about us

Fergus Ahern, Boyle Arts - Photo Sean O'Dowd
Fergus Ahern. Photo by Sean O'Dowd
Fergus Ahern, Boyle Arts - Photo Sean O'Dowd
Fergus Ahern. Photo by Sean O'Dowd

35 Years of Boyle Arts Festival

The origins of Boyle Arts Festival date back to 1983, when a few local individuals and artists came together to organise a short Festival of Art in the town during the summer. With an emphasis primarily on visual arts, the Cé Arts Festival created an opportunity for many local artists to exhibit and showcase their work, to a wider audience.

By 1985, the Cé Arts Festival had morphed into the Boyle Arts Week, a seven day Festival featuring larger exhibitions, music, street theatre and drama, while still retaining a core of locally based artists. This ran with great success until 1989.

In 1990, the new decade brought a rebranded and relaunched Boyle Arts Festival. The newly formed committee secured Arts Council funding and wider sponsorship, which enabled the Festival to expand to a multi-disciplinary one, attracting national and international artists in almost every genre.

Fergus Ahern and Barry Feely initiated the Boyle Civic Collection, purchasing selected pieces each year from both Exhibitions, to form a permanent display of high quality art in the town.

Boyle Arts Festival became a ten day event, and included classical, jazz, traditional and contemporary music, several exhibitions, children’s events, workshops, drama, comedy, film, poetry and an acclaimed series of lunchtime concerts that continue to this day.  The local Open Art exhibition is still a centrepiece and it continued in the Parochial school, while the sports complex at Scoil Críost an Rí was the only place big enough in town to house the main Visual Art Exhibition.

Actor & legend, Brendan Gleeson opens Boyle Arts Festival 2023
Actor & legend, Brendan Gleeson opens Boyle Arts Festival 2023
Dance Workshop Co-ordinators Boyle Arts

In 2003 the newly restored King House became the permanent home of the main Visual Art Exhibition and one of the central venues for music performances and spoken word presentations.

Over the years, the Festival has been officially opened by presidents, celebrities and government ministers and it is now regarded as one of the finest in the country.
2024 will see Boyle Arts Festival celebrate its 35th year and the current programme of over 50 events has raised the bar even further.  The beautifully restored ‘An Ríoga’ venue in Boyle (formerly The Royal Hotel) is now another central hub and will house the BAF office and the renowned Open Art Exhibition.

Our Committee

Boyle Arts Festival is run by a voluntary committee, which for 2024 are:

Patricia Golden

Patricia Golden is actively involved in promoting and marketing tourism in her role as Manager of King House, Boyle. King House Historical & Cultural Centre is home to Boyle Arts Festival’s Main Art Exhibition, concerts and events. Patricia is a previous Chairperson of Boyle Musical Society and has a strong interest in the arts. She organises and manages the Open Art Exhibition each year since 2006, providing a forum for young and emerging artists who may find few opportunities to display their work.

Irene Madden

Vice Chair
Irene Madden is the longest serving member of the festival committee and is a proud supporter of the Arts for over 30 years. Her passion is in visual and performing arts and she firmly believes in the importance of the festival to the town in making art and entertainment more accessible to everyone. Her background is in financial services and more recently in the retail fashion industry.

Belinda McCauley

Belinda is a native of neighbouring Leitrim, and has lived in Boyle for 40 years. In that time she has immersed herself in arts and business activities in the town, and is a founding member of Boyle Musical Society and President of the Chamber of Commerce. She brings her extensive financial expertise to the role of Treasurer.

Caroline Morgan

Caroline Morgan is a retired librarian, with a keen interest in literature, arts and music. Her exceptional administration skills ensure the festival organisation keeps on track. She is an active member of Boyle Curlew Walkers and a keen golfer.

Brendan McGee

Press & PR

Boyle native Brendan McGee runs a local jewellery shop and has been involved with Boyle Arts Festival since 2010. He has a keen interest in the Arts, especially film, photography, electronic, indie and ambient music along with spoken word and drama. He writes all of the great press releases for BAF, liases with the press and local media, and also keeps the social media channels up-to-date all year round.

Catriona Fahey

Children’s Event Coordinator

Catriona Fahey brings over 20 years of dedicated experience in working with children and young adults. Born and raised in Boyle, Catriona has a long-standing connection to the community and a passionate commitment to fostering youth involvement in the arts. Her role allows her to combine her love for her home town with her enthusiasm for the creative development of its youngest members, ensuring the festival is a vibrant, inclusive, and inspiring environment for all.

Rebecca Wynne

Children's Events

Talented Boyle native Rebecca Wynne joined the Boyle Arts Festival Committee in 2022, having attended the festival each year growing up. She has a passion for creativity in the early years, and enjoys providing open ended experiences for children. She loves crafting, creating and singing along to most kinds of music and brings immense positive energy to the committee.

Rory Nevin

Events Co-ordinator

Rory Nevin has built a dynamic career that bridges his current role at ATU Sligo with a vibrant passion for writing. After 17 years in London, where he immersed himself in the city’s arts scene and worked as a freelance journalist reviewing albums, plays, and movies, Rory returned to Ireland. At ATU, he combines his expertise in administration with his love for storytelling, writing short stories, drama scripts, and plays that reflect his diverse experiences and insights. His work showcases his ability to connect with a wide range of audiences, bringing stories to life in relatable and engaging ways.

Sharon Tighe

Marketing & Website

Originally a committee member from 2009 to 2015, Sharon Tighe is delighted to re-join BAF this year. With a degree in English literature, Sharon’s love for words seamlessly blends with her passion for music, comedy and exploring multicultural events at festivals around Europe. She channels her creativity and expertise from her role as Marketing Director at Maverick Communications International, into enhancing the festival’s web presence and connecting Boyle with art and culture lovers everywhere.

Julie Reynolds

Assistant Treasurer

With over 20 years’ experience in administration and financial management, Julie has worked in a diverse range of industries including multinational, private enterprise, community and start-up. She is actively involved in local community activities – civic, sporting and the arts. A new addition to the committee in 2024, she has a personal interest in music and particularly piano.


Praise for Boyle Arts Festival

Brilliant Community effort in 2023. I am looking forward to the 2024 Festival.

Ian Marshall

Review from Google
It’s great that a small town like Boyle has something like this to promote it. They have a very wide range of acts from Classical to Irish Trad to comedy to History. One tip; some events sell out so book early. I missed my fav act this year as I was so busy.

Jenny Jenkins

Review from Google

Fabulous art collection. Wonderful setting.

seamus mcguigan

Review from Google

Great events, well organised.

Ciaran O'Reilly

Review from Google

Celebrating previous years

Our Mission Statement

Boyle Arts Festival is dedicated to the provision of the best in the performing and visual arts and to present a culturally enriching schedule of visual arts, music, literature, drama and family events, featuring exponents of national and international significance. The festival seeks to make the arts more accessible to a broad range of people, to give prominence to young, emerging Irish artists, both visual and performing, and to link with local arts groups in programming and organising events