Daring Dames Festival

Saturday 4 to Sunday 5 March 2023, Achill Island, Co Mayo.


Are you a woman circus artiste, producer or crew? There’s lots of ways you can be part of Daring Dames, Europe’s only all-female circus festival.

• Do you have a SHOW?

The first day of the festival (Saturday 4th) will feature leading shows by women artistes in Ireland and beyond. If you are interested in your show being part of the programme, please email ringmaster@circus250.org with details and we’ll have a think and get straight back in touch. We pay fees for professional work.

• Do you have a WORK IN PROGRESS?

Are you a woman artiste, or group of female-led artistes, who have a Work in Progress you’d like to share? Sunday 5th will be a day on which your work can be given an audience and feedback. We’d like to programme as much new and exciting work as possible, so do email ringmaster@circus250.org if you’d like to take part. Works in progress participants will receive accommodation and a contribution towards their travel costs.


On Saturday night, there will be a Daring Dames Cabaret. Do you have an act you’d like to perform on the night? (NB We do not need hula hoop or aerial.) Cabaret artistes will be paid a small fee. Please email ringmaster@circus250.org with your details.

• Would you like to VOLUNTEER?

We are looking for volunteers to help us out over the weekend with stewarding and general tasks. Our volunteers will be provided with accommodation. If you’d like to help us out please email bigtop@circus250.org.

• Do you enjoy CIRCUS? Then come along for the weekend on beautiful Achill! All the shows, works in progress and discussions are free. The programme will be launched on St Brigid’s Day Monday 6 February.

If there are other ways in which you would like to be involved which aren’t listed above, but you think would be of benefit to the Festival and all those attending, please do get in touch. We love to hear new ideas and challenges.

Look forward to seeing you in March.

Be amazed at all the female talent in Daring Dames – Ireland’s first all female circus festival. From astonishing acrobatics to hilarious clowns, Ireland’s circus artistes entertain and enthrall.

The Daring Dames Festival – Ireland’s first all female circus festival – was held on Achill Island, Co Mayo, weekend 5-6 March, to coincide with International Women’s Day.

On Saturday, established acts and performances from throughout Ireland were showcased alongside new and emerging talent to a sold-out audience at the historic Valley House. With daytime shows, an astonishing Daring Dames evening cabaret, new work showcases and the brand new Triple Goddess closing fire show, the Festival celebrated women artists of the past, of today and to come.

On Sunday it was time to reflect, with special screenings of women in circus films, an entertaining talk on the history of women in circus by Professor Vanessa Toulmin and a discussion on ‘Women in Circus in Ireland – what next?’

Audiences and participants came from all over the country, from Cork to Belfast, to join packed out houses and teeming courtyard, and take part in the discussions and panels. We were joined by representatives from Arts Council Ireland, Dublin Circus Project, Circusful and beyond.

The Daring Dames Festival will be an annual event, a time to celebrate women circus artistes of skill and courage, support those who are emerging and new, and discuss and reflect on the way ahead.

Next year’s Daring Dames will take place on Achill Island, Co Mayo, on weekend 4-5 March 2023. Put the date in your diary so you don’t miss it!

In the meantime, watch out for the tour of Daring Dames Cabaret, featuring women of astounding skill and creative courage, near you.

Daring Dames was supported by a First Time Festival grant from Arts Council Ireland.

Photography by Conor McKeown