2024 Traditional Irish Music and Dance Summer Schools and Festivals

Ireland is fast becoming the land of summer festivals or féile samhraidh. I have picked out as many festivals and summer schools that have any traditional music and dance connections from late May to the end of August 2024.

Yours truly at the Fleadh

(To see a wider range of non-Trad festivals across Ireland, you can have a look at the Irish Road Trip listing or The Life of Stuff listing.)

You can find your way around all 51 festivals and summer schools listed here by either using the interactive map below OR by date listing below.

***MAY-JUNE 2024***

25th May-3rd June 2024
Fleadh Nua 2024
Cois na hAbhna, Ennis, Co Clare
2024 Fleadh Nua in Ennis promises to be an exciting and innovative festival, full to the brim with Concerts, Ceilis, Sessions, CD Launches, Recitals, Sean-Nós Dancing and Street Entertainment.
https://www.fleadhnua.com/

29th May-2nd June 2024
Clancy Brothers Music and Arts Festival 2024
Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary
We’re looking forward returning for our 17th year with live music and events over the June Bank Holiday Weekend for all the family to enjoy, including: Live Music in the Strand and Brewery Lane Theatres, the Live Music Pub Trail, the Eoghan Power Memorial Ballad Singing Competition, Lunchtime Theatre in the Brewery Lane, Walks and Tours, and family fun.
https://clancybrothersfestival.com/

30th May –3rd June 2024
Limerick Fleadh 2024
Kilfinane, Co.Limerick
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
http://www.limerickcomhaltas.com

30th May-2nd June 2024
Monaghan County Fleadh 2024
Scotstown village, Co.Monaghan
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://comhaltas.ie/event/monaghan-county-fleadh-cheoil/

31st May–3rd June 2024
Sligo County Fleadh
Easkey, Co Sligo
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://sligocountyfleadh.ie/

31st May – 2nd June 2024
Laois County Fleadh 2024
Portlaoise, Co.Laois
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://spinkcomhaltas.ie/event-calendar/laois-fleadh-2024/

1st-2ndJune 2024
Cavan County Fleadh 2024
Killeshandra, Co.Cavan
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://thisiscavan.ie/event/cavan-county-fleadh-2024/

2nd-9th June 2024
Fermanagh County Fleadh 2024
Newtownbutler, Co.Fermanagh
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://comhaltas.ie/event/fermanagh-fleadh-2024/

8th- 16th June 2024
Kerry County Fleadh 2024
Ballybunion, Dromin, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
http://kerrycomhaltas.ie/

8th,15th-16th June 2024
Clare County Fleadh 2024
Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg & Cois na hAbhna, Ennis, Co. Clare
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing in Ennis, County Clare.
https://www.clarecomhaltas.com

14th -16thJune 2024
Doolin Folk Festival 2024
Hotel Doolin, Doolin,County Clare
A who’s who of Irish traditional music performers. Don’t miss it!
https://www.doolinarts.ie/event-details/doolin-folkfest-2024

14th-16th June 2024
Scoraíocht Lann Léire Festival 50th Anniversary Weekend 2024
Scoraíocht Lann Léire, Dunleer, Co Louth.
Scoraíocht Lann Léire aim to promote Irish music, history and culture in the Mid-Louth area.
https://www.facebook.com/p/Scora%C3%ADocht-Lann-L%C3%A9ire-100057428628959/

14th- 16th June 2024
Fastnet Maritime and Folk Festival 2024
Ballydehob, County Cork
The Fastnet Maritime and Folk Festival is an international festival based in the picturesque village of Ballydehob, West Cork, featuring Maritime and other Folk music, Song Writing Competition[Maritime] which is sponsored by IMRO. Sea songs, shanties,Song Writing Competition, workshops, Craft Stalls, a new Maritime play plus music in the pubs and a Fundraising Concert in Levis Corner House.
https://fastnetmaritime.com/

16th June 2024
Trim Haymaking Festival 2024
Trim, Co. Meath
A nostalgic look at days gone past with haymaking, traditional music and dance.
https://trimhaymakingfestival.com/

19th-24th June 2024
Down County Fleadh 2024
Warrenpoint, Co.Down
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://comhaltas.ie/event/down-county-fleadh-2024/

20th-23rd June 2024
Jim Dowling Uillean Pipe & Traditional Music Festival 2024
Glengarriff, Co.Cork
The sound of the uilleann pipes will be back and taking centre-stage in the picturesque village of Glengarriff in West Cork with a festival of great music to beat them all. We have a great line-up, a top Session Trail and a few surprises.
http://jimdowlingfestival.ie/

22nd June 2024
Buskfest 2024
Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland
BuskFest is an international busking festival that takes place in Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland
http://www.buskfest.com/

24th June -5th July 2024
BLÁS – BLAS international summer school of Irish traditional music and dance 2024
University of Limerick, Co.Limerick
Intensive “deep dive” workshops and master classes for experienced singers, dancers and musicians with a focus on collaborative integration of understanding between the disciplines. A residential program at the University of Limerick including international accreditation.
https://www.blas.ie

24th-28th June 2024
Craiceann Bodhran Summerschool 2024
Inis Oirr (Inisheer) Galway
A unique bodhran (drum) summer school on the island of Inis Oirr in the Galway Bay.
https://www.craiceann.com/about/about-craiceann/

28th-30th June 2024
Féile na mBláth 2024/ The Park Festival 2024
Town Park,Tralee, Co Kerry
This Summer series has all the ingredients for a magnificent Park Festival in Tralee celebrating the return of Summer live music, food and arts to Kerry. Featuring a host of activities including the traditional Féile na mBláth family festival of Flower Presentations, Demonstrations, Street Theatre and Arts, Craft and Food Stalls both outdoors and under our Festival Marquees.
https://www.festivaltralee.com/juneparkfestival

29th June – July 2nd 2024
Patrún Festival 2024          
Inis Mor, Co.Galway           
Pátrún is a three-day festival consisting of sports, currach and Galway Hooker boat racing, tug-of-war, art and sandcastle competitions, Triathlon, traditional Irish Music on the Pier with dancing. This is the big local festival of Inis Mór and has been celebrated for centuries.
https://inismor.ie/festivals-inis-mor-island

30th June-5th July 2024
International Harp Festival for Irish Harp 2024
Termonfechin, County Louth
Established in 1985, An Chúirt Chruitireachta ranks among the top international harp festivals for Irish harp.
We warmly welcome harpers of every standard from all over the world to our 2024 festival. We are passionate about the music of the harp tradition and its place within Irish traditional music. We guarantee top quality workshops, sessions and concerts and an opportunity to engage online with other harpers, gain a better understanding of Irish music, song and dance as well as learning more about the harp and its’ music.
https://www.cairdenacruite.com/festival

***JULY 2024***

1st-7th July 2024
Connacht Fleadh Cheoil 2024
Strokestown, Co. Roscommon
Provincial-level competitions for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://www.connachtfleadh.ie/

6th-14th July 2024
Willie Clancy Summer School 2024
Miltown Malbay, County Clare
Affectionately known as Willie Week, this festival is held in traditional music heartland that calls music and dance lovers back year after year. There’s a great atmosphere in the town and surrounds, with plenty of sessions, céilis and busking to complement the official program of classes and recitals. An additional program of dancing is also held at the Armada Hotel- see additional website link- Armada Festival of Music & Dancing.
https://www.scoilsamhraidhwillieclancy.com/
https://www.armadahotel.com/music-and-events.html

8th -12th July 2024
Ceol na Coille Summer School & Trad Fest 2024
Letterkenny, Co.Donegal
The Summer School comprises a 5-day programme of workshops, recitals, sessions and concerts.
https://ceolnacoille.ie/summerschool/

10th July 2024
Ballina Salmon Festival Heritage Day 2024
Market Square, Ballina, Co Mayo
The streets will resonate with the sights and sounds of years gone by. Displays, Demonstrations, Music, Sights, Smells, Sounds, Food & Drink.
https://www.heritagedayballina.ie/

12th-14th July 2024
Leinster Fleadh 2024
Wicklow Town, Co.Wicklow
Leinster Province Fleadh, which is primarily provincial competitions for traditional musicians and dancers and other artists, organised by the local Comhaltas Cheoltóirí Éireann (CCE).
https://www.leinster-fleadh.ie/

13th-28th July 2024
Earagail Arts Festival 2024
County Donegal
Earagail Arts Festival is a bilingual arts festival that takes place in County Donegal. It comprises 16 days of music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, circus, and carnival along the Wild Atlantic Way.
https://eaf.ie/

14th-20th July 2024
South Sligo Summer School 2024
Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo
The South Sligo Summer School was founded in 1987 in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo to conserve and promote the rich tradition of music, song and dance of the area. With a full programme of classes, workshops, céilithe, concerts, recitals and talks, there is special emphasis on the old Sligo traditional style of playing whilst also including a range of instruments from uilleann pipes to bodhrán as well as embracing new ideas and giving a platform to young emerging local musicians, many of whom are former pupils of the summer school, to share their talents with our visitors of all ages from near and far.
https://www.southsligosummerschool.com/

15th-19th July 2024
Westport Scoil Cheoil 2024
Westport, Co.Mayo
Full summer school with tuition, concerts and recitals. The mission statement of Westport Scoil Cheoil is to facilitate and sustain the development of Irish music and to inspire people to become Irish musicians.
https://westportscoilcheoil.com/

15th-21st July 2024
Munster Fleadh/ Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan 2024
Thurles, County Tipperary
Provincial-level competitions for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://www.munstercomhaltas.ie/

20th-27thJuly 2024
Joe Mooney Summer School 2024
Drumshanbo Co. Leitrim
Every July, Drumshanbo plays host to the award winning Joe Mooney Summer School, a week long festival of traditional Irish music, song and dance named after the man who did so much to promote the cause of Leitrim and his beloved town. The committee continues to emulate his high ideals, endeavouring to promote Leitrim’s heritage of traditional music while handing on the best traditions of the past to future generations.
https://www.joemooneysummerschool.com/

21st-28thJuly 2024
Belfast Tradfest 2024
Belfast. Co.Antrim
Belfast TradFest, the pinnacle of world-class traditional music concerts, fiery pub sessions & Ireland’s fastest growing summer school of traditional music, is set to celebrate its 6th edition across Belfast UNESCO City of Music.
https://www.belfasttraditionalmusic.com/

21st-28th July 2024
Ulster Fleadh 2024
romore, County Tyrone
Provincial-level competitions for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://www.facebook.com/FleadhUlster/

22nd-26thJuly 2024
Meitheal Residential Summer School 2024
St. Flannan’s College, Ennis
Residential summer school for young traditional musicians.
https://tradweek.com/

23rd-27th July 2024
Meitheal Residential Summer School 2024
Villiers School, Limerick
Residential summer school for young traditional musicians.
https://tradweek.com/

24th-28th July 2024
Fiddlers Green Festival 2024
Rostrevor, Co Down
Fiddlers Green International Festival has become one of Ireland’s longest running and most successful festivals. The festival includes a number of highlights each year including: The Festival Folk Club, nightly in St. Bronagh’s Social Club, hosts a line-up of internationally acclaimed artists. The Acoustic Stage in An Cuan every afternoon features a mixture of local up and coming performers and major established artists.
https://www.fiddlersgreenfestival.co.uk

28th July – 3rd August 2024
Scoil Acla Summer School 2024
Achill Island, Co.Mayo
Traditional music courses, art workshops, sean nós singing, writers workshop, dance workshop, sean nós dancing, basket weaving workshops in a most unique location.
https://www.scoilacla.ie

***AUGUST 2024***

29th July – 5th August 2024
O’Carolan Harp Festival 2024
Keadue, Co Roscommon
The Festival was started in Keadue in 1978, to commemorate the famous Harper Turlough O’Carolan who lived in the area and is buried beside Keadue. Keadue is a small village of 200 people located on the shores of Lough Meelagh at the foot of the Arigna Mountains. The Festival includes Concerts, Céilí, Tuition on the Harp, Set Dancing, Harp Recitals and a Harp Competition.
https://www.ocarolanharpfestival.ie/

31st July- 5th August 2024
Kilrush Traditional Music and Set Dancing Festival 2024
Kilrush, Co.Clare
Set your self up for five days of music, dancing, and fun at the Kilrush Traditional Music & Set Dancing Festival from 31st July to 5th August 2024. This year’s festival will feature all sorts of activities, from interactive music and dance workshops to open air céilís and more.
https://visitclare.ie/events/kilrush-traditional-music-set-dancing-festival-2024/

1st- 4th August 2024
Ballyshannon Folk Festival 2024
Ballyshannon, Co Donegal
Welcome to Ballyshannon Folk and Traditional Music Festival, the oldest festival of its genre in the world coming to you from Ireland’s oldest town. We are situated on the Wild Atlantic Way in the beautiful county of Donegal – the coolest place on the planet!
https://www.ballyshannonfolkfestival.com

2nd – 5th August 2024
Cahersiveen Music and Arts Festival 2024
Cahersiveen, County Kerry
The Festival is a Family friendly annual community festival of music and arts every August bank holiday weekend with entertainment for adults and children alike.
https://www.facebook.com/CahersiveenFestival/

2nd- 5th August 2024
James Morrison Traditional Music Festival
The Diamond, Riverstown, Co Sligo
Come and celebrate the musical legacy of James Morrison at the much-anticipated James Morrison Festival, with plenty of activities like pub sessions, music and art workshops, a symposium, outdoor céilís, and a remarkable concert, there’s something for everyone. Plus, the festival emphasizes a traditional ambience that will transport you back in time.
https://www.inishview.com/events/james-morrison-festival/

4th–11thAugust 2024
Fleadh Cheoil na h’Eireann 2024
Wexford, Co. Wexford
The best kind of celebration and competition, with provincial finalist musicians, dancers and artists competing to win their All-Ireland categories. Comhaltas Ceolteoiri Eireann (CCE) showcase fabulous music, dance and a wide range of concerts and other events celebrating Irish culture. Don’t miss it!
https://fleadhcheoil.ie/

7th-12th August 2024
Feakle Festival 2024
Feakle, County Clare
We look forward to welcoming everyone to the village of Feakle in August 2024 for another memorable week of music song and dance.
https://feaklefestival.ie

8th -18th August 2024
Kilkenny Arts Festivals 2024
Kilkenny, County Kilkenny
Since its foundation in 1974, Kilkenny Arts Festival has gathered many of the world’s finest musicians, performers, writers and artists in Ireland’s medieval city. For ten days each August, the city’s historic churches, castle, courtyards, townhouses and gardens offer a magical setting for unique collaborations and intimate encounters between audiences and artists.
https://www.kilkennyarts.ie/

9th-11th August 2024
Howth Roots and Blues 2024
Howth, Co.Dublin
The Howth Roots and Blues Festival is a free music festival in Howth showcasing the best in Irish roots and blues artists and is organised by Paul Byrne of In Tua Nua for Howth Tourism. While many of the artists are blues based the festival caters for fans of Country, Rhythm and Blues, Bluegrass, Americanna and reggae. Basically anything rootsy!
https://www.howthrootsandblues.com/

16th-18th August 2024
Dan Furey Set Dancing Weekend 2024
Labasheeda, Co Clare
Dan Furey was a music and dance teacher who had the good fortune to live in a beautiful corner of Co Clare on the Shannon River.
https://www.facebook.com/p/Dan-Furey-Set-Dancing-Weekend-Labasheeda-100076345141750/

21st-25th August 2024
Masters of Tradition 2024
Bantry, Co. Cork
Celebrating traditional music in its’ purest form through a series of concerts and performances, directed by Martin Hayes.
https://www.westcorkmusic.ie/masters-of-tradition/

30th August-1st September 2024
Desmond O’Halloran Music Weekend 2024
Inishbofin, Co.Mayo
Celebrating the Inishbofin maestro with concerts, workshops, arts events and free traditional and folk music trails across island venues and landscapes. Promising an unmissable late summer reverie on the beguiling Connemara island, with contemporary music legends, Galway favourites and exciting new stars.
https://www.inishbofin.com/events/desmond-ohalloran-music-weekend-2/

I’d love to hear your experiences at any events in Ireland this year, and hope you have a little craic!

Nora Stewart
Irish Bliss
SUBSCRIBE to Irish Bliss here

2023 Traditional Irish Music and Dance Summer Schools and Festivals

Yes! It’s that time again when you start thinking about what you might like to do for your holiday vacation, with hopefully lovely memories of years past where you have partaken of a festival or two. And what a pleasure it is to be able to do that in a relaxed way after years of COVID restrictions.

I have expanded the listing to include as many local fleadh competitions as possible, and also a number of other festivals that have a mix of Irish traditional music options with other related styles of music.

You can find your way around all 83 festivals and summer schools listed here by either using the interactive map below OR by date listing below.

LISTINGS BY DATE & MONTH
(If you don’t see your festival here, please let me know)

EVENTS April 2023
EVENTS May 2023
EVENTS June 2023
EVENTS July 2023
EVENTS August 2023
EVENTS September 2023
EVENTS October 2023
EVENTS November 2023

APRIL 2023

7th-9th April 2023
Co.Roscommon Fleadh 2023
Strokestown, Co.Roscommon
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.

11th-16th April 2023
Co.Longford Fleadh 2023
Edgeworthstown,co.Longford
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://www.facebook.com/fleadhcheoillongfoirt/

16th-23rd April 2023
Co.Kildare Fleadh 2023
Kilcock, Co.Kildare
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://www.kildare.ie/heritage/events/details.asp?EventID=3103

15th-23rd April 2023
County Antrim Fleadh 2023
Cushendall, Co.Antrim
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://ulstercomhaltas.com/events/antrim-fleadh-2023

28th April-1st May 2023
Cup of Tae 2023
Ardara, County Donegal
The festival honours legendary fiddle player John ‘The Tae’ Gallagher who was born in West End, Ardara in 1923, with live traditional music, masterclasses and performances right across the lively pubs, bars and cultural locations in the town.
https://cupoftaefestival.com/

28th-30th April 2023
Co.Offaly Fleadh 2023
Rahan, Co.Offaly County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://www.offalyfleadh.com/

28th April-1st May 2023
Féile Chois Cuain 2023
Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh, Co Mayo
Louisburgh is a small town on the western seaboard in an area of great natural beauty, rich in heritage and tradition. Féile Chois Cuain is an annual celebration of this cultural heritage and it has a well-deserved reputation as one of Ireland’s premier traditional arts festivals. It is a magical weekend of music, song and dance, where an extraordinary atmosphere prevails as old friends get together and new friendships are forged. Come to Louisburgh this May Bank Holiday Weekend and experience it for yourself!
https://feilechoiscuain.com/

29th April – 30th April 2023
Co.Leitrim Fleadh 2023
Glencar/ Manorhamilton, Co.Leitrim
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://www.facebook.com/leitrimcomhaltas/

29th April-1st May 2023
Fleadh Cheoil Chorcai 2023
Bandon, County Cork
The Cork Fleadh Cheoil is a weekend festival comprised of céilí dancing, music sessions, street entertainment and competitions in music, singing, dancing and storytelling. Under 12 and 12/15 competitions will take place on Saturday, April 29th while 15/18 and Senior competitions will take place on Sunday, April 30th. The County Dancing Finals will be held on Bank Holiday Monday, May 1st. Two qualifiers from each competition over the Fleadh weekend will go forward to represent Cork in the Munster Fleadh Cheoil in Tralee, Co. Kerry in July.
https://www.corkfleadh.ie/

29th April -1st May 2023
Half-Door Club Castletown TradFest 2023
Castletown Co.Laois
After a long break for Covid, The Half-Door Club international Music and Dance Festival has returned this year for a four day event of set dancing and traditional music in Castletown, Co. Laois.
https://www.halfdoorclub.org/

MAY 2023

4-7th May 2023
Baltimore Fiddle Fair 2023
Baltimore, Co.Cork
Irish traditional music mixed with old-timey US music.We believe that a festival is like a river, in that it must keep moving in order not to stagnate. Our festival has certainly evolved over the years. Originally 9 concerts of traditional Irish music over 9 nights on a tiny stage on McCarthy’s Bar, it now takes place over 4 days all around the beautiful village of Baltimore. And while traditional Irish music is still at the heart of what we’re all about, the festival now features music from all over the world. As well as great concerts, our festival now features a packed programme of additional events such as workshops, sessions, musical boat trips, historical walking tours, film screenings, exhibitions and even some Fiddle Fair yoga.
https://fiddlefair.com/

5th-7th May 2023
Sweets of May 2023
Abbey Hotel, Ballyvourney, Co Cork
Like many other festivals in hibernation,the Sweets of May weekend of set dancing returns this year and has relocated from Kerry to Cork for their return.
https://www.facebook.com/kerrydancers/

10th-14th May 2023
Mayo Fleadh Cheoil 2023
Westport, Co.Mayo
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Mhaigh Eo will be hosting the 2023 Mayo Fleadh Cheoil
https://mayocomhaltas.weebly.com/?fbclid=IwAR3mct0KpQoWmInOwsOg8JDepComKHGkUgjd8grmflHNWjOFoJY1TrUH7_A

9th-15th May 2023
Co.Donegal Fleadh
Letterkenny, Co.Donegal
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://ulstercomhaltas.com/events/donegal-fleadh-2023

13th May 2023
Co.Tipperary Fleadh 2023
Ballycommon, Co.Tipperary
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
www.facebook.com/TippCountyFleadh

12th-14th May 2023
Co.Westmeath Fleadh 2023
Castletown-Geoghegan, Co.Westmeath
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://topic.ie/westmeath-fleadh-to-take-place-in-castletown-geoghegan/

13th-28th May 2023
Co.Armagh Fleadh 2023
Lurgan. Co.Armagh
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://ulstercomhaltas.com/events/armagh-fleadh-2023

13th-15th May 2023
Co.Dublin Fleadh 2023
Balbriggan, North Co.Dublin
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://dublinfleadh.com/

14th May 2023
Co.Louth Fleadh 2023
St. Olivers Community College, Rathmullen, Drogheda
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
http://www.comhaltascraobhdhundealgan.ie/fleadhanna

19th-21st May 2023
Feile Binn Eadair 2023
Howth, Dublin
A mostly free Irish and traditional Music Festival in the fishing village of Howth. For one weekend in May, Howth will be filled with Irish music of the past and present. Wander from gig to gig like you’re at Electric Picnic but without any entry fee thanks to our sponsors Rockshore Lager and Fingal County Council. There will be almost 30 FREE GIGS and sessions in total.
https://www.feilebinneadair.com/

19th-21st May 2023
Co.Galway Fleadh 2023
Dunmore, Co.Galway
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
http://www.galwaycomhaltas.ie/galway-fleadh-2023

20th May 2023
Co.Waterford Fleadh 2023
Coolnasmear,Co.Waterford
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://www.munstercomhaltas.ie/event-details/fleadh-cheoil-phort-lairge

20th-21st May 2023
Feile Nasc 2023
Marley Park, Dublin, Leinster
Féile Nasc began as a one-day traditional music and folk event in Marlay Park in 2019. In 2023, the festival will expand to two days. Two incredible days of Music and more in Marlay Park.
https://nasc.ie/

25th-28th May 2023
Co.Tyrone Fleadh 2023
Coalisland, Co. Tyrone
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://ulstercomhaltas.com/events/tyrone-fleadh-2023

27th May 2023
Co.Wicklow Fleadh 2023
Avoca Village, Co.Wicklow
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://www.facebook.com/WicklowFleadh/

27th-28th May 2023
Galway Early Music Festival 2023
Galway, County Galway
Performing and promoting ‘early music’ in Ireland. Galway Early Music is a not-for-profit voluntarily run arts organisation. The aim of GEM is to promote both Irish and European music and dance of the 12th-17th centuries. The objectives are threefold: To bring alive the music and dance of the 12th – 17th centuries in the context of Galway’s medieval heritage through concerts given by international and national performers To increase awareness and interest in this music and dance among youth and the general public through education and participation. To attract an already existing early music audience from outside of Ireland to Galway for The Galway Early Music Festival.
https://galwayearlymusic.com/

27th May-5th June 2023
Fleadh Nua 2023
Ennis, Co Clare, Ireland
2023 Fleadh Nua in Ennis promises to be an exciting and innovative festival, full to the brim with Concerts, Céilís, Sessions, CD Launches, Recitals, Sean-Nós Dancing and Street Entertainment. Since 1974 Fleadh Nua has developed from a 3-day event to a festival spanning 10 days, with more than 120 separate events, where there is a welcome for everyone. There are many Irish traditional festivals organised throughout the summer months but there are few people who will dispute that Fleadh Nua which started in Dublin in 1970, is the forerunner of them all. The concept of bringing together concerts, céilithe, music, song and dancing workshops, street entertainment, and much more was innovative in its time. However, it’s still a winning formula today as evidenced by the thousands of visitors who flock to the festival every May for a week of unsurpassed traditional entertainment.
www.fleadhnua.com

31st May- 5th June 2023
Clancy Brothers Music and Arts Festival 2023
Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary
We’re looking forward returning for our 16th year with live music and events over the June Bank Holiday Weekend for all the family to enjoy, including:Live Music in the Strand and Brewery Lane Theatres, the Live Music Pub Trail, the Under 18s Busking Competition, the Eoghan Power Memorial Ballad Singing Competition, Lunchtime Theatre in the Brewery Lane, Walks and Tours, and family fun.
https://clancybrothersfestival.com/

JUNE 2023

1st-4th June 2023
Monaghan County Fleadh 2023
Scotstown village
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://ulstercomhaltas.com/events/monaghan-fleadh-2023

2nd-4th June 2023
Co.Cavan Fleadh 2023
Belturbet, Co.Cavan
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://ulstercomhaltas.com/events/cavan-fleadh-2023

2nd-4th June 2023
Co.Sligo Fleadh 2023
Easkey,Co.Sligo
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064030297856

2nd- 5th June 2023
Limerick Fleadh 2023
Kilfinane, Co.Limerick
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
www.limerickcomhaltas.com

2nd-5th June 2023
Co.Laois Fleadh 2023
Abbeyleix, Co.Laois
https://spinkcomhaltas.ie/event-calendar/laois-fleadh-2023-hosted-by-spink-comhaltas/

5th-11th June 2023
Co.Derry Fleadh 2023
Dungiven.Co.Derry
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://ulstercomhaltas.com/events/derry-fleadh-2023

9th-11th June 2023
Co.Fermanagh Fleadh 2023
Roslea, Fermanagh
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://ulstercomhaltas.com/events/fermanagh-fleadh-2023

9th-11th June 2023
Doolin Folk Festival 2023
Doolin, County Clare
A who’s who of Irish traditional music performers. Don’t miss it!
https://www.doolinarts.ie/doolinfolkfest

10th-18th June 2023
Co.Kerry Fleadh 2023
Ballybunion, Dromin, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
http://kerrycomhaltas.ie/

10th-18th June 2023
Co. Clare Fleadh 2023
Cois na hAbhna, Ennis, Co. Clare
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing in Ennis, County Clare.
www.clarecomhaltas.com

15th-18th June 2023
Jim Dowling Uillean Pipe & Traditional Music Festival 2023
Glengarriff, Co.Cork
The sound of the uilleann pipes will be back and taking centre-stage in the picturesque village of Glengarriff in West Cork with a festival of great music to beat them all. We have a great line-up, a top Session Trail and a few surprises. We hope you enjoy!
http://jimdowlingfestival.ie/

16th June-20th June 2023
Fastnet Maritime and Folk Festival 2023
Ballydehob, County Cork
The Fastnet Maritime and Folk Festival is an international festival based in the picturesque village of Ballydehob, West Cork, featuring Maritime and other Folk music.Song Writing Competition[ Maritime] which is sponsored by IMRO.Sea songs, shanties,Song Writing Competition, workshops, Craft Stalls, a new Maritime play plus music in the pubs and a Fundraising Concert in Levis Corner House.
https://fastnetmaritime.com/

18th- 25th June 2023
Co.Down Fleadh 2023
Warrenpoint, Co.Down
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://ulstercomhaltas.com/events/down-fleah-2023

19th-30th June 2023
BLÁSBLAS international summer school of Irish traditional music and dance 2023
Limerick, Co.Limerick
Intensive “deep dive” workshops and master classes for experienced singers, dancers and musicians with a focus on collaborative integration of understanding between the disciplines.
A residential program at the University of Limerick including international accreditation.
www.blas.ie

23rd June- 2nd July 2023
Connacht Fleadh Cheoil 2023
Ballina. Co.Mayo
Provincial-level competitions for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://www.facebook.com/ConnachtFleadh/

24th June 2023
Buskfest 2023
Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland
BuskFest is an international busking festival that takes place in Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland
http://www.buskfest.com/

25th-30th June 2023
International Harp Festival for Irish Harp 2023
Termonfechin, County Louth
Seize this opportunity to become immersed in all aspects of traditional music for Irish harp. Develop skills and repertoire from ancient harpers’ tunes to songs and slow airs to jigs and reels.
https://www.cairdenacruite.com/festival

26th-30th June 2023
Craicean Summer School 2023
Inis Oirr (Inisheer) Galway
A unique bodhran (drum) summer school on the island of Inis Oirr in the Galway Bay.
https://www.craiceann.com/

JULY 2023

1st-8th July 2023
Willie Clancy Summer School 2023
Miltown Malbay, County Clare
Affectionately known as Willie Week, this festival is held in traditional music heartland that calls music and dance lovers back year after year. There’s a great atmosphere in the town and surrounds, with plenty of sessions, céilis and busking to complement the official program of classes and recitals. An additional program of dancing is also held at the Armada Hotel- see additional website link- Armada Festival of Music & Dancing.
https://www.scoilsamhraidhwillieclancy.com/
https://www.armadahotel.com/music-and-events.html

2nd-9th July 2023
Leinster Fleadh 2023
TU Dublin, Grangegorman, Co.Dublin
Leinster Province Fleadh, which is primarily provincial competitions for traditional musicians and dancers and other artists, organised by the local Comhaltas Cheoltóirí Éireann (CCE).
https://www.leinster-fleadh.ie/leinster-fleadh-2023/

4th-6th July 2023
Slí Dhála Summer School
Blanchardstown Dublin 15, Co.Dublin
The Summer School has been organised to give musicians in Dublin 15 and beyond the opportunity to come together to meet one another, learn music together and enjoy the atmosphere of a session or two. All ages will find something of interest at our workshops and trad music, singing, and dancing sessions. There is something for all of the family.
The music workshops cater for younger musicians with our Under 12 tunes workshop.
The Teen Trad Group Workshop returns for it’s 4th edition and this is always very popular. There will be dancing and singing workshops which shouldn’t be missed.
http://www.craobhslidhala.ie/workshops/schedule-of-events

8th-23rd July 2023
Earagail Arts Festival 2023
County Donegal
Earagail Arts Festival is a bilingual arts festival that takes place in County Donegal. It comprises 16 days of music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, circus, and carnival along the Wild Atlantic Way.
https://eaf.ie/

9th-15th July 2023
South Sligo Summer School 2023
Tubbercurry, County Sligo
The South Sligo Summer School was founded in 1987 in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo to conserve and promote the rich tradition of music, song and dance of the area. With a full programme of classes, workshops, céilithe, concerts, recitals and talks, there is special emphasis on the old Sligo traditional style of playing.
https://www.southsligosummerschool.com/

10th-16th July 2023
Munster Fleadh/ Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan 2023
Tralee, County Kerry
Welcome to Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan 2023 which will be hosted by Kerry County Board of Comhaltas in Tralee, Co. Kerry.Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan is the largest provincial Fleadh in Ireland as thousands of musicians, singers, dancers, storytellers and visitors from the six counties of Munster and beyond gather for an annual celebration of our Irish cultural traditions. The town of Tralee is steeped in tradition and previously has hosted Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan in 1978.We invite you to join us in Tralee from July 10th -16th 2023 for an action-packed programme of events including a wide selection of outdoor entertainment, concerts, lectures, céilithe, sessions, and most importantly the Munster Fleadh competitions where competitors from the six counties of Munster will compete for a place in the All-Ireland Fleadh in Mullingar.
https://www.munstercomhaltas.ie/event-details/fleadh-cheoil-na-mumhan-2023

10th-14th July 2023
Ceol na Coille Summer School of Irish Traditional Music 2023
Letterkenny, Co.Donegal
Learn Irish Traditional Music, Song in a county known for its culture, its beauty and friendliness. We welcome enthusiasts – adults and children from beginners to advanced levels on a full range of instruments, and boast a list of first-class tutors. A busy programme of classes, workshops, recitals, nightly sessions and concerts. Immerse yourself in Irish Traditional Music song and Gaeilge in a fun, relaxed and welcoming environment amid some of the most beautiful scenery in Ireland – a great week of music and fun for all. Instruments include – Uilleann Pipes, Fiddle, Whistle, Flute, Concertina, Guitar and Piano Accompaniment, Button & Piano Accordion, Banjo, Bodhrán, Traditional Singing – for all ages.
https://ceolnacoille.ie/summerschool/

10th-14th July 2023
Westport Schoil Cheoil 2023
Westport, Co.Mayo
Full summer school with tuition, concerts and recitals.
https://westportscoilcheoil.com/

15th-23rd July 2023
Joe Mooney Summer School 2023
Drumshanbo Co. Leitrim
Drumshanbo is delightful – a similar format to South Sligo Summer School, the difference here is the focus is very much around the unusual main street, which has a pedestrian mezzanine above the lane of traffic, where you can sit out in the sun, dance, listen to music & enjoy the people going by and enjoy a number of excellent evening céilís.
https://www.joemooneysummerschool.com/

16th-23rd July 2023
Ulster Fleadh 2023
Dromore, County Tyrone
Provincial-level competitions for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing.
https://ulstercomhaltas.com/events/ulster-fleadh-2023

17th-21st July 2023
Meitheal Residential Summer School 2023
Villiers School, Limerick City, Ireland
Residential summer school for young traditional musicians.
https://tradweek.com/

22nd-29th July 2023
Scoil Acla Summer School 2023

Achill Island, Co.Mayo
Traditional music courses, art workshops, sean nós singing, writers workshop, dance workshop, sean nós dancing, basket weaving workshops in a most unique location.
www.scoilacla.ie

23rd-29th July 2023
Belfast Tradfest 2023
Belfast. Co.Antrim
Belfast TradFest Summer Fest returns jam-packed full of traditional music, song and dance, with some of the best traditional musicians, singers & dancers from across these islands. Featuring a week long programme of workshops and a full programme of concerts, talks, lectures, sessions, céilís & festival clubs, this week is the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland and brings together both the Irish and the Ulster-Scots musical traditions, in a shared celebration of culture & heritage.
https://www.belfasttraditionalmusic.com/

26th- 30th July 2023
Fiddlers Green Festival 2023
Rostrevor, Co Down
A wonderful festival of music, arts and culture held in July each year in Rostrevor Co. Down.
www.fiddlersgreenfestival.co.uk

AUGUST 2023

31st-July- 7th August 2023
O’Carolan Harp Festival 2023
Keadue, Co Roscommon
The Festival was started in Keadue in 1978, to commemorate the famous Harper Turlough O’Carolan who lived in the area and is buried beside Keadue. Keadue is a small village of 200 people located on the shores of Lough Meelagh at the foot of the Arigna Mountains. The Festival includes Concerts, Céilí, Tuition on the Harp, Set Dancing, Harp Recitals and a Harp Competition.
https://www.ocarolanharpfestival.ie/

2nd-7th August 2023
Kilrush Traditional Festival 2023
Kilrush, Co.Clare
Kilrush Traditional Music and Set Dancing Festival, 2023, is a seven-day festival that takes place in Kilrush, Co. Clare. It has four free open-air céilís in the square, displays, concerts and workshops.
https://visitclare.ie/events/kilrush-traditional-music-set-dancing-festival-2023/

3rd-6th August 2023
Scariff Harbour Festival 2023
Market Square, Scariff, Co Clare
A fabulous, packed three day festival of all things local, Irish and interesting! Don’t miss a fascinating interview with Martin Hayes.
https://www.scariffharbourfestival.ie/

5th-7th August 2023
Ballyshannon Folk Festival 2023
Ballyshannon, Co Donegal
Welcome to Ballyshannon Folk and Traditional Music Festival, the oldest festival of its genre in the world coming to you from Ireland’s oldest town. We are situated on the Wild Atlantic Way in the beautiful county of Donegal – the coolest place on the planet!Every year over the August Bank Holiday we celebrate the very best of traditional and folk music, where our artists and audiences blend along the banks of the Erne creating memories that last a lifetime.
www.ballyshannonfolkfestival.com

5th-7th August 2023
Cahersiveen Festival of Music & the Arts 2023
Cahersiveen, County Kerry
The Cahersiveen Festival will be in its 26th year in 2023 and each year we strive to bring you bigger acts and greater street entertainment. The Festival is a Family friendly festival with entertainment for adults and children alike.
https://www.celticmusicfestival.com/

6th-14th August 2023
Fleadh Cheoil na h’Eireann 2023
Mullingar, Westmeath.
The best kind of celebration and competition, with provincial finalist musicians, dancers and artists competing to win their All-Ireland categories. Comhaltas Ceolteoiri Eireann (CCE) showcase fabulous music, dance and a wide range of concerts and other events celebrating Irish culture. Don’t miss it!
https://fleadhcheoil.ie/

9th-14th August 2023
Feakle Festival 2023
Feakle, County Clare
For a few days each August, Feakle village becomes a very special place where the best in traditional music can be heard, songs sung, dances danced and friends meet up again for another Feakle Festival.
https://feaklefestival.ie

10th-20th August 2023
Kilkenny Arts Festivals 2023
Kilkenny, County Kilkenny
Since its foundation in 1974, Kilkenny Arts Festival has gathered many of the world’s finest musicians, performers, writers and artists in Ireland’s medieval city. For ten days each August, the city’s historic churches, castle, courtyards, townhouses and gardens offer a magical setting for unique collaborations and intimate encounters between audiences and artists.
https://www.kilkennyarts.ie/

11th -13th August 2023
Howth Roots and Blues 2023
Howth, Dublin
The Howth Roots and Blues Festival is a free music festival in Howth showcasing the best in Irish roots and blues artists and is organised by Paul Byrne of In Tua Nua for Howth Tourism. While many of the artists are blues based the festival caters for fans of Country, Rhythm and Blues, Bluegrass, Americanna and reggae. Basically anything rootsy!
https://www.howthrootsandblues.com/

12th-13th August 2023
Loinneog Lúnasa 2023
Teac Jack, Derrybeg, Co Donegal
On the second weekend of August every year a musical festival hosting concerts, cabaret craiceáilte and workshops in Sean nós dancing, sean nós singing and musical instruments held in the parish of Gaoth Dobhair.
http://www.teacjack.com/?fbclid=IwAR2RlxbuyKSQEiNpqaIy7ek7ngCiemLheCKIwDHRbub8jSHY4sB-Vad2Uzc

19th- 21st August 2023
Dan Furey Set Dancing Weekend 2023
Labasheeda, Co Clare
Dan Furey was a music and dance teacher who had the good fortune to live in a beautiful corner of Co Clare on the Shannon River.
https://www.kilfenoracéilíband.com/gigs/2023/8/20/dan-furey-set-dancing-week-end

23rd-27th August 2023
Masters of Tradition 2023
Bantry, County Cork
Celebrating traditional music in its’ purest form through a series of concerts and performances, directed by Martin Hayes.
https://www.westcorkmusic.ie/masters-of-tradition/

25th-27th August 2023
Desmond O’Halloran Music Weekend 2023
Inishbofin, Co.Mayo
Celebrating the Inishbofin maestro with concerts, workshops, arts events and free traditional and folk music trails across island venues and landscapes. Promising an unmissable late summer reverie on the beguiling Connemara island, with contemporary music legends, Galway favourites and exciting new stars.www.inishbofin.com
https://www.facebook.com/people/The-Desmond-O-Halloran-Music-Weekend/100084137379416/?paipv=0&eav=AfZ5ctBitHmO794hm27ZxxGADlMONdIUDVzKj5Mm-nVPDt6adH4-ug60r3qN38w8JOQ&_rdr

SEPTEMBER 2023

1st-3rd September 2023 TBC*
Harvest Time Blues 2023
Monaghan, County Monaghan
https://www.harvestblues.ie/

1st- 3rd September 2023
Glenties Weekend of Dancing 2023
Highlands Hotel Glenties, Co Donegal
15th Annual Weekend Of Irish Set Dancing with set dancing workshops on Saturday and plenty of céilís.
https://www.facebook.com/events/glenties-co-donegal/glenties-set-dancing-weekend/396348040883366/

28th September-1st October 2023
Cork Folk Festival 2023
Cork, County Cork
The Cork Folk Festival is back this September October in Cork City, Ireland’s southern musical capital. The festival will showcase Ireland’s best folk and traditional acts in 12 venues around the city.
https://www.corkfolkfestival.com/

29th September- 1st October 2023
Follow Me up to Carlow 2023
Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow
A lovely weekend of set dancing workshops and céilís.

OCTOBER 2023

13th-15th October 2023
Diamond Set Dancing Weekend 2023
Diamond Coast Hotel, Enniscrone, Co Sligo
A weekend of music and set dancing.
https://www.diamondcoast.ie/Set_Dancing_Weekend.html

20th October 2023
Ed Reavy Traditional Music Festival
Blackwater, Cavan
Cavan Town CCÉ present a festival celebrating the music of Ed Reavy, renowned Irish-American musician/composer of traditional dance tunes.
http://cavantowncomhaltas.ie/wordpress/

27th-29th October 2023
Carryduff Set Dancing Halloween Weekend 2023
St Joseph’s Hall, Carryduff, Co Down
Set dancing weekend with lots of craic celebrating Hallowe’en weekend.
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057311296278

27th-29th October 2023 TBC*
Cooley-Collins Traditional Festival 2023
Gort, Co.Galway
http://www.cooleycollinstradfest.com/

27th October – 5th November 2023
Sligo Live 2023
Sligo, County Sligo
Sligo Live is a community centred festival created by musicians and music lovers to showcase the very best of talent – internationally established and emerging.
https://sligolive.ie/

NOVEMBER 2023

3rd-5th November 2023
Longford Set Dancing Weekend 2023
Longford Arms, Longford
A full weekend of set dancing céilís, sets and two hand dancing workshops.
https://www.facebook.com/camlinweekend/

 

Wishing you hours of joy and happiness on your music and dance journey this year.
You never know – I might see you there!
Nora Stewart
Irish Bliss
SUBSCRIBE to Irish Bliss here

Celebrating traditional Irish music and dance in film!

Film award season has just concluded with the Oscars earlier this week, and happily a number of Irish films won BAFTA awards and also received Oscar nominations, including the very beautiful and gentle The Quiet Girl (An Cailín Cuain as Gaelige), and the absolutely stonking Banshees of Inisherin.

And of course, an Oscar winner! Big congratulations to James Martin who won on the occasion of his 31st birthday for his performance in An Irish Goodbye for best live action short film.

It has started me thinking about all those scenes in films that have entertained us with Irish music and traditional dance.

Mostly those dances have been part of the story: showing how important gathering for music and dances was to the various social and political power plays going on, like in The Field, based on the John B. Keane play.

Also in Jimmy’s Hall, a story about a young Irish man who returned to his rural homeland after 10 years in the US, who creates trouble by re-establishing a community centre for people to meet, talk and dance. This illuminates the divide in political sympathies within the community, including that of the church.

And then there’s the delightful breakout just for the craic – tapping feet, whoops of joy and some simple céilí dancing in Dancing at Lúghnasa . This is the penultimate moment for all the key characters before that gentle country Irish life fell apart and faded away.

There’s a short, sweet music session in The Banshees of Inisherin, led by the key protagonist, Colm Doherty played by Brendan Gleeson, who in real life is an accomplished Irish fiddler. This is a soft and gentle spot in a film that can otherwise be confusing, jarring and very, very funny.

And last, but not least, is the iconic dance scene from The Titanic.  No, this film is not an Irish film but we can claim the dance, the music, if not the ship itself which was built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast. Not sure Jack and Rose would win any dance medals but they sure have the right attitude!

So, what I noticed about all these films is that they are all set in the first half of the 20th century from 1912-1936 or thereabouts. This was an important time  of change for the world, with two world wars, a depression and a lot of social upheaval. In Ireland, there was the Easter Rising of 1916 and the emergence of a new and difficult republic, that created great strain between friends and families.

It was also a dangerous time for our beloved dancing, as there were forces at work to try to rid Ireland of any music and dance events in private homes with the Public Dance Halls Act of 1935.

Happily, the dancing survived all that.  What I would love to see now are some films set in our current day for all the world to see, showcasing the bright, beautiful and very talented musicians and dancers who are  carrying on an amazing legacy.

Blessings of St.Patrick’s Day on you.
Nora Stewart
SUBSCRIBE to Irish Bliss here

2018 Traditional Irish Music and Dance Summer Schools and Festivals

THERE’S NO BETTER PLACE in the world than Ireland in the summer, especially when the weather obliges. But whether the sun shines or not, I guarantee that the music, song, dance and craic will lift your spirit to the very best Ireland has to offer.

This year, I have included MAY in the summer listing, because there are too many gems not to be missed, including all the county fleadhanna that begin towards the end of the month. This leads into the four provincial fleadhanna in July and the the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann  being hosted this year by Drogheda, Co.Louth in August.

You can find your way around all 53 festivals and summer schools listed here by either using the interactive map OR by scrolling the date listing below, which also includes a brief description.

FESTIVAL LISTING BY DATE

(If you don’t see your festival here, please let me know)

Festivals in May 2018

Festivals in June 2018

Festivals in July 2018

Festivals in August  2018


MAY 2018

Friday 4th – Monday 7th May 2018
Feile Chois Cuain
Louisburg, Co.Mayo
A traditional festival celebrating traditional music, song and dance.

Friday 4th – Sunday 6th May 2018
Portmagee Set Dancing Weekend
Portmagee, Co Kerry, Ireland
Traditional music, set dancing and singing in the Bridge Bar, Portmagee.

Friday 4th – Sunday 7th May 2018
Half Door Club Castletown TradFest
Castletown, Co Laois,
County Laois’s biggest dance festival offers plenty of great music and dancing over the four-day May bank holiday weekend.

Friday 11th -Sunday 13th May 2018
Sweets of May
Tralee, Co Kerry
The weekend celebrates set dancing with workshops and céilís by top teachers and bands in a lovely setting outside the town of Tralee.

Friday 11th- Sunday13th May 2018
Féile Chnoc na Gaoithe
Tulla, Co.Clare
Cnoc na Gaoithe (Windswept Hill), the Tulla Comhaltas Cultural Centre’s mission is to promote, preserve and showcase the rich Irish traditions and culture of Tulla and the East Clare area.

Monday 7th -Thursday 13th May 2018
CosCos Sean Nós Festival
Rathcormac, Co Sligo,
A weekend dedicated to sean nós music, song and dance, packed with workshops, céilís, sessions and concerts.

Thursday 17th – Sunday 20th May 2018
Féile Damhsa Gaelach
Gortahork, Co Donegal

Saturday 19th May- Sunday 20th May 2018
Skerries Traditional Music Weekend
Skerries,Co.Dublin
Traditional music weekend in a beautiful location just North of Dublin – big line-up of well-known artists.

Thursday 24th – Monday 28th May 2018
Fleadh Nua
Ennis, Co Clare, Ireland
2018 Fleadh Nua in Ennis promises to be an exciting and innovative festival, full to the brim with concerts, céilís, sessions, CD launches, recitals, Irish dance competitions and street entertainment.

Tuesday 29th May – Monday 4th June 2018
Limerick Fleadh
Kilfinane, Co. Limerick
Fleadh Cheoil Luimnigh will host around 1,000 competitors on the June bank holiday weekend, all wishing to progress from Limerick for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

Thursday 31st May – Sunday 3rd June 2018
Monaghan Fleadh
Ballybay, Co. Monaghan
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing, at the Ballybay Community College (Tullycorbet CCÉ).


JUNE 2018

Friday 1st – Monday 4th June 2018
Cavan Fleadh
Kilnaleck, Co. Cavan
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing at Kilnaleck, County Cavan.

Friday 1st – Monday 4th June 2018
Laois Fleadh
Mountmellick, Co. Laois
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing at Mount Mellick, County Laois.

Saturday 2nd – Sunday 3rd June 2018
Sligo Fleadh
Sligo Town, Co. Sligo
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing, jointly hosted by Fred Finn CCÉ and Sligo Town CCÉ.

Saturday 9th – Sunday 10th June 2018
Fermanagh Fleadh
Derrygonnelly, Fermanagh
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing hosted by the Fermanagh Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann,

Sunday 10th June- Friday 15th June 2018     
Welcome to Enniscrone Irish & Country Music Festival      
Enniscrone, Co.Sligo
Classes will begin each morning at 11am in céili, Fior céili & sean nós. Plus ballroom, jive & salsa with piret also beginning each morning at 11am.Great Irish céilí bands including the Duntally,Foot Tappers, Salamanca, Longnote and Matt Cunningham.

Friday 15th – Sunday 17th June, 2018
Doolin Folk Festival
Doolin, Co.Clare
Taking inspiration from the great festivals of the 70’s and 80’s such as Lisdoonvarna down the road and from the deep musical roots of the county, The Doolin Folk Festival presents powerful music in an intimate setting and ensures that audiences & musicians can feel at one and just enjoy the communal spirit

Sunday 17th – Sunday 24th June 2018
Tyrone Fleadh
Dungannon, Co. Tyrone
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing, hosted by Craobh Úi Néill CCÉ, Dún Geanainn.

Sunday 17th-Sunday 24th June 2018
Galway Sessions
Galway city, Co.Galway
The annual Galway Sessions Festival, celebrates Irish folk and traditional music and the music Irish emigrants brought with them across the world. The festival has a variety of events including gigs in theatres and pubs throughout Galway City from 1pm-1am.

Wednesday 20th –Sunday 24th June 2018
Clare Fleadh
Ennis, Co. Clare
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing in Ennis, County Clare.

Thursday 21st – Sunday 24th June 2018
Jim Dowling Uillean Pipe & Traditional Music Festival
Glengarriff, Co.Cork
Fabulous line-up this year including Sharon Shannon, Steve Cooney and many more.

Friday 22nd June – Saturday 23rd June 2018         
All-Ireland Sean Nós Dance Festival          
Athboy, Co Meath, Ireland          
A summer sean nós festival with workshops, sessions, céilís and a competition with a top prize of €500.

Saturday 23rd –Sunday 24th June 2018
Down Fleadh
Portaferry/Castlewellan, Co. Down
County-level competition for traditional Irish arts of playing music, singing and dancing in Portaferry and Castlewellan, Co. Down.

Monday 25th – Friday 29th June 2018
Craiceann International Bodhrán Summer School 
Inis Oirr, Co.Galway (Aran Islands)
Love the rhythm? The festival focusing on the bodhran drum will satisfy your need to listen and learn, in a most beautiful setting steeped in traditional Irish music.

Monday 25th June – Friday 6th July 2018         
BLÁS         
Limerick, Co.Limerick     
Intensive “deep dive” workshops and master classes for experienced singers, dancers and musicians with a focus on collaborative integration of understanding between the disciplines. A residential program at the University of Limerick including international accreditation.


JULY 2018

Sunday 1st July – Friday 6th July 2018
Seaosamh Macghabhan Summer School
Kilmovee, Co.Mayo.
Full summer school with individual and group tuition in a wide range of instruments, dancing and singing.

Sunday 1st July – Friday 6th July 2018
Cairde na Cruite, An Chúirt Chruitireachta
Termonfeckin, Co. Meath
Friends of the Harp – an international festival for Irish harp.

Monday 2nd – Sunday 8th July 2018
Fleadh Cheoil Connaght 2018
Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim       

Connacht Province Fleadh, which is primarily provincial competitions for traditional musicians, dancers & other artists, organised by the local Comhaltas Cheoltóirí Éireann (CCE).        

Monday 2nd – Friday 6th July  2018
Westport Schoil Cheoil
Westport, Co.Mayo
Full summer school with tuition, concerts and recitals.

Friday 6th- Sunday 8th July  2018
Traidphicnic
Spiddal, Co.Galway
A taste of local traditional music, arts and culture in Spiddal.

Saturday 7th- Sunday 15th July 2018       
Willie Clancy Summer Schoo
Miltown Malbay, Co.Clare  
Affectionately known as Willie Week, this festival is held in traditional music heartland that calls music and dance lovers back year after year. There’s a great atmosphere in the town and surrounds, with plenty of sessions, céilis and busking to complement the official program of classes and recitals. An addtional program of dancing is also held at the Armada Hotel.

Sunday 8th – Sunday 15th July 2018
Leinster Fleadh 2018
Muine Bheag (Bagenalstown), Co. Carlow

Leinster Province Fleadh, which is primarily provincial competitions for traditional musicians and dancers and other artists, organised by the local Comhaltas Cheoltóirí Éireann (CCE).  

Monday 9th– Friday 13th July  2018
Ceol na Coille Summer School of Irish Traditional Music
Letterkenny, Co.Donegal
Full summer school with traditional music and singing for all,  and special Gaeltacht experience for young people.

Sunday 15th- Saturday 21st July 2018         
South Sligo Summer School  
Tubbercurry, Co.Sligo
This has become my favorite festival for it’s laid back nature but also the learning to dance program is excellent. Different energy to Willie Clancy, it’s more intimate, gentler and very enjoyable in this beautiful part of Co.Sligo, with very deep music & dance tradition. Set dancing and music classes are in the morning 10am-1pm, a sean nós dance program in the afternoon from 4-6pm, and a range of concerts in the afternoons, and set dancing céilís in the evenings, with sessions in the pubs to follow.         

Sunday 15th – Sunday 22nd July  2018      
Munster Fleadh 2018          
Ennis Co.Clare
Munster Provincial Fleadh, which is primarily provincial competitions for traditional musicians and dancers and other artists, organised by the local Comhaltas Cheoltóirí Éireann (CCE).

Sunday 15th – Sunday 22nd July 2018        
Céilí at the Crossroads Festival 
Clarecastle,Co.Clare
Annual céilí at the Crossroads  has expanded to a whole week – an opportunity to dance outside!         

Saturday 21st – Saturday 28th July 2018
Joe Mooney Summer School    
Drumshanbo Co. Leitrim
Drumshanbo is delightful – a similar format to South Sligo Summer School, the difference here is the focus is very much around the unusual main street, which has a pedestrian mezzanine above the lane of traffic, where you can sit out in the sun, dance, listen to music & enjoy the people going by and enjoy a number of excellent evening céilís.

Monday 23rd – Friday 27th July 2018
Meitheal Residential Summer School
Villiers School, Limerick City, Ireland
Residential summer school for young traditional musicians.

Monday 23rd -Sunday 29th July 2018         
Ulster Fleadh 2018   
Castlewellan,Co.Down.
Ulster Province Fleadh, which is primarily provincial competitions for traditional musicians and dancers and other artists, organised by the local Comhaltas Cheoltóirí Éireann (CCE).

Saturday 28th July  – Saturday 4th August 2018
Scoil Acla Summer School
Achill Island, Co.Mayo
Traditional music courses, art workshops, sean nós singing, writers workshop, dance workshop, sean nós dancing,  basket weaving workshops in a most unique location.


AUGUST 2018

Monday 30th July – Friday 3rd August 2018
Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music
Belfast, Co.Antrim
Full programme of classes, sessions, talks, concerts, workshops, launches and more.

Monday 30th July – Saturday 4th August 2018
Sean nós dancing residency for adults, with Edwina Guckian
Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim
An intensive course in sean nós dance from 11-2pm daily, with sessions and ceilíthe running throughout the week.

Monday 30th July – Saturday 4th August 2018
The Irish Dance Festival         
Carlingford, Co.Louth   
Spend a week learning from some of the world’s best Irish dance masters of three styles – step, set and sean nós – and connect with fellow lovers of Irish dance by immersing yourself in Irish culture and heritage.      

Monday 30th July – Sunday 6th August 2018
Summer Festival of Dance          
Ballyfin, Co Laois
Maureen Culleton is an expert dancer, teacher and supporter of all forms of Irish traditional dance, with strong followings among dancers in Europe, Japan and across Ireland. She calls the sets at the céilíthe running through out the week, teaches the workshops and leads the sessions.
EMAIL MAUREEN for more information.

Wednesday 1st- Monday 6th August 2018
Kilrush Trad Music & Set Dancing Festival
Kilrush Traditional Music & Set Dancing Festival is a 6 day festival of music & set dancing including open air céilis in Kilrush Square on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Music sessions, singers club, sean nós & set dancing workshops will also take place throughout the festival.

Friday 3rd  – Sunday 5th August 2018
Ballyshannon Folk Festival
Ballyshannon, County Donegal
The 41st annual Ballyshannon Folk and Traditional Music Fesitval is the place to be this August Bank Holiday Weekend as the sounds of traditional and folk music echo from the streets, pubs and Marquee concerts along Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th August 2018 (TBA)         
James Morrison Traditional Music Festival         
Riverstown, Co Sligo.    
A full trad festival with open air céilís, concerts, sessions and more in the home village of a fiddler who became famous in the USA.

Friday 4th – Monday  7th August 2018
O’Carolan Summer School and Harp Festival 2018         
Keadue, Co Roscommon         
The Irish composer Turlough O’Carolan is the inspiration for this summer school and festival in this gorgeous town. Plenty of dancing including the famous Annual Door Dancing Competition on Monday 7th August  at 7pm.

Tuesday 7th- Tuesday 13th August 2018  (TBC)      
Kilcar Fleadh          
Kilcar, Co Donegal
A 7 day festival of traditional music, songs and dance, celebrating the living heritage of traditional music in South West Donegal.      

Wednesday 8th- Monday 13th August 2018          
Feakle International Festival of Traditional Music          
Feakle, Co Clare  
For a few days each August, Feakle village becomes a very special place where the best in traditional music can be heard, songs sung, dances danced and friends meet up again for another Feakle Festival.      

Sunday12th – Friday 17th August 2018
Fleadh Cheoil na h’Eireann & Scoil Éigse 2018
Drogheda, Co.Louth

The best kind of celebration and competition, with provincial finalist musicians, dancers and artists competing to win their All-Ireland categories. Comhaltas Ceolteoiri Eireann (CCE) showcase fabulous music, dance and a wide range of concerts and other events celebrating Irish culture. Don’t miss it!

Wednesday 22nd – Sunday 26th August 2018       
Masters of Tradition         
Bantry, Cork
Celebrating traditional music in its’ purest form through a series of concerts and performances, directed by Martin Hayes.

Enjoy the craic and I hope the sun shines strong for you.
Nora Stewart

Links reviewed 13 Sept 2021

irish bliss globe of world flags

 

From Clare to Canberra: The Jack Canny Story Part 2-About Jack

Jack Canny would have been just over 3 years of age when the Easter Rising of 1916 took place in Dublin a hundred years ago, miles and worlds away from his home in the small townland of Glendree, two miles West of Feakle, Parish of Tulla in County Clare.

Maghera Mountain 1

Maghera Mountain, close to Jack’s home in Co.Clare, where Jack’s friend fell down a peat hole one foggy night coming home in the dark from dancing.                                     Image: www.ClareBirdWatching.com

The eldest of three sons of Patrick Canny and Catherine MacNamara, Jack was active,  and lively – “happy as a sand boy”, as he recounted, and was a natural sportsman including regular games of hurling, and later, cycling.

And, of course, there was music. His father, Pat Canny, was a noted local whistle and fiddle player “It was their main hobby when their day’s work was done in the farms. We had no radios or televisions at that time. We had to make our own enjoyment and our main enjoyment was music.”

“My Dad played, he was a great inspiration to all of us. He used often take down the fiddle on the long winter evenings and he’d play there for half an hour, just to keep on practising. He used to do that once a week…sometimes once a fortnight.”

Mark Tandy with Jack Canny

Jack Canny and Mark Tandy. Image: M.Tandy

Continue reading

From Clare to Canberra: The Jack Canny Story Part 1-Threads

I used to think that a 100 years was a long time – ancient history. Now that I have just passed my own half century, I see it differently – close, not that far away, with threads that weave my own history into that time.

There is a reverberation, an echo from down the years, a depth of influence that County Clare has had, and is still having on, Canberra Irish musicians and dancers, like myself.

I was first alerted to this connection in 2004, when my husband Martin and I stepped into a King O’Malleys pub music session in Canberra on a Sunday night, for the first time. We looked at each other in surprise “Sounds just like the Tulla” we said, almost in unison. It was like an instant trip back to Clare – eerie and beautiful.

Music session at King O'Malleys, Canberra

Pete Hobson, Sue Hobson and Mark Tandy at King O’Malleys session. Photo: N.Stewart

Continue reading

Your Top 5 Céilí Bands for 2016

The Dartry Céilí Band from Ireland got the most votes this year in our popular poll, closely chased by bands from the USA and the UK – see full results in the table below.

A fantastic response from all over the world with just over 4,000 votes and 175 bands listed. I thank everyone who took the time to vote.

Special mention goes to a very late entrant, the Tanzanian Céil Band – I suspect this  might be our most exotic entry to date. They are raising funds for the Tanzanian Children’s Project and the band’s slogan is:

Traditional Irish Music for A Better World

My sentiments exactly. Congratulations to all the céilí bands for your dedication and all the enjoyment you bring, no matter how many votes you got-more power to you all.

Happy St.Patrick’s Day and enjoy the music and dance wherever you are in the world.

Nora Stewart
Irish Bliss

RESULTS TABLE BELOW

 

RANK BAND NAME
VOTES
1 Dartry Céilí Band (IRL) 463
2 Pride of Patuxent Pond/ Southern Maryland Pond Scum Céilí Band (USA) 399
3 Ceol na hÉireann Céilí Band (UK) 351
4 Kilfenora Céilí Band (IRL) 275
5 Abbey Céilí Band (IRL) 259
6 Beartla Ui Flatharta Céilí Band (IRL) 251
7 Full House Céilí Band (IRL) 187
8 Long Note Céilí Band (IRL) 110
9 Four Provinces Céilí Band (SCOT) 91
10 Johnny Reidy Céilí Band (IRL) 82
11 Swallow’s Tail Céilí Band (IRL) 76
12 Rhine Valley Céilí Band (DEU) 74
13 Tulla Céilí Band (IRL) 69
14 Awbeg Céilí Band/ Five Counties (IRL) 48
15= Rise the Dust Céilí Band (IRL) 37
15= Salamanca Céilí Band (IRL) 37
16 Bridge Céilí Band (IRL) 36
17= Inishbofin Céilí Band (IRL) 34
17= Matt Cunningham Céilí Band (IRL) 34
18 Coast Céilí Band (AUS) 33
19 Moylurg Céilí Band (IRL) 32
20= Rambling House Céilí Band (USA) 26
20= Striolán Céilí Band (IRL) 26
21 Ceoltóirí Chicago Céilí Band (USA) 25
22= Knockmore Céilí Band (IRL) 24
Old Bay Céilí Band (USA) 24
Trinity College Céilí Band (IRL) 24
23= Four Courts Céilí Band (IRL) 23
Star of Munster Céilí Band (IRL) 23
24= Glenside Céilí Band (IRL) 22
Innisfree Céilí Band (IRL) 22
Triskell Céilí Band (IRL) 22
25= Bogwanderers Céilí Band (USA) 21
Uí Bhríain Céilí Band (IRL) 21
26= Cape May Céilí Band (USA) 20
Ger Murphy & Ken Cotter (IRL) 20
Taylor’s Cross Céilí Band (IRL) 20
27 Copperplate Céilí Band (NIRL) 19
28= Brian Ború Céilí Band (IRL) 18
28= Michael Sexton Céilí Band (IRL) 18
Templehouse Céilí Band (IRL) 18
29 Shaskeen Céilí Band (IRL) 17
30= Allow Céilí Band (IRL) 16
Ennis Céilí Band (IRL) 16
Gallowglass Céilí Band (IRL) 16
Jimmy Mullarkey Céilí Band (AUS) 16
31 St. Rochs Céilí Band (Scotland) 15
32= Lough Oughter Céilí Band 13
Pride of Erin Céilí Band (IRL) 13
Tim Joe and Anne O’Riordan (IRL) 13
33= Annaly Céilí Band (IRL) 12
Emerald Céilí Band (IRL) 12
J Patrick’s All-Stars (USA) 12
Kilmovee Céilí Band (IRL) 12
Shannonvale Céilí Band (IRL) 12
Táin Céilí Band (IRL) 12
Waterford Comhaltas Céilí Band (IRL) 12
34= Neily O’Connor Céilí Band (IRL) 11
Temple Michael Céilí Band (IRL) 11
35= Ceol na gCroí Céilí Band (USA) 10
Davey Céilí Band (IRL) 10
Heather Breeze Céilí Band (IRL) 10
Turloughmore Céilí Band (Irl) 10
36= Green Gates Céilí Band (USA) 9
Pride of Moyvane Céilí Band (USA) 9
37= Brosna Céilí Band (IRL) 8
Deenagh Céilí Band (IRL) 8
38= Burrishoole Céilí Band (IRL) 7
Céilí Time Céilí Band (NIRL) 7
John Whelan Band (USA) 7
Leitrim Céilí Band (IRL) 7
Liverpool Céilí Band (UK) 7
Micheál Sexton & Pat Walsh (IRL) 7
Roisín Dubh Céilí Band (IRL) 7
Tara Céilí Band (IRL) 7
39= Corner House Canberra Céilí Band (AUS) 6
Ilen Céilí Band (IRL) 6
Laochtain Naofa Céilí Band (IRL) 6
40= Aughrim Slopes Céilí Band (IRL) 5
Carousel Céilí Band (IRL) 5
Eska Riada Céilí Band (IRL) 5
Inishowen Céilí Band (CAN) 5
Jamaica Plain Céilí Band (USA) 5
Knocknagow Céilí Band 5
O’Carolan Country Céilí Band (IRL) 5
Parasol Duo (FRA) 5
Pipers Club Céilí Band (IRL) 5
Tempeall an Gleanntáin Céilí Band (IRL) 5
Thatch Céilí Band (UK) 5
Tipsy House Céilí Band (USA) 5
41= Cabbagetown Céilí Band (CAN) 4
Copenhagen Céilí Band (DNK) 4
Duntally Céilí Band (IRL) 4
Foot Tappers Céilí Band (IRL) 4
Ken Kelleher Céilí Band (IRL) 4
Kilina Céilí Band (IRL) 4
Kincora Céilí Band (IRL) 4
Lynch Family (IRL) 4
Moorings Céilí Band (IRL) 4
Naomh Padraig Céilí Band (IRL) 4
Roazhon Céilí Band (FRA) 4
Siamsa Céilí Band (IRL) 4
Toe for Toe Céilí Band (CHE) 4
42= Barefield Céilí Band (IRL) 3
Castle Céilí Band (IRL) 3
Cogar Céilí Band (IRL) 3
Doon Céilí Band (USA) 3
Fódhla Céilí Band (IRL) 3
Green Jacket Céilí Band (BEL) 3
Leeds Céilí Band (UK) 3
Loughmore Céilí Band 3
Munich Céilí Band (DEU) 3
Ormonde Céilí Band (IRL) 3
Shannon Céilí Band (USA) 3
Swaree Céilí Bandy (DEU) 3
Tangambalanga Céilí Band (AUS) 3
Traditional Irish Musicians Céilí Band 3
Twin Cities Céilí Band (USA) 3
43= All-Star Céilí Band (USA) 2
Blackwater Ceili band (IRL) 2
Broken Pledge Ceili Band 2
Ceoltóirí Mancúin Céilí Band (UK) 2
Crumac Céilí Band (USA) 2
Curragh Céilí Band/ Jerry McCarthy (IRL) 2
Devine’s Diner Céilí Band (USA) 2
Hamilton Céilí Band (CAN) 2
Herschel Arms Céilí Band (UK) 2
Lansdowne Céilí Band (CAN) 2
Living Bridge Céilí Band (IRL) 2
Longridge Céilí Band (IRL) 2
Lough Na Gower Céilí Band 2
Naomh Íde Céilí Band 2
Newborough Céilí Band (IRL) 2
Pete Kelly Céilí Band (USA) 2
Philadelphia Ceili Band 2
Richard Fitzgerald Céilí Band (IRL) 2
Sainak Céilí Band (JPN) 2
Sean Norman Céilí Band (IRL) 2
Slievenamon Group (IRL) 2
St Colmcilles Céilí Band (UK) 2
St.Albans Céilí Band (UK) 2
St.James The Great Céilí Band 2
St.Malachy’s Céilí Band (UK) 2
Tanzania Céilí Band 2
44= Athas- Milwaukee USA 1
Bofield Céilí band 1
Boston CCE Ceili Band 1
Bush Céilí Band (IRL) 1
Cathal McAnulty Céilí Band (NIRL) 1
Ceilidh Rogues Australia 1
Corofin Ceili Band 1
Cúpla Céilí Band (IRL) 1
Donal Ring Céilí Band 1
Green Linnet Céilí Band (IRL) 1
Lone Star Céilí Band (USA) 1
Loughree Céilí Band (IRL) 1
McIlroy Céilí Band (IRL) 1
Na Comharhsanna Ceilí Band 1
Northeast Céilí Band (USA) 1
Ottawa Céilí Band (CAN) 1
Portersharks (USA) 1
Reel Note Ceili Band (UK) 1
Reilly Clan 1
Rosclare Céilí Band (USA) 1
Seacoast Céilí Band (USA) 1
South Jersey Céilí Band (USA) 1

Vote for Your Top 5 Irish Céilí Bands 2016

It’s on again – the battle of the Irish céilí bands to get a place in the top 5 for 2016. We had a brilliant response last year and looking forward to supporting our old favourites and the newer bands within the ever-expanding stable of wonderful Irish dance musicians.

We dancers are so lucky to have so many talented and energetic musicians to play for us  and giving support  and a vote to our favourite bands is like the least we can do, although you can vote whether you dance or not. You just have to love the music!

Continue reading

Your Top 5 Irish Céilí Bands 2015

What an amazing response we had to this poll – the amount of interest far exceeded my wildest reckoning.

10,030 votes from 40 countries far and wide, with 128 bands on the list which  expanded over the poll week to include 171 bands, suggested by you.

I’m not sure if this is the first poll of Irish céilí bands, but the purpose of holding a popular vote was to try increase the level of interest in Irish dance music.  I can see that it doesn’t need a huge amount of help but I hope it has added something extra. I’d love to see the day where every country in the world has at least one céilí band.

Continue reading

Green Beer and Wigs Are Not Irish

After my blog post a few years ago now, I promised myself that I was going to be as positive as possible leading up to this St.Patrick’s Day but I find myself increasingly dismayed at the lack of thoughtful, intelligent or genuine opportunities to celebrate the best of Irish on this day of days.

Some weeks ago, I received a phone call from a local establishment enquiring if we were interested in “bringing some of our girls to dance on St.Patrick’s Day”. I patiently explained that we are a group of mature adults, not kids and we don’t get dressed up or wear wigs and also that our styles of dance- Irish set dancing & Irish sean nós dancing – were a bit different to the Riverdance style. To his credit, he listened to what I had to say and was open to the idea of our group dance.

However, once I started thinking about performing while surrounded by an audience of very drunk, not very interested people, it turned me right off. And frankly, those young dancers who do perform for those audiences are doing themselves a grave dis-service. So much effort and talent, and so little respect in return.

I think the sniggering, constant jokes about drinking and being drunk, the colour palette that is stuck on forest green and the frankly ludicrous circus-like approach to St. Patrick’s celebrations has had it’s day.  I saw a frightening program on TV Old Before My Time the other night about under 30’s binge-drinkers in the UK and the terrible damage they are doing to their health. There’s nothing funny about it at all.

Why do Irish people put up with the standard stereotypes that are about a nano-metre deep? C’mon folks, you, me and we the Irish are much better than that and I think the stereotypical drunken lurching with a pint of green beer, Gu*@&#@ess shirt and hat should be consigned to the dustbin of the 1980’s.

Time to sharpen up the act, refresh the image with a celebration of the deep and rich culture that Ireland has brought to the world. Time to include alternatives that include wit, fun, conversation, stories, great energy and creativity as well as a deep soulfulness that is rightly part of a holy day.

How else to celebrate St.Patrick’s Day?

Be activeDance, of course! And if dance isn’t your thing, do our fun fast fitness program and get fit at the same time.  Or do some gentle Tai Chi to Irish music
Be happy Listen to some great Irish music whatever your mood is – soulful, joyful, uplifting.
Be confident – Sing an Irish song or organise a group sing-song.
Be reflective – gaze at a beautiful view or photo, visit a church or holy place for you.
Be generous – Make  a donation or fundraise for an Irish charity doing good work internationally, such as Trócaire or Chernobyl Children International or Save The Children give generously to a friend or neighbour in need.
Be witty – Write a limerick or host a limerick competition- such good fun.
Be hospitable – Host morning tea or a lunch with beautiful Irish food-a gorgeous brack, a dozen scones or bacon, cabbage and potatoes! Check out a few recipes online
Be learned – Celebrate Irish history, Irish writers & poets – seek information online, go out and buy or  borrow books from your local library. Or learn a few words of Irish!
Be funny – Learn 5 new jokes to tell your friends or send them your favourite funniest & uplifting YouTube videos for a laugh.
Be charming – Seek out people you’ve never met before, listen and genuinely engage with them. The Irish are the best people-magnets I know 🙂Nora and Martin strawboys

And at the end of it all, if you like, a small glass of something you’re having yourself – a hot whiskey, a port or even a pint-would be grand.

Keeping happy and healthy is all part of the day.
Sláinte agus sonas!

Nora Stewart
Irish Bliss

irish bliss globe of world flags