independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Tradfest to honour work of late publican Hugh O’Regan

THE work of the late publican Hugh O'Regan will be remembered at a festival of Irish music and culture later this month.

Maura O'Connell, Declan O'Rourke, Mary Coughlan and Sharon Shannon will be among the headline acts at TradFest, which opens on January 22 for six days.

Organisers said a special programme of music and words will be held on the old trading floor of the Irish Stock Exchange in Temple Bar, Dublin, in recognition of Mr O'Regan, who died in November.

The 49-year-old was said to have revolutionised the face of the city before being left owing millions when the economy crashed, with his loans transferred to the bad bank Nama.

The entrepreneur had been responsible for the Thomas Read Group and operated fashionable nightspots such as the Bailey and Ron Black's.

Writer Mannix Flynn said Othered Voices will look at the struggle of the business class in the current climate and if their struggle with the banks is being represented by today's poets and songwriters.

"This is an acknowledgement of the outstanding contribution Hugh O'Regan made to Irish society, to the Temple Bar area and to the arts as he was a great patron and supporter of the arts," said Flynn.

"He was also a great campaigner of the other voice in society and took good care of his staff and other businessmen who fell on hard times."

Artists from around the globe will jet in for the festival, which features several headline concerts including a celebration of the late Barney McKenna of The Dubliners who performed last year.

Venues include St Werburgh's Church, St Patrick's Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral.

There will also be more than 200 free events, a singers' club, open sessions, two outdoor stages, gigs for kids and a concert to mark Ireland's EU presidency.

Actor Stephen Rea said it was a privilege and honour to again be patron of the celebration of music, which is in its eighth year.

"The festival serves as a marvellous beacon of positivity which lifts our spirits with its amazing array of homegrown talent as well as welcoming home people from all over the globe," he said.

Kieran Hanrahan, artistic director, said there was a huge increase in international visitors from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, Spain and Germany last year, with 44,000 people attending.

"Already we have bookings from the US, Canada and throughout Europe," he added.

"Year on year the festival has presented some of the biggest names in Irish music alongside many exciting new performers and musicians."

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