Imagine Day 4: Headbanging in the Gateway—Where Moonlight Benjamin Rocked the House

More than 15 events throughout Friday had us hopping from venue to venue all over town for culture, history, heritage, drama, poetry, literature and music. Friday’s festival finished with Moonlight Benjamin in St. Patrick’s Gateway…and what a finale it was. Moonlight’s magnetic presence and energy captivated the crowd from the moment she stepped barefoot on stage.

Behind Closed Doors – Cathedral Square

The festival’s Behind Closed Doors series took us today to Cathedral Square—the site of the oldest graveyard in Ireland’s oldest city.

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Led by Rosemary Ryall, Waterford City and County Conservation Officer, we walked and Rosemary talked as she took us through buildings and layers of a complex history, revealing the architecture that forms an integral part of the city’s cultural heritage and identity.

Let’s Talk Waterford: Within A Marble City

A quick stroll from Cathedral Square brought us to the Reg for Let’s Talk Waterford: Within A Marble City, for more history in the form of a drama.

Performed by the young and talented students of the South East Technological University Theatre Studies, they drew laughs and entertainment as they presented Waterford writer Teresa Deevy’s one-act drama, Within a Marble City.

An Gorta Mór (Hunger)

An Gorta Mór (Hunger), brought to us by The Curlew Theatre, was a more sombre affair—not surprising considering it was a drama recital about the famine!

The Famine has been for so long in Irish life a literally unspeakable subject. The sense of silence was what prompted Eamon Grennan in the first place to try to centre and orchestrate such a piece through voices. Given the variety of elements involved, what Eamon decided to do, in order to make a “dramatic recital for two voices” was to put together a kind of patchwork quilt, an audio quilt, of the voices of some of those directly involved (whether suffering or helping or hindering) in the catastrophe itself, whether English, or Irish, or indeed American.

Special thanks to Momo for providing the venue for this engaging event.

Lani O’Hanlon & Dalal Sayed

The Central Library hosted Lani O’Hanlon & Dalal Sayed as they discussed Dalal’s memoir Escape From War To Live in Peace.

Born in Damascus, Dalal was studying to become a primary school teacher when the Syrian civil war in 2011 escalated and forced her to flee. For the next six years she was on a perilous journey with her family to find safety. She arrived in Ireland in 2017 speaking no English. She now lives in Cappoquin.

The book is as a first-hand account of a family fleeing the war in Syria.

Catalan Butterflies

The Medieval Museum was the venue for an evening of music and spoken-word poetry, celebrating the launch of the award-winning book, Catalan Butterflies (Templar, UK) by Laurence O’Dwyer.

Presented and performed by Dónal Gallagher (Asylum Productions) and supported by the author and musicians—the poems, songs and stories of Catalan Butterflies took the audience on a journey over the Pyrenees along the Catalan trails that have inspired Laurence O’Dwyer’s latest work.

The Arrivalists @ Luca Records & Decks

The day ended with some fantastic music. First up was to Luca Records who hosted Arrivalists for an intimate set.

Moonlight Benjamin

Then to the hottest ticket in town and Moonlight Benjamin had everyone jumping, dancing and headbanging the night away. From the moment this star stepped (barefoot) on stage the energy levels went through the roof of St. Patrick’s Gateway.

Her music is distinctly rock n’ roll inspired by voodoo culture, which brings her back to her roots.

Born in Haiti in the early 70s, by the late ’80s Moonlight had begun delving deep into Haiti’s ancient roots and culture and whilst doing so, sung and collaborated with a raft of Haitian artists. She now lives in France and we were gracious that her and her band made the trip to Waterford to perform for us. She truly is a star and her energetic presence was contagious. Let’s hope she comes back to the city soon…and if she does and you missed it last night, don’t make the same mistake again!

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