Inish Festival 2015: Island Conversations launches today on Inishbofin and continues throughout the weekend. The event, which celebrates poetry, drama, music, and images, features the poet Bernard O’Donoghue, a noted scholar of Yeats, and a number of fine artists and thinkers considering the place of islands.
Opening with a unprecedented flotilla of boats, the festival is a celebration of islands, island communities, and the arts, and brings together artists, writers, musicians, scholars, performers – and most importantly the islanders themselves – in a series of conversations, performances, and creative events. In times of extraordinary change, communities and the arts, especially in Galway and the west of Ireland, face real challenges. Inish Festival provides a focus for creative exchanges and a platform for vital discussions regarding the vibrancy and regeneration of the arts and of these communities. An island shows us the world from a different vantage point; by starting here Inish Festival tells us about ourselves.
It is over sixty years since the poet Richard Murphy went ‘Sailing to an Island’, renovating a Galway hooker and taking writers and artists such as Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney, over sea to Inishbofin. Inish Festival represents a symbolic homecoming, as his family return and he links with us at the conference from his home in another troubled island, Sri Lanka. Other islanders and musicians join local and international speakers to talk about land clearances, emigration, archaeology, folklore; discussions about artistic representations of island culture encounter conversations about sustainability. In particular Inish Festival showcases creative responses in paint, light, words, and sound to islands and isolation. Inish Festival reminds us we are all islanders, but none of us is an island, entire of itself.