This year Saint Patricks celebrates the 350th birthday of Jonathan Swift, Ireland’s most popular author and Dean of the Cathedral from 1713-1745. The Jonathan Swift Festival, which will run from the 23rd- 26th of November with a special concert on the 30th of November (Swift’s birthday), has been organised by the Cathedral to mark the event. These plans moved a step closer today with the launch of the festival’s website which can be found at www.jonathanswiftfestival.ie. The website lists the majority of the events, and tickets are now available. The festival includes a broad variety of events with something for everyone, from Swift experts to those looking to learn a little more.
The festival kicks off on the 23rd of November with a launch night at which a light animation will go live and afterward and an exclusive opportunity to see the building after-hours to visit the grave of Swift himself. At 20.00 there is a free film screening in the building in association with The Irish Film Institute of Words upon the Window Pane and there will be a special guest to open the film on the night!
On Friday the 24th Pat Liddy will be giving tours of the city with a Swift theme. In the early evening is an amazing opportunity to visit the hospital (St Patrick’s Hospital) which Swift founded and see behind the scenes. Later that evening you have a choice between music or science! In Christ Church Cathedral traditional musician Pádraig Ó Nualláin will be singing ballads from Swift’s Dublin. In the Science gallery Dr René Gapert will give a talk on the findings from a recent study on Swift’s skull. Using “CSI” style techniques, a reconstruction of Swift’s face will be unveiled along with some findings from the study.
Saturday the 25th has lots of opportunities to be inspired by Swift’s writing and create your own works. In the morning, the wonderful Fighting Words will deliver a creative writing workshop for families in the Cathedral; in the afternoon Manchán Magan will deliver a Travel Writing Masterclass at the Irish Writers Centre.
On Sunday the 26th the Cathedral hosts a Service of commemoration and celebration of the life of Jonathan Swift. This will feature a rare opportunity to see the choirs of Christ Church and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in action together and a special guest speaker will be asked to deliver the address. The festival closes in style with a beautiful candlelit dinner in the nave of the Cathedral. The food will be straight out of the 17th century and will be made using a recipe book from the era. Speaking at the dinner will be writer and folklorist Deirdre Nuttall, whose ancestor compiled the recipes.
There are lots more events still to go live including some big headline events so keep an eye on this new website!
(Education Officer/ Swift Festival Organiser
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