Junkyard Playground


The Junkyard playground took place on May 12th and 13th in MyPlace, Midleton. The aim of the project was to encourage children to create their own adventures using recycled material. The inspiration for this project came from my PhD thesis, which looks at children’s unstructured play. Unfortunately, due to the institutionalisation of children’s time and space, children have limited time to play in unstructured environments and I wanted to create a creative space where children were only limited by their imagination.

After months of scavenging, the project had collected an impressive amount of cardboard boxes, tubes, bottle tops, string, blankets, clothes pegs and plastic bottles. Using scissors, duct tape and a lot of imagination, the children (and adults) busied themselves creating dens, robots, kitchens, rockets, armour, drums and much more.

One of the most rewarding parts of the project was watching the parents and children becoming absorbed in their activities. Many spending hours working on their projects without being aware of the time passing. Some children were happy to leave their creation behind for others to play with and others took theirs home with them. Overall, more than 150 people attended the Junkyard playground over the weekend and all went away happy.

Many of the children who attended the playground on Saturday returned on Sunday. Some even stayed until it was time to clean up! Thankfully, a number of families even helped with the clean-up, which took three-trailer loads to remove from MyPlace!

I am extremely grateful to all those who took part in the project and to the staff in MyPlace for facilitating it. Plans are already underway to ensure the playground will return for Midleton Arts Festival 2018! See you all there!




History Talk and Live Music Event

The event took place in Midleton library, also known as “The Market House”, the oldest civic building in Midleton and so a historic icon in town. The talk was about the building itself explaining the local history and transformation along the four centuries since it was built.

Tony Harpur introduced the event by introducing the four-piece band, John Cronin and friends, who played a beautiful Irish traditional tune.

Tony proceeded by giving a history talk full of facts with bits of humour that held the audience’s attention all the way to the end.

The band played two more tunes before the audience asked for one more so the event finished with one more tune.

All seats were taken and the public response was very good.

The event lasted over an hour, it was free of charge and family friendly.

Big thanks to Tony Harpur, John Cronin and friends, and Midleton Library staff who so kindly provided invaluable help.

Animation in the Courthouse

The fourth Midleton Arts Festival film competition took place on Saturday the 13th of May. The competition is an opportunity to highlight the wealth of filmmaking talent in the East Cork area, but the competition is open to all and entries came in from as far away as Kinsale.

The films were shown in the beautiful surrounds of Midleton Courthouse on a large projector screen. It is very difficult to have a film competition because it is hard to compare these different pieces of art. The appreciation of art is such an individual thing, and different people will like different films. But this is the fourth year of the competition and we have found that it is an excellent way to celebrate the filmmaking of all the participants, not just the winners.

Prizes were given in four categories:

1. Indy Kids. Films produced by children working independently. This year’s worthy winner was Sean Coffey from Mill Road, Midleton, with a film entitled ‘Know your town”.

2. Community Groups. This year’s winners were Enable Ireland, Littleisland, with their unique interpretation of the ‘Wizard of Oz’.

3. Primary Schools. This year’s winners were Midleton Educate Together’s 3rd class with a film entitled ‘Spaced out Planets tour’.

4. Secondary Schools. This year’s winners were St. Colman’s Community College Midleton, with a film entitled ‘Davina and…’

The quality of the entries this year was spectacular and though it was very difficult to pick winners, the winners were particularly praiseworthy.

The school entries were particularly good this year, and it was very difficult to pick winners, but Midleton Educate Together’s 3rd class with a film entitled ‘Spaced out Planets tour’ was imaginative, beautiful and educational. St Coleman’s ‘Davina and…’, was a humorous take on the trials of teenage life, and went down so well with the audience in the courthouse. Enable Ireland, Little island, unique interpretation of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ was a wonderful example of what community groups can achieve when they work together.

But Sean Coffey’s ‘Know your Town’ stole the show, as it showed his native place (Midleton) through the eyes of a 12-year-old. The film takes us on a journey through Midleton, but in the spaces and places that children like to inhabit. So we have walls, rooftops, lanes and alleyways, trees that yearn to be climbed and beautiful skies full of mystery and wonder. All edited beautifully and wedded neatly to a well-chosen soundtrack. Sean makes Midleton look beautiful, highlights to adults that we are blindly walking past pure beauty every day.

He reminds us that beyond our narrow focus on traffic jams and shopping, the simple beauty of the trees, grass, flowers, old houses are around us all the time. Sean Coffey knows this, and his film reminds us about that.

One of the coordinators of the Arts festival Belinda Walsh commented: “the Midleton Arts Festival aims to celebrate the arts in our town and to celebrate those that make it. The Film competition is a central part of the programme, and it continues to grow and grow every year”.

So get filmmaking, the 2018 competition is now only 11 months away.

A piece by Dr. Lorcan Byrne, PhD, BSocSc who generously gives his time every year to present the films at the Midleton Arts Festival

Fruitcake written and performed by Alice Barry


The Courthouse, Midleton – May 13th at 8pm

Limited tickets; €10 available from Midleton Books


Alice Barry originally from Carrigtwohill and living now in Aghada will perform her one-woman show Fruitcake at this years Midleton Arts Festival. The festival is delighted to welcome Noggin Theatre Company as the first professional theatre company to perform at the festival. Noggin has toured nationally and internationally and is looking forward to impressing a local crowd. Alice is quick to point out that although the piece is titled ‘Fruitcake’ and the premise is that of a woman coming to give a cookery demonstration the production is equally loved by men and women aged thirteen and over as it tells the story of growing up on an Irish country farm. It is a dark yet funny tale involving hardship, murder and intrigue but most of all great sacrifice, realisation and love.