Mental Health takes centre stage at Skibbereen Arts Festival

21 July, 2014

Mental health is a subject that has traditionally been brushed under the carpet. This makes it an issue that is stigmatised and not spoken about. This year’s Skibbereen Arts Festival wants to smash that stigma with programme of events and talks enabling openness and inclusivity whilst celebrating difference.

The festival kicks off with a free youth festival hosted by Skibb Smiles. Skibb Smiles is a youth group whose aim is to promote positive youth mental health and wellbeing. From 5pm at the O’Donovan Rossa Park there will be a host of acts including musicians, DJs, yoga enthusiasts and a few other surprises! There will be a barbeque with local produce, a silent disco and a performance by up and coming band, Independent Scouts.

‘Music Alive’ will host an ‘Open Door’ music session in the Skibbereen Farmers Market on Saturday July 26th from 11am. . Organised in partnership with West Cork Mental Health Services, ‘Open Door’ is an open trad session with a focus on creating a space for accessible music making and community participation.

On Sunday July 27th the Mad Pride Family Fun Day is being held in Skibbereen Playground. A free event for all the family, Mad Pride strives to promote better understanding of the issues surrounding mental health while engaging the community through active participation in a fun environment. The day will comprise Children’s Art and Craft Workshops, Puppet Shows, Clown Doctor, an artisan food market and live music by the Roaring Forties and many more.

Men Without Names is a collaboration between poets, actors, musicians and visual artists. On Monday July 28th in Abbeystrewry Church at 8pm, they will joining forces to explore the experience of Irish emigration to the UK in the 1950s.

‘Making Sense’ is panel discussion on ‘Why the Creative Arts play a Central Role in our Mental Health and Well-Being’. Chaired by Dr. Pat Bracken, consultant psychiatrist and Clinical Director of West Cork Mental Health Services, and Dylan Tighe, actor, musician and theatre-maker, the discussion will take place in the stately surrounds of Liss Ard House on Thursday July 31st at 3pm.

All events vary in ages and price. All activities are either free or cost from €5 - €8. For more information and bookings please check out the Skibbereen Arts Festival at or  to book by phone, call the Box Office on 087 1260327.