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A Year of Festivals in Ireland

We recently met Mark Graham, a man who makes his living from attending festivals in Ireland, (this must be right up there on the list of ‘dream jobs’, yes?)  Some years ago, Mark opted out of a broken banking system and did something completely different.

Using the deposit he’d been saving for a house he never bought, Mark set out on a quest to attend three festivals a week in Ireland for a year. Tired of hearing that Irish people ‘got carried away’ during the boom, he wanted to explore our towns and villages for himself and meet these people who had allegedly ‘lost the run of themselves’ in better economic times.

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What he discovered was the best of us – a countryside alive with weird and wonderful festivals, organised by people who work hard to make their communities better places to live. Festivals like our own Earagail Arts, or Electric PicnicSwell and The Ballymaloe LitFest of Food and Wine. His experience details the range of entertainment on offer on any given day, from storytelling on Cape Clear, to bog snorkelling in Monaghan and cloud appreciation in Cork. But festivals are only as good as the people that go to them, so it’s up to us to get out there and experience them.

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On the strength of his blog, Mark landed a weekly column with The Ticket in The Irish Times, so you can keep up to date on his adventures there. He’s also written a book and is currently touring the country with ‘Festival Heads’, a photographic exhibition of his travels.

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And while we’re on the topic of festivals, anyone heading to Knockan Stockan this weekend, have a blast! And congratulations to all involved in this year’s Lennon Festival – a great weekend culminated in a spectacular  fireworks display on the quays in Ramelton (as captured by Damien O’Connor in these great photos)…

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