Boyle Arts Festival 2017

Press Release

Text by Brendan McGee

Details of very exciting and diverse events were unveiled, when the Boyle Arts Festival committee launched the official programme for the 28th annual Arts Festival recently.
The nationally renowned Festival will be officially opened on Thursday July 20th.  The programme is an exciting mix, containing over fifty events, including visual arts, music, drama, film, comedy, workshops, children’s events, storytelling, spoken word and much more! The Festival will continue until Sun. July 30th.
The Boyle Arts Festival office, situated beside Marian’s on Bridge Street, will be open from July 10th. Details and tickets for all the events will be available from here but you can pick up a programme in local businesses now. Tickets for a selection of events are now available to purchase in advance on

Some of the names to watch out for this year, include acclaimed singer songwriter Declan O’Rourke who will kick off the live gig programme with an appearance in King House on July 21st. Declan released his fifth album in 2016 and his first appearance in Boyle will be an intimate acoustic, solo performance.

Brian Kennedy will make a welcome return to Boyle for a very special performance in the Church of Ireland, on July 22nd.
Just back from Glastonbury, Rackhouse Pilfer will be joining us for a gig in Daly’s Storehouse on July 23rd and Eddi Reader formerly of Fairground Attraction will play the same venue on July 28th. From Australia, Tailor Birds will bring an evening of trippy folk electronica to Mattimoe’s bar on July 24th and Goats Don’t Shave will rip it up in Daly’s Storehouse on July 25th. Also watch out for gigs by The Dublin Ukulele Collective, The Men Who Knew Too Much, The Jazz Ladds and Pete Higgins. Guitarist  John McGlynn specialises in clear crystalline vocals and intricate guitar work, he has been compared to Nick Drake and Art Garfunkel. Judge for yourselves in King House, on July 26th.

In the Classical genre, BAF are delighted to welcome back soprano, Regina Nathan. Regina will be accompanied by pianist Mairéad Hanley in the Church of Ireland on July 27th. New Airs is a classical fusion group combining classical strings with rock/folk percussion and synthesised electronics. Their production is directed by Irish composer, arranger and producer Glen Austin and will be presented in King House on July 22nd.

Anúna, who need no introduction, are celebrating 30 years together this year and their appearance in the Church of Ireland on July 23rd will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of BAF 2017. Pianist, Michael McHale joined us last year as part of Ensemble Avalon and we are delighted to welcome him back for a solo performance in King House on July 25th. Later the same evening, check out a performance by classical guitarist, Pat Coldrick in Whistler’s Bar.

The Celtic Tenors will perform in the Church of Ireland on July 28th and the Irish Guitar Quartet will perform in King House on July 29th. Both Sunday services in St. Joseph’s Church will feature music for BAF 2017, the newly formed St. Joseph’s Church Choir will perform on July 23rd and Ilse Lubbers, accompanied by Anne Kielty will perform on July 30th.

The always popular lunchtime concert programme will include performances by harpist Tara Viscardi, flautist Maedbh O’Rourke, baritones David Scott, Matthew Mannion and mezzo soprano Niamh St. John, saxophonists Robert Finnegan and Andrew Mullen, The Rafter Family and of course pianist Mary Scarlett.

Spoken word events will include an interview with Prime Time presenter, Miriam O’Callaghan, conducted by RTÉ news journalist and author, Carole Coleman on July 24th.  Also, look out for readings and talks by Brian Murphy, who will discuss Douglas Hyde on July 21st. Former member of The Cure, Lol Tolhurst will discuss his days with the iconic band on July 24th and Conor Farnan will discuss Paul Durcan on July 25th. The Crime Writers panel of Declan Burke, Louise Phillips, Arlene Hunt & Andrea Carter will discuss crime and crime writing on July 22nd. The great fire at Rockingham happened exactly 60 years ago and it will be discussed by Tríona Mullaney Dignam and John Clapison on July 23rd.

In the film genre, watch out for screenings of ‘Picnic At Hanging Rock’, ‘The Jungle Book’ and two local films ‘Boyle – Through The Magic Lantern’ and Boyle – Above & Beyond’, both now expanded with stunning new footage. Pre-booking is essential for these events.

If you’re looking for traditional music, look no further than BAF 2017! Finbar Magee & Breige Quinn will kick off the Trad sessions on July 21st in Wynne’s bar and Maggie Carty with Shane McGowan will perform a lunchtime concert in King House on July 24th. The Boyle Singers will be joined by Antáine Ó Faracháin in Dodd’s bar on July 27th and David Power & Martin Hayes will bring the Trad performances to a close, with a concert in King House on July 29th.

There’s plenty of drama this year. Jon Kenny and Mary McEvoy will present John B. Keane’s ‘The Successful TD’ in St. Joseph’s Hall on July 29th while the Beezneez Theatre will present ‘Turning Mammy’ in St. Joseph’s Hall on July 26th and comedian Chris Kent will present a night of comedy in King House on July 27th.

Children will have plenty to do at Boyle Arts Festival including Film and Puppet shows, Storytelling, Art, Jewellery & Craft workshops with Hullabaloo and Drama with Catherine Simon. For a detailed listing of our workshops for adults, see our website and programme.

As always, the centrepiece of Boyle Arts Festival is the main visual Exhibition, once again curated by Paul McKenna and housed in the beautifully restored King House. The theme this year is ‘Looking West’ featuring the very best artistic talent from that part of the country. Several other exhibitions, including the highly acclaimed Local Artists exhibition, will take place during the Festival and details will be available in the programme

As part of the Boyle Town Team led Regeneration programme, street artist Friz will be working throughout the week with Young People from Boyle to produce a new mural in the town. Friz was invited to work with the group to transform various walls, to bring some much needed colour back into the town for all to enjoy.

BAF 2017 will conclude on July 30th with a fantastic performance by the Inishowen Gospel Choir in St. Joseph’s Church.
The Boyle Arts Festival office, situated next door to Marian’s on Bridge Street, will be open from July 10th until Sat. July 29th.

For more information on Boyle Arts Festival 2017 please go to or email  Telephone 0719663085. Follow us on Facebook. Boyle Arts Festival is supported by The Arts Council, Fáilte Ireland, Roscommon Co. Council, Local Businesses and patrons.