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Arts programme and projects

Clare Arts Office runs a variety of arts programmes and projects annually.

Ongoing programmes take place in the areas of arts and education, arts and disability, youth theatre, traditional arts and visual arts.

We programme over 60 events annually for Culture Night and Cruinniú na nÓg.

A variety of once off projects take place including public art projects commissioned through the Per Cent for Art Scheme and arts projects and events commissioned with the support of the Arts Council of Ireland and Creative Ireland.

All Arts Office programmes, commissions and events are currently paused due to Covid 19.

(065) 6899091
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Arts and Disability Programme

Clare County Council has won numerous awards for its' Arts and Disability Programme which comprises of a number of elements.

Boga Boga is an Integrated Dance project initiated by Clare Arts Office in partnership with the Brothers of Charity, Clare and Croí Glan Dance Company.

The aim of this project was to create a new integrated dance community comprising of members of the public, members of the Brothers of Charity and local professional dancers and movement practitioners. Tara Brandel, renowned dancer and Director of Croí Glan led a series of integrated dance workshops from September to November 2019. In total seventy five members of the community participated in this initial pilot project phase.

The project also presented a series of intensive training workshops in Integrated Dance methods for local and national dancers, support workers and artists with a movement practise.

Building on the learning of the pilot phase of Boga Boga, Clare Arts Office now aim to devise and deliver an Integrated Dance performance project in 2021 in partnership with Croí Glan engaging with a core group of Clare based participants, with and without disabilities, and select professional dancers.


In 2002 the Arts Office of Clare County Council introduced an Arts and Disability Programme as a pilot project countywide for all organisations working specifically with disabled people throughout the county. This project gave artists opportunities to work with members of the community they may not normally have access to. It also allowed participants to experience a variety of art forms over a specified period of time.

In 2004 the programme was significantly expanded following an independent evaluation. It was re-launched as Embrace – Arts and People with Disabilities Programmeand has developed over the years with many new artists and organizations participating

The Embrace Programme has a number of different elements. The main element is the programme awards which sees artists working in care settings with people with disabilities over a 25 hour period.The residency award sees one artist engage with a specific group for up to 50 hours to engage in more in-depth work and processes. The scheme also offers one-to-one awards to participants who show talent and agility in any art form that would benefit from more intensive support to develop their creative potential.

To support artists, working in what can be a challenging environment, we offer mentoring awards enabling artists to deliver quality projects and to develop their own practice.

Vision Symphony

In 2018 the Arts Office, received Arts Council ‘Invitation to Collaboration’ Research & Development funding to research and test the potential for supporting visually impaired musicians to learn orchestral material using multimedia platforms (audio and video files). The Arts Office partnered with Dave Flynn’s Irish Memory Orchestra and 3L in supporting seven musicians with various levels of visual impairments to participate in the research using the IMO’s memorisation techniques.

On foot of this research, we secured more funding from the Arts Council that enabled us to put the findings of the research of the IMO and 3L into practice. The Arts Office commissioned Dave Flynn to compose The Vision Symphony which was performed by the IMO, joined by visually impaired musicians and the Visionaries Choir, in glór, Ennis, in October 2019.

A short documentary on the project was created by film maker, Myles O’Reilly .

The project received local, national and international acclaim and won two awards at the 2020 All Ireland Community and Council Awards

  • Silver – Best Arts /Culture
  • Bronze – Best Disability Access / Inclusion Initiative

Rural Arts

Over the years we have worked with numerous local, national and international artists exploring rural arts, what the term means for artists, communities and society. Projects, whilst rooted in the local, have garnered much national and international acclaim. The arts office has developed ongoing partnerships and relationships with artists and organisations that have shaped the delivery of art projects countywide.

Rural Arts Partnership Project 2006

This project was undertaken in partnership with Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology and Littoral Arts Trust (UK) supported by the Arts Council of Ireland. All three agencies shared interest in the development of arts practice in rural contexts and collectively brought together a range of areas of expertise. A series of seminars took place culminating in a conference in October 2006.

The Future is Domestic

This project was commissioned, with the support of the Arts Council, to mark Ireland's Presidency of the EU in 2013. It looked at how throughout Europe artists are working in small rural areas to make contemporary art and saw artists from Latvia and Estonia travel to Ennistymon, Co.Clare to share skills and experiences in a rural context.

Traditional Arts

Clare Arts Office is proud to work closely with the local traditional music community to develop, promote and retain our rich musical heritage.

The annual Riches of Clare concert series is hugely popular attracting thousands each summer to free lunchtime concerts in Ennis.

The Duala project, commissioned in conjunction with the Irish Traditional Music Archive, is supporting Jack Talty, concertina player and Maurice Gunning, film maker, to create a new production inspired by Clare material in the archive.

Visual Arts

The County Arts Office manages the exhibition spaces at the Gallery at Scariff Library and Culturlann Sweeney and the Foyer of the County Museum, Ennis.

The Arts Office also provides advice and support to the Courthouse Gallery and Studios in Ennistymon and to glór, Ennis.

Youth arts

The artist in schools scheme was established by Clare County Arts Office in 2000 to enable schools to develop projects with professional artists for the benefit of the participating students. Since then over 300 residencies have taken place throughout the county with children participating in visual arts, music, dance, mime, drama, film and creative writing.

The Arts Office also works with national organisations such as Encountering the Arts in Ireland to develop professional development opportunities for artists and teachers through the Teacher~Artist Partnership Scheme delivered in Clare through the Clare Education Centre.

Clare Youth Theatre

Clare Youth Theatre runs from September - April annually. It is a proud member of Youth Theatre Ireland.

It is open to all children in secondary school in Clare from all around the count who have an interest in acting, writing for theatre, set design etc. There are no auditions. There are currently 20 members.

The ethos of the youth theatre is to allow the young people involved as much autonomy as possible in the choice of theatre they wish to perform or write.

For further information contact or (065) 6899091. A waiver of fees is available in certain circumstances.

New Word Order

New Word Order is a multidisciplinary arts project devised for Transition Year students and presented by Clare Arts Office in partnership with Clare based secondary schools. Utilising poetry, live performance and illustration the New Word Order poetry project aimed to empower the young people of Clare with the power of language to raise awareness for the issues in the world that concern them and the struggles facing young people today. Students were invited to respond to pertinent issues and themes including the environment, mental health awareness, sexuality, identity and the frustrations of inheriting the catastrophic problems left by the generations before them.

Facilitated by renowned poet Stephen Murray and dramatist Zara Starr Madden, the New Word Order project engaged with over two hundred TY students in Clare, supporting them to compose and perform their own poems at the 2020 Ennis Book Club Festival. Acclaimed illustrator Alan Dunne was commissioned to illustrate a selection of the poems which were distributed in poster format throughout Ennis during the Book Club Festival.


Cruinniú na nÓg

Cruinniú na nÓg is a national initiative, developed by Creative Ireland, celebrating and encouraging young people's participation in creative activities on date in June annually.

Each year Clare Arts Office, as well as other sections of Clare County Council, organise event to take place on the day countywide for young audiences and their families. We also showcase the work on the day from projects with young people that we work with throughout the year.In 2020 Cruinniú will take place online.

Culture Night

Culture Night has expanded to towns and villages across Ireland since it’s origins in Temple Bar in 2006. In 2019 it was reported that 4,000 free events reached 400,000 people across Ireland, making it one of the most recognisable and anticipated national dates in the Irish cultural calendar. Of these events, fifty four took place in fifteen towns and villages in Clare with over four thousand people attending. Culture Night will reach its 15th year on September 18th, 2020. For the first time it will be coordinated nationally by the Arts Council of Ireland and will be primarily on line.

Public arts projects

Clare has a number of public art commissions throughout the county, especially in the town of Ennis. Some were developed as part of the Ennis Sculpture Trail while more were commissioned directly by Clare County Council

Page last reviewed: 25/05/20

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Arts Office
Library Service
Clare Library Headquarters
Mill Road
Co. Clare
V95 FX32
(065) 6899091
Opening hours
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
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