My Macnas 2017

Port na bPúcaí


October 31st 2017- Streets of Galway

Ivy Dowling

Since I was small I always loved circus acts, performance and theater, when I was ten I started with Galway Community Circus, learning everything there was to do like trapeze, silks, acrobatics and stilt walking, every year a group of older members  went off to participate in the Macnas parade in October . It wasn’t until last year when I got invited to do the parade called “Savage Grace”


For me  Savage Grace was a heady concoction of murky mythology and nocturnal animal energy, Savage Grace saw dancing wolves, seductive raven tricksters and inconsolable plague mourners acsended on the city streets at dusk to transfix the onlookers. Foreboding rhythms , packaged in rhyme and riddle, herald the arrival of Baba Yaga, a formidable figure defined only by her striking ambiguity.

This year I got invited back again to perform in the parade called “Port na bPúcaí” and the parade  was about the journey of a fisherman’s soul and how his spirit has been guided onto the next realm.  I participated as a stilt walker in the parade, our characters were spirit guides helping to guide this boat with a soul , behind us was the main float with the man and his dog.  Some of my favourite aspects creatively of this years parade where the story line and some of the costumes that were made, mine was a feat of trying to put it on we had to stand by a stair case with two stylists putting it on while I was up on stilts, I also wore a mask with an aged and sad look on it.


My call time was 2:30 in the afternoon.  On the day of the parade it’s so busy and hectic and you have to run all over the place trying to get everything ready for the start of the parade but you also get an amazing look all the performers practicing and warming up some in full costume others with half of their costumes on.

The atmosphere of the parade as we were walking down the streets of Galway was thrilling and amazing it felt like you were from some other world walking down and everyone is so amazed and in wonder of this parade, it really helps to build up the atmosphere and tension in the air and when more of the parade passed by the louder everyone was. With lights constantly flashing from photographers running around snapping cameras at you it is one of those one of a kind of moments you cannot recreate.

The parade ended at Claddagh Quay where we all sat down and  had a drink and rest because everyone was exhausted and it is also where wee took  off  our masks or stilts  and all the complex parts of our costumes and then we had to walk back to the university to get our costumes off and pack everything away for next year, then we all went straight to bed after that for a well earned rest/sleep.

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