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Published on January 11th, 2011 | by Peter


Temple Bar Tradfest 2011

It’s been almost one year since I heard Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh speak at last years launch.  And 6 years years since it first began The Temple Bar Tradfest is back. Bigger and better than you could have ever thought. Starting this Januray 26th – 30th

But did the trad scene didn’t really need The Trad Fest ? Well it didn’t and then it kind of really did at the same time. In my home town for example, in Dublin, there are two sessions, albeit differing mildly [one folk one trad], genetically speaking, that take place every Friday evening. Some musicians play both. That’s a minimum of five hours playing – and too many other sessions within a short drive radius. But how many are a little Irish, not just in Ballyboughal but all over Ireland, in the sense that you kind of need to meet the right man, in the right place exactly 2 minutes before an eclipse outside the right pub to be told about that great gig that’s just 2 horse rides and a jockey back away.

The reality is that 99% of trad gigs [discliamer: 1% may be shite] nee sessions are played by musicians who just want to be able to say….

played a session in Connors last week, Jasus… this fella came in and played me banjo…. feck-in gen-i-us so he was…

The fact that you may be locked [disclaimer: not the dictionary meaning] just makes the craic even finer. Especially if you’d managed to keep playing your guitar that night. And those that follow the scene, just want that one great one. I met a guy during the Seamus Ennis festival. Drove 3 hours to get to The Naul. Arrived at 9am. At 5 odd o’clock he couldn’t find anywhere for a bite to eat. He’d been playing all day. Bought a packet of tayto and went back to the pub.

Ah sure I’m here now…

Never mind logic. Thats dedication. And this is before I get an email from Sinéad telling me there’s a great one on in The Merry Ploughboy. Hold on one sec… here’s an email for ye….

We are a band called the Merry Ploughboys – we’ve been performing continuously since 1989 – and now we have our own traditional music pub called the Merry Ploughboy Pub in Rockbrook, Rathfarnham.  So the lunatics have firmly taken over the asylum!

Donal Cawley
Owner & Musician

Feckers booked themselves in, literally. Back to it….

The flip side is that depending on the day the session may not be a decent one. For no apparent reason. Maybe the oul fella behind the bar has an arguement with his missus. Who knows. Never mind that. It’s when you have recommended it. It’s when you have travelled to get there and its gone. You were chasing the craic some fella is Boston, from Galway, with a beard, told ye about and its gone.

The trad scene was local, a bit. That’s not a discredit. But, it needed a stamp. A City stamp. An international stamp. And it has got one. This year Clannad are gonna play Christchurch Cathedral. Bear with me here…. I watched Comedian Eric Lalor talk about why he thought playing the Kilkenny Cat Laughs Comedy Fest is such a great gig. Eric replied

I think that everyone who comes to Kilkenny is determined to laugh.

In terms of Irish music, can we now say something similar…? I firmly believe so.

4 days. Over 200 free perfomances. Some big names. Some great musicians. Sean nós dancing. Story telling. Street performaces. Cultural Workshops  and [great to see it] an extended family programme.

All details and info over at  http://templebartrad.com/

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About the Author

Horticulturist. Yapper. Gardener. Human. Landscaper. Loves coffee. Dublin. Makes gardens. Radio Podcasts The @Sodshow. Lives in a tree in Dublin @DoneganGardens or www.doneganlandscaping.com

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