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It’s always sunny in Kilfenora

The sun will no doubt be splitting the Burren rocks this Sunday when the mighty Kilfenora Céilí Band take to the stage at the Square in the village for the hugely popular open-air céilí.
The céilí, which has been the cornerstone of the Kilfenora Traditional Music Festival for the past 16 years, has never yet seen a rainy day, with musicians and dancers usually basked in early summer sunshine.
“The biggest event always in ‘the Kilfenora’ in Kilfenora. I’ve met people from all over Ireland who travel to hear the band playing in the village square,” said John Morgan.
“We have 200 seats out for the people who are not dancing and lots of space for those who are. I remember I met a woman when the first festival was starting in 2009 who hadn’t seen set dancing in the village for 30 years, so we had to change that.
“The band always play out of their skins in the Square. We’ve never had a wet Sunday yet, but if it happens, we will just have to move everything into the community centre.”
Some of the highlights of this year’s festival include the annual Singers Night on Friday in Vaughan’s Barn, hosted by Nóirin Lynch and the main concert on Saturday night featuring Tommy Fitzharris and Dónal McCague, Nell Ni Chroinin and Colm O’Caoimh. As has become tradition, this concert will also feature a prize-winner from the Meitheal Summer School with Mayo harpist, Hannah Lyons, performing this year. Tickets for this event are available online and from The Burren Visitor Centre or Custy’s Records in Ennis.
Other highlights include a dance spectacular on Friday night with Aibhin Holden’s Céim ar Chéim School of Sean Nós dance as well as the Avalon Celtic Dance Company based in Brittany.
Events on Saturday include a céilí at 9pm with the Star of Munster Céilí Band followed by Ollie Mullooley’s Trad Disco. There is a flute recital in the Burren Centre from 12noon on Saturday with Anthony Quigney and Garry Shannon. At 1pm the first Riches of Clare 2024 concert will take place in Kilfenora Cathedral featuring Tara, Padraig and Sharon Howley with Eoin O’Neill.
There will also be CD launches across the weekend including Sean Lyons on Friday, the O’Loughlin’s from Corofin on Saturday and Dave Sanders from Kilnaboy on Sunday. There are also workshops for young musicians on Saturday and Sunday morning and for set-dancers between Monday, April 22 and Friday, April 26.
For more information visit kilfenoraclare.com. John Morgan and everyone behind the Kilfenora Traditional Music Festival would like to thank all the sponsors and helpers who make the festival possible each year.

About Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a journalist, writer and podcaster based in the west of Ireland.

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