Fantastic midsummer street spectacle in north-west Mayo town

Iorras Beo presents Fireplay - Midsummer Street Spectacle this weekend in Belmullet town, north-west Mayo.

This public spectacle event takes inspiration from the prolific 20th century artist Jack B. Yeats and the noted playwright J.M. Synge, who witnessed midsummer festivities being celebrated in the town of Belmullet in June 1905.

Four awe-inspiring sketches combined with prose from Yeats have been uncovered which capture the energy of the ‘fire-play’ festivities witnessed.

“We stood in the market square watching the fire-play, flaming sods of turf soaked in paraffin, hurled to the sky and caught and dried again, and burning snakes of hay-rope. I remember a little girl in the crowd, in an ecstasy of pleasure and dread, clutched Synge by the hand and stood close in his shadow until the fiery games were done.”

The powerful descriptions of Synge further illustrate the excitement and potency of the occasion.

“Last night was St. John’s Eve and 'bonfires’ - a relic of Druidical rites - were lighted all over the country, the largest of all being placed in the town square of Belmullet, where a crowd of small boys shrieked and threw firebrands for hours together.”

This year's midsummer event takes place tomorrow (Saturday, June 25) on Carter Square, Belmullet. To artistically reinterpret the events of 1905, six fire artists from the acclaimed Circus 250, live malinke drummers from Slí na Croí and a live DJ combined with a fully staged production on Carter Square from the team at Audioworks Ballina will present a spectacle not to be missed!

All event information and updates can be found at the Iorras Beo social media pages. This event is part of the Local Live Performance Programming Scheme and is funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, and administered by Mayo Arts Office. Local and administrative sponsors Vermilion Energy Ireland, Erris Chamber of Commerce, Ealaín na Gaeltachta, the Broadhaven Bay Hotel, the Western Strands Hotel, the Talbot Hotel and the Erris Coast Hotel, Geesala, are all thanked for their generous support.