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Saturday 16 December 2017

Have you heard the one about the dinosaur walking into a Galway bar?

Grainne Cunningham

WEREN'T they supposed to have vanished 65 million years ago?

The mighty dinosaur who invaded a busy Galway street yesterday looked very much alive as he cleared a path between the shoppers and tourists.

But any screams were those of delight as children and adults alike met one of the family from the Dinosaur Petting Zoo.

The display was all part of the fun which is the Galway Arts Festival which is enjoying a bumper year despite the dreaded 'R' word.

Tickets for many events are completely sold out and the City of the Tribes will be visited by more than 170,000 people interested in theatre, music and visual arts.

Chief executive John Crumlish said: "If I knew what was going on, I would definitely bottle it."

Mr Crumlish wasn't sure whether the boost in sales on last year was because of the festival's line-up or because more Irish people are saving the pennies and enjoying staycations, with mini-breaks to events such as the arts festival.

"Nearly one-third of our programme is free and we have kept prices as low as possible," he said.

So the sell-out audiences for 'Misterman', which marks the return of Hollywood star Cillian Murphy to the stage, have paid just €27.50 to see the world-class actor.

In another major coup for the festival, just a few tickets remain for the matinee performance of 'The Comedy of Errors', the farcical comedy by William Shakespeare

The festival has also managed to present a musical line-up which appeals to young and not so young, with pop icon Blondie topping the bill at the Big Top tonight.

Last year, about 75pc of the festival audience were aged between 20 and 44 years of age, according to Mr Crumlish. But the demographic appears to have changed somewhat this year, as families flocked to events such as the Macnas parade at the weekend.

Crowds also came for Les Philebulistes, which featured two French acrobats and circus artists performing some daring and jaw-dropping feats on two giant moving wheels.

The festival ends this Sunday.

Irish Independent

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