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Performance at Galway's Spanish Arch to mark 100th anniversary of Anglo-Irish Treaty signing

Sir John Lavery's portraits of Anglo Irish Treaty signatories Michael Collins, David Lloyd George and Arthur Griffith

ONE of the most divisive events in Irish history is to be marked with a short street performance at Galway's Spanish Arch.

Next Monday marks the centenary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

The agreement between the UK government and representatives of the Irish Republic concluded the War of Independence and provided for the establishment of the `Irish Free State' with the same status as the Dominion of Canada.

It also provided Northern Ireland, created by the 1920 Government of Ireland Act, the ability to opt out of the state.

Signatories included British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and republicans Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith.

Galway's Irish language theatre company, Fíbín sa Taibhdhearc is to mark the event with a "dance-opera-spectacle" called `An Conradh' (The Treaty), which it says will "express the struggle and the anguish. as well as the hope" during negotiations.

Artistic director Philip Doherty said: ''Whatever one may think of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, no one can deny it was undoubtedly one of the most defining moments of modern Ireland; a springboard for events that cast a shadow over Irish life for decades afterwards.

"We felt it was important to confront our past, and to commemorate our history in an artful and contemporary manner, by expressing the complexities of the Treaty into a performance that aims to enthral, excite and entertain."

The highly visual street-performance will include drama, dance, and a live score and promises to be a "fast-paced, energetic performance" portraying the events "in a poignant, artful and almost visceral manner", with a 20ft long table forming the fulcrum of the action.

Singer-songwriter Julie Feeney has composed a piece of original music for the show which has been choreographed by Catherine Young.

Three performances will take place outside Galway City Museum at the Spanish Arch, Galway - at 11.15am, 1.15pm and 4.15pm.

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