This year’s festival got off to a great start with a wonderful evening of storytelling and recitations, organised and led by the wonderful Frank Galligan and included Patsy O’Hagan from Tyrone, one of the finest storytellers in the country who had the large crowd eating out of his hand after a short period. Local man Charlie Boyle was superb as he recited some of his brilliant original compositions and he launched his most recent composition about the sightings on Aighe Mountain. We also had excellent contributions on the night from Kevin Dunleavy and Declan Gallagher.
Later the visitors were treated to a wonderful traditional music session in the Beehive Bar. Indeed 17 musicians joined in this great session. There is a regular Friday night session in the Beehive and all are welcome.
Saturday, that great lady of music, fun and happiness Bri Carr held a session for the youth of the area and visitors alike. In this session Bri helped the young people learn how to tell a story or a recitation and also appreciate the joy of reading and playing. Great show Bri!
Saturday night in the Nesbitt Arms Hotel, Frank Galligan introduced probably one of the finest concerts ever held in Ardara. That wonderful man of music Neilly Gildea introduced the music of the Tin Pan Alley era which included those wonderful tunes such as Alexander’s Ragtime Band and the like. It was a joy to be there to appreciate a group of masters in their music perform. They were helped along by Eabha and Jessica Gallagher, two of Ardara’s finest young musicians. Bri Carr and her lovely daughter Caela made a beautiful contribution. Jimmy Grogan and local man Declan Gallagher were superb, but without doubt that great man of music John Joe McBrearty had the audience falling off their seats with his version of the Jimmy Kennedy song ‘She Tipped Through The Tulips’. Again we had a hilarious contribution from Patsy O’Hagan, and a really special thanks to John Joe for putting it all together.
Later Saturday night a great evening was spent in the Beehive as Patsy O’Hagan and friends of Packie Manus Byrne sang songs and told stories about the great man who would have been 102 this weekend.
Sunday afternoon saw the second ever Jimmy Kennedy Song Contest take place with a presentation of the finest compositions by songwriters from all over Ireland. The large crowd really were treated to a great afternoon of superb entertainment. The finalists were:
- Stephen Bennett Jr
- Marie Mc Cormack
- Louise Crossan
- Madison Rafferty
- Claire Ward
- Bernie Doherty
- Nollaig Ni Choille
- Megan Lucas
and the Song Contest was won by Claire Ward with her composition ‘Remember’. The decision gave Claire the honour of winning €1000 first prize and the Jimmy Kennedy Scroll.
Watch the Jimmy Kennedy Song Contest below: