Cruthu 2016

Longford comes alive with Cruthú 2016

Cruthú 2016 brought Longford a new lease of life through art, performance and music

Cruthú 2016

 

Art at Cruthú 2016

Cruthú 2016 was the third instalment of this annual arts festival which continues to give Longford a new lease of life.

From humble beginnings and a core group of dedicated arts enthusiasts, Cruthú has now firmly fastened itself in Longford’s yearly calendar. Although it’s become a yearly event, what it’s brought to the town is so much more than a four day festival.

Growing from one mural in 2015 (at the back of Dealz), but this year Longford was transformed into a bright, colourful and positive place to be. Everywhere you look now is street art; not graffiti or crude, but beautiful works of art.Cruthú 2016

We watched the artists at work as their blank canvas soon became 3D creations, ones which are thankfully here to stay.

While all of this was going on, we were treated to pop-up exhibitions all throughout the town. Closed down shops became museums for local artists and unique ideas. No matter where you went you found something new; from fairy models, to paintings of the county and even creations from rope.

We saw inside the lens of local photographers who beautifully capture Longford in all its glory. They portray what we can only dream of seeing, and display it for us in picture format.

Performance at Cruthú 2016

The performances throughout venues in the town added another element of life to the proceedings. As it wasn’t possible to make them all; this review will only discuss the ones attended. However, an insight into what else went on is welcome in the comments section.

Perfedia

After a long drive from a week in Limerick, my first port of call was Perfidia in John Browne’s bar on the Market Square. Having missed the proceedings for two days to this point, I was eager to support the local talent. Perfidia is an Irish one act play written by Jimmy Murphy. It deals with the dark reality of the recession; how it was the people who fell as the economy crashed around them.

We’re treated to an insight from two very different worlds, as they come together in unexpected circumstances. The two women are played by familiar faces Mary Killane and Maggie McKenna, who capture the dramatics and the humour perfectly. Maggie plays the Dublin single mother on the council housing list who walks into the life of a middle class woman who has lost everything. They soon discover they’re not all that different from one another. Both women perform their roles perfectly, without going over the top with either character. It was a very enjoyable show.

Jerry Fish

Onwards then to Longford Arms for the electric Jerry Fish who literally had Longford up in arms. His band held upCruthú 2016 the rear as this energetic and entertaining contortionist brought everyone to their feet. Dancing, singing and certainly celebrating, Jerry reeled us all in as the place exploded. A bit apprehensive at first, soon the whole crowd was practically on top of the stage, with an intensity rarely seen in the Longford Arms ballroom.

TURF

It was back to the scene of the crime the following day for TURF by Rowan Tolley. Performed by Frank Farrell, TURF is a beautiful and intricately thought out piece bringing us on a journey through the bogland. Expressing the true soul of Ireland through a story of a multitude of characters and how they interact day-to-day, TURF explores a variety of issues. From how people get on with Cruthú 2016each other, to the hardship of the bog it’s a thought provoking artistic expression.

Frank Farrell is mesmerising, agile and can easily metamorphose between characters; as if watching many actors. He never falters and is in clearly great physical condition moving through and manipulating the performance space as he builds a mound of TURF. If you have yet to see this show it’s a must.

Mick Flannery

The night was still young, and the curtain was yet to drop on Cruthú 2016 as Mick Flannery closed the show in St John’s Church. The night began with Haiku, a solo-act who entertained the crowd with tales related to his good Cruthú 2016tunes. A seasoned performer and brilliant guitar player with a varied sound, it will be interesting to see what’s in store for the pseudonym of Tommy Moore.

Mick Flannery came on stage and from start to finish held the crowd who then didn’t want to be let go. Time disappeared as Mick enthralled, and the crowed barely whispered. His music has a hypnotic energy, telling beautiful tales not many have the talent to portray in such a beautiful format.

Cruthú 2016In between songs another side emerged; the droll humour of someone who doesn’t take himself to seriously. His quips about the somewhat bleak tone of his music had the crowd in stitches, immediately leading into what he described as “another ditty”. Not a huge listener of Mick Flannery before now, he definitely won over more than a few fans. The intimate church setting wasn’t a far cry from Other Voices in Dingle, and was a wonder to have right here in Longford.

Playing what he said was his last song, the audience at somewhat of an unease as he clearly isn’t the “one more tune” type of musician, he announced two more to the crowds delight. Walking off to massive applause, he certainly left a lasting memory of the night in St John’s.

That’s a wrap folks

With that, the curtain fell on Cruthú 2016, a wonderful arts festival to which the organisers must be applauded for. It’s gone from strength to strength, lifting Longford along with it. What could have been an exclusive festival for those who like the arts has included and welcomed the whole community in a way which Longford hasn’t experienced in a long time. Here’s to next year!

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