Galway International Arts Festival 2021: Here’s What’s Happening

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Galway International Arts Festival returns this year from 28 August until 18 September. Here are some of the events taking place across the county, so you can add them to your calendar.


There Are Little Kingdoms

There Are Little Kingdoms is performed as part of Galway International Arts Festival 2021

1 – 11 September, 8pm
Matinees Thursday 2 and 9,
Saturday 4 and 11 September, 3pm
No show Sunday 5 September
Town Hall Theatre

Written by Kevin Barry and directed by Andrew Flynn, this humorous play is an exploration of life in the towns and cities of a changing land. The audience is taken on a journey as some hilarious scenarios unfold and a variety of fascinating characters are introduced.

Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes, no interval.
Tickets: €25

Sruth na Teanga

Sruth na Teanga
Sruth na Teanga will take place in Galway Airport

1-18 September
No shows Monday or Tuesday
Galway Airport, Carnmore

Join Branar in this immersive theatre experience, bringing the legendary Fianna, Ireland’s Golden Age and the Great Famine to life. Suitable for the whole family, the show combines various elements including live performance, puppetry and animation in its retelling of major historical events in Ireland.

Tickets: Child €10, Adults €12.50-€15, Family ticket (2 adults, 2 kids) €45
Duration: 45 minutes


In Person 2-18 September, various times
Live-stream 15, 16, 17 & 18 September, 8pm
On Demand 20-26 September
Black Box Theatre

Writer and director Enda Walsh brings his latest live production to Black Box Theatre, starring Clare Barrett, Aoife Duffin and Domhnall Gleeson.

Galway International Arts Festival describes the play as “a dark and frequently absurdist work that shatters the boundary between cast and audience,” going on to call it a “devastatingly funny and moving meditation on how, for decades, we have treated those we called ‘mentally ill’.”

While in-person tickets for the play are sold out, you can buy tickets for the live-stream performances here.

Visual Art

Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work

This year’s exhibition ‘leaf work’ aims to draw attention to the climate crisis

28 August – 18 September 2021
9am – 9pm
Derrigimlagh Bog
Connemara, Co. Galway

John Gerrard returns with his stunning installation The Pavilion following its debut appearance at Claddagh Quay last year, as part of Galway European Capital of Culture 2020. The structure consists of four walls, three of which are highly reflective, while the fourth is a high resolution LED screen.

This year, the exhibit will take place in the 4,000 year-old Derrigimlagh Bog, hosting Gerrard’s latest creation, Leaf Work. The project uses simulation to draw attention to the ever-accelerating threat of climate change, creating virtual worlds that represent and reflect real Irish landscapes.

House of Memory

1-18 September
Monday-Sunday 12pm-6pm
Late Opening Friday until 8pm

Architecture at the Edge offers a platform for those who have lost loved ones during the Covid_19 pandemic to share their experience of loss. This structure invites viewers to lament their losses by leaving a memento or a short written message as a symbol of remembrance and hope for the future.

This event will be ticketed to allow for social distancing. Tickets are free and are available to book online.

ImPRESSions 2021

The exhibition showcases works by printmaking artists across the country

Online exhibition
27 August onwards

This online exhibition focuses on the art of printmaking and its creators. The exhibition will feature work from artists across the country, nominated by Irish printmaking workshops including the Graphic Studio Dublin, Belfast Print Workshop and Cork Printmakers.


Other voices

Other Voices returns featuring acts including Mick Flannery and Susan O’Neill (seen above)

Online broadcast
Livestreamed Friday 3 September, 9pm

Galway International Arts Festival teams up with Other Voices this year for a one-off livestream performance from 13th century St Nicholas’ Church. Other Voices showcases a diverse line-up of  Irish artists, including dream-pop band NewDad, afro-pop sensation Tolü Makay and a collaboration from singer-songwriters Mick Flannery and Susan O’Neill.

Vinyl Hours 2021

Music enthusiasts discuss their personal listening experiences and how music has shaped them throughout the years

O’Donoghue Theatre, NUI Galway
Tickets: €5

Special guests chat to music enthusiast and NUIG lecturer Tiernan Henry about their go-to playlist and how music has shaped and changed them throughout their lives. From their greatest idols to those tunes that stuck with them from the very first listen, Philip King, Sinead Burke, Brian Kerr and Niamh Regan reveal all about their personal listening experiences.

Vinyl Hours with Philip King
Saturday 4 September, 2pm
Vinyl Hours with Sinead Burke

Saturday 11 September, 5pm
Vinyl Hours with Brian Kerr

Saturday 11 September, 8pm
Vinyl Hours with Niamh Regan

Saturday 18 September, 6pm

These conversations will also feature on the First Thought podcast, which will be available for listening from October. Playlists will be available on GIAF’s Spotify.

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Ava Farrelly
Ava Farrelly
Ava Farrelly is a travel journalist for travel2ireland, ITTN and TravelTimes. With a background in arts, culture and lifestyle, Ava has a keen eye for the most visit-worthy destinations and all their attractions.

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