WITH the apparent absence of spring this year it's fair to say Corca Dhuibhne is in need of a good summer and with Féile na Bealtaine on the horizon the forecast is certainly looking brighter.
The annual Dingle Peninsula Arts festival takes place this year from Thursday May 2 to Monday May 6 and, as always, it promises to bring with it a rich mix of music, poetry, politics, art and theatre, hosted at a variety of venues across Corca Dhuibhne.
With the Féile na Bealtaine programme hot off the printing press this week, Ruth Fanning, one of the directors of Féile na Bealtaine, gave The Kerryman an insight into what we can expect this year.
"Highlights include music from Duke Special, Damien Dempsey, This Is How We Fly, Donal Dineen's Parish Band as well as some gypsy swing and a night of Cuban salsa music," she said.
"Shaun Davey will bring 'Songs From The High Seas' to the edge of Dingle Harbour with performances from Rita Connolly and the Dun Laoghaire Choral Society. Rachel Sermanni and Dick Gaughan will travel from Scotland for the festival and there will be classical music from ConTempo in the beautiful Díseart Chapel and distilled jazz with the Chatham Saxaphone Quartet in the whiskey distillery."
In terms of theatre, Féile na Bealtaine has plenty in store with stagings of 'I'm Not ADHD I'm Bold'; 'Are There More of You?'; Paul Mercier's mythical tale of Setanta as well as plays in English and Irish written and produced within 24 hours.
Poetry readings with Paul Durcan, Paul Muldoon, local potter and poet Louis Mulcahy and Louis de Paor are also scheduled to take place, while art lovers will have the opportunity to view some stunning works from the world renowned bronze sculptor Jerome Connor from Annascaul and contemporary local artist of high acclaim, Liam O'Neill, will exhibit new work.
A demonstration of traditional metal working in the straw-bale building behine An Lab in the old CBS secondary school promises something special: Metalworkers will work as a group to make a great cauldron and after the pot is made it'll be put on the open fire to cook a delicious meal.
Dingle Town Park will be taken over by children for Lá na bPaistí on Saturday, May 4, and the attactions include high wire acts and a children's silent disco.
For active adults there will be a bicycle-powered movie as well as yoga sessions, hikes, archeological walks and the 125km Dingle Peninsula Cycle Challenge.
One of the main attractions of Féile na Bealtaine every year is the Mór-Shiúl on the Sunday of the festival and this year is no different as school children and craft producers have spent months preparing for the event on May 5.
"This year the theme is all about visitors - and invaders - to the Dingle Peninsula," Ruth explained, "from the early arrivals like the Fir Bolg and the Tuatha De Danann all the way to Fungie, a recent addition to the rich tapestry that makes up life in West Kerry!"
Tickets to events are for sale on the Festival website and they can be bought individually or a festival pass can be bought for €85. Pick up a programme locally or look up www.feilenabealtaine.ie for more information.