The Five Lamps Arts Festival 2016: Art, History and Culture Illuminated

Roddy Doyle with director Joe O,Byrne at The Five Lamps play launch

In under one week, the Five Lamps Arts Festival will ignite again for its 9th successive year. We can expect that yet again this will be an exuberant celebration of arts and the people who make it possible! Dublin is a city full of artistic potential, overflowing with vats of creative wealth. Such a thing should be attributed not only to the city’s rich historical and cultural heritage, but also to the energy of the Dublin community that brings life to the city’s streets.

Over the course of the Five Lamps Festival, this blog will act as an insider take on the goings-on throughout. Since we have a couple of weeks to gear ourselves up for the fun ahead, this first post is an introduction into what we can expect to encounter in Dublin from the 29th of February to the 16th of March. From nights of music to puppet shows, community explorations, theatre, creative workshops, visual arts and more, this year’s festival holds a variety of events to engage and inspire all ages and interests.

To see the full list of events that the festival has to offer, and when and where they take place, please visit http://localhost/5lamps/2016-festival-programme/

Theatre & Performance Art

As the festival gets into swing, the theatrical production NIGHTTOWN (29th Feb – 5th March) depicts a gritty chapter from James Joyce’s Ulysses. This gripping excerpt from Joyce’s novel brings to stage the thrills and depravity of Dublin’s old red light district, casting light on a variety of characters that roamed the city streets.

Our attention is also drawn to more contemporary themes with the AS WOMAN I performance (4th-6th March). This will be a multimedia experience, broadcasting the voice of ‘woman’ through spoken word and music. The performance has extracted from reality by including the answers to questions put to the community of the Five Lamps area. This is sure to be a fascinating and unique occasion, with each night unpredictably fresh and ever changing in content.

In addition to this, there will be a number of performance art and music events for children taking place throughout the festival. For example, Púca Puppets will be staging Mary Viking Storyteller Tales of the Viking Gods (March 5th), a live shadow puppetry performance that will capture the imagination. Being presented in both Irish and English, this production will be an engaging and enriching experience. Especially since there is a chance to draw and write about your favourite character afterwards with the creator!


Indeed Dublin is world renowned for its musicality and ability to produce remarkable musicians. This is an aspect that will be thoroughly represented during the Five Lamps Arts Festival. Award winning Dublin based Mornington Singers choir will be performing Music for a While (13th March). Join them in the atmosphere of the Hugh Lane Gallery for an afternoon of otherworldly choral works from a selection of their 20th Century repertoire. Ireland’s Best Buskers (March 13th) is another exciting musical event in which new talent may be unearthed in a musical exhibition of what Ireland’s melodious roots have to offer.

History & Culture

Being the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, this is a year that holds significant weight in Ireland’s history. In recognition of this, the Five Lamps Festival has a number of events highlighting different aspects of this moment in time. Theatrical productions, The Rising (9th-11th March) and Fractures (14th-15th March) explore 1916 from a variety of perspectives, demonstrating the power of theatre to cover new grounds of historical storytelling.

Not only this, but the cabaret night Eastrogen Rising (16th March) will be a performance of Dublin’s brightest artists. This event is inspired by the stories about the women of the Easter Rising and will be a featuring a plethora of artistic mediums from poetry, music to comedy.

3-Dimensions of Art

Art is something that can be taken out onto the streets and brought into a new dimension of interaction. The event Tales on Wheels (14th March) takes a fresh approach to exhibiting art, as artist Fiona Dowling will be taking us with her drawing-packed bicycle on a tour of Dublin’s Five Lamps district.  Inspired by the Japanese art of Kamishibai, the artist will orchestrate a travelling tale, using her artworks as visual slides that deepen the audience’s engagement with the story.

Continuing the theme of combining art with fresh air and social interaction, a walking tour of Dublin’s statues and sculptures with Neal Doherty (12th March) will provide new insights into the works of art that embed themselves into the streets and enrich our urban environment. Journeying into the stories, histories and symbolism behind the statues and sculptures, this tour will reveal the way in which Dublin’s art, culture and history are all deeply intertwined.

The Five Lamps Arts Festival demonstrates that art is not only meant for a gallery wall, but is as much a part of the world we live in as it exists in the extraordinariness of our everyday lives.  All this enjoyment of the arts awaits as we look forward to you joining us in illuminating Dublin’s creative lights throughout the 29th of February to the 16th of March.

About the Author

Laurie-IngramLaurie Ingram is a recent Social Anthropology (LSE) and Material & Visual Culture (UCL) graduate with an enthusiasm for the all things creative. Having spent time immersed in the anthropology world, Laurie is keen to be a part of breaking the borders between the humanities and the arts, creating new communication and ideas as a result. She is currently pursuing her interest in film and blogging for Dublin’s Five Lamps Arts Festival.
Follow Laurie on Twitter: @laurieis

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