With a jig and a reel the Ennis Trad Festival celebrates Gaelic music and culture in the heartland of Irish Trad, bringing together some of the finest Gaelic musicians and music fans from around the world to enjoy the craic in the town of Ennis in Co. Clare.
From November 11th – 15th the Ennis Trad Festival as always, promises musicians and music lovers alike high-quality Irish traditional music in concert as well as informal settings. Throughout the week the festival programme promises music, Irish dancing, story telling, Sean Nos singing and some of the finest fiddlin’ this side of Dublin!
This year's festival will feature concerts with Any Old Time, The Dave Munnelly Band, Cathal Hayden, Seamie O'Dowd, Martan O'Connor and Jimmy Higgins, Charlies Harris, Maeve Donnelly, Eamonn and Geraldine Cotter.
The hugely successful senior ceili band competition will also return for its fourth year and there will also be CD launches, a ceili, workshops and over 100 sessions to choose from.
See www.ennistradfestival.com for the full programme of events.
Although the Ennis Trad Festival is officially in its teens, with 2008 being the 15th year of the festival, traditional music has been played and celebrated in this part of Ireland for ages, with tunes being handed down from generation to generation.
Music has played a key role in Irish culture since the days of the ancient Gaelic clans and long before Michael Flatley and The Riverdance ever took to the stage. Harpists and balladeers would recount the tales of legendary figures from Irish Mythology such as Cu Chulainn, Fionn MacCool, Diarmuid and Grainne and the Children of Lir, helping to keep these stories alive today.
During the 17th century
Irish musicians were granted patronage by the old Irish aristocracy. The most
renowned of these was Irish harpist Turlough Carolan of whose many compositions
almost 200 are still played today. Many of these were played during the Belfast
Harp Festival of 1792 (the Irish knew how to put on a good festival even then!)
organised by Edward Bunting and the Belfast Harpers Society. Song such as The
Battle of Argan More, Ossianic Air and The
Lament for Limerick were recorded during the festival so that they could be
passed on through the generations.
The Irish Diaspora of the 18th Century following the Great Famine, led to the spread of Irish culture and music throughout the world. Indeed American Country and Western and Bluegrass music owe their roots to the Irish fiddlers who left their native lands for better lives in the New World.
With the establishment of the Irish Free State in the 19th Century, Irish music was once again granted patronage as the country sought to re-establish its Gaelic heritage and culture something that the Irish government continues to support. Today the best locations to experience this sense of Irish culture and musical traditions are in Irish speaking Gaeltacht areas found in counties; Galway , Donegal , Mayo , Cork , Kerry , Waterford and Meath .
Irish Trad can mean many different things to different people. It could be a grand céilí with Irish stepdancing and Riverdance style shenanigans, or it may be the haunting vocals of a Sean Nos singer recounting ballads and laments from the old times. In the traditional sense an Irish seisiun would generally take the form of an informal gathering of musicians in a local pub with a fiddle, uilleann pipes, flute and a bodhrun playing traditional jigs, reels and polkas.
Ennis has some of the best pubs for traditional Irish sessions such as Ciaran's Bar with Irish music each night except Tuesdays and the main venue in the town for traditional music seisiuns; Brandon's Bar has anything up to 15 fiddlers playing on a Monday night. 1.5km outside Ennis is Cois na hAbhna, hallowed ground in Irish dancing circles with regular and lively ceilis.
Elsewhere in County Clare, the village of Doolin close to the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher is renowned for its rich musical connections. McDermott’s Pub is known far and wide for its regular seisiuns between spring and autumn. The pub has been in the same family since 1867 and has hosted the likes of Sharon Shannon and Luka Bloom to name a few.
Another great spot for Irish music is Derry in Northern Ireland with a multitude of live music venues amid the 17th century walls of the city, which are generally rocking along until 1am most nights. The pick of these are; The Gweedore with live bands every night playing Irish folk music and roaring out some of the old time ballads and Peadar O'Donnell's with traditional music sessions each night - starting late!
In Dublin, Temple Bar is famous for its pubs, buskers and Irish music, one way to experience it all in one go is to take a traditional Irish pub crawl. Led by two Irish musicians the crawl takes you for a few pints in some of Dublin’s best traditional pubs while your guides play you a tune or two and tell the story of Irish music and its influences today.
you go on vacation in Ireland
you won’t be too far away from an Irish seisiun and an Ireland
vacation experience to remember.
For further information on a vacation to Ireland and a quote on flights, accommodation and car hire, contact one of our Ireland vacation specialists.