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Tom Duffy's Circus

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by Tom Fieldhouse (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer, living in Bath with my wife and son. I love my city, and love to live here. I write about Bath a lot, and sometimes about travels in Ireland and France.
Event: -
Duffy's- A Proud Family Show
Tom Duffy's - The Greatest Irish Show

Inside the big top
The stage is set, pre show.

Tom Duffy's Circus has been delighting Irish audiences since the 1860s and their 2019 show is wonderful. We saw the matinee show in Cavan, but Duffy's travels the length and breadth of Ireland between March and November, so there are many chances to see them. With a variety of hi-tech wizardry and good old fashioned circus skills, it is a wonderful experience. Tickets are well worth it, at 14-20 Euros, depending on where in the big top you choose to sit.

The Big Top
Duffy's Big top, approaching from reception.

Death-Defying Motorbike Madness and Superb Juggling!

Armed with flashing glow sticks and popcorn bought from kiosks around the tent, the show began. Our favourite acts could not have been more different. For sheer skill and bravery, the five (yes, FIVE) motorbike cage of death act was mesmerising. The cage even split in two, so that the bikes could race on two levels.

Riders preparing for the cage of death ride: they looped the loop, made impossibly fast passes, and whizzed around like dragonflies.

Next came a gifted juggler riding a motorbike, who juggled with five clubs at dizzying speed, and then successfully juggled seven balls. All in time to music, too!

Spinning clubs. Here there were five, and they span right up to the rafters

Classic clowning and Brazilian Trapeze Artists

The circus also has some old favourites, and among these were the Brazilian trapeze artists. They performed some superb catches and somersaults at breakneck speed. The most daring of these was even performed blindfolded!

The children in the audience loved the clowns, who held the space beautifully with their inflatable suits and slapstick comedy. Here's a shot of a brilliant bodybuilding act:

I love clowns, with their inflated sense of ego, and larger than life characters

Classic Showmanship

This is a family run show, with three generations of the Duffy family still very much involved in the show. Hearing about the lives and achievements of some of the performers was a moving experience, and made the show even more enjoyable. Duffy's circus has a proud and successful history, that they are keen to share with others:

The performers of Duffy's 2019 show, assembled for the final bow.

We were amazed and astounded by the show finale, which involved two third-generation Duffy's in circular cages, spinning around on a pivoting steel arm. They performed leaps, somersaults and jumps, and displayed a mastery of timing and agility. It was a superb finale.

Two spinning Duffys!
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Why? Brilliant showmanship and Circus Wizzardry!
When: March- November, with matinee and evening shows.
Phone: 01 4407588 (ROI) 0844 4870208 (NI)
Where: Touring the whole of Ireland (Eire and Northern Ireland)
Cost: 15-20 Euros, depending on seats chosen
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