The next Five Lamps Arts Festival starts in


in North East Inner City of Dublin – Ireland.

Local is diverse; history is evolving; the Five Lamps Arts Festival is the meeting point for the arts, culture and diversity.

Roddy Doyle with director Joe O,Byrne at The Five Lamps play launch
Image taken from 2017 promotional video

The 2017 Five Lamps Arts Festival is fast approaching. The programme is live; the buzz has commenced. Help us swarm the minds and diaries of the good people of our fair city.

Yes, the Five Lamps Arts Festival is indeed another arts festival competing to stimulate and distract the Dublin public. Or maybe it’s ‘an Other’ arts festival? Whatever gets your attention.

As the title suggests, the festival is based in the Five Lamps area of Dublin. You’re probably familiar with the Five Lamps landmark located at the junction of Portland Row, North Strand Road, Seville Place, Amiens Street and Killarney Street.  It is a structure that survived bombing during World War II and is as much a symbol of resilience as light (as well as being a literal memorial to a General – Henry Hall – who served with the British Army in India).

In the 1880’s it was also a very functional landmark which featured a water fountain and through decorative lion heads, provided a source of water for the locals – who did not have running water in their homes.

The festival seeks to replicate its former function as a gathering point and a thirst quencher – to animate the lives of the locals by bringing storytelling, music, visual art, theatre, and play (circus!, puppets!, magic!), to our doorstep. We also want to ensure that art is accessible to all by extending the invite to everyone. The more ages, geographies, backgrounds and heads the better.

In fact, what’s interesting about the area is its people, and the unlikeliness of it playing host to a public celebration of art.

The locals of Five Lamps comprises north inner city ‘natives’ and a growing number of immigrants – or newcomers of a non-Irish ethic origin. Sounds quite cosmopolitan doesn’t it?! Like a place characterised by the type of diversity that defines a modern city?

Street art on North Strand Road
Image taken from @5lampsartsfest

We certainly see it as a vibrant space, with character and potential, and we want to showcase this. Unfotunately, it’s also accurate to suggest that many outsiders associate it with poverty and crime, and even some insiders as a place that is closed and divided and somewhat grey.

The Five Lamps Arts Festival presents another point of view, invoking the dreamy, magic, transcendent quality of the arts, we want to harness the joy the arts can bring and the openness it can facilitate.

The festival provides opportunities for children, young people, adults and older people to engage and participate in the arts. With active participation, we can begin to establish an appreciation for the shared space which art creates and explores.

The way we see it: local is diverse; history is evolving; the Five Lamps Arts Festival is the meeting point for the arts, culture and diversity.

We have put together a programme that is interesting and diverse, reflective of – and often featuring – the variety of (local) people and (local) cultures that is present day Dublin 1. Events are mainly rooted in Five Lamps area with some taking place across the city. There’s also a strong interactive element and it offers lots of workshops, and it’s worth mentioning that many childrens’ events are free.

Put some time aside in the eight days between thirtieth March and sixth April and choose to be part of something positive. Enjoy art while being open to ‘the other’ that you encounter, whether that’s simply going to a(nother) festival or to a new pocket of the city.

Maybe you will venture a step further to consider what ideas of ‘culture’ and ‘local’ mean, or reflect on the vital importance of creativity, imagination and a sense of possibility with regards to community and inclusion. Again, whatever gets your attention. We invite you to look through our programme and see what takes your fancy.


Written by Marian Brosnan




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