MEP Walsh pledges full support for BallaghDream Arts Fest and promises to seek funding for the event

A supporter of the arts and cultural events, Maria Walsh will investigate funding opportunities for Ireland’s newest arts festival at local, national and European level 

Local MEP Maria Walsh has pledged her full support to the organisers of BallaghDream Arts Fest, ahead of the inaugural event in Ballaghaderreen this August. The Midlands-North-West MEP met with festival organisers in recent days, and learned of the exciting plans for what is shaping up to be a festival to remember. She has committed to researching funding avenues and will endeavour to secure financial support from local, national or European sources. BallaghDream will take place in the Roscommon town from August 5th to 13th this year, with a taster event scheduled for May 11th. 

As a member of the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) in the European Parliament, the Fine Gael MEP is passionate about supporting the arts and culture in the constituency. She sees the wonderful potential of such an event for the region, and is delighted to be getting behind Ireland’s newest Arts Festival. Sitting down with the local volunteer group, she was bowled over by the enthusiasm of the team and indeed with the impressive line-up already in place. 

“Ballaghaderreen is in the midst of establishing itself as a real creative hub for this region and this festival will be one of the cornerstones. At a local level, I will write to Rhona McGrath, Arts Officer at Roscommon Council Council and request a meeting to discuss how best to find co-funding avenues in the EU. I will also reach out to the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, and seek her support for BallaghDream and provide much-needed funding towards the running of the festival. As well, I will write to Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and seek funding streams at an EU level to see if there are any other options open to the committee and any other way we can lend our support,” she promised.

The BallaghDream Arts Fest will have something for all tastes, from traditional to classical music, and from literature to sport. It will cater to all ages too, from tots to teens, and all in between, including the older generation. “I was delighted to meet with some of the committee in Edmondstown House in Tullaghanmore, including with the Ewings who restored the house so beautifully. It was the perfect setting to discuss BallaghDream, considering the house has welcomed BAFTA winners to perform there and will be the venue for a number of events throughout the Arts Fest,” she said. 

Stretching across nine days, BallaghDream will bring together some of the finest talent from all across Ireland and beyond. There will be something for everyone, with music, theatre, literature, arts exhibitions, panel discussions, children’s entertainment and more. 

“Although this is the first time BallaghDream Arts Fest is being held in the town, a festival has taken place in many forms over the years. This year’s event, however, will be the first full festival in Ballaghaderreen and there is great excitement locally and indeed across the region. Undoubtedly, BallaghDream deserves our support. Given the opportunity of footfall and the calibre of performers involved, the need for sustainable funding is essential to keeping this creative area prominent,” added MEP Walsh.