First Fortnight: highlights for young people

January 01st 2019

First Fortnight: highlights for young people

It wouldn’t be January without the First Fortnight Festival giving us good reasons to venture out in the cold.

The month-long arts and culture festival has kicked off with events all around Ireland. The program offers a chocolate-box of events, all hand-picked for their efforts to explore the theme of mental health and reduce the stigma around it. The result is a full calendar of music, spoken word, talks, workshops, screenings and theatre events popping up in a venue, gallery or library near you. This year features some particular highlights for young people. Tickets range from free to a tenner.

Artists talk mental health

work by Joe Caslin in the National Gallery

Finding Power: Discussion On Arts and Mental Health for Young People with Joe Caslin

12 January @ 15:30 National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin. Tickets €5

You already know the work of artist and activist Joe Caslin. He’s responsible for some of the most thought-provoking street art in Ireland, including his iconic mural on Dublin's George’s Street before the Marriage Equality Referendum. Being a teacher also led Caslin to become an advocate for youth mental health. Join him for a special event in the National Gallery for those age 16 to 25, as he talks about his art, the topic of mental health and the importance of awareness for young people. 

Shane Keeling

In Conversation With Shane Keeling - Art & Mental Health

31 January @ 19:00 Wexford Arts Centre , Wexford Tickets FREE

22-year-old NCAD student Shane Keeling got national attention last year when he announced his final year art project would be tackling the topic of Ireland's male suicide rate. Keeling works in ceramics and sculpture. Join him and a special guest for this interesting discussion on mental health and art.

Athletes discuss their mental health

Gerard Prendergast

Corinthian: Gerard Prendergast & Kevin Dooney

12 January @ 14:00 The Sugar Club, Dublin Tickets €5

25-year old Irish National Cross Country Champion Kevin Dooney spoke out about his experiences with depression last year and struck a chord with the running community. He’ll join Gerard Prendergast in a discussion about sport and mental health and how the two effect each other. Ireland's leading long distance endurance athlete Gerard Prendergast will talk about how sport has been positive for his mental health, and how the suicide of a close family relative was the inspiration for his record breaking endurance feats.

Musicians on inspiration and mental health

Professor Green In Conversation With Eoghan McDermot

19 January @ 14:30 Sugar Club, Dublin Tickets €10

Professor Green (Stephen Manderson) is an award-winning rapper, singer-songwriter and documentary-maker. He will be in conversation with 2FM presenter Eoghan Mc Dermott sharing his experiences, including dealing with the death of his father through suicide, the impact his mental health has had on his career and creative projects, and why he wants to raise awarness to help others.

My Story, My Song

24 January @ 19:30 The Liquor Rooms, Dublin Tickets €10

This is a sweet idea for a gig. Ireland’s most exciting emerging artists will share the stories around the songs that most spoke to them during tough times, and the songs they turn to when they need a lift. Then, they perform them. Previous contributors include Ross Breen and Caz9.

Schools workshops 

Positive Mental Health for Schools

14 - 19 January, Waterford Central Library. Tickets FREE

Kiki Martire from will be running several workshops for teenagers over five days in Waterford. School-goers will learn activities to improve their wellbeing and boost resilience, and be part of an open discussion about how we all talk about and view mental health.

Books and mental health

Read Your Mind

Libraries nationwide

As part of First Fortnight’s Mind Reading event, we partnered with libraries across the country to recommend – and get in stock – dozens of mental health-related books. You’ll find everything from factual texts and self-help to absorbing works of fiction. The choice of books are designed to inform, explore and open up discussion around mental health. See more here

Theatre exploring mental health

Burying you brother in the pavement

Burying your brother in the pavement

18 January @ 20:00 Riverbank Arts Centre, Kildare Tickets €5

Jack Thorne’s play was written specifically for young people. The story follows a teenage girl as she grieves for her dead brother with emotional honesty and imaginative flair. The script has been performed by youth theatres across Ireland and the UK, and this one is staged by Griese Youth Theatre from Ballitore, County Kildare. Stick around for the post-show panel discussion.