Clifden’s 200th birthday celebrations kicked off in style over the weekend with a street party of music and dance led by Freeman of Connemara, Ryan Tubridy.
The Connemara capital basked in glorious sunshine for the start of the ten-day Clifden 200 Festival celebrating the bi-centenary of the town. The festivities was officially opened on Friday evening in the Clifden Station House Hotel but the party kicked off in earnest on the Town Square on Saturday evening.
There was a double celebration for Ryan Tubridy as the Late Late Show host was also celebrating his own birthday over the weekend. He was joined on stage by Clifden Comhaltas, an up and coming young local band called Kickdrift, and world famous Sean-Nós dancer Brian Cunningham from Cashel, Connemara as the birthday celebrations lasted long into the night.
On Sunday, the activity was along the shores of Clifden Bay with a traditional boats regatta featuring the boats of the Galway Hooker Society and currach racing.
Clifden was founded in 1812 by John D’Arcy who was the owner of an estate covering over 17,000 acres on the west coast of Connemara, and like Westport it is one of the few planned towns in Ireland.
The birthday celebrations will last until Monday, June 4 and a number of events are taking place during the next week including a three day ‘Uncovering Our Connemara Roots’ Genealogical Conference, town heritage walks, coach trips, field trips and a big Street Party on Main Street with music, song and dance.
Next weekend, well-known singer and musician, Seán Keane will host a concert on Friday night and on Saturday, The Clifden 200: Living History Project will present an afternoon of street theatre, music and dance performed by local school children and will transport you back in time by recreating Clifden’s market from the 1800s.
Other events a include a Ceilí Mór in the Alcock and Brown Hotel on Sunday night with the Matt Cunningham Band.
The final day of the Festival is Bank Holiday Monday, June 4, and once again the town Square will come to life with an Artisan Food Market and afternoon round up for all the family including workshops and entertainment from Galway Community Circus.
There will also be a number of events during the year including the Marconi Heritage Weekend in October and the five day San Patricio Mexican-Irish Festival in September.
Details of these and all other events are available on www.clifden2012.org, from the Clifden 200 Festival Office, located beside the Station House Hotel, or by calling 087-6029469.
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