16 – 17 December 2020

Drive the Cold Winter Away!



As the world moves towards the winter solstice and the promise of spring, the cold weather and darkness seems to go on forever. But it never does – the earth turns, and brighter days come.  Of all the seasons and their celebrations and ceremonies, mid-winter festivities that celebrate light conquering darkness have produced some of the most evocative, moving and familiar music of all.

Christmas carols and seasonal songs from all over Europe (and America), wassailing songs, music celebrating the evergreen holly and ivy, and music to make merry and dance to are all yours to enjoy in the four concerts presented online during the Winter Festival.

Two lunchtime concerts present intimate performances of voice and one instrument in the wonderful St Nicholas Collegiate Church, which is celebrating its 700th anniversary this year.  Soprano Helen Hancock is joined by organist Mark Duley on Wednesday and Soprano Aisling Kenny joins historical harpist Siobhán Armstrong on Thursday.. Because the concerts are streamed online, you’ll be able to eat your lunch while you are watching, thus solving one of the perennial problems of lunchtime concerts!

Two evening concerts streamed from Claregalway Castle feature The Gregory Walkers (Laoise O’Brien, Malachy Robinson, Eamon Sweeney) with guest soprano Róisín O’Grady on Wednesday, and the *H.I.P.S.T.E.R. ensemble of Wolodymyr Smishkewych, Rhiannon Giddens, Micheál “Moley” Ó Súilleabháin, Eamon Sweeney and Yonit Kosovske on Thursday. Be prepared for a feast of medieval and Renaissance music spiced with traditional and world music.

And that’s not all! The bells of St Nicholas Collegiate Church will ring out on the two days of the festival, so if you are in Galway enjoy the very seasonal sound of church bells chiming over the city.  If you’re not in Galway, we are featuring a virtual tour of the St Nicholas belfry presented by Lady Catherine..

We also have two mobile experiences that can be enjoyed either in the city or at home. One is Carolan’s Lost Tune, a ghost hunt through Galway City searching for the lost tune of Irish harper Carolan. The other, A Musical Tour of Medieval Galway, is a bit of time travel back to 16th century Galway, where you will be guided through the streets by Spanish Captain Moreno, who has just docked in Galway and wishes to show you, his sailing mate, around his favourite port of call.  Both feature early music performances by well-known performers and ensembles.

All information on events and booking tickets are on the Festival Events page and in the sidebar.  We look forward to seeing you!

*H.I.P.S.T.E.R.: Historically Informed Performance Series, Teaching, Education and Research.  A new initiative of Limerick Early Music and Now and Then Media Ltd

MAY 20-23, 2021

Musical Journeys in Time and Space

Following the cancellation of our 2020 festival due to COVID 19, we are planning our 2021 festival in the face of terrible uncertainty. It forces all arts events to be very creative, and we are looking at various ways to keep a live element to the festival and, through on-line events, to open the festival to our world-wide audience who may not be able to travel .

Currently we hope to present as much of our 2020 programme as possible, featuring 12th-century chant for Irish saints in Europe,  cross-cultural music in Ireland from the 16th to the 18th centuries, musical interactions and the Crusades, and a musical journey from heaven to hell.

More anon!

Festival Audience Comments:

Great atmosphere, great music & lovely setting

Galway has a tremendous buzz and the festival has terrific organisation
Planned our Ireland trip so we could attend.