Galway International Arts Festival and Galway 2020 announce new dates for spectacular outdoor installation in Connemara

30 September 2020

Update March 2021: Due to ongoing Level 5 restrictions, Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work by artist John Gerrard will premiere in Connemara later this year with dates soon to be announced.

John Gerrard’s stunning outdoor art installation, Mirror Pavilion, Corn Work, a centrepiece of Galway International Arts Festival’s Autumn Edition and a significant event in the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture programme, got a huge reaction from audiences over the last number of weeks at the Claddagh Quay in Galway.

A striking structure clad in highly reflective mirror set against the backdrop of the Claddagh basin, the work uses cutting edge technology to deliver a hyper realistic virtual landscape, characters and performances focused on the current escalating environmental crisis.

A work of two parts, the second part of the project, Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work, due to be unveiled in October 2020, will now be presented at Derrigimlagh Bog, Connemara on new dates in March 2021 instead.

It is the aim of Galway International Arts Festival and Galway 2020 that as many people as possible experience Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work. They have therefore made this decision as current restrictions limit international, and some national visitors, who wish to view the work in Connemara.

Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work will now be unveiled on 20 March and remain in situ until 11 April 2021.

The response to GIAF’s Autumn Edition programme was overwhelmingly positive and featured a programme that welcomed audiences to safely experience visual arts, music, theatre and talks live in person as well as an enhanced digital component for audiences who chose to engage at home digitally. Artists participating in the programme included John Gerrard, Hughie O’Donoghue, Bill Viola, Enda Walsh, Clare Barrett, Aoife Duffin, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Hickson, Contempo Quartet, Pan Pan Theatre Company, Julie Feeney, Liz Nugent, David Brophy and a wide range of expert speakers who participated in the festival’s hugely popular First Thought Talks discussion series.

Attendances at live art experiences across the four-week period totalled 126,327, of which 120,657 are attributed to John Gerrard’s Mirror Pavilion on the Claddagh Quay. Other in-person events were exhibitions from Hughie O’Donoghue and Bill Viola in the Festival Gallery, Enda Walsh’s immersive theatre installation Changing Room, Samuel Beckett’s Cascando from Pan Pan Theatre Company, Beethoven’s Middle Quartets with Contempo Quartet in St. Nicholas’ Church and a work-in-progress showing of a new play – Medicine by Enda Walsh, produced by GIAF and Landmark Productions.

The First Thought Talks strand returned to explore the big issues and challenges of the day with a wide range of speakers including Samantha Power, Professor Luke O’Neill, Marion McKeone, Colm Tóibín, Eamon Dunphy, Fintan O’Toole and many more. These were both in-person and online events.

Online viewership to date totalling 17,333 saw audiences joining virtually from Ireland, UK, US, Spain, Germany, Eastern Europe, Canada and as far away as Australia and New Zealand to enjoy the digital component of the programme online. The digital content includes Julie Feeney, David Brophy and Liz Nugent discussing their favourite music and memories in a new series of Vinyl Hours conversations, the complete First Thought Talks series, an online photographic exhibition from artist Sarah Hickson - Placing Home: Hidden Stories - which portrays the experience of people making long, perilous journeys to find refuge, video interviews with playwright and director Enda Walsh, artist Hughie O’Donoghue and a series of videos centered around John Gerrard’s spectacular outdoor installation Mirror Pavilion. All content is available on and across GIAF’s YouTube channel and on the Festival’s new Podcast, First Thought. See

Galway International Arts Festival would like to express its appreciation to all who joined in-person and online for this year’s Autumn Edition programme. The 2021 Festival will run from 12-25 July, 2021 and tickets for next year’s Heineken Big Top concerts are now on sale. See

Galway International Arts Festival would like to acknowledge the support of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture for funding Mirror Pavilion, and for the additional support provided by Festival Energy Partner Flogas, Festival Partner Aerogen and Bluesky Ireland.

Galway International Arts Festival also acknowledges the support of its principal funding agencies the Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland, Galway City Council, its Education Partner NUI Galway, and Drinks Partner Heineken®.