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Beautiful and fierce, a ghoulish treat for fans at arts festival

THE weird, the wacky and the downright ghoulish were unleashed for one night only.

Any poor souls unaware that the creative posse from street theatre company Macnas were on the prowl as night fell in Galway were surely in for a big surprise.

Yet, the vast majority of the hundreds who'd lined the streets of the city from Quay Street to Fisheries Field were eagerly anticipating the annual parade by the folk from the esteemed cabaret company.

Artistic director Noeline Kavanagh said the parade had given the crowds the chance for a "communal celebration" of art winding along the streets of the city with passion, wildness and an element of surprise.

For her third parade as the artistic director she and her co-organisers had come up with the title of 'This Fierce Beauty' for the fantasies that were created by the crew and helpers.

There were cloudily-membraned one-eyed creatures, costumes reminiscent of the 'Lord of the Rings' and the 'Chronicles of Narnia'.

"The theme of the parade is basically invention and what is underscoring it is an energy around transformation and invigoration," Ms Kavanagh said.


The ideas for the parade and the costumes were based on three moods: sex, risk and invention.

And these ghoulish performances and epic face scrunching don't come easy.

All the volunteers for the latest Macnas parade to enthrall the visitors to Galway took part in workshops for four weeks in the run-up to the parade.

Ms Kavanagh said for the past two weeks all those helping or taking part had been working from 8am until 11pm tweaking their performances or assembling their costumes.

The annual parade is one of the highlights of the Galway Arts Festival, which runs until July 24, and it draws thousands of people to the city each year.

Hollywood actor Cillian Murphy stars in the sold-out play 'Misterman', while all the tickets have also been snapped up for the modern take on William Shakespeare's works 'The Comedy of Errors'.

Pop icon Blondie is due to play on Wednesday, while award-winning writer Colm Toibin will host a discussion on Saturday.

Irish Independent