Nollaig Shona Duit - 2018 Review

Have a Very Merry Christmas and Peaceful New Year from Cavan Arts



Cavan Arts would like to thank everyone who facilitated, supported and contributed to the arts in County Cavan thoughout 2018. We look foward to working with you all again in 2019. 


2018 Review 


Arts in Settings

  • The Older People’s Council and Maura Williamson created a new piece of theatre based on their experiences.   This is a collaboration with members of the Council, theatre practitioner Maura Williamson and is supported by the Social Inclusion Unit and the Arts Office.   ‘The Best Years Are Yet To Come’ was performed at Cavan County Museum and Castlemanor Community Centre. They will tour to Ramor Theatre and Belturbet Civic Space in 2019.
  • A Forum of health practitioners and local authority representatives has been established to work to develop arts in health and community settings.   Preliminary work in this area happened with the Choices Group and Ballyjamesduff Senior Social Club working with the Artful Badger.


Local Arts and Education Partnership

  • In association with lead partner Cavan Monaghan Education Training Board and Monaghan County Council, Cavan County Council supports the work of the Local Arts and Education Partnership supporting children to access the arts in schools.  Four schools in Cavan were selected by the Arts Council to be part of the Creative Schools Initiative.  They were St Mary’s National School Ballyhaise, Knocktemple National School, Gowna National School and Dun a Rí College, Kingscourt.   Choreographer Mary Farrelly was selected as a Creative Artist and is working with the National Schools.   County Monaghan based sculptor Joanne Behan is working with the Dun A Rí College and Beech Hill College in County Monaghan.
  • Music Generation Cavan Monaghan

Interviews for the Music Generation Co Ordinator for Cavan and Monaghan took place in December and the appointment will be announced shortly and a programme will be devised by the Co-ordinator.


Awards and Bursaries

  • Twenty-nine successful arts development awards were made by the Members of Cavan County Council.   These included grant to community groups, festival, schools and individual artists working to promote arts involvement in County Cavan.   Ten professional artists were supported.  They included: Mateusz Lubecki, Jackie O Neill, Jessie Keenan, Paul Flynn, Kim Mc Cafferty Eilish Mc Cann, Konik Studios – Pawel and Kasia, Edel Cox, Niamh Mc Cormack and Marie Smith.   This included support to Jessie Keenan, choreographer who produced Fragments at the Dublin Fringe Festival 2018, a work on the imperfect nature of memory and culminated in two years research on memory loss and inspired by her memories of her grandfather’s dementia. Paul Flynn, composer was supported in his work on “To The Remembrance of Thee” with Dr Ite O Donovan and the Lassus Scholars at St Michael’s Parish Church, Enniskillen in remembrance of the millions who were lost during World War One.  Visual artists Eilish Mc Cann, Jackie O Neill, Marie Smith, Matuesz Lubecki were awarded funding to work on individual exhibitions and enhance their skill sets in particular areas of their work.
  • Kieron Smith, theatre artist received the Tyrone Guthrie Bursary to work on a theatre piece based on his research on the workhouse of Bawnboy and the surrounding area.   The poet Mairead Donnellan received the Tyrone Guthrie Bursary to work on a collection of poetry.
  • Two young artists received a bursary at The Moth Retreat Centre in Milltown managed by Will Govan and Rebecca O Connor.



  • Poet Noel Monahan and musician Darragh Slacke worked on a collaboration which they showcased as part of Culture Night and the Cavan Arts Festival.    This is the continuation of a theme from Daragh Slacke who has also collaborated with Konik Studios on Sean Lamh, music and video animation.   Dr Slacke and the Palpitations launched their first album entitled ‘Pook the Destroyer’ locally after a national tour.
  • Anú Productions performed Zero Hour at Cavan County Museum, a bespoke theatre piece created for the World War 1 Trenches, remembering the loss and horror of the first World War supported by the arts office.
  • Cavan County Museum and the Arts Office are working on an exhibition entitled Women of Influence with the research historian Laura Servilan Brown and Eilish Brady, local historian with the guidance of author and historian, Margaret Mc Curtin.   This exhibition will consider the influence of women in Irish society and will be launched in Spring 2019.
  • Culture Night 2018 was a collaboration of artists, communities and centres working in a variety of settings in towns and villages in the County.   Culture Night was attended by 2,800 persons at twenty-three venues with a total of thirty-five events.   It is an initiative of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and is organised and promoted by Cavan County Council.
  • A Call from the Musical Heart of Cavan, Archive and Legacy

This project supported by Creative Ireland will work on the legacy of traditional arts in County Cavan particularly the Millennium Project supported by FÁS, ‘A Call from the Musical Heart of Cavan’ and other archival material that has been collected by Martin Donohoe and generously donated by artists and their families over many years.Daniel Peeters, IT Cavan and the Irish Traditional Music Archive are providing the IT and technical expertise in relation to building the archive of traditional music and arts for County Cavan.A local launch was held at Belturbet Civic Space with guest speaker Aidan O Hara, historian and archivist with performances by a host of talented youths from County Cavan who have distinguished themselves at county and national level including Belturbet Comhaltas, Isaac Scanlan, Marian Crowe Sean Nós Dancers, the Bradys, Milltown and Ellen O Brien, Cavan Comhaltas among the excellent performers.



Curator of Stories

Ray Fitzsimons was appointed as the Curator of Stories in County following of a competitive process.  He is working on a project to promote the arts of storytelling as a way of sharing culture and building memory.



  • 2018 was a particularly good year for the growth and development of arts festivals in County Cavan.  Many festivals were delivered by community groups and committed volunteers and there is an increasing number of dedicated arts festivals many developed by local Comhaltas Branches and supported by Comhaltas Headquarters.    The Ed Reavy Festival, promoted by Cavan Town CCÉ which incorporates the popular Dancing in the Drumlins celebration of traditional dance enjoyed another successful year and included a highlight performance from Garadice featuring Eleanor Shanley, Padraig McGovern, Dave Sheridan and John McCartin.   The Gerry Whelan Weekend is a staple event in Cootehill celebrating the legacy of the late Gerry Whelan with workshops, concerts and seisiuns.   Kilnaleck Comhaltas hosted another successful County Fleadh and received support from the Cavan Creative Ireland for their programme and Comhaltas Headquarters.  Belturbet Comhaltas PJ Flood Memorial Weekend was also supported by Creative Ireland and celebrates the master piper PJ Flood with community workshops and masterclasses for young people to promote the piping tradition in Milltown, Belturbet and throughout West Cavan.  The NYAH festival of traditional arts, now in its 15 years promotes events throughout the year including concerts, workshops and collaborations with the Marching and Ulster Scots traditions.   This year Jackie Daly, button accordion and concertina player was honoured with the Jig of Life Award. 
  • The Cootehill Arts Festival succeeded in receiving Arts Council funding for their ambitious and inclusive programme which included the popular Footsbarn, a new work by Pat Mc Cabe inspired by the writing of Dermot Healy and performed by Aisteoirí na Muinchille
  • The Bailieborough Poetry Festival continues to flourish and this year the poets collaborated with the visual artist Ruth Mc Donnell and created poetry inspired by time spent with the artist in her studio in Virginia. 
  • The Cavan Arts Festival was brought to life by Kim Mc Cafferty and a group of artists and volunteers including Grace Mc Kiernan, Rosie Cole, Shane Carroll, Chris O Brien, Aisling Farrelly and many of the artists who worked in a voluntary capacity at Townhall in the past three years.   The festival which coincided with Culture Night brought the Con Smith Park to life with installation, poetry, comedy, theatre and music showcasing many Cavan talents including The Hacklers most recent interpretation of the work of Dermot Healy.


Exhibitions around the County

  • The Ancient and Wild Exhibition which was hosted at Johnston Central Library and featured ten Cavan artists was attended by 212 children from local national schools who enjoyed workshops with participating artists Heather Brett and Elena Duff.
  • A selection of work from five artists who participated in the Bullock Lane Exhibition at Townhall in 2017/18 featured the work of: Jolene Mok, Sarah Lundy, Amanda Jane Graham, Mateusz Lubecki and Elena Duff.   This exhibition was the last visual art show hosted by the creatives at Townhall, Cavan and it showcased the work of five very fine contemporary artists of diverse influence.   It included drawing, painting, multimedia and installation work.
  • Mateusz Lubecki hosted his first solo exhibition in Cavan in 2018. 
  • Bailieborough Library hosted an exhibition of textile art work by Sally Ann Duffy entitled My Seven Year Stitch.   The Tyrone Guthrie Touring Exhibition curated for Cavan County Council by Centre Director Robbie Mc Donald and Sinead Mc Ardle visited Cootehill, Bailieborough and Cavan Libraries in 2018.    Artists Rikki van den Berg and Eileen Ferguson provided workshops as part of the local engagement process with the art work from the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. 


  • Paddy Ronaghan and Cavan Heritage Office hosted an exhibition by the photographer to celebrate his partnership with the heritage office over many years as part of the Calendar and other heritage office initiatives.  
  • Cavan County Museum provided a series of Temporary Art Exhibitions including the Virginia Painting Group featuring work by local artists in the Virginia area working with Jim Mc Partlin.   The Konik Studios exhibited paintings and animation as part of Culture Night.   An exhibition by Michael Cullivan, Cavan born Dublin based artist was among the most successful art exhibitions that the Museum hosted in 2018.  
  • Cavan Camera Club held their annual show at Johnston Central Library in November.
  • Dr Khalid and Dr Nauman hosted a preview of their work at Johnston Central Library prior to taking part in Art Source at the RDS.


Youth Arts Lab

  • The Peace IV Youth Arts Lab provided a series of workshops, continuing professional development opportunities, showcasing events and graffiti art works created by children and young people from the county and beyond working with arts facilitators.   This project is funded by Peace IV, SEUPB and managed by the arts office by project facilitator Kim Doherty.   Work in communities took place in Dowra, Templeport, Blacklion, Kilnaleck, Ballyjamesduff, Billis, Cavan, Cootehill, Shercock and Ballyconnell.



  • Chalk Dust, the eight collection of poetry by award winning poet was launched at the Courthouse, Cavan in May by Salmon Publishing.   The poet continues to search for identity and belonging in the constantly shifting shadows of modern Ireland in this latest collection of work. 
  • Rebecca O Connor, editor of The Moth Magazine with Will Govan launched her debut novel ‘He Is Mine and I Have No Other’ in Cavan after a successful launch in London.
  • The Irish Writers Centre Commission collaboration continued with presentations from Valerie Bistany, Caelainn Hogan, Colm Keegan, Noel Monahan, Moyra Donaldson, Conor Kostick and Selena Guinness on memoir, the novel, creative non-fiction and poetry.


Theatre and Youth Theatre

  • Ramor Theatre enjoyed a successful year with new community initiatives and targeted workshops for the artists and community groups.   The successful programme combines off site performances, workshops, a renewed music programme, the film programme and targeted community initiatives.
  • The independent youth theatre sector in County Cavan is growing with KYDS in Kilnaleck who performed their play Cyber Gossip facilitated by Alice Lynch at Ramor Theatre and which they are adapting for screen with Padraig Conaty.   The Gonzo Youth Theatre commissioned Philip Doherty to write a play facilitated by Kevin O Connor and Calantha Ford.   Mary Reilly hosts Youth Theatre in Kingscourt.   Ramor Youth Theatre has recently re-structured and re-named Place of Drama POD and continue to work with Mary Farrelly and Trina Mc Cann at Ramor Theatre.   Chris O Brien and Aisling Farrelly host Youth Theatre at the Bridge St Centre and new groups have been facilitated by Breifne Integrated in Belturbet.
  • Restoration work commenced on Townhall, Cavan in December 2018 and is scheduled to be completed by July 2019.   This project is funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Peace IV SEUPB and Cavan County Council.
































21 Dec 2018


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