Wexford street theatre company Buí Bolg Productions are playing a major role in the St Patrick's Festival in Dublin this year, having been commissioned to enter their own pageant as well as designing and building separate floats and making four 20-metre long snakes for a take-over of iconic buildings in the capital.
The theme of the Buí Bolg pageant titled “We are one” is based on nature and how it might react if people adopted a greener and more sustainable approach to it.
It comprises three floats including one with a giant mechanical shark chasing and eating huge aluminium drinks cans and a massive plastic milk carton to clean up the oceans (inspired by sponsor and vehicle partner Kia's “Ocean Clean Up” campaign) and a representation of the Daniel O’Connell statue with nature taking over.
Up to 120 young people from the Buí Bolg Youth Group and dancers from the Martina Lacey school, Down Syndrome Wexford and St Patrick’s School in Enniscorthy along with a dance troupe called Show-Stoppers from Dublin, some of them dressed in inflated starfish costumes will perform around the floats.
Membership of the Youth Group is building back up again after Covid. Teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 receive free training in street performance, circus skills and improvisation. To join, email email@example.com.
Bui Bolg under artistic director and founder Colm Lowney, were commissioned to create giant inflatable snakes in green and yellow, measuring 20m long and 5m high which were delivered to Dublin earlier this week to be erected by abseilers over the iconic Cleary’s building and the Central Plaza buildings in Dame Street. The snakes were designed by Fionnula McMullin using Blender modelling software.
For the first time in Buí Bolg’s 29-year history with the Dublin parade, the St Patrick’s Festival also asked the Wexford company to build floats for the committee’s own pageant, including the lead float which will feature a giant dress with a performer sitting on top, depicting Éireann, followed by one representing the Demon of Money with a giant Pay Here sign and a QR code along with three Junk Couture showpieces.
Buí Bolg has also supplied an inflatable harp and fiddle to be used in the Limerick city parade on St Patrick's Day.
The not-for-profit company which usually has to chase several St Patrick’s Day projects around the country to make ends meet, approached the new Dublin festival CEO Richard Tierney with a different plan this year, requesting support to keep it going for the first three months of 2023, working exclusively on Dublin parade commissions.
"It has provided work for more than 10 people for three months which is fantastic. It has meant a huge amount of work for the arts community in Wexford. We are back to more people than we had pre-Covid,” said Buí Bolg sales director Mark Carey.
"We really struggled during Covid, it was down to four of us. We were doing all kinds of things to survive but we survived.”
Buí Bolg will travel to Dublin with a convoy of floats and coach loads of performers leaving Wexford and Enniscorthy on the eve of St Patrick's Day and delivering vehicles and inflatables to the Western Road before rising at 5.30 am on the day to build the floats.