TWO big names from Limerick will headline the second Ballybunion Arts Festival next month.

he blindboy Boatclub, irreverent and always incisive, and Louise Mulcahy, stunning trad talent from Abbeyfeale, are just two of the names that will fly to the station from July 21st to 24th.

Although less than a year old, the Ballybunion Arts Festival is already becoming a fixture on the calendar. It took place for the first time last September and caused a great response in a program centered on the huge Tínteán theater in the heart of the resort.

Now it’s back for mid-summer and demand would justify the move, with audiences eager for its eclectic line-up of top performers in everything from traditional and contemporary music to poetry, l art and much more.

Also appearing are Irish alt-folk band Moxie, traditional trio Steve Cooney, Dermot Byrne and Dezi Donnelly, travel presenter and writer Manchán Magan, Kerry comedian Bernard Casey, Listowel poet Seamus Barra Ó Súilleabháin, writer and poet by Kenmare Faye Boland, poet Máire Holmes, storyteller Niall de Burca and many others. Local woman Dee Keogh is also set to star with her solo show Why I Never Met Oprah.

And Ballybunion couple Rena Blake and Lisa Fingleton are to open their magical farmhouse in out-of-town Barna for a special event that is sure to generate a lot of interest.

Just like Writers’ Week, the Arts Festival also runs a number of competitions to reward the best talent, with a July 8 deadline for entries for an English poetry competition, an Irish language poetry competition and a photography contest.

“We have a great mix of acts lined up,” organizer Marian Relihan told The Kerryman. “From music to poetry and writing, to art and so much more, there really is something for everyone.

The whole event is the brainchild of Marian and her daughter Katie. Like artists on these islands, Katie, formerly based in London, suddenly found herself without a platform under the Covid lockdown. When she returned to Ballybunion, she and Marian designed the whole business.

“We are also focusing on the Irish language this year. Aedín Ní Thiarnaigh, who presented this wonderful RTÉ program on our Faoi Bhláth wildflowers, will be giving a workshop and she has a special connection with Ballybunion having studied Irish here.

“Manchán Magan will present his fantastic show Arán agus Im, which I had the chance to see in Listowel last year.

“We have children’s storytelling with Niall de Búrca; an art workshop of growing up locally at Rena and Lisa’s lovely farmhouse in Barna; poetry workshops with Michael Gallaher; creative writing workshops with Kim Arnold and many Moreover.”

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