200 artists and mu­si­cians to bring Celtic colour to Clon

Irish Examiner - County - - News - He­len O’Cal­laghan For more info on the fes­ti­val and the full pro­gramme, visit www.clon­akiltysamhain.com or www.facebook.com/samhain18.

Clon­akilty is all set to cel­e­brate the Celtic fes­ti­val of Samhain, start­ing this Thurs­day and con­tin­u­ing un­til Sun­day evening when 200 per­form­ing artists and mu­si­cians will pa­rade from Astna Square, through the West Cork town’s main street and on to Em­met Square for a mas­sive drum and fire show fi­nale.

Themed Away with the Faeries and show­cas­ing fig­ures and crea­tures from the four realms of Celtic mythol­ogy, the pa­rade will be a spec­ta­cle to wake the dead.

It is fit­ting, be­cause in the Celtic pe­riod of Samhain — Oc­to­ber 31 to Novem­ber 4 — our an­ces­tors be­lieved the bound­ary be­tween this world and the ‘Other­world’ could be crossed more eas­ily and that it was eas­ier for the Aos Sí, the faeries or spir­its, to come into our world.

“In this week of Samhain, it’s be­lieved the veil be­tween the liv­ing world and that of the de­parted is very thin, that we’re very close to peo­ple who have passed and to ev­ery­thing that isn’t hu­man, but mys­tic and fairy,” said Lisa Brinkmann, who, along with Mark Dougherty, Ciara Hef­fer­nan and Ro­nan McLough­lin is a mem­ber of Geata Arts, a com­mu­nity arts group or­gan­is­ing the fes­ti­val.

“Samhain cel­e­brates the Celtic New Year and the be­gin­ning of win­ter.

“It marks the end of har­vest time, when life is dor­mant and rest­ing and we’re en­ter­ing the darker months,” ex­plained Lisa.

She said the Clon­akilty fes­ti­val is about tap­ping into the Celtic tra­di­tion, rather than the more Amer­i­can­ised ver­sion of Hal­loween.

In ad­di­tion to the street pa­rade, Geata Arts has or­gan­ised a pro­gramme of events run­ning through­out the week­end.

It fea­tures a talk by Mar­i­anne Caulfield on the an­cient art of keen­ing and by Jenny But­ler on the mythol­ogy of Samhain. There will be a theatre per­for­mance in De Barra’s Folk Club about a 19th-cen­tury woman who died by sui­cide, re­turn­ing to de­mand her right to a grave and a de­cent place to rest.

A bodhrán work­shop by Kíla’s Rónán Ó Sn­odaigh and an acous­tic can­dle­light gig are other high­lights.

Cork County Lord Mayor Pa­trick Ger­ard Mur­phy will open the fes­ti­val, now in its sec­ond year, and, as part of pro­ceed­ings, he will open the Shrine of Re­mem­brance in Spillers Lane.

The shrine is a wo­ven wil­low struc­ture al­low­ing ev­ery­one to leave a lit­tle note or bless­ing in mem­ory of some­one dear that they’ve lost.

“What­ever our spir­i­tual be­liefs, send­ing loved ones a bless­ing or prayer is a beau­ti­ful ges­ture that helps with the pain of grief, be­cause grief is an on­go­ing process and through rit­ual we get healing,” said Lisa.

Pic­ture: Sean Casey

A scene from Samhain in Clon­akilty’s Em­met Street last year. The Samhain fes­ti­val, which runs from this Thurs­day to Sun­day, taps into our Celtic tra­di­tion rather than the more Amer­i­can­ised ver­sion of Hal­loween.

Pic­tures: Anna Groniecka and Michael Plaice

Scenes from Astna Square in Clon­akilty dur­ing last year’s Samhain fes­ti­val. Cork County Lord Mayor Pa­trick Ger­ard Mur­phy will open this year’s fes­ti­val on Thurs­day, in­clud­ing open­ing a Shrine of Re­mem­brance in Spillers Lane.

Pic­ture: Anna Groniecka

The Samhain fes­ti­val in Clon­akilty will cul­mi­nate in a pa­rade with the theme of ‘Away with the Faeries’.

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