Conamara Bog Week celebrates its 33rd year this May with a nine day festival packed with walks, talks, music and poetry, all in honour of the rugged landscape that surrounds the village of Letterfrack in Connemara.
Festival goers are invited to engage in Connemara Bog Walks, which will take place daily from Monday to Friday. Morning walks will be led by local ecologist Marie Louise Heffernan and the afternoon walks will be led by a member of the staff of Connemara National Park.
During the week, acclaimed ecologist Gordon D’Arcy will give a talk entitled ‘Connemara Explored’ in the Connemara National Park which will also play host to a poetry reading by Theo Dorgan, Moya Cannon and Michael Gorman as well as the launch of the Letterfrack Poetry Trail book on Sunday 4 June.
This collection will include a poem from President Michael D. Higgins and nine specially commissioned poems from some of Ireland’s finest poets such as Paula Meehan. The trail consists of nine specially commissioned poems on plaques in the National Park, in the Connemara West Centre and in the village of Letterfrack. The poets involved are Paula Mehan, Louis dePaor, Mary O’Malley, Joan McBreen, Eva Bourke, Theo Dorgan, Rita Ann Higgins, Michael Gorman and Moya Cannon and the poems explore the importance of place in all our lives.
Historian and archaeologist Ned Kelly, former keeper of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, will meanwhile bring archaeology to life during ‘Walking Connemara’ excursions as part of Bog Week. Other experts will include John O’Halloran, who has over 20 years’ experience in the field of unique travel, Dr Dave McGrath, marine biologist and former lecturer at the Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology and ecologist, herbalist and botanist Sinead Keane and musician Conor Keane, who will delight all while discovering the mysteries of the Connemara bog lands.
The Active Age Club celebration will take place mid week. This is a stylish lunch for older members of the community in Rosleague Manor, with music from Marcus Hernon and Don Stiffe. Other mid week events will include a road race, poetry reading and pub gigs. On the Bank Holiday weekend there will be a children’s print workshop with artist Bernie Dignam and the opening of the art exhibition which will feature the work of artists Angie Williams, David Keane and Tanya Doyne.
The Kane Sisters and Cyril O’ Donoghue, Conor Keane and piper Blackie O’Connell will meanwhile bring music and madness to Molly’s Bar.
The whole family can get involved at the Conamara Bog Week Festival with the 5km family run, jog or walk which is a fundraiser for youth activities organised by Forum. This will be followed by Family Fun Day in Letterfrack. The first weekend will also be wrapped in music with Luka Bloom, The Hernon Family with Don Stiffe, and The Screaming Bluecats.
As well as traditional music you will find concerts in the Gothic Church at Kylemore Abbey providing an eclectic mix of music with Ellen Cranitch and friends and The Jimmy Fitz Trio. For more contemporary sounds the Veldon’s Bar will host The Paul O’Driscoll Trio, My Fellow Sponges and The John Conneely Trio.
The ever popular schools programme will take place throughout the week. As well as working in the classroom, ecologists will be taking children under their wing on field trips, helping them to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of their home.
The award winning Conamara Environmental Education & Cultural Centre was set up in 1984 by three local teachers. CEECC manage a series of events similar to Bog Week, and the centre has won a number of awards including the Premier Award for the Arts and Premier Award for Heritage in County Galway.
This annual event, which takes place in Letterfrack from 28 May to 5 June, will have its usual eclectic mix of music, art, wildlife and sport. “This festival provides a space in which the whole community young and old can express themselves in a variety of different ways,” says Leo Hallissey, festival director.
For additional information on Conamara Bog Week 2017 visit www.cultural connemara.com
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