Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Sunday, November 13, 2011

' Back to the Well' Sights and Sounds at the 2011 Ennis Trad Fest

Al fresco trad

Yes it is that time of year again.  The proliferation of people toting boxes of assorted shapes and sizes  wearing gleeful expressions signals the onset of Ennis Trad Festival.  This year they are blessed with the weather making the activity of session hopping all the more pleasant and made some al fresco trad
possible. Here is a round up of some of the sessions I attended and the people I met.

Nicholas John Jones from Oslo at the Ennis Trad Festival (mp3)

A mixture of youth and experience was on display in The Brewery Bar where experienced trad virtuoso Maeve Donnelly  joined  young Donal McCague who launched his new CD 'Bits & Pieces' at the festival.  Among the people I met were Kathy, a Boston librarian and Yorkshire man Mike who had travelled from his home in Spain for the festival.
Fiddle player Joan Hanrahan was anchoring the session in Cruises on Saturday afternoon where musicians spread over two chambers. Back in the Brewery Bar,  eleven year old Michael, a student of Joan McNamara's was having his first experience of playing in a session and aquitted himself very well with
Stephen Power
 John Kelly photographer with the Clare Champion, one of the sponsors of the festival   snapping some of the action.

Who would have thought , people playing outside in November. A group of young men were set up outside The Irish Shop making the most of the mild conditions.  Inside Stephen Power ably assisted by Tracy Crawford was signing copies of his new book  of photographs. A handsome volume of featuring shots of iconic folk in their own homes, worth it alone for the shot of Alec Finn of De Danaan (note two a's)  in his interesting looking drawing room.  In the Temple Gate Hotel, there was not one but two groups at opposite ends of the bar, (stereo trad session!)  I met Breton  photographer Miriam who was very impressed with the teenage group occupying the snug.

The ladies in O Connor's cake shop remarked they hadn't seen too many of the trad revellers. 'Tis more of a thirst they have I'd say', one staff member commented when I asked her about the cake eating habits of traddies. 
Comfy Trad  in the Old Ground Hotel
Margaret Rowan from Meath
'It is very important to come back to the well ' commented one participant in  one of the best  and certainly the  most comfortable sessions of the day  in The Old Ground Hotel where participants of Brendan Mulkere's workshop were trying out their new tunes. Boasting no less than six fiddlers, they formed a very cohesive musical entity and the tunes flowed efortlessy. One of the group Nicholas John Jones, a musical instrument repairer based in Oslo recorded a short interview with m (below)


Quentin and Eoin: Céilí Bandits
 Tracy Bally o (mp3)
Twin chambers in Cruises pub

 Eoin O" Neill (mp3)

Well done to the organisers and sponsors (including Shannon Development) of this great event at a quiet time of the year and attracting such vibrancy to the public places of Ennis Co.Clare. Last years report here


  1. Nice to be part of your experience of a great festival Cathy...Eoin.

  2. What a feast of music this week-end has been, the town was "Hopping" A great review Cathy well done.

  3. That's what I like about the Ennis Trad Fest, my experience was different to yours - but I had a great time too!
    Fran (@Torgwen)