UILEANN pipes were heard sweet and strong in Ballybunion at the weekend in an inaugural music festival that is now on course to promote the instrument among another generation.
The Ballybunion Chanters Festival brought some of the biggest names in international and local folk music together in the intimate atmosphere of the Cliff House Hotel for three days of sheer bliss for trad fans.
Festival organisers are now hoping to establish a programme with local schools that would see pupils getting the chance to try out the uileann pipes and see if it just might be for them.
"We were delighted with how it went," organiser Paul de Grae from the Spa said. "The Cliff House proved a fantastic venue and the concerts and workshops were excellent."
It was all by way of remembering a great Ballybunion figure, the piper Tom McCarth who held court on his pipes in front of Ballybunion Castle for much of the 19th Century. His descendant, English folk legend Martin Carthy was among the guests of Ballybunion. "Martin was outstanding and it was clear his ancestry means a lot to him as he stayed for most of the events, not just his own concert, and even took part in our workshops," said Paul.
Big national and local music names taking part included Sean Breen, Donie Lyons, Dave Hegarty, Seosaimhín Ní Bheaglaíoch, brother Breanndán O Beaglaíoch, Dominic Mac Giolla Bhríde, Jackie Daly, Matt Cranitch and much more.
"It was brilliant and one of the big things to come out of it is that we're hoping to initiate a programme with Ballybunion schools that would give students a chance to play the instrument. It can be expensive to buy but this would allow them see if they like it and want to take it further," Paul said.