Carrick-on-Suir donned the mantle of Ireland’s folk music capital over the weekend with gigs, gigs and sessions in its theatres, pubs and streets celebrating the legacy of the famous ballad band City Clancy Brothers.
The 15th Clancy Brothers Art & Music Festival has 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 all over flocking to the city to enjoy its eclectic mix of music, singing, theater and cultural events between June 1 and June 6.
While bad weather on Sunday forced organizers to cancel the popular children’s fun day and outdoor concert at Sean Healy Park, the rest of the festival’s outdoor events went ahead and many of its concerts indoors and cultural events were sold out.
Clancy’s Festival Committee PRO Pete Smith said it was truly unfortunate that they had to cancel Kids’ Fun Day, especially after not being able to hold it for the past two years.
But that disappointment aside, he said it was great to be back to the normal festival schedule. He pointed out that the city was benefiting from an influx of tourists due to the festivities. Carrick Marina was full of passing boats and there were 20 motorhomes parked at Carrick-on-Suir Rugby Club, he reported.
The festival kicked off last Wednesday night with an opening concert at the Brewery Lane Theater with a strong lineup of local musicians and singers. Brewery Lane followed the Clancy Family Concert on Thursday night with performances by 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 Theater last Friday night, the Wood of O concert at Brewery Lane on Saturday night and the Blue & Beyond tribute to Joni Mitchell songs at the Nano Nagle Center Chapel on Sunday evening.
Liam Clancy was one of the founders of Brewery Lane Drama Group. Thus, each year the comedians of the group stage a one-act lunchtime play for the Clancy Festival, including a light lunch.
This year’s festival production, The Snug, by Carrick-on-Suir writer and poet Jack Ryan sold out for the three days it ran.
The Clancy Festival also promotes and recognizes the talent of young musicians and singers through ballad competitions and street performances as well as a range of music workshops for children and young people.
Pete Smith said the Old Mill pub on New Street was packed for the Eoghan Power Ballad singing competition last Thursday night.
Kate Barry from Carrick-on-Suir was the big winner and recipient of €200 and the perpetual Eoghan Power Trophy. She narrowly beat runner-up Wayne Wilder from Clonmel while Mary Keogh from Carrick took 3rd prize.
It was the turn of young traditional musicians to shine at the Youth Busking Competition on Carrick’s High Street on Saturday afternoon.
An impressive set of traditional and folk tunes performed by accordion musicians Aisling and Clodagh Power of Knockalavalla, Rathgormack won the sisters the overall bus competition prize.
Another Rathgormack-based group of musicians, The Deise Boys, featuring Danny Nugent, Robert Doyle, Luke Bolger and Rian de Paor won the Senior Boys Group award while the winners for Best Junior Group were the Piltown Melody Makers, including Ruadhan Power, Jack Kearns, Ieuan Grace, Bláithnad Monroe, Caoimhe Monroe and Emma O’Driscoll.
Cian Lyons, 15, from Carrick-on-Suir, won the Senior Solo Busking award while his eight-year-old brother Cormac won the Junior Solo Busking award.
Carrick pubs have also hosted the Clancy Brothers Festival, with 10 pubs in the town and in Faugheen and Tullahought hosting concerts for 20 bands.
While Kids’ Fun Day fell victim to rain on Sunday, the River Walk along the Blueway to Dove Hill took place that morning and attracted nearly 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 sold out.
The Festival’s Arts Trail also made a welcome return with exhibitions by local artists held at the Tudor Artisan Hub, Nano Nagle Community Resource Centre, Brewery Lane Theater 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 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 organizing the festival.
“The committee is also very grateful to all venues, the Strand Theatre, Brewery Lane Theatre, Nano Nagle Community Resource Centre, Seán Healy Library, Heritage Centre, Tudor Artisan Hub and all the pubs on the Live Music Pub Trail for helping create a live festival.
“And last, but not least, we would like to thank everyone who attended and supported all of the Clancy Brothers Festival events.”
Check out more Clancy Brothers Music & Arts Festival photos featured in this week’s edition of The Nationalist now in local stores.