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Marking Hallowe'en with a difference in Clonakilty

October 30th, 2017 2:25 PM

By Southern Star Team

Members of the newly-formed artist collective, Geata Arts, who will resurrect the creative and other spirits that linger in the town of Clonakilty with a grand street parade on Saturday, November 4th, at 7pm, from Astna Square in Clonakilty, ending with a visual and musical performance at Emmet Squa

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THE ancient legends and myths of Samhain will be brought on to the streets of Clonakilty by a newly-formed artist collective, Geata Arts, in a grand street parade. 

It will takes place on Saturday, November 4th, leaving at 7pm from Astna Square in Clonakilty and ending with a promised ‘incredible visual and musical performance’ at Emmet Square. 

Under the theme ‘Extinct Ireland,’ the group will parade through the town in traditional masks and ancient costumes, inspired by the animals, culture and traditions of a time long distant but not forgotten. The parade will move to the sound of warrior drum rhythms, punctuated by the ancient sound of Celtic horns and the otherworldly siren songs of a choir and musician ensemble.

The event is being supported by the Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce, whose chairman Christopher O’Sullivan recalled the magic that Craic na Coillte brought to the streets of Clonakilty when he was young: ‘I am delighted that Geata Arts are bringing back those incredible vibes. We, as the Chamber, are delighted to support the event.’

This is a non-profit, collaborative community event and all support is very welcome. The group is looking for volunteers to take part in the parade and help with stewarding and also to assist in these final weeks creating props and floats, making costumes etc.

Updates and final programme will be posted on the Samhain 17 event page on Facebook and the website www.geataarts.org

Anyone who remembers Clonakilty in the 1980s and ’90s will know the terrific antics of Craic na Coillte who brought the town to life every time they took to the streets with their giant dragons, fire blowers and incredible creations. 

The group became so successful that they toured the country with their diverse performers and went on to rival the internationally-renowned Macnas from Galway.

The ancient Celtic festival of Samhain has unique cultural significance in Ireland, and was one of the most important events on the Celtic calendar. It was the transition into the darker, colder months of the year and for a brief moment, a time when the dead and beings of other worlds would walk amongst the living.

‘It’s amazing to feel the excitement grow as more and more people get involved and it really begins to take shape,’ says Ronan McLoughlin, one of the local parade organisers.

There will be many events on the days either side of the parade too: from October 31st  to November 6th, keep an eye out for the Death Café, an event where death can be discussed over tea and coffee; a movie night, trad sessions, a lecture on ancient history and much more.

An important part of the festival is the Shrine of Remembrance located in Spillers Lane – a woven willow structure that everyone is invited to visit and leave a message or offering to loved ones who have passed on or to witness what others have left. It will be open from Saturday next.

With over 100 people scheduled to parade through the streets, Geata Arts has already demonstrated the desire in many to return to a traditional, non-commercial and more inclusive festival spirit. For more information or to volunteer contact Mark on 083 4533241 or email [email protected]

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