I found myself listening to RTE Radio 1 the one morning last week. During an ad break during the Sean O’Rourke show a thirty second ad gave details for the first I.NY Festival which is to be held in Limerick from this Thursday until October 15th.
Forgive me if I am wrong but this was one of the first times I had heard a Limerick festival plugged on national radio. There is a reason for this. The I.NY Festival has been in the pipeline for a number of years. A lot of planning; a lot of soul searching; a lot of research and many, many hours of work have gone in to making this festival a reality.
Significantly I.NY have received funding from Failte Ireland under the National Grant strand, the first time a Limerick project has received such funds. What is also important to note is the fact the this is the inaugural year of I.NY. The fact that Failte Ireland have committed to funding suggests they are very aware of the potential I.NY has in terms of growth over the next three to five years.
The concept of I.NY is simple. It will explore the connection between Ireland and New York City through art, literature, music, education, business and more. It will be hosted in Limerick. It will welcome a diverse range of speakers.
The festival has been developed by David O’Donovan and Aoife Flynn. Both have many years of experience in the area of cultural, music and festival development. What interests me is the fact that both in recent years decided to embark on academic courses to further develop their skills in terms of festival development.
In Flynn’s case she completed an MA in Cultural Entrepreneurship at Trinity College. O’Donovan completed the MA in Festival Arts which is delivered by the University of Limerick. This investment in further education has clearly reaped rewards. O’Donovan and Flynn have clearly developed a detailed understanding of what is required to deliver a new cultural project of note.
The I.NY team have only had just over six months to deliver year one of the festival. What has been achieved in that short period of time deserves acknowledgement. They have secured names such as Damien Dempsey, Jane O’Meara Sanders, Orla Kiely, Tim O’Connor, Glen Hansard, Joseph O’Connor and Rhonda Sherman.
They have secured the organisers of the popular Dublin club Mother to host a Limerick residency which will also see New York DJ Cool Marv participate. Cork’s Sunday Times club will also play the I.NY Festival Club.
They have formed links with the New York Tenement Museum. They have a host of film screenings. They are hosting a fascinating symposium and a I.NY Gathering event.
I.NY must be acknowledged as one of the most exciting events to be developed in Limerick in many years. The team are in ongoing discussions with Failte Ireland to ensure the project continues to develop its reach going forward.
If year one is anything to go by, we in Limerick should be extremely excited by the potential this festival has to put us on the map in the coming years.
Full details on the I.NY Festival line-up can be found at www.thisisiny.com