Dress­ing up is the or­der of the day as Mark Gra­ham vis­its a Vik­ing in­va­sion in Wick­low and a Nazi blitz in Wex­ford

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN& GAMES - ayearoffes­ti­valsinire­land.com

‘Kevin. Stop an­noy­ing the Vik­ings,” a mother chas­tised her son last Sun­day morn­ing at Wick­low Arts Fes­ti­val, as hairy ma­raud­ers rubbed sleep from their eyes and read­ied them­selves for a day of sideshow swash­buck­ling. The Vik­ings were emerg­ing from fur-lined tents that formed an im­promptu vil­lage down on the banks of the Vartry in “Bac na Soar” (that’s Wick­low town to you and me). They weren’t quite “on duty” just yet, but this didn’t stop lit­tle Kevin pok­ing them with a stick, look­ing for a fight. Kevin felt his mother’s ad­mon­ish­ment was un­just and mis­placed. “They started it!” said the young fella, with as firm a grasp on his­tory as he had on that stick.

Some­times it’s the lit­tle quirks en­coun­tered at fes­ti­vals that make a last­ing im­pres­sion. A short film fes­ti­val in Schull seems rel­a­tively straight­for­ward un­til you con­sider that, in this painfully pic­turesque West Cork ham­let, they have no cin­ema. “Our vil­lage is our screen,” they’ll hap­pily tell you. Build­ings all over town be­come pop-up pic­ture palaces. There are off-shore screen­ings of short films out on Long Is­land, events that in­vite you to have a lit­tle lie-down while the short films hap­pen above your head and the whole vil­lage be­comes con­nected by what seems like a very so­phis­ti­cated wi-fi net­work for re­mote West Cork, al­low­ing you to watch the films any­where in Schull on your tech­no­log­i­cal weapon of choice.

The di­rec­tor Jim Sheridan was blown away this year – not by the in­cred­i­bly friendly at­mos­phere, the stan­dard of shorts in the com­pe­ti­tion, or the vil­lage it­self, but be­cause the or­gan­is­ers ar­ranged for him to be­come a tem­po­rary mem­ber of the Schull Com­mu­nity In­shore Res­cue Ser­vice team and he was brought out for train­ing in the lifeboat.


These lit­tle quirks be­come scream­ing kinks this bank-hol­i­day weekend, when the in­ten­sity of our ses­sions gets cranked up an­other notch as peak fes­ti­valling sea­son ap­proaches. The level of real-life Fa­ther Ted­ness out on the trail this weekend is epic. The sea­side vil­lage of Dun­can­non, Co Wex­ford will be in­vaded by a host of troops for the Dun­can­non Fort Mil­i­tary Re-en­act­ment and Ve­hi­cle Show. There will be soldiers of all de­scrip­tions, but ex­pect a large de­tach­ment of Nazis, a sight I al­ways find amus­ing in the scenic sea­side town. The comic value of their pres­ence is en­hanced if you man­age to en­gage one in con­ver­sa­tion about the pros and cons of Galway’s in­clu­sion in the Le­in­ster Hurl­ing Cham­pi­onship. It makes for an in­ter­est­ing weekend.

An­other event that wouldn’t seem out of place on Craggy Is­land is the Foynes Ir­ish Cof­fee Fes­ti­val (the town lays claim to hav­ing been home to the first-ever Ir­ish Cof­fee). Not only will the Pow­ers Ir­ish Cof­fee-Mak­ing Cham­pi­onships be held in a fly­ing boat mu­seum, the semi-fi­nal of the Bir­ney Madi­gan Me­mo­rial Cup will be held on Fri­day night, there will be a Clowns and Ro­bots fancy dress party, and on hand to sing about the DTs will be Christy Moore im­per­son­ator Liam Byrne. I just hope to God that Sun­day night’s fire­works tech­ni­cian isn’t on the whiskey too.

The big bashes this weekend are For­bid­den Fruit in Dublin’s Kil­main­ham, Cat Laughs in Kilkenny, Bloom in the Phoenix Park, Lis­towel Writ­ers’ Week, The Rory Gal­lagher Trib­ute Fes­ti­val in Ballyshan­non and the In­nis­han­non Steam & Vin­tage Rally in Co Cork. It’ll be dif­fi­cult to limit my­self to three.

This night last week was spent out­side Schull, by a bon­fire on a beach near Goleen, watch­ing a me­teor shower streak white over­head, while Fast­net Light­house strobed bright on the hori­zon. The com­pany was good, the beer stayed cold and it just went to show that some­times it’s your own fringe events that make a weekend mem­o­rable. Wher­ever you go and what­ever you get up to this Whit Weekend, make like young Kevin and give it some stick.

Safe trav­els, don’t die.



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