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Liverpool Irish Festival is back for 2023

Liverpool Irish Festival, the UK’s largest Irish arts and culture led festival, today announces its 2023 programme. The annual festival features 40 events, for adults and children, across 10 remarkable days (Thurs 19 -Sun 29 Oct 2023).

The Festival, a highlight of the UK cultural calendar, celebrates its 21st Festival this year. In honour of this, the theme for this year’s Festival is ‘anniversary’.

Programme headlines

The line-up includes an array of Irish artists and contributors from across the worlds of music, theatre, film, spoken word, visual arts and academia. Lisa Lambe, internationally acclaimed Irish folk singer and actor, shares her new project, NightVisiting at The Tung Auditorium.

Fun activities for families can be enjoyed at Museum of Liverpool and the Liverpool Irish Centre on the Family Day and the Samhain Céilí.

Deep dives into anniversaries are made across the Festival.
• The London Lasses, one of the best traditional Irish bands on the scene today, kick off the Festival, following the official Festival launch (6pm, Thurs 19 Oct), themselves celebrating 25 years as a band and the release of their sixth album – LL25 – marking their milestone.

• The Good Friday Agreement’s 25-year anniversary is marked in an event, hosted in partnership with the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies, followed by Green & Blue, Kabosh Theatre’s (Belfast) community developed two-hander about The Troubles (both Thurs 26 Oct).

• 100 years since his birth, Brendan Behan is celebrated in Fat Dan Productions’ Brendan: Son of Dublin (Sat 28 Oct). 90-years since the United States District Council ruled Ulysses to be publishable, we celebrate experimental writing with a half-day session with Pascal O’Loughlin, and National Poetry Librarian, Chis McCabe.

• Referencing the release of The Yellow Wallpaper, written 130 years ago, Dublin vocalist and composer Sue Rynhart returns to the Festival with her folk and jazz influences in what promises to be a dazzling performance at Sefton Park Palm House.

• The programme offers connection to poignant anniversaries, such as its commemoration of An Gorta Mór (The Great Hunger) with a memorial gathering (Sun 29 Oct). The Liverpool Irish Famine Trail (self-guided tour) reflects on Irish migration, settlement and legacy.

For more details on individual events including specific dates, times and venues visit: https://www.liverpoolirishfestival.com/events/

Liverpool Irish Festival CEO & Artistic Director, Emma Smith says:
“Liverpool Irish Festival brings Liverpool and Ireland closer together using arts and culture. We create spaces that build cultural connections between Ireland, Liverpool, the Irish diaspora and neighbouring communities.
“It’s perhaps not surprising that anniversaries are on our mind this year, with us turning 21. It’s 10-years since the McAleese inquiry; 15-years since Liverpool became Capital of Culture; 25-years since the Good Friday Agreement, 100-years of Ireland and 175-years since An Gorta Mór. LIF2023 combines stories about Irishness and reveals people searching for, and finding, their identity. Anniversaries are often the markers we use to remember. They connect us with our heritage and mark notable events. We hope everyone will join us – physically or online – as we celebrate and present our 21st Festival and create new memories and milestones together.”

Claire McColgan, CBE Director of Culture Liverpool, states:
“Liverpool Irish Festival is a milestone in Liverpool’s annual cultural calendar. Liverpool City Council is proud to support their work, via our Culture and Arts Investment Programme. We see how the Festival connects the culture of our city with the island of Ireland. We’re always impressed by the mix of Liverpool, Liverpool-Irish and Irish artists presented and how this work considers Liverpool’s population as part of Ireland’s diaspora. Liverpool’s proud of its Irish connections and we are beginning to show this more and more. We hope as many people as possible visit the Festival’s live performances and workshops and support their community programmes.”

Sarah Mangan, Consul General of Ireland, follows with:
“The North West of England contains many thriving Irish communities. Here at the Consulate, we’ve been invigorated by the work of the Festival, particularly events that treat the diaspora as a progressive and changing community and, especially, the commemoration work around Irish Famine and the city. We’re thrilled to see the Festival celebrating its 21st Festival and look forward to marking many more anniversaries in the future.”

About the Festival

Founded in 2003, the Festival brings Liverpool and Ireland closer together, using arts and culture. As the most diverse celebration of Irish culture in the UK, we have become a ten-day festival of music and song; visual arts; performance arts; culture, history and identity sharing, talks and tours and film.

Liverpool Irish Festival receives regular funding from Liverpool City Council’s Cultural Arts Investment Programme and the Irish Government’s Department for Foreign Affairs Emigrant Support Programme. It received Arts Council England’s HM Government Cultural Recovery Funding (2020-21). The Festival’s Liverpool Irish Famine Trail work is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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