By Staff Reporter
GRAIGNAMANAGH showed off what it has to offer this past weekend as its two annual festivals – the Town of Books Festival and Féile Freaney – brought a selection of books, music and other entertainment from Friday to Sunday.
The Féile Freaney trad music festival kicked things off with a gala concert in Duiske Abbey on Friday night. Drawing a near-capacity crowd including some well known local musicians, headlining band Líadan gave a beautiful and energetic performance which could easily inspired a listener or two to partake of the variety of workshops on offer in the town as part of the festival.
The six-piece band including fiddles, harp, piano accordion, flutes and tin whistle delighted the crowd with their lively jigs and reels, but the highlight for this listener was their enchanting songs, in particular those sung by Valerie Casey, with a voice reminiscent of Altan’s Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh.
Their powerful harmonies filled the abbey with beautiful precision, each voice blending with the others and none overpowering. It was also a treat to hear Mary Bergin on tin whistle and Michael Rooney on harp at the interval, in particular a piece that the harpist composed in honour of his sister.
Followed by trad sessions in at least five of the town’s pubs, it set the mood for the rest of the weekend, the bookshops all set to open for the early-morning browsers who came from near and far in search of favourite and new titles. The storytelling for children was also a hit, as was the craft fair on Sunday afternoon.
Blessed with clear sunshine and blue skies once again, there was plenty to enjoy in Graig’ for the three days. It just goes to show what the town is capable of, and one hopes it could bring them one step closer to realising the dream of a year-roud Town of Books.
Source: Kilkenny People
Location: Kilkenny City
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