On the first weekend of November, we were in Tralee for the National Circus Festival of Ireland and a team of delegates, including our emerging artists Beth Darragh and Moss Russel, as part of our DELVE programme.

DELVE: Discover, Explore, Learn, Visualise and Engage – aims to support artists to experience and be inspired by art through various festivals and programmes throughout Ireland. We go, see, watch, listen, learn, connect with art and art makers, and get inspired.

Here is what the artist had to say about their experience.

DELVE was an absolute ambrosia of inspiration and love for circus. It was so delightful to be treasured as an artist and shown the ropes. My understanding of circus in Ireland gained great depth and I am deeply inspired by all I saw and learned in Tralee.

I had a fantastic time! Beginning the experience with the Circus Infrastructure event (presented by the Arts Council of Ireland and Promenade) really set a tone of excitement for me. I attended a couple of hoop conventions with Laura Ivers years ago and it was absolutely incredible to see her in her current roll. It gave me so much hope for the sector and the future and the report is so important.

NUYE utterly blew my mind! It may be the best show I’ve ever seen. After training with Roberto Magro in the days leading up to the festival, seeing his work on stage was deeply affecting.

The ISACS open forum was my favourite part of the program. It was so inspiring to get little insights into so many great circus minds, ideas and projects. More of this I say! I learned so much about the circus industry and the ways in which people are striving to create security for circus artists. It’s so heartening to see the virtues of circus being championed, the ways circus can improve the lives of everyone it touches whether through education or art are so evident to us and the work of integrating it into Irish culture is incredibly important. Promenade really inspired me to gain more experience and knowledge about directing and creating projects.

-Moss Russell


DELVE offered me an an incredible opportunity to attend the National Circus Festival of Ireland and network with some amazing professionals and artists.

During the festival, I was able to attend talks from the Arts Council Ireland on the sustainability of Infrastructure which was very informative and inspiring to see how regulations are progressing within an expanding network.

Alongside the ISACS Share talk, which was incredible and contained speakers of all sorts from Henriks’s speech on how to classify and plan outdoor work, Jonah’s speech on the importance of insurance of aerial artists and the impact of this situation on individuals and organizations alike all the way to Tia’s residency (ICCAR) which offers opportunities for artists to show both finished and unfinished projects and liaise with the correct professionals to help them improve. It was amazing to have an inside perspective on how the sector is changing and developing both through accessible information on the infrastructure and insurance regulations and also in the development of projects like promenade Ireland to help form a network of producers.

Throughout the weekend I was also able to partake in amazing workshops from Fidget feet in the Acro hall, including aerial hoop with Aisling ni Cheallaigh and flying pole with Michaela Heyer. As an emerging artist having the opportunity to work with and learn from inspirations such as this was invaluable. I was also able to partake in acrobatic workshops with Nat Wittingham and Compania de circo which offered amazing skills and techniques that have inspired me to work on the more floor-based circus.

The most incredible part of the festival was watching artists perform as I gained so, so, so, much inspiration and ideas on how to improve my own artistic practice and things to aspire to for the future. My favourites of the weekend were NUYE by Cia de Circo eia – A mind-blowing feat of acrobatics, with non-stop skills, each eclipsing the other with greatness. It was without a doubt the best show I have ever watched. I also enjoyed the Loosysmokes movie showing at the renegade show in the Greyhound, offering a haunting areial performance with a chilling, breathtaking look at how abandoned properties can become a stage.

Overall, it was an incredible experience and I feel so privileged to have been selected. Being a part of the ISACS team for the weekend felt incredibly validating as an artist, I felt like I was able to network without the nagging sense of imposter syndrome and truly make meaningful friendships with many artists and connections with many professionals. Thank you SO much.

-Beth Darragh

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