Niamh’s Weblog, as you will know, has usually focused on Connemara Pony events in Clifden and elsewhere, mainly reviewing Shows, Stallion Parades, Sales and so on, for almost ten years now without a break.
Yet this year for the first time, I was intrigued to see half-hidden parts of this historic town of Clifden which I never knew existed. Have you taken the Walking tour and walked away from the traffic, along the old main street and have you seen (among other gems) the massive windowless walls of the old lugubrious Clifden Gaol, scene of woeful heartbreak in Clifden’s past, especially in famine times? If not, you have a treat in store. Our visit coincided with the town’s marvellous mid-September Arts Festival, which has been going from strength to strength over the past 38 years and the walking-tour guide, Kathleen Villiers Tuttle, is a local historian who keeps her audience spellbound throughout the tour.
The community contribution is outstanding in this town with literally hundreds of volunteers involved and 10 days of continuous happenings making it a joyful venue for lovers of painting, sculpture, poetry, drama, art, film and history, with concerts, many featuring local musicians, traditional, classic and jazz day and night, lectures and performances, writings, and all varieties of entertainment. Fidget Feet and other performers visit the local schools, and there are daily workshops for the lucky students in such diverse topics as art, history, singing, poetry, stilt-walking (yes!), basket-weaving and Bodhrán playing and much else besides. Footsbarn travelling theatre company had their tents in the Showgrounds and the town was positively buzzing. All venues were well attended and the diversity of this 2016 Festival was extraordinary. Niamh’s weblog was lucky enough to get permission from specialist in aerial photography, Fearghus Foyle, to use two of his drone photos. You can visit his site at http://www.aerialeye.ie Many clever people book their annual September break in Clifden as they know of the quality, fun and colour to be found there. See you there next year.