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Sunday 22 September 2019

Music to the fore at Phil Murphy Weekend festival

The Danescastle National School band performing at the opening of the Phil Murphy Weekend
The Danescastle National School band performing at the opening of the Phil Murphy Weekend

Brendan Keane

The organisers of the Phil Murphy Weekend in Carrig-on-Bannow have expressed delight with the success of this year's event.

Always one of the most eagerly anticipated festivals on the local social calendar this year's programme featured a stellar line-up of music outfits including two of Ireland's foremost internationally acclaimed acts, Lunasa and Luka Bloom.

The four-day long schedule of events began on Thursday, July 26, with the official launch of the latest Bannow Parish Journal by author, photographer and historian, Liam Ryan.

That event, which was held in the community hall, also coincided with the launch of an art exhibition featuring works from members of the local art group.

As usual the journal is packed with stories, photos and anecdotes relating to the parish and its people.

Tom O'Donohoe performed the official opening of the Phil Murphy Weekend itself and the opening night's concert included a performance by the Tin Sandwich Band.

There were some stellar performances throughout the weekend with the Danescastle Music Group and Luka Bloom getting standing ovations for their respective concerts.

The final song in Luka Bloom's set, 'You Couldn't Have Come at a Better Time' was one of the stand-out moments of the entire festival and it was made all the more impressive through the improvisation of the David Munnelly Trio who were invited onstage to perform it with him.

The fact they had only met a couple of hours earlier made the quality of their performance all the more remarkable.

Workshops played a big role in events over the weekend with Dan Brouder and Angelina Carberry giving exemplary tutorials in addition to their concert performances.

There was a gathering of pipers event on Saturday afternoon that drew a lot of praise from those in attendance due to the quality of the musicianship.

The O'Riada Mass was another highlight of the weekend with the Carrig Choir being particularly impressive during the ceremony.

On Saturday night Danescastle Siamsa Group warmed the crowd up nicely before Fergal and Diarmaid Murphy paved the way for Lunasa to bring the house down with an up-beat eclectic performance featuring tracks from their newest album along with firm favourites from past recordings.

The festival marquee provided the venue for a family-day schedule of events throughout Sunday afternoon before the music kicked off again in earnest in the evening.

Green Road is a relatively new local group and their set of trad favourites mixed with well known ballads and bluegrass drew an emotive and very favourable response from the audience.

A ceili took place in the community hall on Sunday afternoon while 2 Time Polka made a welcome return to the village with a performance in the festival marquee.

There was a range of children's activities ongoing throughout the afternoon which proved very popular with youngsters in attendance.

The final concert was one of the most captivating of the entire weekend with Anna Falkenau, Ged Foley and Steve Sweeney getting people into the mood before the David Munnelly Trio really took things up a notch. They got everyone warmed up nicely for Luka Bloom who brought things to a close with a brilliant set full of original numbers.

It was the perfect finale to a four-day long festival that had everything a music fan could ask for.

Wexford People

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