Fáilte – A Word of Welcome

A Cháirde,
Through the medium of our new website I want to take the opportunity to invite you to Castleisland for the 2019 and 27th annual Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival.
The festival will open on Friday, October 25th and run over the bank holiday weekend to the following Monday, October 28th.
We would like to extend a special Céad Míle Fáilte to visiting and local musicians alike who will be taking part in the many sessions over the weekend.
To the throngs of music loving visitors from all corners of the world we also say welcome and thanks for making the effort to be with us on this great occasion.
It is a constant source of amazement to us to find that, on each October, people from all corners of the world have made their way here to Castleisland to enjoy the unique musical experience we strive to provide. Last year we welcomed a large group of Japanese musicians to the town as well as vistors from Germany, Holland, Italy, France, Canada, USA, China and ofcourse The U.K. Many visitors leave after the weekend vowing to return the following year – and a high number do just that.

We have a line up of music, song and dance that we hope will make your stay here an enjoyable and pleasant one. This years festival will be the most ambitious effort in our 27 years to date. Two main concerts on Saturday and Sunday night headline the weekend, but really there is something for everyone. For those inlined, there will be an increased number of lectures/talks on the music of Sliabh Luachra. More classes with a wider variety of instruments than ever before, a very special fiddle concert, numerous album launches all feature on the programme throughout the weekend.
The hugely popular singing concert returns with a stellar line up, as does the Céilí dancing. The amazing artist Finn Harper makes a welcome return to the festival, and this year will be holding workshops on the Saturday and the Sunday. The festival has partnered with ‘Traditional T-shirts’ to create a limited edition run of Patrick O’Keeffe T-shirts and these will be available in the official festival pop up shop located in the River Island Hotel. The famous pub trail is stronger than ever with an astounding array of talent playing in the pubs all weekend.
You will see from the programme of events that we have both the backing and blessings of the local business community in our efforts. This has been the fortunate position we’ve found ourselves in since the festival was founded back in 1993 – for that we’re very grateful.
As ever we are hugely grateful to the local community for its unwavering support.This is a source of support without which the structures of the festival would rapidly fold.

Over the years there has been an increasing emphasis on the educational aspect of the local style of the music of Sliabh Luachra at the festival. Both the fiddle and accordion classes will be returning this year, and this will be expanded to include concertina, flute, banjo and uileann pipes. The dedication every year by the tutors, who are some of the biggest names in traditional music never ceases to amaze. It has been heartening to watch this area of the festival go from strength to strength.The workshops will be conducted by some of our finest local and national musicians and are a great chance for beginners, intermediate and seasoned musicians to hone their skills in a welcoming environment.

For the benefit of visitors: there will be many fine exponents of the famed Sliabh Luachra style of playing to be seen and heard in various locations over the few days of the festival.

This style was preserved and passed on – at a great cost to his health and wellbeing – by the man in whose honour we’re all gathered here this weekend.

Patrick O’Keeffe spent the greater part of his life on the roads of the Sliabh Luachra area harbouring the tradition and spreading his unique talent and style. Several of his pupils and those influenced by his life and music will take part in this festival and therefore ensure that his legacy and legend live on.

Finally I hope that both players and patrons have an enjoyable weekend and that you’ll spread the word for the years ahead.

Cormac O’Mahony – Chairman