Paraic’s Pick of Traditional Irish Music Events for Spring 2019
Despite the fact that this time of year is a relatively quiet time for Irish music festivals and traditional Irish music events there’s a good few gems coming up this spring. I’ve chosen my favourite both in Ireland and internationally. No harm checking availability now if you’ve spotted a gig or festival you really want to attend, as the popular ones sell out fast and early.
Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh or The Spring Music School takes place in the Irish-speaking village of Ballyferriter out on the Dingle Penninsula in Kerry, possibly one of the most beautiful places on earth. Taking place over four days from the 20th February you’ll find workshops in traditional Irish song along with classes in sean nós dancing and for the evening gatherings look for traditional Irish music sessions in the various cosy pubs around the village. This is an intimate and rewarding event and a great way to kick start the musical year.
Still in the Kingdom of Kerry, The Gathering 2019 takes place this year on the 27th February in Killarney. It’s in its 20th year and attracts Irish diaspora from all over the world. The gigs to book your tickets to now would be Altan & The Sliabh Luachra Band featuring Paudie O’Connor, Niamh Ní Charra & more. This will be one hell of an evening of traditional Irish music and song on the Saturday 2nd March. Another scheduled event at The Gathering I would strongly recommend would be the music tour to Sliabh Luachra and if you’ve never been to a Céilí or were last at one in Irish college dig out your dancing shoes and get yourself along to one of the céilí evenings, and remember, there is always a ‘caller’ i.e. someone who runs through each dance with you before you start, so anyone can join in, including beginners.
There are a good many events happening in March of course, notably the St Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin 14th – 18th March 2019 and no doubt wherever you are in the world there’ll be some sort of Irish-related event but for me the jewel in the crown is this special concert taking place March 5th at 8pm in the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin: Noel Hill & Friends. Featuring the living legend Noel Hill on concertina (if Elizabeth Crotty is the godmother of the Irish concertina , Noel Hill must surely be the godfather), another living legend, singer, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill (Gradam Ceoil 2019 award winner), along with Jack Talty (concertina and piano) and also Liam O’Connor the extraordinary Dublin fiddle player lighting up the traditional Irish music scene at the moment – this promises to be one of those magical nights of music where you get to say, ‘I was there!’ to sighs of jealousy. Get your tickets now before they sell out (this will sell out so don’t say you weren’t warned!)
On to April and the musician’s music festival has to be the Baltimore Irish Trad Fest in Baltimore, USA from April 12th–14th, 2019. On the go since 2011, this is becoming a serious go-to event for all east coast based traditional Irish musicians. Expect to meet a lot of musicians in the lead up and the quiet time just after the main event when a lot of them will stay on and gather together to play for each other. There’s a whole host of daily workshops on every Irish musical instrument you can think of, a highlight has to be Billy McComiskey on button accordion and a possible appearance from his son, Sean McComiskey, one of America’s most exciting young accordion players. Don’t miss the all-star concert on the Saturday.
Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh
Ballyferriter, County Kerry
February 20th–24th, 2019
The Gathering Traditional Festival
Killarney, County Kerry
February 27th–March 3rd, 2019
Noel Hill & Friends – March 5th 8pm
Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire
Baltimore Irish Trad Fest
Baltimore USA – April 12th – 14th
Main Image, Noel Hill & Concertina courtesy of www.noelhill.com
Image of Slea Head View by d_marino2001