2019 Some Arts Highlights

Arts Awards and Bursaries The arts awards fall into two categories: the arts development awards and the Professional Development Awards. In 2019 46 applications were received for the Arts Development Awards, 34 of which were successful. The awards are open for projects in 2020 and application details are available on our website.


We received 21 applications for the Professional Artist Awards, 17 of which were successful. These awards were made payable to artists who identify as being professional artists and are considered as such by their peer and have a significant body of work.  In addition bursaries were allocated to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Co Monaghan.

Redemption of a Rogue

Over the past three years the arts office has supported Philip Doherty to develop the script for his first feature length film.  This project was filmed on location in County Cavan in and around Swanlinbar and Cavan town.   The film produced by Pale Rider Productions is in post-production and involved a huge amount of voluntary support from the wider arts community in the county.   Philip Doherty and Siobhan Harton have moved to Connemara to take up an exciting opportunity with Fibín, the Irish language theatre company as part of Galway 2020 programme.



Aaron Monaghan in a scene from Redemption of a Rogue written and directed by Philip Doherty, for release in 2020.

Arts and Health

In 2019 the Arts and Health Network was formalised with members from: Tusla, Cavan Monaghan Mental Health Services, CAMHS, Cavan Monaghan Local Arts and Education Partnership, Cavan Monaghan Music Generation, the arts office and social inclusion sections of Cavan County Council, artists and youth leaders.  The aim of the network is to support sustainable health outcomes using the arts as a tool for change and resilience.   Among the work carried out were Continuing Professional Development Workshops, Steering Meetings and two actions research projects with young people and artists Colm Mullen and Rosie Cole.   A series of video work and exhibitions were created as part of this project.   Kim Doherty, Peace IV Youth Arts Lab Co-ordinator and an arts therapist guided this work.  A grant of €20,000 was secured from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to support this work.

Studio arts sessions were facilitated at The Moth Studios Cavan and with the Social Services in Ballyjamesduff.   This provided the opportunity for arts participation in local communities and in a studio setting.  


Cavan Youth Arts Lab Shercock Workshop with Colm Mullen, lead artist


Peace IV Youth Arts Lab

In 2018 and 2019, 313 young people engaged in the Peace IV Youth Arts Lab which included young people from Killesher, Kinawley and Florencecort as well as those in Cavan communities.   A summer project was hosted with the Cavan Autism Parents Association as part of this project.  The project which worked with 19 artists in total in urban and rural settings outside the formal education system provided 26 contact hours for the young people with an artist.

Creative Ireland

A short video entitled ‘Beware’ was produced by Padraic Conaty and Kim Doherty based on cyber bullying themes developed by the Kilnaleck Youth Drama Society with Alice Lynch was showcased at the Digital Health Conference for young people.   The video was a timely reminder for and by the young people that there is a huge need to be positive and kind to your peers particularly on social media.

The arts office supported Aaron Monaghan through Livin Dred to deliver workshops in community settings in Cavan with local actors and this focused on interpreting poetry particularly the work of Patrick Kavanagh.  In 2020 Aaron Monaghan will direct Tarry Flynn by Patrick Kavanagh for Livin Dred at Ramor and for a national tour.

A new composition by Martin Donohoe and the Nyah Comhaltas entitled ‘Cavan Images Rich in Character and Full of Story’, encompassing new music with spoken word, storytelling, sean nós, set and ceili dance with dancers from World Traditions working with Kevin Mc Dermott, musician and singer, a native of Owen Roe in Cavan and now living in Co Wexford will be premiered at Townhall, Cavan in 2020.

The Reminiscence Project

This project entitled ‘Talking Heads‘ supported by Creative Cavan was a body of research and interviews with community leaders in Cavan and Killeshandra.  Maura Williamson working with Paul Farnan, videographer produced a short film which was premiered at Killeshandra Community Centre on Culture Night and a recent showing at Townhall, Cavan.   John Conlon one of the most energetic and enthusiastic supporters of the arts in Cavan provided an insightful interview of his many years and experiences working with artists in Cavan including the late Dermot Healy and the Hacklers Drama group on the very successful Waiting for Godot.   Former Councillor Paddy Conaty enthralled viewers with his behind the scenes insights in to local family political dynasties and the thrills of life at St Patricks College, Cavan.   Leading members of the Killeshandra Community recalled the highs and challenges of working in Killeshandra and the many talented people who were involved in cultural activity in the village.


Creative Schools and Cruinniú na nÓg

Cruinniú na nÓg, an initiative of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as part of Creative Ireland the national day of creativity for children and young people was very successful in Cavan in June 2019.   Schools participating included Mullahoran N.S., Butlerbridge N.S., Knocktemple N.S., Ballyhaise N.S., St Mary’s Crosserlough N.S., St Felim’s N.S., Glangevlin N.S. and Gowna N.S. took part is special arts workshops and exhibitions.  This work was co-ordinated with the Local Arts and Education Officer and with Creative Cavan and Monaghan.   Local libraries and Ramor Theatre hosted a complimentary programme of events.


Creative Schools an initiative of the Arts Council and Creative Ireland was successfully accomplished by four schools in Cavan in 2018 namely Coláiste Dún an Rí, Kingscourt, St Mary’s N.S. Ballyhaise, Knocktemple N.S and Gowna N.S.   In 2019 buoyed up by the success of the programme the following schools gained a place on the Creative Schools programme: Gaelscoil Bhreifne, Crosserlough National School, Farnham National School, Killygarry National School, St Aidan's Comprehensive, Cootehill, St Clares College, Ballyjamesduff, St Patricks National School, Bruskey, St Clare's National School, Ballyjamesduff, Virginia College, and St Hugh’s National School, Dowra.  Creative artists Mary Farrelly and Joanne Behan are working in the Cavan schools and Creative Associate Anna Spearman is working in Dowra.


Chalk Dust

Noel Monahan’s long poem Chalk Dust was adapted for theatre by Padraic McIntyre and performed at Ramor Theatre by young people from schools in County Cavan with adult actors Paul Marron, Charlie Bonner, Maura Mc Guinness and John Meehan.   A live score by Darragh Slacke and Robbie Perry with a stunning lighting design by Paddy Farrelly complimented the atmosphere of the repressed young male energy so beautifully captured by Monahan.   McIntyre’s skilled direction moulded the talent abundantly evident in the youthful cast to create this very special theatrical experience.  This project was supported by Creative Cavan at Ramor Theatre.


Music Generation

Music Generation Cavan Monaghan appointed Mairéad Duffy as the Music Generation Development Officer with Paul Markey Administration working to develop performance music education in Cavan and Monaghan.   Twenty-five national schools in Cavan expressed interest in being involved and to date the workshops have commenced with nineteen national schools in Cavan including the Holy Family School, Cootehill and twenty seven musicians on the panel, in addition a two day Summer Camp was delivered in Belturbet.   


Public Art

Curator of Stories Ray Fitzsimons is working on a version of the Hero’s Journey and interviewing inspirational people who have taken different paths in life.  This work will be showcased in 2020.

A fine collection of portraits of local nuns who contributed to education and social justice around the world were purchased by the Council for the County Collection from the artist Rita Duffy and will be placed on permanent display.

Townhall Cavan

The extensive project of renovations is almost complete at Townhall Cavan.   The project spearheaded by Cavan County Council was supported with funding from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Peace IV, SEUPB.


Townhall, Peace IV Activation Programme


The Summer months were busy with four artists delivering workshops as part of the restoration works at the Townhall and considering the Peace legacy in Cavan.  

A Day in the Life of A Border Town by Marie Smith involved a groups of local people and some new to the county considering the legacy of the town and what distinguishes life in a border location.   This exhibition was showcased at Townhall, Cavan and the artist has plans to work with more participants to increase the population of this exhibition to represent the many and distinct people who live in Cavan.   Marie has exciting plans to travel this growing exhibition and to bring it back to settle at Townhall, Cavan at a future date.  

Kim McCafferty, spectacle artist working with actors and musicians created ‘Monumental Shift’ which celebrated the varied life of the Townhall including its use as the home of the town council, the Cavan Gaels Bingo years, the long established Cavan Drama Festival, the Musical Society and many other associations down through the years.

Robbie Perry working with musicians along the border created ‘Tongue’ a gorgeous short film celebrating the importance of water to this area and its disregard for borders and man made barriers.   This is available to view at


The poet Heather Brett dug deep with Cavan Convergence to include the views and experiences of a diverse group of artists and aspiring artists in counties Cavan, Fermanagh and Armagh.   Her work included field trips to Garvaghy Road with the Richmond Centre, Dan Winters Cottage, The Museum of Orange Heritage, Loughgall, Cavan County Museum and the Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen.  The resulting broadsheet included contributions from the Fermanagh Writers Group and local writers and artists.

A Cavan Convergence with lead poet Heather Brett and some group members August 2019


Noel Monahan, poet and playwright whose Chalk Dust was performed at Ramor Theatre with young actors from Cavan Schools directed by Padraig McIntyre


Writer in Residence

Crime Writer Anthony J Quinn was appointed Writer in Residence for Cavan County Council in association with the Irish Writers Centre.   Anthony edited the Lit Lab Anthology which included work by the Lit Lab poets based at Bailieborough Library many of whom have won awards in recent years ‘Where You May Find Yourself’.   This anthology was launched at the Bailieborough Poetry Festival in October.

The writer worked with the Older People’s Council, the Ballyjamesduff Social Club and in the Libraries in Cootehill, Cavan and Bailieborough.   A series of workshops were hosted as part of the Cavan Arts Festival on aspects of the writing craft. 

In January a new crime fiction writing group will commence at Cootehill Library initiated by Anthony J Quinn as a legacy project to the residency.


Culture Night 2019

In 2019 the total audience was 2,382, over 26 venues and 48 events.  Culture Night is owned by local communities in Cavan and is a medley of arts and cultural offerings and is supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and co-ordinated by the arts office.  Among the highlights were the Magical Mystery Tour curated by Joe Keenan, bringing fun to the programme were Tullyvin Musical Society and newcomers included Aosdana artist Janet Pierce’s exhibition Uisce Ainm at Cootehill Library.   Local Comhaltas groups were prominent on the programme including the PJ Flood group, Milltown Comhaltas Cavan Town Comhaltas, Killeshandra Comhaltas and NYAH.

Tom MacIntyre

In October Tom MacIntyre, playwright, poet and man of letters died.  His life and legacy was celebrated at a special evening at the Ramor Theatre moderated by his friend Michael Harding.   This was a gathering of actors, writers and artists who shared their experiences and extracts from MacIntyre’s short stories, plays and poetry.  Among the contributors on the night included Tommy Tiernan who spoke fondly of their friendship and collaboration in a warm and insightful contribution.   The actor Malcolm Adams provided an extract from Only An Apple.  Larry Beau performed two songs inspired by Tom’s poetry.     Celine Tom’s widow concluded the evening with a reading of the last work that Tom created.



The arts festival in the County are spreading the word on the creativity and talent of the arts in Cavan.  These include the more established NYAH, Gerry Whelan Weekend and Ed Reavy Festivals along with the Cavan Arts Festival and the Cootehill Arts Festival.  #Cavan Calling the diaspora festival will join the ranks in August 2020.   Pencil the dates in your diary 20 to 23 August 2020 for this festival celebrating the Cavan Diaspora.


The arts office continues to support artists, develop audiences, promote diversity and enhance the infrastructure of the arts in the county.   The arts office is part of the Housing, Community, Social and Cultural Special Policy Committee under the directorship of Eoin Doyle.   Cavan County Council acknowledges the ongoing support of the Arts Council.

We wish you all a safe and peaceful Christmas and health and prosperity for 2020.


23 Dec 2019


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