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Athenry MAD Festival

Athenry goes M.A.D. from Thursday 20th September until Sunday 23rd September 2018 with a programme of events that's suitable for all ages to enjoy. Experience this multidisciplinary event in locations throughout the town and discover the Arts from exhibitions, writing workshops, music and drama. This year's event also incorporates Culture Night 2018 which adds to the MAD weekend festivities. All Culture Night activities are free to attend and inclusive to all.

Thursday 20th September

Event: Festival Opening

Location: Amicitia, Old Church Street.

Time: 6:00pm

Join us as we celebrate the opening of the M.A.D Festival 2018 and meet local artists who will be exhibiting during the event and live in and around Athenry. The evening will showcase the various events and activities over the weekend. Bring your friends and family to Amicitia and discover everything that's M.A.D. in Athenry.



Event: Padraig Stevens & Leo Moran SOLD OUT

Padraig and Leo

Location: Athenry Heritage Centre

Time: Doors open 8:00pm

Date: Thursday 20th September

Admission €12.00 Age: 12+

The Saw Doctors, Christy Moore and Michael English have all had success with his songs but if you want to hear the original versions of favourites like 'The Tuam Beat' and 'Ireland for the Summer' go along to the Athenry Heritage Centre on September 20th to hear Padraig Stevens perform a selection from his book of songs, when he will be accompanied by Leo Moran, lead guitarist with the Saw Doctors.

Padraig and Leo have recorded an album called 'News from the Old Country' and have been playing shows all over Ireland over the past two years. Later this month the lads will tour the New England area of the United States, playing 14 shows during their three week tour.

The concert takes place in the intimate setting of the Athenry Heritage Centre with numbers limited to 45 seats. A night of original songs is promised, with a few stories and a bit of craic thrown in.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite and cost €12.00 plus a booking fee.


Culture Night Friday 21st September

Culture Night 2018

This year's M.A.D Festival incorporates Culture Night 2018 with events being held throughout the town. All Culture Night events are free to attend however, please note some of the activities have specific age requirements. Check out the listings for any age restrictions and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Athenry Heritage Centre has introduced ticketing through Eventbrite and any tickets required must be booked through their site.




Event: Fairy Garden Workshop with Rachel & Louise

Rachel Loughrea Craft Club Athenry Library 21st September from 4:30pm until 6:30pm

Location: Athenry Library

Time: 3:30pm-5:00pm Age 5yrs-11yrs

Date: Friday 21st September

Create some beautiful accessories for your fairy garden with Rachel & Louise from the Loughrea Craft Club.

Fairy gardening is the latest trend in fairy land! Learn how to create your own fairy garden with tips and hints from Rachel & Louise. Create a number of accessories to add a wow factor to your own fairy garden at home, from a fairy sign post to an adorable rope ladder.




Event: The Rational Regrets of Richie Ryan SOLD OUT

The Rational Regrets by James Riordan

Location: Maddens Forge, Bridge Street

Time: 5:00pm Age 9+ Limited Space, so please arrive early

Date: Friday 21st September

The Rational Regrets of Richie Ryan is a site specific piece of theatre commissioned by Galway County Council. Inspired by old Madden’s Forge, Athenry, the history of the rural blacksmith, lucky charms and travelling entertainers, it charts the life, loves and losses of the fictional Blacksmith Richie Ryan. While Richie spends his days meditatively making, breaking and making again by the fire, our storyteller illuminates the always rational yet often regretful decisions that have landed him here, alone amongst the ‘lucky’ horse shoes and broken bellows, forgotten by time itself.

New work by Galway based artist James Riordan.

There is limited seating for this event, so please order your tickets through Eventbrite. Admission is free. 



Event: Athenry Music School Present Camerata

Athenry Music School Presents Camerata

Location: Upstairs in Gills Bar, Old Church Street

Time: 6:00pm, Limited Seating.

Date: Friday 21st September

The Athenry Music School Camerata was formed in 2017 to provide an exciting new environment for our most senior students. They have already performed in the Shannonside Winter Festival in Bunratty Castle, in the Augustinian chapel, Galway and in Athenry. In February 2019, they have been invited to play in the National Concert Hall, Dublin. Under the baton of conductor, Daire Mac Mághnuis, the Camerata's repertoire includes Elgar's Serenade for Strings, St Paul's Suite by Holst and TC Kelly's Three Pieces for Strings.

A poem 'Athenry Re-Lived' composed by Dympna Duddy, will be read on the night by Conor Judge.

Dympna was born in Athenry and educated by the Presentation Sisters. She has traveled extensively and on her return always visits Our Lady's Well to renew her spiritual nature. She wrote her latest poem to relfect life's many and varied blessings.


Event: The Urchins Tale presented by the Gliondar Youth Theatre Group All Ages

The Urchins Tale By Gliondar Youth Ensemble

Location: Church of Assumption, Church Street, Athenry.

Time: 7:00pm

Gliondar’s Youth Ensemble are proud to present The Urchins Tale, the story of two children on a journey through a dangerous and difficult world carried along by events and tossed about by history. The Youth Ensemble perform this devised new work, inspired by the Brothers Grimm, throughout the town of Athenry.

This is a street theatre performance which will commence outside the Church of Assumption and will be led through the streets of Athenry. The performance ends in the garden of the Athenry Heritage Centre. Please exit the performance at the rear gates of the centre.

Dress warmly and bring a torch.





Event: Ted Talks: Life on the road with Footsbarn Theatre

Ted Turton presents Ted Talks

Location: Athenry Heritage Centre

Time: 8:00pm Ages 12+

Date: Friday 21st September

Ted Turton talks about life on the road with Footsbarn Theatre in the 1980s.

Ted Turton is a founder member of the Galway Arts Festival and continued his involvement with it for thirty five years including four years as Artistic Director in the nineties. He designed twelve of the early posters for the festival between 1978 and 1999.

Although Ted was working in New York during the summer that Footsbarn Theatre first visited Galway and Clifden in 1979, he met the company a couple of years later when they performed Hamlet at the Galway Arts Festival in 1981. It was after this encounter that Ted ‘ran away with the circus’, joining the company for six years on a World Tour that took him and Footsbarn on an adventure of a lifetime.

Join us for the closing event of Culture Night 2018 and enjoy tales of a journey where Ted travelled the world with a crazy, infuriating and totally inspirational family of many nationalities which today is the world renowned Footsbarn Theatre Company.



Saturday 22nd September

Event: Writing Workshop with Elaine Feeney

Elaine Feeney

Location: Athenry Heritage Centre

Time: 10:30am-1:30pm Ages 14+

Date: Saturday 22nd September

Writing Workshop with Elaine Feeney

The workshop is a creative writing workshop for teenagers focusing on contemporary writing, building confidence, self-esteem and a greater understanding of page v’s performance poetry. It will entail instruction, in a fun and encouraging way, and some work shopping of students own poems. They will be encouraged to write and perform in the workshop space. The focus will be on developing their voice and will include texts from the State Exams.

Places are limited to ten young people.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to confirm your place.




Event: Kite Making Workshop

Kite making Workshop

Location: Athenry Heritage Centre Garden

Time: 11:00am-1:00pm Age: 3+ Donation on the day

Date: Saturday 22nd September

Come and make your very own kite and then join us on Sunday from 1:30pm for a mass kite flying event in St. Mary's GAA grounds.



Event: Meet Madame Fou, Fortune Teller, Psychic an more.......

Madame Fou

Location: See her pop up in locations throughout the town

Time: 12:00pm outside the Town Cafe, Cross Street & various locations in Athenry

Date: Saturday 22nd September



Event: Socky with Alison MacCormaic

Socky with Alison MacCormaic

Location: Athenry Heritage Centre Ages 5-10yrs Children to be accompanied by a parent/guardian

Time: Pop in 30 minute workshops starting from 2:00pm-2:30pm, 2:50pm-3:20pm, 3:30pm-4:00pm

Date: Saturday 22nd September

Odd socks are found in every home, this workshop reveals creative and ingenious ways to use them up. The children (and parents) are introduced to a range of simple garments designs for toys and dolls, from hats to jackets and dresses to sock pants. Make a new wardrobe for teddy with just a pair of scissors, some imagination and a few recycled socks. (Children may bring their own teddies or small dolls and their own stash of odd socks to use up.) Otherwise materials will be provided including a selection of teddies and dolls as models.



Event: Moth & Butterfly with Orla McGovern ( Spontaneous Theatre) €7.00 €5.00 Concession

Moth & Butterfly Logo

Location: Athenry Heritage Centre

Time: 8:30pm

Date: Saturday 22nd September

Moth and Butterfly is a regular gem in the arts calendar of the West. Described as ‘Galway’s warmest arts night”, it combines the art-forms of Storytelling and Improvisation. The stories are a combination of true ‘Moth’ style stories, fiction, and improvised ‘Butterfly’ tales. The night is hosted by the telling ensemble and welcomes audience tellers to join. Stories are up to 9 minutes long and each night they adhere to a different theme - this one is ‘A Fresh Start’. Audience tellers are invited to email if they want to throw their name in the hat for a telling spot. Come join the ensemble for a night of delight. To read more about the event go to



Sunday 23rd September


Event:The Fairy Fixer with Jay Ryan

Location: Athenry Heritage Centre Ages 3 to 5yrs

Time: 11:00am & 1:00pm

Date: Sunday 23rd September

Is there an injured fairy in your house? Are you worried it won’t be able to look after itself? Call The Fairy Fixer for immediate action!

A fairy has been injured after doing a crash landing. The call for the Fairy Fixer has been sent and soon a newly trained Fairy Fixer arrives to catch the shy fairy and mend her broken wing. He will need lots of help from the children, and a little bit of magic.



Event: Ride A Bike, Fly A Kite: Family Event

Location: St. Mary's GAA Pitch, Athenry

Time: 1:30pm-4:30pm

Date: Sunday 23rd September




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Athenry Heritage Centre.

St. Mary's,The Square,
Co. Galway,
Rep. of Ireland

Phone: 091 844661


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