A GLITTERING array of international and Irish talent has been lined up for the country's biggest arts festival next month.
Actor Cillian Murphy will return to the stage at the Galway Arts Festival (July 11-24) after completing the filming of a new movie, 'Red Lights' with Robert de Niro and Sigourney Weaver.
Murphy will team up with playwright Enda Walsh for the world premier of 'Misterman', a co-production between the festival and Landmark Productions, which is certain to be one of the theatrical highlights of the festival.
Lovers of the stage will be spoilt for choice with the Shakesperian specialists, Propeller Theatre Company, led by director Edward Hall, staging two productions by the bard. Propeller is an all-male company, which presents his works around the world.
Music buffs can choose between the iconic Debbie Harry and Blondie and Grammy award-winning hip hop legends De La Soul at the Big Top venue in the shadow of Galway Cathedral.
Irish band Bell X1 will fly the Irish flag alongside De Danann, The Walls, Jack L, National Chamber Choir of Ireland and an array of trad, jazz and blues artists.
Performances in Galway county include the now London-based Callino Quartet in concert at St Mary's Cathedral in Tuam and American country star Iris DeMent at Campbell's Tavern in Cloughanover.
The laughs over the two-week festival will come from David O'Doherty, Abandoman, Simon Munnery and the London Snorkelling Team.
The festival will feature a new museum-scale exhibition, 'The Road', by internationally renowned visual artist Hughie O'Donoghue as part of the ABSOLUT Visual Arts Programme in Galway.
Founded in 1978, the Galway Arts Festival was cited in a a recent international survey as one of the great symbols of modern Ireland. The massive programme costs in excess of €2m to stage annually.
Speaking at the programme launch in Dublin yesterday Arts Council chairman, Pat Moylan said: "The Arts Council applauds Galway Arts Festival on planning such an ambitious programme, particularly the Festival's collaboration with Landmark Productions."