Cootehill Arts Festival 22 to 27 August

Line up for 2017 Festival


Cootehill Arts Festival 2017 will run from 22 to 27 August.  We have the famous Footsbarn Travelling Theatre Group pitching their 400 seater fully equipped tent at St Aidan’s Comprehensive for the week and the Festival will be centred there.  Footsbarn will perform 4 shows, and we have a Special Rescue 116 Memorial Concert on Friday 25th August, with Triona Marshall, Martin Tourish, The Clew Bay Pipe Band, Roscommon Solstice Choir and many other  artists performing for free. Net proceeds to be donated to the RNLI.


We shall have a retrospective of the late David Gallagher’s work and a Photographic Exhibition by Clones Photography Group in the Enterprise Centre on Station Road and works from the Tyrone Guthrie collection in the Library.


We shall have a Scarecrow Festival competition, workshops for children from  age 7 to 17, children’s poetry competition, drama workshops led by Paddy Hayter, literary events featuring Shane Connaughton, Pat McCabe, Brian Leyden and Larry McCluskey, Street Artist  and a Sunday Miscellany, plus lots more events in the pipeline.  


This is a very exciting prospect for Cootehill and we are receiving tremendous support from people from all over the country. 


History of Cootehill Arts Festival


Cootehill Arts Festival was conceived in 1988 with the 1st Annual Festival taking place from 15th to 23th October.  David Gallagher was Chairperson,  Vera Greenan Secretary and Fergus Mulligan Treasurer.  The late Dermot Healy provided invaluable assistance both with the numerous contacts he had from touring the country, to advice on how Arts Festivals operated.  Around this time, the Arts Council had instituted a policy of supporting the Arts throughout the country and not just in Dublin and the Cootehill Arts Festival committee was fortunate that they could avail of this funding over the following years.



In 1989, David stepped down as Chairperson, but stayed on the Committee and Una Smith (Dermot’s sister) took over as Chair.  The Festival ran very successfully until 2002. Over the years as well as the aforementioned individuals, many people became synonymous with the Festival namely Kay Phelan, Roisin Lyons, Anne and Seamus Tully,  Brian Reynolds, Jacinta Gallagher, Pete Ward, and many other individuals who gave of their time and energy tirelessly.  They brought world-class artists to perform in Cootehill.  We owe them a debt of gratitude for the foundations they laid.


In 2016, following representations from the Footsbarn  Travelling Theatre Group (who first came to Cootehill as a result of their friendship with Dermot Healy), it was decided to stage two events featuring Footsbarn. This was a sell-out, and as there had been numerous calls down through the years from the younger generation to revive the Festival, members of the original committee, augmented with new younger members got together and re-formed the Cootehill Arts Festival Committee, under the Chairmanship of Artist John Blakey.


28 Jun 2017

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