Saturday 7 December 2019

Plan to make new festival annual event

Wexford trad and folk weekend

Stephen Kavanagh, Anne Doyle and Greg Kavanagh in the Sky and the Ground.
Stephen Kavanagh, Anne Doyle and Greg Kavanagh in the Sky and the Ground.

Pádraig Byrne

The unmistakable sound of ceol and craic could be heard emanating from venues across Wexford as the inaugural Wexford Trad & Folk Weekend hit full swing. Organised by Craobh Loch Garman, the local branch of Comhaltas, the weekend featured some of the biggest names in traditional Irish music over three days, including Liam Ó'Maonlaí, Zoë Conway, Máirtín O'Connor and Ciaran Tourish.

Ó'Maonlaí got the festival underway in the illustrious surroundings of the National Opera House on Friday with some stirring sean nós songs, joined by Kevin Doherty on guitar, Ciaran Tourish on fiddle and keyboardist James Delaney.

With International Women's Day just around the corner, Louise Mulcahy's presentation on female uileann pipers at Wexford Library was both fascinating and timely and Rónán Ó'Snodaigh packed Macken's for an intimate performance that left people in no doubt that he is among the country's finest performers and storytellers.

The site of many a good session, Mary's Bar was not found wanting over the course of the festival and The Sky & The Ground also welcomed some of Wexford's finest performers for a session that included Mick D'Arcy, Bladderack, The Man Whom and Basciville with Ó'Snodaigh later dropping in to sit in as well.

Among the festival's highlights were the Flavour of Wexford concert in St Iberius which saw the Wexford Folk Orchestra put in a wonderful performance under the direction of Ann McClean, which included a rousing rendition of 'The Boys of Wexford'. Zoë Conway's performance in the Opera House alongside Máirtín O'Connor and Seamie O'Dowd also proved a hit with a variety of jigs, waltzes and reels filling the auditorium.

'The weekend was a huge success,' said Paddy Berry, President of Craobh Loch Garman. 'We are very appreciative of the support we received from Na Macallaí, Wexford County Council and Creative Ireland. We are also delighted with the general reaction to the weekend and the buzz generated around town. Our plan is to make it an annual fixture.'

Wexford People

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