Anyone interested in the history of Ireland, the country and its diaspora’s rich cultural influence on the world and issues pertinent today will have something to enjoy from the 2021 programme for Liverpool Irish Festival. Taking place over 10 days and featuring live music, discussion events, walking tours and trails, film events and more, the festival is yet another example of an event returning to the in-real-life realm after a digitised offering last year.

However, keeping the accessible nature of digital events alive into the 2021 edition, Irish Film London are partnering up with LIF for a selection of films to be enjoyed from your own home. Reflecting the festival’s theme of ‘Exchange’ and specifically exploring the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, the short films take in comedy, drama, animation and documentary.

Performer and composer MAG O’CONNOR debuts her musical theatre piece The Wife Of Michael Cleary on 22nd October. The performance enacts the story of Bridget Cleary, a 19th century victim of folklore and superstition burned to death by her husband and family who believed she had been substituted for a mythical changeling. Troubadour MATT MCGINN makes a Liverpool bow at the Philharmonic as part of the festival’s music strand. McGinn’s 2020 album Lessons Of War drew lots of critical praise for its damning critique of conflict.

Other highlights from the jam-packed programme include a collaborative evening between Cork-based label Unemployable and Liverpool’s Mellowtone, an evening with Susan McKay, author of the best-seller Northern Protestants: On Shifting Ground and, drawing the programme to a close, the premiere of Doug Devaney’s festival film Mersey Mash on 11th November

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