Who we work with:
What we offer
The Armagh Rhymers can provide colour and music for any event or occasion. We have a pool of highly talented instrumentalists, singers and actors. We can provide background music, dramatic performances, traditional ritual and festival rites, interactive dramatic and musical experiences and educational plays and activities.
Whether it be for corporate events; community projects; youth groups; summer schemes; fairs and outdoor events; market days or any other occasion, we can tailor performances to suit your needs.
The Armagh Rhymers have been on the International Children’s Festival circuit for over 30 years. They have presented theatre for young audiences in USA – Pittsburg, Philadelphia, Milk Festivals in Canada – Toronto and Calgary, in Europe – Scottish International Children’s Festival, Children’s Festival, Aberystwth and Citi de la Musique, Paris. In 2017 & 2019 we toured China performing to family audiences under the auspices of CPAA.
Our family shows are created around folk and traditional tales. They are very participative with children joining the action on stage. The actors are all multi-instrumentalists making the shows very musical but most of all great fun. The Armagh Rhymers wear fantastical masks and costumes.
Hotels, conferences, corporate, government bodies
Armagh Rhymers have over 40 years’ experience of hosting events for conferences delegates, corporate clients and government bodies.
Highlights of these include, accompanying InvestNI trade delegation to the Baltic countries, providing an atmosphere were delegates could relax, and network in an informal setting. Armagh Rhymers have appeared at The Smithsonian Folklife festival and afterwards at the Irish and British embassies in Washington. We have worked extensively with the North South Secretariat adding wit, humour, ambience and authentic folklore to the occasion. We featured strongly in the ‘Tradition Now’ 2020 festival for National Concert Hall, Dublin.
Tourism, tour operators, destination guides, coach companies
Armagh Rhymers have been working with incoming tourist groups and local tourism for over 40 years. We respond to requests to perform all over Ireland, in folk parks, sacred sites, mountain tops, village halls, hotels, festivals and graveyards, to name but a few locations. We have represented Armagh, Ireland – north and south at Tourism trade fairs from Milwaukee to Dallas and Glasgow to London.
We surprise people with the unexpected, and show off the distinctive local culture with performances based on our masked house visiting mummers’ tradition. Professor Mick Moloney – Irish Folklore Tours said – ‘In 26 years of coming to Ireland, our day with The Armagh Rhymers was our best ever day’.
As well as general interest groups looking for fun and entertainment, we provide bespoke services for academics interested in archaeology, literature and folklore. Before lockdown, we had been working with the Orange Heritage in Portadown on Mumming & Lambeg drumming and on apple orchard traditions with Helen Troughton, Armagh Cider.
Currently, we are part of the SpotLit Northern Periphery European initiative which connects Ireland, north and west with
Scotland, Iceland and Finland. We have showcased Irish culture at the Chinese incoming tourism event at Kings Inn Dublin for Tourism Ireland and have completed two successful tours of China sponsored by CPAA – China Performing Arts Association.
Links with China
Armagh Rhymers have developed an excellent relationship with The Chinese Consulate in Belfast. As a result of this, Consular staff linked us with CPAA – China Performing Arts Agency. It was through this agency that our two successful and enjoyable tours of China were organised. As a group we were honoured to tour your wonderful country and everywhere we went we were met with friendship and generosity.
Our contacts with the Chinese community stretch to Derry, where we perform annually for the Mandarin Speakers Association each Chinese New Year.
The Armagh Rhymers have enthralled audiences in Ireland and around the world at hundreds of events and festivals. Our unique blend of traditional masks, costumes, drama, music and performance add colour and fun to any festival, cultural performance, parade or event. As performers we are extremely versatile and can tailor a performance to any environment, or audience.
The Armagh Rhymers have been working in both English and Irish language schools throughout Ireland for over 40 years. It is our philosophy that every young person has a right to experience live music, drama and the arts as part of their education. We encourage a high level of participation from the students in drama, music and storytelling. A major focus of our work is to promote tolerance and understanding through education. “Over us all is the self-same sky”.
Museums & Galleries – Academic Lectures
The Armagh Rhymers perform their plays and cultural shows in Museums and Galleries around the world including the Armagh County Museum, National Gallery of Ireland, Ulster Museum Belfast, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Hayward Gallery – London, University of Milwaukee at Wisconsin, Marquette University, Milwaukee.
Dara Vallely (Creative Director, Armagh Rhymers) is also a visual artist and he has produced several exhibitions including The Mask and Laoch na Laochra (Heroes of Heroes). These exhibitions are available with accompanying academic lectures.
The Armagh Rhymers work extensively with local community groups. We provide entertainment and educational experiences for summer schemes, youth groups and other extra-curricular projects. We also work extensively with residents’ groups and community organisations on projects to promote social cohesion and community relations. Our versatility allows us to tailor projects to suit your needs.
Care Homes and the Elderly
Fun and laughter are key to staying vibrant and young at heart. Our unique traditional style of performance encourages our audiences to reminisce and recall times gone by. The rhyming tradition is common to people of all backgrounds and faiths. The rhymes, songs and characters of the old play stir memories of the days when the Wren Boys and Mummers would have visited houses and performed in every community in days gone by. Our performances are fun and lively and can have therapeutic benefits.
Cross Community Work
The Armagh Rhymers have been committed to promoting peace, tolerance and reconciliation for over 40 years. One of the main concepts underpinning all of our work is the importance of understanding and acceptance of different cultures, ideas and languages. We see this as key to maintaining a peaceful and prosperous society. We continue to work with people of all backgrounds, cultures and nationalities to promote this ideal.