Tread Softly Festival 2021


The tenth Tread Softly festival returns from the 2nd – 21st August with a programme of events inspired by the landscape of county Sligo.

‘This has been an unprecedented time for us all and the way we do things has changed. This is no different for us here at Tread Softly although collaborations between artists and communities exploring place continues to be the bedrock of what we aim to achieve. The way these collaborations happen has adapted and shifted, and we are using different forms to make these happen. We hope you enjoy our programme.’

Highlights include Ancestors, a sculptural installation representing ghost-like former island inhabitants; six-artist participation Walking Keshcorran reflects on a guided walk of Kesh Caves; mass art participation Sand Drawings while Tidelines pursues five artists charting the Sligo coastline over five days.

Equally enjoyable – the launch of selected work from The Cormorant ; Maugherow, beneath the blowing sands a book launch and event; On Baile’s Strand performed by Blue Raincoat Theatre Company; The Battle of the Books soundscape; and exhibitions – Jack Butler Yeats; Assembled Memories at The Model, and invited artists’ interpretations of Meditations in Time of Civil War along with Angela Hackett’s Amidst the Flowers I tell the Hours at Hamilton Gallery. To the Waters & the Wild is a walking festival in various locations throughout the county.

Tread Softly festival is supported by IT Sligo and programmed in partnership with Blue Raincoat Theatre Company, Hawk’s Well Theatre, The Model and Sligo County Council.

IT Sligo are delighted to support the Tread Softly festival, promoting visual art and showcasing the breadth of creative talent in the region. IT Sligo will co-host two of the live-streamed programme events, Ancestors and Tidelines, on the IT Sligo Facebook channel. Follow to join the daily events:


Mon 2-Fri 6 Aug | 8 pm daily & Facebook

Following the success of Underwave, sculptor Bettina Seitz collaborates with videographers Fionn Rogers and Peter Martin to create Ancestors; a sculptural installation of ghost-like, life-size figures representing the former inhabitants of an uninhabited island off the Sligo coast. Inspired by their daily lives and custodial role on the island, this site-responsive installation explores how our ancestors lived in close contact with the natural world. It is also an enquiry into continuity between our distant ancestors and us, and whether we can find our place as part of an interconnected natural world again.


Mon 16-Fri 20 Aug & Facebook | Site visits possible

Using skyline and shoreline; five artists, led by Leonora Neary and including Conor Gallagher, Karen Webster, Kari Cahill and Matt Jones, move along the Sligo coastline creating landscape art pieces each day. A photographer follows their progress as their location changes. By using GPS coordinates, each of the sites the artists go to can be visited as the week progresses. The works can also be seen on and social media platforms.

For more information and the full programme details see