Longford Lights Festival takes place from 24-26 February

Ireland’s largest community-based lantern festival set to impress with spectacular displays

Longford Lights Festival, Ireland’s largest community-based lantern festival, takes place in Connolly Barrack in Longford Town at 5.30-8.30pm from 24-26 February. Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Turlough McGovern will open the festival at 6pm on Friday, 24 February. All are welcome to attend.

Longford Lights Festival is a partnership between artist Tom Meskell and Longford County Council Arts Office. It is co-funded through the Arts Council of Ireland and its Project Award Scheme.

Over 200 local Longford people from various community groups have so far participated in the making of the Longford Lights. These include local schools, Drumlish and Killoe Men Sheds, Longford Irish Countrywomen’s Associations, Longford Women’s Link, St Christopher’s and the Ethnic Minority Hub. This new festival was also made possible with from expertise Macnas from Galway and the Liverpool Lantern Company, both acclaimed and award-winning spectacle theatre companies.

The festival builds on the success of last year’s The Light Brigade event also by artistic director Tom Meskell which attracted over 2,000 people to Longford. This previous event saw magnificent, illuminated horse sculptures taking pride of place in Connolly Barracks.

Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Turlough McGovern said, “Having attended the Light Brigade, I am very much looking forward to opening the Longford Lights Festival, the latest collaboration between Longford County Council Arts Office and Tom Meskell. This ambitious project, held at this scale in a beautiful setting, is something which Longford people as well as people from further afield should come to experience. Congratulations to all on their tremendous work. I cannot wait to see you all there.”

Longford County Council Chief Executive Paddy Mahon added, “Longford County Council is proud to get behind this new festival, the largest of its kind in Ireland. It shows great collaboration between the Council, artists and community groups. It shows how creativity and art can bring people together for the betterment of their area. And shows how the Council’s investment in the arts can attract visitors to County Longford.”

Following this success, Tom Meskell is confident Longford Lights Festival will be a must-see event: “Visitors to Longford Lights Festival – Art Illuminated, will be greeted by original sculptures in lantern form made by Irish artists along with projections, specially commissioned music, drumming and fire sculptures. All of this work has been produced by local, national and international artists. We are working on making this one of the biggest community lantern events in Ireland and we are expecting crowds of up to 5,000 people over the weekend.”

Longford Lights Festival is a free and fully-accessible, public event which takes place in Connolly Barracks in Longford town between 5.30-8.30pm from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 February.