Festa – Floating Works of Art


The name Festa is an old term for parties along waterways. And that’s just the atmosphere artist Kathryn Maguire will be aiming for on the 11th and 12th of May when she holds a unique event called Festa, on the Grand Canal.

Working with The Men’s Gardening Group, from St Andrew’s Resource Center, South Circular Road, she is creating a collection of floating artworks including a floating allotment, a mirrored shed, called ‘Us Again’ float and a heritage barge 107B, which will be decked out with turf.

When speaking to Newsfour, Kathryn describes the floating garden as “a brick wall with plants flowing out of sculptured wall on a flotilla”. The bricks used are from Dolphin’s Barn’s Brick Works, which closed in 1939. The second float is a shed, which will be covered with mirrored panels on the outside walls and roof of the shed. It will float along beside the allotment “constantly reflecting both the floating garden and the beauty of the surrounding Canal and persons who walk along the Canal”. Kathryn is hoping we get to enjoy the reflections of the sunsets in her work. 

The Lord Mayor of Dublin will launch Festa at 1pm on Sat, 11th May. The event is sponsored by RDA (Rialto Development Association), Common Ground, Dublin City Council, Inland Waterways and Waterways Ireland. There will be talks around heritage and ecology on the 107B Heritage Barge on the Saturday. The history of the industries that supplied goods for transport along the canal will be covered, concentrating on the predominant goods, which were bricks and vegetables. The biodiversity of the Canal life will be explored. And in the late afternoon, the barge and the floats will travel down the Canal to dock up at Portobello for the evening. On the morning of Sunday, 12th at 11am they will progress down towards the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre in the Grand Canal Basin.

Kathryn will host classes where you can learn to make origami ships and has already been working with children in local schools creating other origami ships, which will be launched at 4pm. Musican and artist, Nick Roth will present his work ‘The Water Project’ in the Visitor Centre also on Sunday 12th May. The floatillas will stay in the Grand Canal Basin for two weeks for the Docklands Festival.

By Tracy O’Brien