singing of Cór Chúil Aodha, Cór Ban Chúil Aodha, and a choir from Maynooth.

Lá na nÓg on July 30 in­cludes youth com­pe­ti­tions in sports, art, mu­sic, and chess, and Féile na Laoch medals for winners, the day end­ing with a céilí.

‘An Mór Aonach’ on Tues­day July 31: A cul­tural ex­hi­bi­tion hon­our­ing the heroes of Féile na Laoch, with an ora­tion from Pres­i­dent Hig­gins. Par­tic­i­pants will pa­rade to the field where each dis­ci­pline of artists will per­form on stage for one hour, start­ing at 9.30pm with recita­tions and sto­ry­telling. The stage will be ro­tated to the right be­tween dis­ci­plines, un­til sun­rise on Au­gust 1, when ‘Mise Éire’ will be played by a massed orches­tra. At 6am sport­ing heroes will emerge over the hills to play a short GAA game.

Au­gust 1 sees an in­ter­na­tional war pipes com­pe­ti­tion on the banks of the River Sul­lane.

A film com­pe­ti­tion, in the spirit of is open to new films ad­dress­ing the ques­tion of who or what is Ire­land.

Broad­caster, com­poser, and choir di­rec­tor Peadar Ó Ri­ada, el­dest son of Seán Ó Ri­ada, is the driv­ing force be­hind Féile na Laoch. He ex­plained that the events will be free of charge, with the ex­cep­tion of the con­cert of Corn Uí Ri­ada and Ó Ri­ada Gold Medal winners, which has lim­ited seat­ing ca­pac­ity. All artists are per­form­ing free of charge, but in order to de­fray costs, the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee is seek­ing spon­sor­ship in the form of ad­ver­tis­ing in a com­mem­o­ra­tive book­let.

He rec­om­mended those wish­ing to take part in the film and youth com­pe­ti­tions, and those at­tend­ing the pip­ing and harp con­fer­ences, to com­plete on­line forms avail­able on feile­nalaoch.com.

Pic­ture: Maxwells

Pres­i­dent Michael D Hig­gins: One of the po­ets ap­pear­ing at Féile na Laoch in Cúil Aodha on July 31.

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