Paxos Festival




Irish Wings is an exciting festival of Irish art, music, poetry and cuisine. It takes place on the idyllic Greek island of Paxos between 6th and 10th July 2017 and is designed to explore Ireland’s cultural relationship with Greece.

It features some of Ireland’s best musicians, painters, poets and chefs and will be launched by Orla O’Hanrahan, the Irish Ambassador to Greece, on Thursday 6th July at 7pm, when she will open an exhibition of Irish art called ‘Ireland and the Sea’. Acclaimed Irish artists will be on show, including Mick O’Dea (President of the Royal Hibernian Academy), Denise Ferran (President of the Royal Ulster Academy), James Allen, Neal Greig and Barbara Allen.

On Friday 7th July at 8.30pm the poet Theo Dorgan will be giving a poetry reading. Theo is a former Director of the respected poetry journal, Poetry Ireland. His collection, Greek, from which he will be reading, displays his love and knowledge of Greece, its culture, history and mythology. Theo’s translator, the poet, Socrates Kabouropoulos, will be present, with Paxiot Spyros Bogdanos, to read the poems in Greek.

On Saturday 8th July Andy Irvine, Dónal Lunny and members of the Greek group, Apodimi Compania, with Paxiot bouzouki player Elias Dendias, will be giving a public interview about the bouzouki in Greek and Irish music. Irvine and Lunny had a major role in introducing the instrument to Ireland and they will be talking to the acclaimed song-writer, Frank Musker, about what attracted them to it, its history in Ireland and their musical techniques, while Apodimi Compania will discuss the history and use of the instrument in Greece. A marvellous example of cross-culture and the perfect introduction to the concert the following night.

On Sunday 9th July the icons of Irish traditional and world music, Andy Irvine and Dónal Lunny, will be appearing with the much-loved and highly-respected Greek group, Apodimi Compania and the Paxiot bouzouki player, Elias Dendias, in a concert exploring the musicians’ love and interpretation of the bouzouki.

Irish Wings ends on Monday 10th July, when the celebrity-chef Paula McIntyre will be in Carnayo restaurant, Gaios, demonstrating recipes inspired by the poet, Seamus Heaney. Heaney was in Greece when he heard that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and the poetry read at the event will include the lines,

As we wolfed down horta, tarama and houmos
At sunset in the farmyard, drinking ouzos,
Pretending not to hear the Delphic squeal
Of the steel-haired cailleach in the scullery.
Then it was time to head into Desfina
To allow them to sedate her. And so retsina,
Anchovies, squid, dolmades, french fries even.

The island of Paxos, which is hosting Irish Wings, is an exquisite Ionian island off the western coast of Greece. It is famous for its Venetian olive groves, clear waters, sea caves and white chalk cliffs. In summer it fills with international visitors who will now have the opportunity to experience Irish culture in dialogue with that of Greece.

The emblem of the festival, specially commissioned from the Greek watercolourist, Pavlos Havidis, is an open-beaked blackbird on an olive tree. In the famous mediaeval Irish poem, a blackbird spills its song over Belfast Lough: for Irish Wings its song soars over the Ionian Sea.

Irish Wings gratefully acknowledges the support of Culture Ireland, the Municipality of Paxos, The Paxos Social Welfare Foundation, Guinness, and the Friends of Paxos.

For further information, please contact:

Kathryn Baird

+ 44 7715476242

Faye Lychnou

+ 30 694 4633123

Chris Boicos

+ 30 697 3013699