May 18, 2021
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Imagine that: 40 fantastic free events as Waterford arts festival goes online

The first online Imagine Arts Festival gets underway at noon tomorrow – withno fewer than 40 events taking place on and all freely available to the public.

Festival Manager Nora Boland said it’s a big and adventurous step for the nineteen-year-old festival.

“We are excited to take our 2020 event programme global and invite everyone to enjoy all or one of 40 wonderful events between October 16th and 25th. All of our events will be hosted free to the public and each event once it first takes place will remain online until the festival closes. This is a big step for our almost 20-year-old festival, but it is an adventure that we are excited to embark upon, perhaps this online element may even remain as part of our festival offering from here on,” added Nora.

The festival opens with a virtual art trail and a series of virtual exhibitions along with the opening of a virtual art shop.

Among the many artists set to exhibit their work include Margo Banks, Janet Sibley, “I” a curated selection of works by emerging artists; Kitsch Doom, Ciara O’ Neill, Matt Higgs, William Murray and MONUMENTS II (Memory Traces) by Ciara Rodgers.

Creating Together Apart, a young artists’ exhibition featuring works created during Ireland’s first lockdown will be showcased in the windows of City Square in Waterford and virtually. Ending a day of artworks and exhibitions an interview on the creative process will take place online with LA-based artist Laura James.

The John Dwyer Trad Weekend will also take place over the opening weekend, as a ‘Glór Na nDéise’ concert will take place on Friday, October 16th with some of Waterford’s finest trad musicians, including Sarah O’Gorman (fiddle) and Claire Fennell (flute) Áine agus Tomás Ó Dálaigh (concertina and fiddle) and Jimmy O’Brien Moran (uilleann pipes). Ciarán Ó Gealbháin and Edel Fox will host the event.

A series of free online trad workshops tutoring singing in Irish, instruments and compositions will take place on Zoom on October 17. The trad sessions will culminate with a concert honouring the life and work of the late John Dwyer with the ‘Music of John Dwyer Concert’ on Saturday evening with a host of well-known trad musicians all of whom performed alongside John in the past. All of the John Dwyer Trad Weekend events will take place virtually via

Waterford Writers Weekend opens on Thursday, October 22 and runs for three days with 13 online events.

Highlights include an interview with Sara Baume, who will talk about her first non-fiction title – an exploration of productivity and what it means to be an artist.

Brian Conaghan will chat about his latest YA title The M Word, an unforgettable novel about grief and healing. An interview with award-winning writer Doireann Ní Ghríofa will see her discuss her stunning debut prose ‘A Ghost in the Throat’.

Colm Keegan will premiere ‘This is Waterford’, a  vibrant and contemporary literary work. There will also be a performance with Felicia Olusanya, Leke Ogunde and Samuel Yakura. In a free online event, Ambassador of Ireland to the US Dan Mulhall will host a Desert Island poetry reading. Two of Ireland’s finest playwrights and directors Jim Nolan and Jimmy Murphy will chat writing, process and legacy. Poet Mark Roper will host a beginners poetry workshop plus lots more. All online event links will be shared at

On the final day of the festival Imagine is proud and honoured to present oh, this hectic world, a tribute to the memory of Eric Sweeney who will be so greatly missed. ‘Oh This Hectic World’s the last piece Eric composed, a setting for 10 classic Japanese haiku selected by the poet Mark Roper, who had collaborated with Eric on many ventures over many years. Composer and pianist Marian Ingoldsby, a close friend and colleague of Eric’s at WIT for over 25 years, has agreed to step in to play Eric’s music. The event will be showcased online at on October 25.

Booze Blaas & Banter will take the festivities of 2020 to a close as the event which celebrates the City’s Quayside and maritime heritage and will also offer lots of interesting chats and craic with journalist, broadcaster author and filmmaker Catherine Foley, National Heritage Officer of An Taisce Ian Lumley, Poet Dave Lordan, Author, broadcaster and local historian
 Andrew Doherty, Writer and historian Paul O’Brien, award-winning historian
 Jack Burtchill and more.

Support the arts and join in the fun online by visiting

PHOTO: Patrick Browne 

Shane Doran

Shane Doran is founder and Co-Managing Editor of News Now Media, incorporating, and He is a former newspaper editor who has held senior executive roles across five national newspaper titles, both broadsheet and tabloid. He was News Editor and Executive Editor of the Irish Independent for more than seven years and spent a number of years in South Africa where he worked as editor of The Daily Voice newspaper. Shane has held senior editorial position with The Sunday Independent, The Herald and The Irish Daily Star and has served as Executive Editor (Group) of Independent News & Media (INM), Ireland’s largest newspaper group.

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