From Ploughing to Poetry: Minister Humphreys announces new mini arts-festival at the National Ploughing Championships

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, and Sheila Pratschke, Chair of the Arts Council, today (Thursday) announced details of a special showcase of the very best of Irish culture which will take place at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore from 19th to 21st September.

This year for the first time, a host of performers, artists, writers and some very special guests will perform at Ardán, a special artist stage, at this year’s National Ploughing Championships. The mini arts festival is a joint initiative of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Arts Council and Creative Ireland.

Artists and guests performing over the three days include author Kevin Barry, dual Camogie and ladies football player Briege Corkery, Laureate for Irish Fiction Anne Enright, Laureate na nÓg PJ Lynch, singers Maighread and Triona Ní Dhomhnaill and singer songwriter Lisa O’Neill. All events are free and run for 25-30 mins, with admission on a first come first served basis.

Minister Humphreys said:

“The National Ploughing Championships are one of the most important events in our national calendar where children, families and people of all ages can experience and enjoy a range of activities at what has become one of the largest outdoor events in Europe.

“Creativity is a vital part of our culture and engagement with the arts enriches our lives and our local communities. As part of Creative Ireland, every county in Ireland has produced a special Culture and Creativity Plan which showcases opportunities for everyone to get involved in the arts in their local area. I am particularly delighted that we have artists from ten counties performing on the new Ardán stage at this year’s Championships.

“From traditional music to readings and theatre performances for young audiences, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this special mini-festival. I would encourage everyone who is attending this year’s Championships to drop by and enjoy a special treat in the place where ploughing meets poetry.”

Sheila Pratschke, Chair of the Arts Council added:

“The Arts Council is very pleased to be part of the National Ploughing Championships this year.  This is one of the most significant events to happen in Ireland annually in terms of public engagement, audience participation and reaching a broad demographic.  It is therefore important that the arts are central to this unique Irish event given the significant impact they have on the lives of people across Ireland, reaching into our local communities and connecting with people in their everyday lives.

“Artists from Belfast, Cavan, Cork, Dublin, Donegal, Galway, Limerick, Offaly, Sligo and Waterford will perform short 20-25 minute sets across the three days of the Championships, including a special programme of events for children and younger audiences. This will be the first time that a dedicated arts space will present work at this hugely significant national event.”

Ardán is located at Block 3, Row No. 13, Stand No 296.


Notes to Editors:

Creative Ireland is an all of Government five-year initiative, from 2017 to 2022, which places creativity at the centre of public policy. It is built around five pillars: Enabling the Creative Potential of Every Child; Enabling Creativity in Every Community; Investing in our Creative and Cultural Infrastructure; Ireland as a Centre of Excellence in Media Production; Unifying our Global Reputation. Full details available at www.creative.ireland.ie or on Facebook and Twitter @creativeirl.

The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon is the national agency for funding, developing and promoting the arts in Ireland. www.artscouncil.ie

Ardán (Schedule)

19 September

10:30 – 12:30      The Big Picture with Laureate na nÓg PJ Lynch

1:00 – 1:30           The Humours of Bandon by Margaret McAuliffe, produced by Fishamble Theatre Company

2:00 – 2:30           Readings from Everything to Play For (edited by John McAuliffe) with Briege Corkery and John Mullane, in association with Poetry Ireland

3:00 – 3:30           Singer songwriter Lisa O’Neill

20 September

12:00 – 12:30      The Gardener by Mike Kenny, produced by Graffiti Theatre Company (ages 6-8)

1:00 – 1:30           Tall Tales and Musical Stories with Len Graham

1:45 – 2:15           Music with Uileann Piper Maitiú Ó Casaide

3:00 – 3:30           Reading with Anne Enright, Laureate for Irish Fiction

4:00 – 4:30           Music Maighread and Triona Ní Dhomhnaill 

21 September

12:00– 12:30         Spraoi by Branar Téatar do Pháistí (ages 3-6)

1:00 – 1:30           Sean-nós singing with Eoin Warner

2:00 – 2:30           Reading with Kevin Barry

3:00 – 3:30           Céile with local artists including fiddle player Attracta Brady



Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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