Subscriber OnlyCulture

Gig of the Week: Galway International Arts Festival is the GIAF-t that keeps on giving

Plus Orla Gartland’s Irish tour, Rex Orange County in the Iveagh Gardens, Limerick Bastille Day and more

Galway International Arts Festival

July 11th-24th

The biggest and best arts festival in all the land is neatly shimmying back into its summer slot, and featuring a line-up that will make up for the past two years of disruption. The Big Top will be returning to Fisheries Field, and this week will feature Pixies (July 14th & 15th, 7pm, €52.50) and The Stunning (July 17th, 7pm, €35). Theatre events include Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of Sam Shepard’s True West (July 12th-23rd, Town Hall Theatre, Courthouse Square, 8pm & 2pm €20-€37.50); the world premiere of Druid Theatre’s The Last Return, a comedy about conflict by acclaimed playwright Sonya Kelly (July 8th-23rd, Mick Lally Theatre, Druid Lane, 8pm & 2.30pm €22-€28); and Theatre Lovett’s The Tin Soldier, after Hans Christian Andersen (July 11th-16th, Black Box Theatre, Dyke Road 7pm & 1pm €15-€35).

There will also be some incredible street art spectacles, including Mars, a massive sculpted sphere that uses Nasa imagery to create an amazing scale model of the red planet (July 14th-17th Nuns Island free), and Les Girafes, a parade of monumental giraffes through the streets of Galway, led by an operatic diva (July 16th & 17th, Eyre Square to Spanish Arch, 9.30pm & 6pm free). We’re only touching the tip of the arts-berg here, so go west, young culture vulture, and experience the wonderment first-hand.


Orla Gartland

July 11th, Whelan’s, Dublin; July 12th, Róisín Dubh, Galway; July 14th, Cyprus Avenue, Cork; July 15th, Dolan’s, Limerick; July 16th, Academy, Dublin

Fans of the Dublin singer-songwriter — and their numbers are growing fast — will be delighted at finally getting the chance to catch Gartland performing songs from her acclaimed debut album, Woman on the Internet, released in August 2021. Gartland rose to prominence by posting cover versions of various songs on YouTube, but her own tunes, including Devil on My Shoulder, Zombie. Pretending and Did It to Myself, have the requisite staying power. And Gartland’s incredible stage presence and sheer rock ‘n’ roll energy will have you staying for more.


Monday 11th-17th, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin, 5pm/7.30pm, €15

Are you ready to give in to animal passions and unbridled lust? Are you a fan of dodgy politics and skulduggery? Then get yourself down to Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for Irish National Opera’s fiery new production of Puccini’s block-rocking opera. Irish soprano Sinéad Campbell Wallace plays Tosca, a highly strung singer in love with a painter named Cavaradossi (US tenor Dimitri Pittas). But corrupt police chief Scarpia (Icelandic bass baritone Tómas Tómasson) has his eye on Tosca, and he devises a devious scheme to deceive her.

Rex Orange County

July 15th Iveagh Gardens, Dublin, €40

An Englishman’s bedroom is his castle, and singer-songwriter Alexander O’Connor aka Rex Orange County has used his own bedroom as a launchpad for his bid to conquer the world. The multi-genre multi-instrumentalist made his name with appearances on albums by Tyler, The Creator, and now plays a much-anticipated headliner at Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens in support of his latest album, Who Cares?, released earlier this year. Hopefully we’ll get a nice, warm evening to enjoy O’Connor’s unique blend of hip-hop, jazz and AOR pop. Also performing at Iveagh Gardens this week are ever-popular Dublin band Villagers (July 14th) and pop-punk legends Pixies (July 16th).

An evening with David Sedaris

Wednesday 13th, National Concert Hall, Dublin, 7pm

If you thought David Sedaris’s books were funny, wait until you meet the man in person. He is one of the US’s most celebrated satirists, and the wicked humour translates to his book signings and personal appearances, which are so popular they invariably sell out around the world. The pandemic put a temporary stop to touring and reading for audiences — the part of his job he says he loves the most — but out of lockdown came Happy-Go-Lucky his first new collection of personal essays since his best-selling collection Calypso. Sedaris will be holding forth at the NCH, giving his own take on the US culture wars of recent times.

Imma Summer Party: Continuous Patterns

July 15th & 16th Imma, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8, €30 per day

The ever-popular Imma Summer Party returns, and this year’s theme is the continuing growth and evolution of Dublin’s vibrant artistic community, and its resilience in the face of multiple challenges over the past few years. It start on Friday with an evening of “future-focused” live music from up-and-coming R&B acts Jar Jar Jr, Negro Impaco and Efé, power popsters Ae Mak and contemporary group Glasshouse, with special guest appearance from Aoife Nessa Frances and a hometown show by producer and DJ R Kitt. There’s a more relaxed vibe on Saturday, with music from psych-folk artist Aoife Wolf and Cork songwriter O Deer, and DJ sets from Claire Beck and Donal Dineen among others, but beware: sets from Stomptown Brass and headliners Ye Vagabonds could get riotous.

Limerick Bastille Day Wild Geese Festival

July 15th-17th

Killing two geese with one stone, the Limerick Bastille Day Wild Geese Festival marks the annual French national holiday and the Flight of the Wild Geese, adding in a celebration of the long-standing friendship between Ireland and France. This Gallic-flavoured weekend includes a Wild Geese conference (Friday 15th & Sat 16th, Mary Immaculate Church & St John’s Church, 9.30am & 2pm) the 2022 Boules Tournament (Sat 16th, Hunt Museum Garden, 2pm), the Honora French & Irish Sustainable Couture Show (Sat 16th, St Mary’s Cathedral, 7.45pm), French songs at the Milk Market with Eve Stafford (Sunday 17th, Mother Macs, 11am) and the 2022 Boules Tournament (Sat 16th, Hunt Museum Garden, 2pm).

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist