Smashing Times February Newsletter: Irish Myths and Legends

Hello and welcome to the February 2024 edition of the Smashing Times Newsletter. ‘Irish Myths and Legends’ is our theme this month, owing to the traditional festival of Imbolg, also know as Saint Brigid’s Day (Lá Fhéile Bríde), which took place earlier this month on 1 February. Now a public holiday in Ireland, Imbolg marks the beginning of spring, and for Christians, it is the feast day of Saint Brigid, Ireland’s patroness saint.

Imbolg, it is believed, was originally a pagan festival associated with the lambing season and the goddess Brigid, with historians suggesting that the saint and her feast day are Christianisations of these. Brigid appears in Irish mythology as a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the daughter of the Dagda and wife of Bres, with whom she had a son named Ruadán. She is associated with poetry, wisdom, protection, healing, smithing, and domesticated animals.

Saint Brigid, on the other hand, is one of Ireland’s three national saints, alongside Patrick and Columba. Medieval Irish hagiographies describe her as an abbess who founded the important abbey of Kildare (Cill Dara), as well as a number of other convents of nuns.

The customs of Saint Brigid’s Day were not recorded in detail until the early modern era. In recent centuries, its traditions have included weaving Brigid’s crosses and hanging them over doors and windows to protect against fire, illness, and evil spirits. People also made a doll of Brigid (Brídeóg) which was paraded around the community by girls. Brigid was said to visit one’s home on Saint Brigid’s Eve. To receive her blessings, people would make a bed for Brigid, leave her food and drink, and set items of clothing outside for her to bless.
Raised by a crane, street artist Mister Copy works on a mural of St Brigid on the side of a house. The mural portrays her with red hair and red and brown clothing, as she stares straight at us.
Image: Street artist Mister Copy working on a mural depicting Saint Brigid. Brian Lawless/PA

Linking in with Imbolg, we have placed the focus of this newsletter on ‘Irish Myths and Legends’. Irish mythology is grouped into four cycles: The Mythological Cycle, The Ulster Cycle, The Fianna Cycle, and the Kings’ Cycle. The Mythological Cycle comprises tales and poems about the god-like Túatha Dé Danann, who are based on Ireland’s pagan deities, and other mythical races like the Fomorians. Included in this cycle is the legend Oidheadh Chlainne Lir (Children of Lir). The Ulster Cycle consists of heroic legends about Ulaidh (Ulster), the most important of which is the epic Táin Bó Cúailnge, commonly known as The Táin, or less commonly as The Cattle Raid of Cooley. The Ulster Cycle also contains two of the most famous figures in Irish mythology: warrior hero and demigod Cú Chulainn; Meadhbh, queen of Connacht; and the tragic Deirdre of the Sorrows.

The Fianna Cycle focuses on the exploits of the mythical hero Fionn mac Cumhaill and his warrior band the Fianna. It features the creature the Salmon of Knowledge and the characters Oisín and Niamh, who journey to Tír na nÓg. Finally, The Kings’ Cycle is composed of legends about historical and semi-historical kings of Ireland, including Buile Shuibhne (The Madness of King Suibhne, who is also known as ‘Sweeney’) and tales about the origins of dynasties and peoples.

Some of these myths and legends, as well as others, are drawn upon and referenced in the following newsletter. Read on for artworks from Bernie Sexton, Michael Coleman, Suzie Sullivan, WB Yeats, Séamus Mc Ardle, and first of all, Featured Artist Kevin Mooney. Also included below are Grants and Opportunities, news, 10 We Admire, and more.


‘ “And my desire,” he said, “is a desire that is as long as a year; but it is love given to an echo, the spending of grief on a wave, a lonely fight with a shadow, that is what my love and my desire have been to me.” ‘
         – Lady Gregory, spoken by Ailell (Ailill), father of Étaín, in Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland

‘Níor bhris focal maith fiacail riamh.’ (‘A good word never broke a tooth.’)
             – Seanfhocal (Irish proverb)

‘Do many know what is foretold, that Deirdre will be the ruin of the Sons of Usna, and have a little grave by herself, and a story will be told for ever?’
             – JM Synge, spoken by Deirdre in Deirdre of the Sorrows


Irish Fairy Tales by James Stephens
Irish Fairy Tales is a retelling of ten Irish folktales by the Irish author James Stephens. The stories are set in a wooded, Medieval Ireland featuring larger-than-life hunters, warriors, kings, and fairies. Many stories concern the Fianna and their captain, Fionn mac Cumhail. The English illustrator Arthur Rackham provided interior artwork, including numerous black and white illustrations and sixteen colour plates. To read this book, which is now in the public domain, for free, please click here.
Black, white, and grey logo of the Irish Mythology Podcast.
Irish Mythology Podcast
In this podcast, hosts Marcas and Stephie adapt and retell famous – and not-so-famous – stories from Irish mythology and folklore. Each episode features a dramatic reading of one of these tales, along with a deep dive into the original versions from which they are adapted. Encounter mighty warriors, druids, witches, demons, monsters, gods, fairies, ghosts, saints, and scholars as they travel to magical locations in the Irish Otherworld. Listen to the podcast at this link.
The Táin, Translated by Thomas Kinsella
The Táin Bó Cúailnge, centre-piece of the eighth century Ulster cycle of heroic tales, is Ireland’s nearest approach to a great epic. It tells the story of a great cattle raid, the invasion of Ulster by the armies of Medb and Ailill, queen and king of Connacht, and their allies, seeking to steal the great Brown Bull, Donn Cuailnge. The hero of the tale is Cú Chulainn, the Hound of Ulster, who resists the invaders single-handedly while Ulster’s warriors lie sick. Thomas Kinsella’s translation presents a complete and living version of the story. You can buy his translation of The Táin here.

Art Inspires

Featured Artist: Kevin Mooney

Artist Kevin Mooney is our Featured Artist for February. Kevin is an artist based in Sample-Studios, Cork. He is currently working towards two solo projects in Luan Gallery, Athlone, and Hillsboro Gallery, Dublin. His previous exhibitions include, among others, Revenants, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2022 (solo); Mutators, MART Gallery, Dublin, 2022, and St Luke’s Crypt, Cork, 2022 (solo); and Pine’s Eye, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, 2020. He has received several Visual Arts Bursaries from the Arts Council. His work is held in various private and public collections in Ireland and abroad, including the Irish Museum of Modern Art; Crawford Art Gallery, Cork; the OPW; and elsewhere. His website can be visited here, his Instagram profile here.

Kevin’s three featured artworks – Ilchruthach, Féth Fiada, and Bonefire – tap into Ireland’s rich cultural heritage as much as they channel the artist’s own idiosyncrasies. An assured handle on craft lays the foundation for Kevin to realise his strange and otherworldly visions. The results are inarguably unique. Photo credit for all three works goes to Jed Niezgoda.
Kevin Mooney's painting of a shape-shifter from Irish mythology is composed of many pink folds, a single head at the top, two bull- or goat-like heads at his sides, the genitalia of both sexes, and oridnary, if large, human feet. The background comprises thick black and white brushstrokes.

Oil and distemper on jute. 162 x 130 cm

Kevin Mooney’s painting Ilchruthach (Irish for multi-shaped, or shape-shifter in English) references the Púca, a malevolent spirit in Irish mythology that is associated with Samhain. The Púca had the ability to shape-shift between human and animal (often a horse), and between male and female. Shape-shifting is a common occurrence in Irish mythology. As Kevin himself says, this ‘gives us some insight into our ancestors’ attitudes, where the boundaries between the human and natural world, and between genders, were much more fluid than they became post-colonisation.’

Ilchruthach was part of an exhibition, The Erlish Tide, which was commissioned by Carissa Farrell when she was Director of the Excel Arts Centre in Tipperary.
In this painting, a large, floating, lumpy, cloud-like mass with a number of eyes and pointed heads hovers above brown ground.
Féth Fiada

Oil and distemper on jute. 150 x 127 cm

‘Féth Fiada’ roughly translates from Irish to ‘knowing fog or mist’. In Irish mythology, it was the name given to the mysterious mist or veil that the Tuatha Dé Danann used to hide themselves from human sight. In this work it is re-imagined as a solid floating mass where observing eyes and pointed heads variously appear and retreat.
Against a nude background, three large skulls, two green and one black, hang from a barren tree awash with red, black, and yellow flames.

Oil on jute. 80 x 60 cm

‘Bonefire’ references ancient Celtic rituals around Halloween, where the carcasses of slaughtered livestock would be thrown into large communal fires, the flames of which would then be used to restart household fires. The modern word ‘bonfire’ is a shortened version.
A digital artwork depicting Brigid, with mauve hair and dressed in gold, engaging in alchemy while staring intensely at the viewer.
Brigid: Firing Alchemy by Bernie Sexton

Digital artwork

This artwork by Bernie Sexton was created as part of a set of 52 illustrations for an Oracle Deck – ‘Brigid: Celtic Goddess & Matron Saint of Ireland’ – published in 2023. The piece describes her adeptness in the alchemic conversion of a base metal using fire to create objects needed in her time. The vibrant and unusual blend of colours, Brigid’s iron-hot gaze, and her active, steadfast engagement in what has traditionally been perceived as a male profession, all combine to produce a striking, empowering work of art.
Bernie Sexton is an artist and designer specialising in book design, whose work has been featured in various outdoor lightshows, such as Brigid 1500 / Her Story Lightshow 2024. She has illustrated a number of books and oracle card decks with Irish Celtic and Pre-Celtic themes with Dr Karen Ward, who writes the content. Click here for their website and here for their Instagram profile.

‘Lord McDonald/Ballinasloe Fair’ by Michael Coleman

Michael Coleman is regarded as perhaps the best fiddle player in the history of Irish traditional music. Born in 1891 in Knockgrania, County Sligo, he learned step dancing and fiddle playing as a child, performing at local houses. Aged twenty-three, Coleman emigrated to America, before settling in New York City. He became a famous exponent of what is today known as the Sligo style of Irish fiddle playing, which is fast, flamboyant, and heavily ornamented, with fingered rolls and bowed triplets. He died in 1945.

In this recording, made in 1927 with Ed Geoghegan on piano, Coleman plays two reels: ‘Lord McDonald’ and ‘Ballinasloe Fair.’ Click on the play button above to listen.

Oisín and Niamh, of Irish mythology, and their dog, ride a flying white horse over blue lands, sea, and sky in this painting. The sky around them is dotted with golden birds, while below them on the ground is dark seaweed-like grass.
Tír na nÓg by Suzie Sullivan

Polymer clay on slate. 20 x 30 cm

This onlay polymer painting by artist Suzie Sullivan depicts Oisín and Niamh, of the Fianna Cycle of Irish mythology, flying on horseback to Tír na nÓg. In the legend, Oisín (a human hero) and Niamh (a woman of the Otherworld) fall in love. She brings him to Tír na nÓg on a magical horse that can travel over water. After spending what seems to be three years there, Oisín grows homesick and longs to return to Ireland. Niamh reluctantly lets him return on the magical horse, but warns him never to touch the ground. When he returns, he finds that 300 years have passed in Ireland. Oisín falls from the horse. He instantly becomes elderly, as the years catch up with him, and he quickly dies of old age.

According to the artist, ‘Living in the far west of Ireland, close to the wild Atlantic seaboard with its windswept coastal beauty, makes it easy to conjure thoughts of otherworldly tales of rolling waves and white horses racing to that dreamland of eternal youth, where trees are always green, flowers are always in bloom, and its people never grow old.’
Suzie Sullivan is an award-winning mixed-media artist whose work is a fusion of her own artistic vision and her diverse craft techniques comprising felt, polymer clay, and glass. She draws inspiration from Irish culture, folklore, and the wild surroundings of her remote Mayo home. Visit her website here and her Instagram profile here.
The poet WB Yeats sits facing the viewer in a grey suit, wearing a maroon bow tie and circular glasses, his hair grey. He appears amused, mid-speech.
Image: Colourised by Jecinci

‘Cuchulain’s Fight with the Sea’ by WB Yeats

A man came slowly from the setting sun,
To Emer, raddling raiment in her dun,
And said, ‘I am that swineherd whom you bid
Go watch the road between the wood and tide,
But now I have no need to watch it more.’

Then Emer cast the web upon the floor,
And raising arms all raddled with the dye,
Parted her lips with a loud sudden cry.
That swineherd stared upon her face and said,
‘No man alive, no man among the dead,
Has won the gold his cars of battle bring.’

‘But if your master comes home triumphing
Why must you blench and shake from foot to crown?’

Thereon he shook the more and cast him down
Upon the web-heaped floor, and cried his word:
‘With him is one sweet-throated like a bird.’

‘You dare me to my face,’ and thereupon
She smote with raddled fist, and where her son
Herded the cattle came with stumbling feet,
And cried with angry voice, ’It is not meet
To idle life away, a common herd.’

‘I have long waited, mother, for that word:
But wherefore now?’

                                   ‘There is a man to die;
You have the heaviest arm under the sky.’

‘Whether under its daylight or its stars
My father stands amid his battle-cars.’

‘But you have grown to be the taller man.’

‘Yet somewhere under starlight or the sun
My father stands.’

                           ‘Aged, worn out with wars
On foot, on horseback or in battle-cars.’

‘I only ask what way my journey lies,
For He who made you bitter made you wise.’

‘The Red Branch camp in a great company
Between wood’s rim and the horses of the sea.
Go there, and light a camp-fire at wood’s rim;
But tell your name and lineage to him
Whose blade compels, and wait till they have found
Some feasting man that the same oath has bound.’

Among those feasting men Cuchulain dwelt,
And his young sweetheart close beside him knelt,
Stared on the mournful wonder of his eyes,
Even as Spring upon the ancient skies,
And pondered on the glory of his days;
And all around the harp-string told his praise,
And Conchubar, the Red Branch king of kings,
With his own fingers touched the brazen strings.

At last Cuchulain spake, ‘Some man has made
His evening fire amid the leafy shade.
I have often heard him singing to and fro,
I have often heard the sweet sound of his bow.
Seek out what man he is.’

                                          One went and came.
‘He bade me let all know he gives his name
At the sword-point, and waits till we have found
Some feasting man that the same oath has bound.’

Cuchulain cried, ‘I am the only man
Of all this host so bound from childhood on.’

After short fighting in the leafy shade,
He spake to the young man, ’Is there no maid
Who loves you, no white arms to wrap you round,
Or do you long for the dim sleepy ground,
That you have come and dared me to my face?’

‘The dooms of men are in God’s hidden place.’

‘Your head a while seemed like a woman’s head
That I loved once.’

                               Again the fighting sped,
But now the war-rage in Cuchulain woke,
And through that new blade’s guard the old blade broke,
And pierced him.

                            ‘Speak before your breath is done.’

‘Cuchulain I, mighty Cuchulain’s son.’

‘I put you from your pain. I can no more.’

While day its burden on to evening bore,
With head bowed on his knees Cuchulain stayed;
Then Conchubar sent that sweet-throated maid,
And she, to win him, his grey hair caressed;
In vain her arms, in vain her soft white breast.
Then Conchubar, the subtlest of all men,
Ranking his Druids round him ten by ten,
Spake thus: ‘Cuchulain will dwell there and brood
For three days more in dreadful quietude,
And then arise, and raving slay us all.
Chaunt in his ear delusions magical,
That he may fight the horses of the sea.’
The Druids took them to their mystery,
And chaunted for three days.
                                               Cuchulain stirred,
Stared on the horses of the sea, and heard
The cars of battle and his own name cried;
And fought with the invulnerable tide.
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was an Irish poet, dramatist, and prose writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923 for a body of work that ‘gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation’. He held a deep passion for Irish myths and legends, and was a central figure in the Irish Literary Revival.
Cú Chulainn stands slumped against a rock to which he has tied himself. He is dying or dead. On top of the rock is a raven, who has lowered his beak to inspect Cú Chulainn. In the background is a black and red sky.

Mixed media on oil paper. 30 x 23 cm

‘The Death of Cú Chulainn’ by Séamus Mc Ardle

As we saw in the preceding artwork, Cú Chulainn had a spell cast on him which made him fight the sea. This lasted for three days and three nights. But that is not how he met his end.

Cú Chulainn, Irish warrior hero and demigod in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology, was known for his terrifying battle frenzy (ríastrad). After fighting valiantly and successfully over a number of years, he is said to have died in battle, binding himself to a standing stone so that he could die on his feet. His death is presented in this captivating artwork by Séamus Mc Ardle, which was inspired by the Táin, the famed epic of Irish mythology.

Séamus Mc Ardle is an Irish artist and illustrator who is inspired by the mythology and symbolism of Ireland. He is currently working on a series of Irish female saints. Click here to view his website.

Smashing Times News

In a white room, actor Fiona Bawn-Thompson performs The Woman is Present, wearing grey clothing and holding a big bright red scarf aloft in her right hand. In the foreground, audience members watch.
Performance at Sandymount Community Centre

Smashing Times were delighted to bring a performance of The Woman is Present and Tales of Love and Loss to Sandymount Community Centre on Friday, 2 February. Actors Fiona Bawn-Thompson and Lorna Fox captivated with their performances. From stories of World War II heroines to the passion of Robert Emmet’s lover, these pieces weave tales of strength and emotion. Many thanks to all who joined us.
Smashing Times Newsletter: Resources and How to Help

We would like to point you towards some resources regarding, and ways to help, the Smashing Times Newsletter. To read past editions, featuring artist contributions from the likes of 2023 Nobel Peace Prize-winner Narges Mohammadi, poet Jessica Traynor, and rapper-singer Saint Levant, then please click here.

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A huge thanks to everyone who has subscribed so far and taken an interest in what we send out, and of course to all our invaluable contributors.
A maroon graphic displaying the text 10 We Admire in white.

10 We Admire

For this month’s 10 We Admire, we examine 10 figures from Irish mythology, and some from Irish history, all of whom retain an important place in our cultural history.

The god Lugh, part of the Tuatha Dé Danann, is portrayed as a warrior, king, master craftsman, and saviour. He is associated with skill and mastery in multiple disciplines, including the arts. Lugh also has associations with oaths, truth, and the law, and therefore with rightful kingship. He is linked with the harvest festival of Lughnasadh, which bears his name, and was the son of Cian and Ethniu (or Ethliu). He was the maternal grandson of the Fomorian tyrant Balor, whom Lugh killed in the Battle of Mag Tuired. Lugh’s son was the hero Cú Chulainn, who was believed to be an incarnation of Lugh.

Macha was an Irish war goddess. She is associated with sexual fertility, the land, horses, and crows, often appearing at the scene of battle disguised as a raven or other type of bird, before having a decisive role in the battle. Macha is also linked to the province of Ulster, particularly the sites of Navan Fort (Eamhain Mhacha) and Armagh (Ard Mhacha), which are named after her. She is frequently said to be one of the Tuatha Dé Danann.
Aengus was one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Originally a god of youth, love, poetic inspiraton, and summer, his home was Brú na Bóinne at Newgrange by the River Boyne. His mother was Boann, goddess of that same river. A spell cast by the Dagda, his father, caused Aengus to be both conceived and born on the same day, hence he is known as the archetypal youth. Aengus appears in the Irish poet William Butler Yeats’ famous poem ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’, which describes Aengus’s endless search for his lover, whom he sees in his dreams.
Medb was a legendary queen of Connacht who appears in the Ulster cycle of Irish mythology. In the epic tale Táin Bó Cuailnge (‘The Cattle Raid of Cooley’), Medb instigates the eponymous raid, leading her forces against those of Ulster. Whereas other war goddesses influence the outcome of the battle through their magical powers, Medb fights using weapons. She is portrayed as a fierce and libidinous goddess: at the time of the battle against Ulster, the king Ailill is her mate, but she also has an affair with the mighty hero Fergus, noted for his prodigious virility. Medb had a sacred tree, Bile Medb, and was often represented with a squirrel and a bird sitting on her shoulders.

In Irish mythology, Ériu was one of three matron goddesses of Ireland, alongside her sisters Banba and Fódla. The trio, also goddesses of sovereignty, came from the tribe Tuatha Dé Danann, a tribe in which men and women were equal. They represented the tribe while meeting the Milesians – a rival race who arrived in Ireland long after the Tuatha Dé Danann, intent on dominating the country. The Milesian leader Amergin agreed to name the country after Ériu during a meeting with the three sisters on top of the sacred hill of Uisneach. This is the origin of Éire, the Irish name for Ireland.
Gráinne Ní Mháille

Gráinne Ní Mháille was the head of the Ó Máille dynasty in the west of Ireland, County Mayo, in the sixteenth century. After the death of her father, Eóghan Dubhdara Ó Máille, Gráinne took over as leader of the lordship by land and sea, over her half-brother. She sailed from island to island along the west coast with her fleet of ships, trying to increase her control of Irish lands. In popular culture, she is known as the ‘The Pirate Queen’. She was an Irish chieftain and seafarer, famous as a pirate and a rebel during reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. Although O’Malley has often been left out of Irish history for being a woman, her exploits have made her a folk heroine.
Saint Patrick
The man who would come to be known as Saint Patrick was a missionary who helped to spread Christianity throughout Ireland during the 5th century. Much remains unknown about his life, such as his birth name, but British-born Patrick became a devout Christian during his six-year enslavement in Ireland after being captured by Irish pirates at the age of 16. He escaped, only to return to Ireland later in life as a missionary, combining Irish pagan beliefs with Christian sacrament in his teachings. A religious figure within the Christian and Catholic faiths, he died around 461 AD, and later became the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick is annually honoured across the world on his feast day, March 17.
The Dagda
The Dagda was a god in Irish Mythology. Part of the Tuatha Dé Danann, he was portrayed as a king and druid. He is associated with agriculture, magic, strength, and wisdom. His name means ‘the good god’. His possessions included a magical harp and a magic staff. He could control weather and crops, time and the seasons, and life and death. The Dagda is often described as a large bearded man or giant wearing a hooded cloak.
The Morrígan
In Irish mythology, the Morrígan (often translated to ‘phantom queen’), is a shape-shifting goddess of war and fate who would foretell death or victory in battle. She often appeared as a crow, the badb. She encouraged warriors to brave deeds, striking fear into their enemies. The Morrígan is depicted washing the bloodstained clothes of those fated to die. She is also associated with animals, livestock, and fertility of the land.
Amergin was a bard and judge for the Milesians in Irish Mythology. His two brother were kings of Ireland and he was appointed Chief Ollam of Ireland. The three queens of the Tuatha Dé Dannann agreed to let Amergin and his people settle in Ireland. He named Ireland after them in return. The Milesians had battles with the Tuatha Dé Danann. Amergin sang an invocation calling upon the spirit of Ireland; this has come to be known as ‘The Song of Amergin’, which Lady Gregory translated in 1904.

News From the Network

Five green St Brigid's Crosses on top of a white marble countertop.

Review of Saint Brigid’s Day Events

A number of events took place around the country for Imbolg, or Saint Brigid’s Day, on 1 February. As part of Stand Strong by Women’s Aid, supported by Allianz, people were invited to pause and stand strong in the yoga warrior pose in solidarity with women experiencing domestic abuse, to raise awareness and funds for women subjected to abuse across Ireland in order for them to get the support they need.

Meanwhile, Derry’s IMBOLC International Music Festival, held in the Cultural Quarter, Great James Street, celebrated tradition in all its forms. Featuring music, film, theatre, workshops, words and ideas, visual arts, dance, and the Brigid 1500 Concert, the festival ran from January 28 to February 4.

In the capital, Brigit: Dublin City Celebrating Women (1-5 February) saw its third year of citywide celebrations for Imbolg and the Celtic goddess. It aimed to shine a light on Brigid’s lasting legacy and the way in which contemporary women embody her spirit, with more than 60 thematic events across the city.

Click here to read about more events that took place on Saint Brigid’s Day.

A turquoise logo with white writing for The Laureate for Irish Fiction

Laureate for Irish Fiction Updates

The titles of the 2024 Art of Reading Book Club, curated by Colm Tóibín, have just been announced. (More information on the Book Club here.) They are as follows:

  • Soldier Sailor by Claire Kilroy

  • Ordinary Human Failings by Megan Nolan

  • Solace by Belinda McKeon

  • The Coast Road by Alan Murrin

  • Youth by Kevin Curran

  • The Alternatives by Caoilinn Hughes

  • How to Build a Boat by Elaine Feeney

  • Close to Home by Michael Magee

  • Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden

  • The Bee Sting by Paul Murray

  • The Lonely Sea and Sky by Dermot Bolger

  • Prophet Song by Paul Lynch

You can follow this link to watch Colm Tóibín reflect on his second year as Laureate for Irish Fiction. Furthermore, click here to find a recording of his second annual lecture, entitled ‘A Dream on Wings: Poetry and the Underworld’.

DAH Theatre International School

If you are interested in contemporary theatre and wish to enhance your skills in acting, performing, or directing, DAH Theatre invites you to join their International School for Actors, Performers, and Directors in June 2024, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the School. The contemporary theatre program, attended by students from all over the world, offers a comprehensive curriculum that encompasses a wide range of acting techniques, voice and speech training, movement and physicality, directing, and much more.

DAH Theatre’s accomplished members, who are experienced professionals, are committed to offering personalised guidance and mentorship through two weeks of intensive work. Click here for more information and to apply. Don’t hesitate to reach out to DAH Theatre to clarify any questions you may have about the International School (contact details here).

Gold, black, and white logo for AC Casting (Alison Coffey Casting)

Casting Assistant Internship Programme with AC Casting

Ali Coffey Casting has announced a new Casting Assistant Internship programme in association with Fís Éíreann/Screen Ireland.

Over a 12-week period, the chosen candidate will learn the inner workings of the casting process, becoming equipped with the skills required to work as a casting assistant in the Irish industry or abroad. The programme is fully paid.

No casting experience is required to apply. The placement is suitable for current industry practitioners who would like to sidestep into casting or newcomers to the industry keen to build a career in casting. We’re particularly keen to hear from people who are from traditionally underrepresented groups in our industry.

The application deadline is Wednesday, 6 March. Please click here for the full information, including how to apply.

Grants and Opportunities

A person on a silver Apple laptop, their right hand on the mouse, their left raised in the foreground.
For individuals and organisations in the arts and human rights
EFFEA CALL: Submit your residency proposal

The European Festivals Fund for Emerging Artists (EFFEA) is a system built to empower festivals and offer emerging artists a platform to establish themselves on the international stage. EFFEA is an initiative of the European Festivals Association. The deadline is 19 March, 2024. Click here to apply.
The Caterpillar Poetry Prize 2024
If you are over 16, this event is seeking poems written by adults for children. It is open to everyone worldwide. The first prize is €1000, second €500, and third €250, and they will feature in the Irish Times online. The deadline is 31 March, 2024. Click here to apply.
Arts Grant Funding

The purpose of Arts Grants Funding is to ensure that there is a breadth of high-quality arts activity and programmes throughout the country. It offers flexible support for a fixed period of time, and in so doing responds to the needs of those who are making, presenting, and supporting work. The deadline is 5:30pm on 14 March. Click here to apply.
Culture Night Late

Culture Night Late is designed to support events that will begin after 9pm and continue late into the night on Culture Night, Friday 20 September, 2024. The award is offered in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Night Time Economy Taskforce to offer audiences a greater diversity in their Culture Night experience late into the night, and to encourage more inclusive and innovative late-night arts events suitable for a range of audience types into the future. The dealine is 17:30 on 7 March, 2024. Click here to apply.
Job Opportunities and Tenders

Summer Camp Leader at Designer Minds
This represents a fantastic experience for teachers, special needs assistants, early childhood experts, and professionals with a background in the STEAM subjects. It is an opportunity to develop skills in a vibrant and forward-thinking educational environment. The deadline is 1 March, 2024. Click here to apply.
Dance Assessment and Advisory Services
The Arts Council seeks tenders from suitably qualified service providers to provide Dance Assessments and Advisory Services. The services sought are primarily to appraise and assess applications, provide critical advice on work, and provide advice on policies and programme implementation. The deadline is 12 noon on 6 March, 2024. Click here to apply.
Operations & Programme Coordinator (Dublin)

Irish Theatre Institute (ITI) is looking for an enthusiastic, motivated individual to join their team. Irish Theatre Institute (ITI) wishes to appoint an Operations & Programme Coordinator on a one-year fixed-term contract to work on a busy programme of events, artist services and support, and information provision. The deadline is 7 March, 2024. Click here to apply.

Publications and Images Coordinator

The National Gallery of Ireland is Ireland’s major national cultural institution devoted to the collection and care of fine art. The Gallery wishes to recruit a permanent Publications and Images Coordinator. The deadline is 6 March, 2024. Click here to apply.
That’s it for now. Our March newsletter comes out on 28 March under the theme of ‘Women and the Irish Language’. Please keep an eye on our website and social media for more information on artist and news item submissions.

All the best,

Féilim Ó Brádaigh and Carmen Ortiz Victorino