Festival time in town of optimism

    Callan’s historic Abbey Meadow where the annual field day will be held

    SUMMER is here…and preparations are underway for the great Callan Festival.

    From June 29 to July 8 the town will be abuzz with fun, culture, sport, and exotic culinary experiences, drawing locals and visitors into a dizzying vortex of celebration and creativity.

    The annual field day will be bigger and brighter than ever.  Its Alice in Wonderland theme promises to enchant. It will include a Mad Hatters’ Tea Party, possibly a Cheshire Cat or two, and a proliferation of imaginary toad stools that will mysteriously appear around the historic Abbey Meadow.

    Stalls and tents selling the best of local food produce and crafts will add a happy ambience to the field upon which once trod contemplative monks in prayer and townsfolk queuing for water at the old well.

    The wonderful KCAT will showcase the artwork of people from the district, including a retrospective exhibition by Francis Casey, a founding member of the KCAT Studio, and a series of cultural events encompassing the fields of architecture, the visual arts and theatre will focus on our complex relationship to the built environment.

    This will attempt to promote a deeper understanding of how we shape the future of rural towns, many of which are under threat from the downside of progress.

    Throughout festival week, movies will be shown at the little cinema in Fennelly’s of Bridge Street and outdoors on the Courtyard Screen where last year large gatherings enjoyed some of the great cinematic works of our time. Seminars and workshops will be held at venues around the town and the restored Callan Workhouse will open its doors to the public for a wide range of cultural activities.

    The parish hall will host a seminar on the effects of social inclusion in a rural context, with the legendary Sister  Stanislaus Kennedy delivering the keynote address. Another seminar will touch on the theme of what it means to be a citizen in today’s Ireland.

    Monkeyshine Theatre will play a major part in events, bringing its own special brand of quirky entertainment. Added to all these activities will be a ratcheting up of the town’s social life.

    Each night, the pubs will be packed to the rafters; and by day the streets will accommodate a huge influx of visitors anxious to immerse themselves in the once a year cultural extravaganza.

    Musicians, story tellers, and impromptu ‘have a go’ entertainers will complement the creative surge, adding to the overall sense of a town that is proud of its heritage and brimming with optimism.