Tulla Comhaltas Cultural Centre hosts Féile Chnoc na Gaoithe in association with The Gathering this weekend, with musicians, singers and dancers due to descend on Tulla from 7pm on Friday for the launch event.
The festival opens with an exhibition of photographs from the schools in Tulla parish, dating back to the early 1900s, which has been compiled by Tim Moloney. All past pupils are encouraged to come along and find their class photograph hanging in the cultural centre. A large collection of photo albums will also be on display, reflecting more than 100 years of education in Tulla, Drumcharley, Knockjames and Glendree.
The weekend festivities of music, song and dancing will start with a singing session at Cnoc na Gaoithe with Micheál Ó Sé, Elle Marie O’Dwyer, Nell Ní Chroinín and Philip Enright.
Meanwhile, the Powerhouse will host the East Clare launch of Socks in The Frying Pan’s new album and their song The Gathering. Brothers Fiachra and Shane Hayes make up Socks in The Frying Pan and they will be accompanied by Aodán Coyne on guitar and vocals.
Dancers will flock to Minogue’s for the opening céilí, with Mark Donnellan, Charlie Harris and Jim Corry.
Fiddle playing will be celebrated on Saturday as workshops and master classes take place that morning and an open fiddle competition will run in the afternoon. Renowned fiddle player Patrick Ourceau from Canada is the special guest for the weekend. He spent many years living in Ireland and played with the Tulla Céilí Band on a few occasions when they toured North America. He will be joined by fiddle tutors Anton MacGabhann, Macdara Ó Raghallaigh and Bernadette Ní Gabhann, providing classes for intermediate and advanced fiddle students. Bernadette will lead a session for young musicians in the afternoon.
Although the fiddle is the only musical instrument catered for at the workshops, classes in sean-nós dancing, set dancing, traditional and sean-nós singing and comhrá Gaeilge classes will also take place. Sean-nós dancing workshops will be provided by Emma O’Sullivan, while set dancers will be put through their paces by Helen Hehir and Niamh Normoyle. Nell Ní Chroinín, from Cúl Aodha, County Cork, will teach traditional and sean-nós singing workshops.
The open fiddle feis takes place on Saturday afternoon, starting with the U-8 age group at 2.30pm. the Young Fiddler of East Clare competition takes place that evening. Details of the competition are available online at www.cnocnagaoithe.com.
The gala concert will be held on Saturday night at 7.30pm in Tulla Courthouse, where Bean a Tí Áine Hensey will introduce participating musicians which include Patrick Ourceau; Anton MacGabhann; Bernadette and Caitlín NíGabhann; Macdara Ó Raghallaigh and Danny O’Mahony; Geraldine Cotter; sean-nós dancer, Emma O’Sullivan and singers Nell Ní Chroinín and Mícheál Ó Sé.
Saturday night’s céilí takes place in St Joseph’s Secondary School with the Five Counties Céilí Band.
Sunday’s varied programme begins at Tulla library, which is holding an open day event at 11.30am where historical documents and photographs of significant events in Tulla over the past century will be on display.
At 12 noon, there will be a Meet The Musician event at Cnoc na Gaoithe where local fiddle player, Vincent Griffin will host a session with his long-time friends, Anton MacGabhann and Chris Droney. This event provides an opportunity for young musicians to listen to and play tunes with legends of traditional Irish music. Meanwhile, singers will be catered for when a singing session will be hosted at Teach Ól, featuring guests Helen Hayes, Phil Brennan, Nell Ní Chroinín, Micheál Ó Sé and Philip Enright.
From 2pm, there will be an afternoon of dance with Emma O’Sullivan, Mícheál Ó Sé, Scoil Uí Ruairc, Suzanne Leahy and sean nós dancers, Helen Hehir and Niamh Normoyle and the Lissycasey set dancers in the back room of Minogues Bar.
The Gathering festival will close on Sunday evening with a farewell session with Patrick Ourceau and friends.