Have you heard the one about the redhead, the crowned goat, and the comedian?
The Gathering has begun, and it’s looking, shall we say, ‘varied’. So yes, it may be roping the weirdest fringes of society into a fringe festival. It is an excuse for redheads, lefties, and eh, goat fanatics, to throw a party in their own honour. And that’s just the ones safe to mention on video. Which is why we brought in the maniac and sometime comedian Andrew Maxwell to personally invite you. You know Andrew – he’s the funny Irish fella on the BBC that’s not Graham Norton or Dara O’Briain.
So just what are you being invited to then? Well there’s the Redhead Convention: a one-day tangle of ginger pride and Factor 50 that attracts The Freckled and the Fabulous from around the world. Just don’t ask what’s under the kilt.
Fancy trad music and dance without the hair-spray? Don’t worry – so do we. Get toe-tapping with the Dusty Banjos in Galway, or the Steeple Sessions in Dublin.
Ireland’s always been a beard-friendly place – see any Dubliners gig – but one town in Galway is out to make it official. It’ll be moustache combs at dawn in The Town of 1000 Beards when they try to break the World Record for having the most men with beards in one place. From the Lincoln to the Connery, the hairy and scary will be counted.
If your ‘splash face’ is prettier than Andrew’s, we have plenty of places for you to get wet. There’s Sea Sessions for the surf and Sovereigns Cup Regatta for the sail. Or just try Andrew’s personal cure for a hangover – a dip in Dublin’s Forty Foot.
It’s all in the wrist for the lefties, bless ‘em. For the Left-Handed Festival, they solemnly hope that “nothing would go RIGHT on the day”.
No danger of things going right in a game of hurling anyway. Described as a combination of ‘hockey, football, golf, baseball, battle and sudden death’, our national sport has to be seen to be believed. Just from a safe distance.
Crowning a goat is not just something we made Andrew do because he lost a bet. (“I never work with children or animals!” he cried. “Shut up and kiss the goat” said the director.) Crowning a goat really is what they do at the Puck Fair, and they have done since around 1603.
What? We get our inspiration from many different places, ok?
Handel, for example. Great one for the composing, he was. Came over to Ireland in 1742 with a new work under his arm called Messiah and gave it its first performance in Dublin city. We’ve been dining out on the story since, and our Messiah Gathering is no exception.
These are just a handful of the weird and wonderful events waiting in the wings. The stage is set. The curtain is rising. Sure Andrew’s already in the audience heckling.
Lucky we’ve saved you a seat.