Finbarr Clancy of the High Kings and his cousin Colm Power performing at the Clancy Family Concert at Brewery Lane Theatre during the Clancy Brothers Festival in Carrick-on-Suir Picture Noreen Duggan
Carrick-on-Suir donned the mantle of folk music capital of Ireland over the weekend with concerts, gigs and sessions in its theatres, pubs and streets celebrating the legacy of the town’s famous Clancy Brothers ballad group.
The 15th Clancy Brothers Art & Music Festival made a very welcome return to its traditional June Bank Holiday Weekend dates and format after two years of disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic with visitors from far and wide flocking to the town to enjoy its eclectic mix of music, singing, drama and cultural events between June 1 and June 6.
While bad weather on Sunday forced the organisers to cancel the popular Kids’ Fun Day & Open Air Concert in Sean Healy Park, the rest of the festival’s outdoor events went ahead and many of its indoor concerts and cultural events were sold out.
Clancy Festival Committee PRO Pete Smith said it was really regrettable that they had to cancel the Kids’ Fun Day, especially after not being able to run it over the past two years.
But this disappointment aside, he said it was great to be back to the festival’s normal programme. He pointed out that the town benefited from an influx of tourists due to the festivities. Carrick’s boating marina was full of visiting boats and there were 20 camper vans parked at Carrick-on-Suir Rugby Club, he reported.
The festival kicked off last Wednesday night with an opening concert in Brewery Lane Theatre featuring a strong line-up of local musicians and singers. Brewery Lane followed up with the Clancy Family Concert on Thursday night featuring performances from members of the current generation of Clancy musicians and singers
Other concert highlights were the Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society Goes Folk Volume 4 show at the Strand Theatre last Friday night, the Wood of O concert at Brewery Lane on Saturday night and the Blue & Beyond tribute to the songs of Joni Mitchell at the Nano Nagle Centre Chapel on Sunday night.
Liam Clancy was one of the founders of Brewery Lane Drama Group, so each year the group’s thespians stage a lunchtime one act play for the Clancy Festival including a light lunch.
This year’s festival production of The Snug by Carrick-on-Suir writer and poet Jack Ryan, was sold out for the three days of its run.
The Clancy Festival also promotes and recognises the talent of young musicians and singers through ballad singing and busking competitions as well as a range of children’s and youth music workshops.
Pete Smith said The Old Mill Pub on New Street was packed to the rafters for the Eoghan Power Ballad Singing Competition last Thursday night.
Kate Barry from Carrick-on-Suir was the overall winner and recipient of €200 and the perpetual Eoghan Power Trophy. She narrowly beat second place prize winner Wayne Wilder from Clonmel while Mary Keogh from Carrick won 3rd prize.
It was the turn of young traditional musicians to shine at the Youth Busking Competition on Carrick’s Main Street on Saturday afternoon.
An impressive set of traditional and folk tunes performed by tin whistle and button accordion musicians Aisling and Clodagh Power from Knockalavalla, Rathgormack earned the sisters the overall prize in the Busking Competition.
Another Rathgormack based group of musicians, The Deise Boys, comprising Danny Nugent, Robert Doyle, Luke Bolger and Rian de Paor won the Senior Boys Group prize while the Best Junior Group winners were the Melody Makers from Piltown including Ruadhan Power, Jack Kearns, Ieuan Grace, Bláithnad Monroe, Caoimhe Monroe and Emma O’Driscoll.
Fifteen-year-old Cian Lyons from Carrick-on-Suir was the Senior Solo Busking prize winner while his eight-year-old brother Cormac won the Junior Solo Busking prize.
Carrick’s pubs also embraced the Clancy Brothers Festival, with 10 hostelries in the town and in Faugheen and Tullahought hosting gigs for 20 music groups.
While the Kids’ Fun Day fell victim to the rain on Sunday, the River Walk along the Blueway to Dove Hill went ahead that morning and attracted almost 200 walkers of all ages.
The weather also didn’t stop the Carrick-on-Suir Kayak Experience of kayaking sessions on the River Suir on Sunday afternoon, which were sold out.
The Festival’s Arts Trail also made a welcome return with exhibitions by local artists staged at the Tudor Artisan Hub, Nano Nagle Community Resource Centre, Brewery Lane Theatre and Kathleen Farrell’s Chapel Street Art Studios.
As the curtains fall on another successful Clancy Brothers Festival, Pete Smith said the committee wished to thank all the patrons and local businesses, Tipperary County Council, Carrick-on-Suir Lions Club, Diageo Ireland, Music Generation Ireland, the Tipperary Education and Training Board and the Carrick-on-Suir Business Association for their continued support and help in staging the festival.
“The committee is also very grateful to all the venues, the Strand Theatre, the Brewery Lane Theatre, the Nano Nagle Community Resource Centre, the Seán Healy Library, the Heritage Centre, the Tudor Artisan Hub, and all of the pubs on the Live Music Pub Trail for helping to create a live festival.
"And last but not least, we wish to thank all of those who attended and supported all of the events at the Clancy Brothers Festival.”
Check out more photos from the Clancy Brothers Music & Arts Festival published in this week's edition of The Nationalist now in local shops.
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