NEWS — 28 March 2014

President Michael D Higgins with Imelda May who will be one of the performers on the night

 Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has announced the programme of artists who will be participating in Ceiliúradh(Celebration), a special evening of music, spoken word and dance taking place on Thursday 10th April, 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

This concert will be the cultural highlight of the 4 day State visit by President Higgins and his wife, Sabina, to Britain as guests of Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle.

Ceiliúradh (Celebration) will showcase the strong artistic and creative links that exist between Ireland and the United Kingdom, as well as recognising the significant contribution of the Irish community in Britain. The evening of music, spoken word and dance offers the opportunity to recognise and celebrate Ireland’s long-standing connections with Britain and is to be live-streamed to a global audience and broadcast at home.

Special guests confirmed for Ceiliúradh (Celebration) include Paul Brady, The Gloaming, Glen Hansard and Imelda May. Also participating will be the renowned actress Fiona Shaw as well as journalists/broadcasters Dermot O’Leary, Olivia O’Leary and author Joseph O’Connor. This once off concert will also feature some surprise guests on the night.

Minister Deenihan commented: “This is an important concert which will allow Irish creativity, performance and talent to shine as part of this historic visit. Promoted by the Culture Ireland division of my Department, the concert will be a unique and intimate evening of shared stories, music, song and dance. Importantly, this occasion offers us the opportunity to recognise and celebrate our exceptional and long-standing cultural connections with Britain. I hope it will encourage, deepen and strengthen these relationships, which benefit us both, into the future.”

The audience will include invited guests from across the political, economic, social and cultural sectors, as well as those who have contributed to the Irish community in Britain.  Tickets for the concert sold out quickly and proceeds from these sales will be used towards the support of future Irish cultural projects in Britain. There may be a limited number of extra tickets made available prior to the event.

Ambassador Dan Mulhall said “a very creative programme has been put together for ‘Ceiliúradh’, this wonderful celebration of our two countries’ extensive ties.  Ireland and Britain are joined together by a two-way flow of influences in literature, theatre, music, song and dance. This event will celebrate the cultural connections between our two countries over the years, and will highlight the extraordinary and ongoing contribution of the Irish Community in Britain.”

In addition to the individual artists who will contribute on the night there will also be a house band, featuring some of Ireland’s finest musicians including Liam Bradley, John Carty, Anthony Drennan, Graham Henderson, Donal Lunny, Mike McGoldrick, Paul Moore, Caitlin NicGabhann, Mairtin O’Connor and Brendan Power.

The venue’s chief executive Chris Cotton said “It is an enormous honour to welcome the President of Ireland to the Hall for this special event on the occasion of his first State visit to the United Kingdom. I would encourage everyone to join in and become a part of this historic celebration of our shared culture.”

Minister Deenihan concluded “I am delighted that this unique concert will be live streamed by RTE.  The diaspora, and those who love Irish culture throughout the world, can enjoy the evening. In Ireland, people will be able to listen live on RTE Radio 1 or view the concert later that evening when broadcast on TV.”

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