Clifden Arts Festival 2021


The programme for this year’s Festival is now available on our website.

Having held fast as a beacon for the arts in 2020, the longest-running community arts festival in the country will once again hoist a flag for the creative spirit this September. As the country emerges cautiously from Covid restrictions, Clifden Arts Festival 2021 will offer wonderment and solace to audiences and artists alike in these uncertain times.

As ever, the finest musicians, writers, artists and thinkers have answered the call of Brendan Flynn and his team for a diverse array of events. In accordance with HSE guidelines to ensure the safety of guests, artists and volunteers, venues across the Connemara capital will open doors and arms. Last year’s successful new digital platform returns, as will broadcast partners Connemara Community Radio, opening up the entire festival up to a wider audience.

photo: Aoife Herriot

Clifden Arts Week director Brendan Flynn.

Leading a stellar line-up of homegrown music, folk giant Luka Bloom will bring his incredible songbook to Clifden for an intimate Town Hall show. The Irish Chamber Orchestra will sweep into Connemara, as will a much-anticipated performance by a new Music Network collaboration featuring The Gloaming and Afro Celt Soundsystem star Iarla Ó Lionáird, renowned harpist Una Monaghan and cellist Kevin Murphy. Ó Lionáird’s fellow Cúil Aodha stalwart Peadar Ó Riada will accompany vocalist Seán Ó Sé in what promises to be a typically mesmeric show, while Clifden will also mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Sean Ó Riada with a discussion helmed by musician and RTÉ producer Peter Browne.

Digital Events

The great Colm Toibin will be taking part in the Festival. Picture by Bill Heaney

Nothing can compare to a live event, Sitting down to hear a musician or hear the voice of the poet, never less we have expanded our digital events programme this year to include among those providing readings and discussions will be the great Colm Tóibín, Doireann Ní Ghríofa (whose award-winning A Ghost In The Throat was a major talking point of 2020), Gabriel Byrne will reflect on the highs and lows of Hollywood life, a conversation with previous recipients of the Clifden Arts Festival Bursary Award, and more.

As part of its visual arts programme, the festival will host a double-headline exhibition by two of its long-standing friends and collaborators, father and daughter Jimmy and Hetty Lawlor (the latter a former Sky Portrait Artist of the Year).

This year’s Poster is painted by the immense talent of Jimmy Lawlor. 


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