Limerick Saint Brigids Festival 2023 – A central theme of the festival going forward will be the recognition of outstanding female sports stars as role models. Pictured above The land of Saints and Glamour’ by Aoife Cawley (top left), a sample of work from the ‘Bantracht’ exhibition (top right), Sharon Slater (bottom left) and Joy Neville (bottom right)
Limerick’s renowned association with sport make it the ideal home for a new festival to celebrate Limerick Saint Brigids Festival 2023
In recognition of the first national holiday for Saint Brigid, a series of events across Limerick City in February will take place to celebrate Limerick Saint Brigids Festival 2023 this new bank holiday.
Limerick’s renowned association with sport and its burgeoning international reputation as a centre for innovation and creativity make it the ideal home for a new festival to celebrate St. Brigid and Mná na hÉireann.
This year’s events are expected to form the basis of an annual programme of activities celebrating women in Irish Society over the public holiday weekend.
A central theme of the festival going forward will be the recognition of outstanding female sports stars as role models. Recognition of outstanding females who have excelled in their chosen fields allow the public to acknowledge the contribution of that individual but equally it offers inspiration to young people to pursue their chosen interest.
Limerick City and County Council will host host ‘In conversation with Joy Neville’ at the International Rugby Experience
Taking place on Friday February 3rd at 1:00 pm at the International Rugby Experience – please note capacity for this event is limited and is by Invite/RSVP only. It will not be open to walk up entry on the day.
As player, Joy represented Ireland in two World cups, Captained Ireland and was a member of the first Ireland women’s team to win the Six Nations, The Triple Crown and Grand Slam.
After retiring as a player, Joy became a referee. She is the first woman to officiate in a professional European rugby match, the first female referee to take charge of matches in the national leagues of Ireland, Wales and Italy as well as competitions such the British and Irish Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the Pro14. In 2017 Joy was named World Rugby Referee of the Year.
‘Bantracht’ – Female Art Collective at Treaty City Brewery including Folk stories of Fearless females by Eddie Lenihan
An exhibition hosted by selected members of the Mná na nEalaín will open to the public on Thursday February 2nd at 5.30pm until Monday the 6th of February at Treaty City Brewery, 24 & 25 Nicholas Street, Limerick, V94 EH57.
‘Bantracht’ will feature works from Rennie Buenting, Eva Byrne, Angelina Foster, Lara Grufferty, Carol Kennedy, Sibéal Riordan, Emily Robards and Sinéad Cunneen Williams. Mná na nEalain is a network of established and emerging female artists and creatives in Ireland, which evolved from the Creative Europe Womarts Program.
Twenty female artists across Ireland were invited to take part in Womarts in 2020. Wom@rts pursues womens’ equal share of the arts, in terms of visibility, promotion and access to the market, with female empowerment and professional training at its core. Mná na nEalaín hope to create opportunities for women through collaboration and participation.
Throughout the pandemic the artists communicated and collaborated virtually, in September 2022 they met for a letterpress workshop in Limerick Printmakers, which sowed the seeds for the ‘Bantracht’ exhibition.
The title ‘Bantracht’ translates from the Irish ‘womenkind’ or ‘womenfolk’– the central theme of this exhibition. Participants were asked to explore female figures from a historical, current, mythological or folklore context, and to create work in response to their discoveries.
‘The land of Saints and Glamour’ – Aoife Cawley at King Johns Castle
An exhibition of work by Aoife Cawley will open to the public on Thursday February 2nd at 4:00 pm until Monday the 6th of February at King Johns Castle, 1st Floor, Nicholas Street, Limerick, V94 FX25
To celebrate the new bank holiday for our matron Saint Brigid, artist Aoife Cawley has put on an exhibition of work centered around Brigid and other figures from Irish folklore and legends. This exhibition features works of bright neon colours and bold graphic lines that set out to revive the ancient stories that are embroidered into our culture and bring them into present day Ireland.
This exhibition features new and existing works by the artist.
Aoife Cawley is a visual artist from Kildare, primarily working in the realm of printmaking and textiles. She is a current student of Contemporary Art Practice at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee, Scotland. Cawley’s work is typically focused on retelling the stories from mythological, biblical, and historical contexts. She draws inspiration from Celtic art as well as Catholic iconography. For further information on the artist visit www.aoifecawleyart.com
The St Brigid’s Festival will also highlight Women of Limerick by Sharon Slater. An Ormston House initiative, this award-winning mobile phone app celebrates and remembers women from Limerick’s history. In the app, we meet thirty women mapped across the city at important locations from their stories – from Órlaith íngen Cennétig who was Queen of Ireland in 941, to Dolores O’Riordan who earned international stardom with The Cranberries in the 1990s. Ten permanent public artworks by women artists are also highlighted.
Women of Limerick acknowledges women’s contributions to fields such as the arts, education, health and politics, locally, nationally and internationally. It also offers an opportunity to address the absence of women in written history. The app is available to download for free onto Android and Apple devices: to plan walking routes through the city, or to engage with Limerick’s cultural heritage at your fingertips, wherever you are in the world. At each location on the map, you can read a short biography of each woman and listen to a story about her life.
Mayor of Limerick City and County Cllr Francis Foley said, “Limerick Saint Brigids Festival will be a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate the contribution of women in Irish society. Limerick has a rich history of iconic women from Órlaith Íngen Cennétig Queen of Ireland to Kate O’Brien and Dolores O’Riordan, never was ‘Limerick you’re a lady’ more apt. With the advent of a new annual bank holiday in February celebrating St Brigids Day every year, we will continue to grow this celebration of Irish women into the future”.
Eileen Coleman Senior Executive Officer, Tourism, Arts, Festival and Events with Limerick City and County Council added, “The new bank holiday in February celebrating St Brigid, we in Limerick City & County Council see this as an opportunity to celebrate and highlight the contribution and achievements of Irish women and particularly women in Limerick. Irish women have been of vital importance to the development and well-being of Ireland and all areas of Irish society including education, health care, culture, heritage and sporting arenas. It is a golden era for Irish women’s sport and this year the Irish women’s soccer team will play in the World Cup for the first time with the country right behind them, cheering them on. It is wonderful to have a dedicated weekend to celebrate Mna no hEireann.”
St. Brigid is patroness of many things, including learning. With that in mind, Limerick City & County Council envisage that a strong cohort of the activities going forward will revolve around the participation of young people in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) with a particular emphasis on promoting the participation of young girls. Young people will be encouraged to work as part of a team, express creativity, problem solve and have fun whilst at the same time learn key STEM principles.
The Festival offers an opportunity to bring focus and exposure to STEM participation through partnerships with industry leaders based in the Mid-West in areas such as robotics and AR.
Saint Brigid’s Festival will partner with the many art organisations in Limerick to offer workshops to primary school children. A core principle of the festival will be the promotion of career opportunities for art practitioners.
St. Brigid’s festival offers opportunities to assist emerging art practitioners by broadening their exposure to the public through exhibitions and collaborations. This year the following exhibitions will take place over the Bank Holiday Weekend
Limerick City and County Council is actively pursuing an appropriate forum for the recognition of outstanding female role models in partnership with stakeholders in education, arts and sport to be celebrated over St Brigid’s weekend.
The Government have created a new public holiday to honour Saint Brigid, the female Patron Saint of Ireland. This public holiday is on the first Monday in February, falling on Monday, February 6th, 2023.