The ninth Temple Bar Trad Fest opens today and features over 200 free events, including a musical trail and a family programme.
Artists from Ireland, England, Scotland, Spain and Latvia will perform at some of Dublin’s iconic buildings, including St Patrick’s Cathedral, St Werburgh’s Church, St Michan’s Church, the Button Factory and City Hall. There will be about 28 major concerts, including ‘An Audience with Irish Folk Legends’ which is a series of one-off free concerts featuring the Fureys, the Dublin Legends (whose members were in The Dubliners), the Dublin City Ramblers, Bagatelle and the Kilkennys. These concerts will take place in pubs around Temple Bar.
Visitors from abroad are expected to hit the 15,000 mark with 1,000 visitors alone coming to Dublin for ‘An Audience with Irish Folk Legends.’
Festival artistic director Kieran Hanrahan (former banjo player with Stockton’s Wing and now the presenter of Céili House on RTE Radio One), is looking forward to seeing his former band play. “It’s a rarity to get Stockton’s Wing out to play. They’ll perform in St Patrick’s Cathedral which will be very special.”
Hanrahan is also looking forward to hearing Eleanor McEvoy (‘A Woman’s Heart’) perform.
Another “mega night” will see Paul Brady perform at St Patrick’s Cathedral. Then there’s Altan who will be joined by American singer, Mary Chapin Carpenter.
“The Altan concert will be poignant because the band is celebrating the contribution of its founder, Frankie Kennedy, who died as a young man 20 years ago from cancer.”
The festival will open with a performance by internationally renowned musician, Carlos Nunez, in St Patrick’s Cathedral. Nunez is considered to be the master of the Galician bagpipes.
Dublin City Hall will play host to five musical nights. On the opening night there will be a concert with John Sheahan of the Dubliners and songwriter, composer and pianist, Eamon Keane. “That will be a very special concert. Since John gave up the Dubliners, he has performed at Listowel Writers’ Week with Eamon. I feel there is something about this pair and I asked them to play at the festival.”
A special festival commission is a new work comprising a cycle of songs, commemorating the thousandth anniversary of The Battle of Clontarf. It will take place in St Michan’s Church. “We commissioned that from Lorcan MacMathuna, a brilliant young writer who has been working with schools and a couple of choirs in Dublin to bring this event together.”
Also, the Temple Bar Trad Fest has partnered with Child Vision to raise awareness of the work this charity does with young people in Ireland. It is dedicated to the education and development of children with visual impairment and multiple disabilities. The charity will bring pets from its petting farm to the festival. There is a Family Hub at The Ark on Eustace Street.
The festival will have the DIT Trad Music Ensemble performing at City Hall on the opening day at lunchtime.
“The ensemble consists of about 15 musicians of outstanding ability. Our series of lunchtime events will feature very strong young musicians including Ruada, Seána Davy and Caitlín Nic Gabhann. It’s because of the likes of these people that traditional music is so strong,” says Hanrahan.
* Temple Bar Trad Fest runs from Jan 22-26. www.templebartrad.com.
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