This time last year the first Fenians Festival kicked off with a commemoration of the arrival of the last convict ship to Australia and Fremantle, the Hougoumont. It was a great success.
This year the Festival comes alive again with a commemoration of the life and works of John Boyle (JB) O’Reilly at various locations around Fremantle and celebrates his escape from WA!
JB was a prisoner, writer and journalist who famously arrived in Fremantle in 1868 on board the Hougoumont and then escaped in 1869 aboard the whaling ship Gazelle, which took him to the USA. There he was one of the instigators of the famous Catalpa Escape, the daring rescue a few years later of the remaining Fenian prisoners in Fremantle Prison.
The 2019 Fenians Festival program starts on Friday 22 February with internationally renowned Irish musician Sharon Shannon and her band, with special guest singer Susan O’Neill, in double bill concert at John Curtin College of the Arts, Fremantle. It concludes on Sunday 24 February when the final passage in the epic 12-hour reading of O’Reilly’s novel Moondyne Joe will be ready by His Excellency Mr Breandán Ó Caollaí, Ambassador of Ireland to Australia at 8pm, during Lucky Oceans’ Gaelic Gumbo, an outdoor concert on the front lawn of Kidogo Arthouse at Bathers Beach that runs from 6.30pm to 9pm.
All events will be great fun. Guarantee yourself and your family seats by booking now.
Fenians Festival Program
Friday 22 February 2019
Sharon Shannon Band with special guest Susan O’Neill
Sharon Shannon and her band, with special guest Susan O’Neill, in a Double Bill Concert
Sharon Shannon is a name synonymous and entrenched in the culture and fabric of Traditional Irish Music. Sharon’s journey with her accordion and love for music has led her to become one of the world’s most highly acclaimed traditional musicians and her personality has led her to be one of Ireland’s most well-liked and popular national treasures.
From her debut self-titled album in 1991 to her most recent “Sacred Earth” album her work demonstrates a wide-ranging number of musical influences. Sharon Shannon is a musician who likes to surprise. While she is known for her arrangements of traditional Irish tunes and Irish-influenced compositions, she has always been eager to explore new styles, and to meet and work with other musicians. Her work demonstrates a groundbreaking mix of traditional Irish with reggae, country, Native American, bluegrass, cajun, rap, dance, French Canadian and African.
The prodigiously gifted Susan O’Neill is also from County Clare, Ireland. Her soulful & husky-voiced performances are truly something to behold. Using guitar, harmonica, trumpet and a loop pedal, Susan delivers a timeless and powerful blend of the old & new. Her inspirational fusion of soulful Irish folk & her own acclaimed original material makes for an entertaining & enchanting musical experience.
Her solo performances are literally mind-blowing. The amazing range of her gritty vocal combined with her superb guitar technique, her loop pedals and trumpet, make for a truly unforgettable musical experience.
Don’t miss this very rare opportunity to hear two incredible artists in concert together.
Proudly supported by Culture Ireland.
Time: 7:30pm – 10:00pm
Location: John Curtin College of the Arts Theatre, 90 Ellen Street, Fremantle, WA 6160
Tickets: $38.01 – $59.11 available at Eventbrite
Saturday 23 February 2019
Festival Family Day
Join us at the WA Maritime Museum on Saturday 23 February as we celebrate Fenians Festival 2019 – O’Reilly’s Escape with free activities for the whole family!
Enjoy free all-day entry to the Museum.
Take the Shamrock Trail and discover the tale of two famous Irishmen.
Storytelling at 10am and 11am.
Craft activities; Illuminate your own Celtic initials, or make a golden Irish neckpiece.
7-12 year olds will have the chance to build their very own model boat and learn about the adventures of John Boyle O’Reilly.
Places are limited, bookings essential through the Museum website.
Session times: 10am-11.30am, 12.30-2pm, 2.30-4pm
Watch the award-winning movie The Secret of Kells on the big screen. PG recommended, for ages 8+.
Bookings essential through Eventbrite. Sessions are at 10.30am and 2pm.
Watch displays of traditional Irish dancing featuring the Kavanagh School of Irish Dance and keep an eye out for talented young buskers.
Afterwards put on your dancing shoes and join in the Céilí on the Quay!
Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Free events – registrations required.
Time: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Location: WA Maritime Museum, Peter Hughes Drive, Fremantle, WA 6160
Bookings can be made here.
Saturday 23 February 2019
Céilí on the Quay
Come and experience a once-in-a-lifetime outdoor dance event – an epic Irish Céilí – think of it as a flash-mob family dance event for all ages and experience levels.
The Céilí will be held at the B Shed, Victoria Quay, Fremantle Harbour from 5.00pm – 7.00pm following the Family Day activities at the WA Maritime Museum.
Live music will provided by some of Australia’s best traditional Irish musicians – Rob Zielinski – fiddle. Jen Doyle – fiddle and whistle. Catherine Higgins – Bodhran. Donough O’Donovan – Guitar.
Experienced dance callers from Torc Céilí Club will take you through a series of fun and easy dances that everyone can enjoy.
Dance the sun down at this free event – bookings preferred.
Following the Céilí, there will be an open Irish Traditional Music Session at the E Shed markets with drinks available from the Harbour Bar and food from the E Shed traders.
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Location: B Shed, Victoria Quay, Peter Hughes Drive, Fremantle, WA 6160
Bookings can be made here.
Sunday 24 February 2019
Moondyne Walk – an exciting new all-day event taking place throughout the streets of Fremantle on Sunday 24th February 2019 from 7.00am to 7.30pm.
This inaugural event is a public reading of the entire novel Moondyne written by John Boyle O’Reilly about Western Australia. It was first published in Boston in 1878 as a serial in the Boston Post and later published as the novel Moondyne in 1880.
This is possibly the very first novel written about Western Australia and presents a penetrating view of colonial life, Aboriginal culture and WA landscape.
The entire book will be read in public over 12 hours at sixteen historic locations throughout Fremantle starting at 7.00am at the Fremantle Prison and finishing at 8pm during the Gaelic Gumbo concert on the lawns in front of Kidogo Arthouse at Bathers Beach.
You can register your interest in hearing this amazing story at one or more of the following sixteen locations at various times throughout the day. Free event – bookings essential.
1. Fremantle Prison at 7.00am.
2. Samson House at 7.45am.
3. Fremantle Arts Centre at 8.15am
4. Clancy’s Fish Pub at 9.15am
5. Queens Square at 10.15am
6. Fremantle Town Hall Foyer at 11.00am.
7. The Aardvark, Norfolk Hotel at 12 noon.
8. The Hougoumont Hotel at 1.10pm
9. St Teresa’s Library, Notre Dame University at 2.00pm
10. Bar Orient at 2.40pm
11. B Shed, Victoria Quay at 3.30pm
12. WA Maritime Museum at 4.00pm
13. Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre at 5.00pm.
14. Fremantle Roundhouse at 5.45pm
15. Samsons Cellars at 6.30pm
16. Kidogo Arthouse, Bathers Beach at 8pm
Sunday 24 February
Gaelic Gumbo with Lucky Oceans
Relax on the grass in front of Kidogo Arthouse. Bring a picnic or grab a bite nearby and a drink from the Kelp Bar. Settle in for a great evening’s entertainment as Lucky Oceans and the Zydecats blend their foot tapping Louisiana beats with the spirited Irish music from Fiona Rea and Tommy O’Brien.
Get tickets soon as this event was a ‘sell-out’ at the 2018 Fenians Festival.
Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Location: On the lawns at Kidogo Arthouse, Bathers Beach, Fremantle, WA 6160
Tickets: $22.19 from eventbrite