THE streets of Dingle were filled with the sounds of trad last weekend as the 2012 edition of the Dingle Tradfest got underway.
Traditional music is very much part and parcel of West Kerry's heritage and the festival got off to an appropriate start last Thursday as members of the Sráid Eoin and Quay Wren marched from the Mall Bridge to the Dingle Brewery giving an early taster of what people can expect on Wren's Day on December 26.
Then, in the brewery, Kerry South Deputy Michael Healy Rae TD officially opened the festival.
The Deputy, who had driven from Dublin to Dingle to attend the launch, told the congregation that he was delighted to see the return of the festival, adding that community based festivals, such as the Dingle Tradfest, were so important in these challenging times.
It also emerged afterwards that the Deputy himself is an All-Ireland winning whistler which certainly impressed the tradfest organisers. The action then moved to The Dingle Pub where more craic agus ceol extended into the night.
On Friday a special concert was hosted by the students (and teachers!) of Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne before the very important launch of the Sráid Eoin CD in An Lab on John Street, strongly attended by the John Street faithful with the ceol subsequently decamping to the Barrack Height.
This was immediately followed by the Comórtas Cumadóireachta Polka and Slide Composition Competition before a plethora of sessions got underway throughout the entire town, including a concert with Pádraig Ó Sé and friends in the Hillgrove.
Dingle Tradfest reached higher ground on Saturday morning as musicians hiked to the summit of Mount Brandon, bringing true the notion of the hills, or in this case the mountains, being alive with the sound of music.
The session trail in almost twenty pubs, featuring the likes of Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé, Jack Talty, Jeremy Spencer, Sean Leahy, Gary O'Brien, Gerry O'Beirne, Eoin Duignan, Tommy O'Sullivan, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Pauline Scanlon and Donogh Hennessy to mention just a few, continued around town for the festival's duration and Damien Mullane and friends also launched their new album in MacCarthy's.
The festival's big concert, featuring trad maestros Dónal Lunny, Niall Vallely, Karen Casey, JP Trio & Niamh Farrell, the David Stone Quartet and world champion dancer, Dingle's own David Geaney shook the Hillgrove to its core, providing one of the most exhilarating nights in town in a long time.
The music continued on Sunday with a solo concert by harpist Michelle Mulcahy amid the stunning setting of the Dingle Brewery as the sessions continued in almost every public house in town.
Speaking to The Kerryman afterwards, festival director Deirdre Granville said that she was delighted with the turnout for the festival in this its second year.
"It was a huge success and there was a great atmosphere on the session trail, especially in the pubs where usually isn't any music," she said.
"We are indebted to Jerry Sullivan and Southbound/Crean's for sponsoring the festival. He gave us the use of houses which meant we could accommodate about sixty session musicians.It was definitely a success and it is growing."
"We want to thank all the musicians, the sponsors, the volunteers and everyone who came out and supported the Dingle Tradfest this year," she added.