Fermoy Arts Festival will attract from Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Tipperary this weekend
Fermoy is set to be the cultural capital of the county this weekend as the inaugural Fermoy Arts Festival gets underway.
All cultural and artistic genres are catered for, offering local artists a great opportunity to show their work and their talents and offering the public an event they could more usually expect to have to travel to larger urban areas to enjoy.
Events are spread across a range of venues in the town which should create a great buzz. Most importantly, all events, except the Bosco children's show, are free of charge to the public and donations from the festival will go to the COPE Foundation in Fermoy.
The festival will have its official opening on Friday night in the town hall, a fitting venue given that the driving force behind the event is the town's serving mayor, Olive Corcoran. After declaring Fermoy's first arts festival weekend open, there'll be musical entertainment for guests from Brian O'Reilly, Mo O'Connor, Yvonne Leahy and friends. Over at the Elbow Lane Inn meanwhile a poetry session is due to kick off at around 10pm, featuring national and local poets.
Throughout the weekend, people will be able to follow a 'walking trail' to view the work of established and emerging local artists. Their work will be featured in windows in a variety of local shops and business premises as well as in the exhibition running in The Grand Hotel.
Fermoy Camera Club is just one of the local groups contributing to the festival, in their case by staging an exhibitioin at the town hall on Saturday. It'll be open to visitors from 10am to 5pm, while over at the Grand Hotel on Saturday, the art exhibition by local and national artists will run in the River Room and board room from 11am to 6pm. Diners are also in for a treat there at lunchtime on Saturday when music will be laid on.
The Presbyterian church on Allen's Walk is the venue for what promises to be another interesting exhibition on Saturday afternoon. It's titled 'The Blackwater Valley Christian Heritage Interactive Exhibition' and is being hosted by Ian Fleming and Donal O'Lochlainn of Avondhu Tourism. It's on from 10am to 5pm.
A further exhibition to excite interest is taking place in the Credit Union. It'll run from 11am to noon on Saturday. It's a food sculpture exhibition under the expertise of Eric Loke.
Fermoy Youth Centre will be a hive of activity right throughout the day on Saturday with an exhibition of children's art; Sheila Rose Hazelwood's art and poetry workshop for children, Sarah Collins art therapy workshop for 6-12 year olds and, in the afternoon, Bosco's show with 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'. Some tickets for the special event are still available at Fermoy Bookshop and are priced at €10. Events there continue into the afternoon with Sheila Rose back to demonstrate the traditional art of wool spinning. There'll also be poetry from local schoolchildren, art and facepainting, following at 5pm with a singalong with Tom Murray.
Up at the Loreto Sports Hall on Saturday, an art and local woodcrafts exhibition will feature from 10am to 5pm. Back in town another event especially for children is the storytelling session hosted by Princess Genevieve. O'Brien's Sandwich Bar is the venue for that and it'll take place from 2 to 3 pm.
CHURCH CONCERTS A HIGHLIGHT
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the weekend are the two concerts being held in the local churches. Christchurch is first on Saturday night at 8pm with a concert featuring the Cork Garda Choir, the Loreto College Choir, Spoken Dance, Aine O'Flynn soprano, Kelly McDonagh Mongan and the Bishop Murphy School Choir. On Sunday evening at St Patrick's Church, there's an equally impressive line up with the Castlelyons Gospel Choir, Frank Ryan tenor and Sinead Ryan soprano, the Bel Canto Choir, Ian Sexton and Kelly McDonagh Mongan.
A lively session is promised in the Elbow Lane Inn again on Saturday night from 8 m featuring poetry with Paul Casey and Billy Ramsell. There'll also be an open mic session and music. Other pubs too are getting into the spirit of the festival by featuring music, Cheers - always a popular music venue, being one of them. Their lineup features Gaelic Brew on Friday night offering a very irish folk-driven set with lots of comedic banter thrown in. Two of the lads are from Rathcormac, one is from Lismore and one from West Cork. They play all over the country and in the UK and count Ant and Dec as two of their fans.
The Buachaills will be in house on Saturday night. The lads need no introduction to Fermoy, they started out from a trad sesion in Cheers. They include two highly rated Fermoy musicians; Aaron Dolan on uileann pipes and Eoin Murphy on guitar and vocals. The band can proudly state that they have played before the 2012 All Ireland football final in Croke Park and before Heineken Cup games in Thomand Park and they continue to play in the supporters lounge in Thomand Park on Heineken Cup days. They fuse traditional Irish with contempory sounds.
Declan Ryan on Sunday night is another very accomplished musician who recently made his debut in Cheers and went down brilliantly. He comes from a very talented musical family as his two brothers play in a band called The Antics. His set covers a range of the popular modern songs.
Check locally for details of music in other venues.
Sunday promises to be just as lively with the lunchtime concert in The Grand Hotel with the Titanic jazz band being a highlight. There'll be another chance for people to catch the art exhibition in the hotel while they're there. Sunday also offers another chance to view the Camera Club exhibition at the town hall.
The Presbyterian Church hosts two events on Sunday afternoon, a screening of the 'Hansel and Gretel' opera from 2.30 to 4.30pm and Fermoy Camera Club's exhibition which will run at the same time.
Princess Genevieve will be back in her ivory tower at O'Brien's Sandwich Bar in Pearse Square with some more stories for children from 2-3pm and the local woodcrafts and art exhibition continues at the Loreto sports all from 10am to 5pm.
It'll be all go again at Fermoy Youth Centre where Sheila Rose Hazelwood will host another art and poetry workshop for children from 10.30am to 12. Also taking place here on Sunday afternoon is the ever popular Christy Ring and GAA memorabilia exhibition staged by Denis O'Sullivan.
There's a variety concert running through the afternoon, beginning at 2.30pm and featuring Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann members, storytelling by John Arnold and Phil Leahy, singers from the Active Retirement Group and others. Young CDYS musicians will also take part.
Sheila Rose Hazelwood's traditional wool spinning can be viewed from 2-5pm.
Prizes for the children's art exhibition will be presented in the youth centre at 5pm.
The second church concert in St Patrick's will close the festival on a high note.
Thursday 30th January 7:09pm