Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Grab your instruments and head for West Kerry

LET it freeze, let it flood, let the rest of the country grind to a standstill, but deep in West Kerry preparations are already well underway for one event that just keeps gaining momentum, despite the nationwide doom and gloom. It's the five-day traditional music festival Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh, now in its sixth year, and already a firm fixture in any traditional music lover's calendar.

From February 17 to 21 the village of Ballyferriter is set to be gripped by traditional music fever, with visitors to the remote spot flocking to a host of classes on the harp, accordion, bodhrán, banjo/mandolin, uilleann pipes, flute, concertina, whistle, fiddle, bagpipes, mouth organ, sean-nós singing, and sean-nós dancing. There'll also be master classes on the concertina, fiddle, accordion and tin whistle, and two concerts featuring some of Ireland's finest traditional musicians on Friday and Saturday, February 19 and 20 in Ballyferriter Church.

Deirdre Grainbhéal, Cillian Ó Briain, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, Fergus Ó Flaitheartaigh, and Úna Ní Chíosáin are just some of the local musicians who'll be sharing their knowledge of West Kerry's rich musical heritage through the classes, while two of this year's special guests, Noel Hill and Tony Linnane, will be performing on Friday afternoon, February 19, at Tigh Bhric's.

Other events focusing on West Kerry's rich cultural heritage include an informal Irish language conversation group for anyone interested in adding to their cúpla focail, a lecture on the life and songs of Séamus Ó Muircheartaigh - An Spailpín Fánach – by Breandán Feiritéar and a historic walk led by local man Danny Sheehy.

Classes cost €5O per person and are aimed at adults and young players aged 10 years plus. A special ticket for €70 includes the cost of three days of classes, the Friday and Saturday night concerts, and lecture.

Tickets for the Friday and Saturday night concerts are €15 and will be available at the Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh official opening on Friday night, during registration, at the information desk in Óstán Ceann Sibéal, (which will be operating from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Thursday to Saturday), and at Siopa na Cille (opposite Ballyferriter church).

Bookings are now being taken for all classes. To book phone Niamh Ní Bhaoill or Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich on 087 9967501/086 8185964, or email

For further information on all events visit

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