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Nothing Compares: A Celebration of Irish Women Artists to mark the new Public Holiday on Brigid’s Day

January 27, 2023

Imelda May, Eleanor McEvoy, Tolu Makay, Susan O’Neill, Mary Stokes, Megan O’Neill and Gemma Dunleavy are among the artists who been confirmed for a special celebration of Irish Women Artists, planned for Brigid’s Day by Hot Press magazine and Kildare County Council, as part of the Brigid 1500 programme.

The event will take place in the centre of Naas, Co. Kildare, which will be specially lit in a celebratory style for the occasion. This year sees the establishment of a new national public holiday in honour of St. Brigid, with schools and businesses closing down on Monday, February 6th. Brigid’s Day is celebrated on February 1st each year.

Dublin-born star Imelda May has been commissioned by Hot Press to write a poem to celebrate this iconic Irish female leader. Imelda will perform her original spoken word piece for the first time at what promises to be an extraordinary evening celebrating women’s creativity. Imelda’s debut book of poetry, A Lick and a Promise, was published to widespread acclaim in October 2021.

The concert will take place in the Moat Theatre, Naas, kicking off at 8pm and will be attended by Sabina Higgins, wife of the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins – who will also do a reading as part of the concert. Tickets are €10, with sales revenue going to Teach Tearmainn, the Kildare-based charity dedicated to ending domestic violence.  Tickets are available from https://moattheatre.com/

Brigid 1500

There will also be a special showing of Nothing Compares, the critically lauded documentary directed by Kathryn Ferguson, in St. David’s Church, Naas (just across the road from the Moat Theatre). Kathryn Ferguson will participate in a Q&A, conducted by Hot Press film editor Roe McDermott and there will be a special performance of Sinead O’Connor songs by the rising Kildare singer-songwriter Megan O’Neill. Complimentary tickets for the screening are available by application from www.hotpress.com/nothingcompares

There will be a pop-up food market and additional musical performances in The Potato Market, bringing the centre of the historic town of Naas to brilliant life for what is a truly historic moment in Irish life.

This event forms part of the programme for Brigid 1500 taking place across the county of Kildare over the bank holiday period.  The full calendar of events can be viewed at www.brigid1500.ie

The decision to make a national holiday of Brigid’s Day is an important moment for Irish feminism, involving a recognition of the importance of equality and gender balance in public affairs.

“The equality agenda has always been of central importance to Hot Press,” co-founder of the magazine Máirín Sheehy says, “and so we see the new Public Holiday as the ideal opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary creativity and artistry of women in Ireland. We are really looking forward to it.”

Cathaoirleach of the County of Kildare Councillor Fintan Brett commented, “Brigid 1500 is a great opportunity for County Kildare and Ireland. It gives us an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate all the different facets of St. Brigid including her love of nature and biodiversity, her affiliation with agriculture and food, her love of the arts and culture, her passion for peace and justice for all and her lasting links to migration.”

The Event

Nothing Compares: A Celebration of Irish Women Artists will be a genre-spanning celebration of the extraordinary creativity of Irish women.

Held in the busy Kildare town of Naas, the event will highlight the power, the quality and the diversity of musical and artistic genius shared by Ireland’s leading female performers – women who can stand proudly alongside the world’s greatest musical and songwriting talents.

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