Gig of the Week: In-person laughter returns at Baboró Children’s Arts Festival

October 4th-10th, 2021: The best of the week’s culture events, right around Ireland


Baboró International Children's Arts Festival
From today until Sunday, October 17th; various locations around Galway; various times and prices;

Baboró is celebrating 25 years of giving children a little more than face-painting and magicians to stimulate their imaginations. This year the festival is engaging even more closely with children's right to participate in the arts, making sure their voice is heard in the programming of events, and giving them a platform to express themselves fully. This year sees the welcome return of in-person events, so we can once again hear the laughter and see the fascination and wonder on their faces in venues around Galway, but there will also be a free school digital programme and a free family digital programme. Highlights this first week of the festival include:

  • Rothar, Branar Téatar do Pháistí's joyful production that starts in a tiny bike shop and ends in a world of adventure (Thursday, October 7th, until Sunday, October 10th; Mick Lally Theatre; various times; €9/€30)
  • The Veiled Ones, a dance theatre show loosely inspired by Roald Dahl's The Witches (Thursday, October 7th, until Sunday, October 10th; Black Box Theatre; various times; €9/€30)
  • The Streets Are Ours, a promenade performance created with help from local children and combining parkour, dance and circus skills (Saturday, October 9th; St Joseph's Community Centre, Shantalla; 4.30pm and 5.30pm; €5).

Philadelphia, Here I Come!
Tuesday, October 5th, to Saturday, October 16th; Cork Opera House; 8pm (plus 2.30pm on Saturdays); €28;

Hailed as Brian Friel’s first masterpiece, Philadelphia, Here I Come! (first staged in 1964) has been chosen as Cork’s first major dramatic production for live audiences since the pandemic began. The story of a young man looking to escape his restricted life and strike out for greener pastures will certainly resonate. Alex Murphy – best known as Conor in The Young Offenders – stars alongside Shane O’Regan, Seamus O’Rourke, Catherine Walsh and Oskar Smith. Audience capacity will be at 60 per cent, and don’t forget your Covid passport.

Tipperary Dance International Festival
Wednesday, October 6th, until Saturday, October 16th; various locations around Tipperary; various times and prices;


There’ll be dancing in the streets (and in venues around Tipp) as the dance festival once again welcomes live audiences to discover dance at 25 events in 10 locations around the county. Highlights to watch out for include:

  • A double bill of performances by two international solo artists, Moritz Ostruschnjak's Tanzanweisungen (it won't be like this forever), and Francesce Foscarini's Animale (Thursday, October 7th; Excel Arts Centre)
  • Another double bill, Root, a collaboration between Syrian-born Saeed Hani and graduates from the University of Limerick
  • Dances for Inside and Outside, featuring eight dancers from Europe and Africa (Friday, October 8th; Source Arts Centre, Thurles)
  • Spotlight Ireland, a triple bill featuring the choreographers Tobi Omoteso, Lucia Kickham and Fergus Ó Conchúir (Saturday October 9th; Kickham Barracks, Clonmel).

Belfast International Arts Festival
Wednesday October 6th, until Sunday, November 7th; various locations, time and prices;

The 59th festival will explore such topics as gender equality, multiculturalism, climate and democracy while also providing some top-notch entertainment. Highlights for the festival's first week include:

  • Prime Cut's The Border Game, a drama about rebuilding fences and reliving the past (Wednesday October 6th, until Saturday, October 23rd; Lyric Theatre; £28-£12)
  • A Poetry Jukebox featuring Maria McManus and Iggy McGovern (Thursday October 7th, until, Saturday, November 6th; Crescent Arts Centre and online; 9am-10pm; free)
  • Irish Times journalist Derek Scally and writer Susan McKay in conversation about Ireland's religions (Friday, October 8th; The MAC; 7.30pm; £7/£6)
  • The Devil, acclaimed choreographer Oona Doherty's visceral examination of metamorphosis (Saturday, October 9th, until Sunday, November 7th; over-18 online event; 8pm; free, donations welcome)
  • A screening of The Queen v Patrick O'Donnell, the story of one of the most intriguing murder plots in Irish history (Saturday, October 9th; Queen's Film Theatre; 6.20pm; £6.95/£5.95).

Kildare Comeback – featuring Christy Moore, Bell X1 and Paddy Casey
Thursday, October 7th, until Saturday, October 16th; various venues, times and prices;

Now we’re able to come together again in person, Kildare Culture has invited a few of the county’s famous sons and daughters to perform a series of concerts in intimate settings.

  • Country-flavoured singer-songwriter Megan O'Neill will showcase her new sound with songs from her second album, Getting Comfortable with Uncertainty (Thursday, October 7th; St David's Church, Naas)
  • The Sallins signer Arlene Bailey is set to perform country rock songs from Nashville, with support from Newbridge newcomer Amy Rowlette (Friday, October 8th; St Patrick's Church of Ireland, Newbridge)
  • Celbridge rockers Bell X1 play two "acoustic-ish" gigs in one day (Saturday, October 9th, St David's Church, Naas, and St Patrick's Church of Ireland, Newbridge);
  • Paddy Casey makes a welcome return (Sunday, October 10th; St Patrick's Church of Ireland, Newbridge)
  • Kildare's biggest musical export, Christy Moore, plays an intimate show in front of 120 lucky punters (Sunday, October 10th; Moat Theatre, Naas).

John Blek
Friday, October 8th; Cleere's Theatre, Kilkenny; 8pm; €20; and Sunday, October 10th; Spirit Store, Dundalk; 7.30pm; €14;

Last year the Cork singer-songwriter had to cancel a 60-date tour because of Covid restrictions. Now he’s taking to the road with a new album’s worth of songs to perform – they come from On Ether & Air, the fourth in his Catharsis project, exploring themes inspired by water, earth, fire and air. Blek is an intriguing performer, with a clear, emotive alt-country voice redolent of Iron & Wine, Elliot Smith and Jeff Tweedy, a dazzling fingerstyle guitar-playing technique and a storyteller’s eye for detail. Catch him before the rest of the world cottons on to this fine Cork talent.