First announcements for Ballina 2023 include Macnas Parade, RHA West Exhibition, Youth and Sports programme and Music Events.
The internationally acclaimed spectacle and street theatre company Macnas will deliver one of the highlight events taking place as part of Ballina 2023. Macnas’ work is unique for the hybrid of professional artists and volunteers collaborating on an event and throughout the year, the company will work with community participants to develop and deliver one of its renowned parades on the streets of Ballina. The event will take place on July 15th 2023 as part of the Ballina Salmon Festival.
Ballina 2023, together with The Mary Robinson Centre, Mayo County Council and the University of Galway, will hold a week-long international sustainability assembly, Communities Creating Change in July 2023. The programme will focus on the theme of sustainable development and enabling grassroots community climate action, exploring the international, national and local perspective in Ballina, connecting communities, practitioners, agencies and government with academics and researchers through dialogue, deliberation, arts and music. The event will happen July 4 – 8, 2023.
Another highlight of the programme for 2023, Ballina is honoured and excited to host the Connacht Fleadh. In addition to the weekend long competition event, there will be a series of traditional music and dance performances that will showcase the traditional arts tradition of North Mayo and West Sligo in venues across Ballina from June 28 to July 3, 2023.
Ballina 2023 are partnering with the Celtic FC Foundation to deliver a year long Community Sports Programme that will include year-round community football sessions, coaching and education in schools and an estate based league for communities in Ballina and the wider region. In addition there will be a series of summer camps, local games, tournaments and celebratory events with teams visiting from the US and Northern Ireland. In addition, the GAA communities of Ballina will welcome adult football teams in March, from Donegal, Meath, Tyrone, Dublin and Galway to participate in the re-ignited ‘Shannon Medals’ tournament providing a spectacular GAA competition.
The Royal Hibernian Academy is collaborating with Ballina 2023 and Ballina Arts Centre to site a collection of its current artist members’ artwork in Ballina for two months in the autumn of 2023. The RHA is one of Ireland’s principal public art galleries, hosting world-class exhibitions of Irish and international artists and is the oldest artist-led visual arts institution in the country, being founded in 1823. The exhibition, titled RHA West, will feature works by many of Ireland most famous living artists including painters such as Mick O’Dea and Geraldine O’Neill, sculptors like Eilis O’Connell and Eileen McDonagh and multi-media artists such as Dorothy Cross and Alice Maher. Over 50 artworks will be shown to celebrate Ballina 2023 and to mark the 200th year of the RHA celebration exhibition.
In addition, renowned Mayo based artist Tom Meskill will work with Ballina 2023 to create a magical series of hand made light sculptures that will form an installation animating a unique location in Ballina throughout early next year.
Ballina 2023 is also collaborating with the French Embassy, Ballina Municipal District and In Humbert’s Footsteps to commemorate the ‘Year of the French’ . The events organised will take place throughout the year including a Festival running August 19 – 22, 2023 and will mark 200 years since the death of General Humbert, and 225 years since his landing in Killala Bay. The Year 2023 will also celebrate 30 years of our twinning with Athis-Mons.
B2023, together with Ballina Municipal District, is also working with Ballina’s Twin Towns of Pittsfield, Massachusetts and Scranton, Pennsylvania for events during 2023 and will have visiting officials and community members conducting exchange visits during the year. Pittsfield and Ballina will celebrate 25 years of twinning in 2023.
Ballina 2023 are delighted to partner with Ballina Community Radio to present On The Road, an offsite broadcaster that will visit the people and places of Ballina and the surrounding regions throughout 2023. On the Road will broadcast weekly on BCRFM and online. If you would like the Broadcast Bus to visit your community or event throughout the year, details will be available on how to book in early 2023.
As part of its legacy programme, Ballina 2023 is also providing an exciting opportunity for young people aged between 18 and 24 who are from Ballina, North Mayo or West Sligo, to gain experience and training in events, music programming, radio and digital broadcast media, sports training, the arts, community leadership and youth voice. Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with BCRFM, Rio Ferdinand Foundation, Macnas, Warner Music and Ballina 2023 and receive mentorship, training and accreditation as part of the programme.
Speaking about the programme, Cllr. Jarlath Munnelly, Chairperson of the Ballina 2023 Steering Group said:
“Excitement is building ahead of 2023 in Ballina. I’m happy to say that a lot of work has gone into developing linkages across the entire community in Ballina, so I’m really hopeful that every member of the community will see something for them as part of the 2023 programme.” He added, “Equally importantly, I think there will be a significant legacy from the Ballina 2023 celebrations, which I hope will include more civic pride amongst everyone in Ballina, better involvement from people across the community and critically better involvement from young people.”
The programme will also include This Giant Tent, a multi-cultural event celebrating Traveller culture in Ballina and the myriad of cultures and communities that call Ballina home. It will build on a very special project by children celebrating culture and identity that happened in Ballina 2018-2019 involving the Involve Youth Project and Scoil Íosa. For 2023, the project will be developed into a public event rooted in community and celebration, dates to be announced.
On July 8thth 2023, Ballina 2023 will shine a spotlight on the River Moy with a day long celebration of water based activities and cultural events. The River Moy Swim will kick off the day with the ambition to have 300 participants to mark Ballina’s 300th anniversary and will conclude with very special performances along the River Moy.
For the first time in Ballina, Inland Fisheries Ireland will offer a series of public guided tours that will provide participants the rare opportunity to experience first hand the Moy Fishery Salmon Weir. Tours will feature a tour of the Salmon Weir structure and Weir building, insight into the history of the Moy Fishery and Salmon Weir and a demonstration of the fish counters and hydraulics. Tours will happen on selected dates during March, April and July with numbers strictly limited. Booking will be available Spring 2023.
Ballina Community Clean Up is working with communities across Ballina to plant a minimum of one native broadleaf tree for each person in the town by the end of 2023. An ambitious project, the group has already begun sourcing and planting trees for Plant A Tree for 2023 and are inviting groups who wish to be involved to contact them directly through their social media sites.
Grainne Uaile Sub Aqua Club will present an International Dive Rally for Ballina 2023 and will invite scuba divers from around the world to attend a Dive Rally in Killala Bay from August 11th – 13th next year. The geographic positioning of North Mayo as Ireland’s closest land base to the Continental Shelf is the driving force of marine biodiversity to its coastline, and lends itself to being one of Europe’s top scuba diving destinations.
Ballina 2023 is delighted to partner with the Ballina Fringe Festival to present Ballina, Poetry Town appointing a Ballina Poet Laureate who will act as Poet in Residence throughout September and October 2023. As part of the residency, the appointed poet will compose a new Poem for Ballina to mark the 300th anniversary celebration.
St. Muredach’s Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Regina Deacy, on Saturday November 11th 2023 will perform, for the first time in Ballina, Handel’s ‘Messiah’ with guest orchestra and soloists in St Muredach’s Cathedral. The event will be ticketed and released in September 2023.
To mark 300 years since the civic founding of Ballina by Lord Tyrawley in 1723, Ballina 2023 invite from individuals and community organisations in Ballina and its hinterland to also host an event for Ballina 2023. Applications to the Ballina 2023 Community Events Fund will open in January 2023 with further details.
A full music programme will be announced in the Spring 2023 and further events will be announced as details are confirmed.
Programme details are available from www.Ballina2023.ie and our Social Media Sites.