‘The Richmond Revival’ features a three-day music festival with an eclectic mix of acts
The owner of the landmark Georgian-style former Presentation Convent building in Fermoy have unveiled details of an exciting new music festival taking place at the historic venue in September.
Purchased by the Debbie and Fiachra Ó Cinnéide in 2020 and now known as Richmond House, the venue will host the inaugural North Cork Arts Festival featuring five concerts over three-days from Friday, September 18.
The concerts follow on from other events already held at Richmond House under the tagline ‘The Richmond Revival’, including an outdoor cinema screening, a ‘Sunday Samba’ workshop and a recent Culture Night concert.
“We hope that our home, which has been under renovation since 2020, will become a cultural hub for Fermoy and the surrounding area,” said Fiachra.
“The forthcoming festival series will unite and eclectic mix of Irish and international artists spanning traditional, classical, popular and folk music across the five specially commissioned events,” he added.
The opening concert at 8pm on Friday, September 18 will bring together Finnish baroque violinist Maria Gaynor and master uilleann piper David Power in what Fiachra promised would be a “sparring, dynamic meeting of musical minds”.
Day two will kick off with a 2pm concert featuring trio led by Cork-based multi-instrumentalist, who has a long list of recording credits both as performer and producer to his name.
“We are honoured to host the Karl Nesbitt Trio at Richmond House. These lads are amazing, and Fermoy is privileged to have musicians of such calibre visit,” said Fiachra.
Saturday evening will see the return of dancing feet to the Richmond house ballroom with an energetic session by the Non-Toxic Orchestra. Comprised of musicians from Ireland, Poland and France, the ensemble will perform an exciting mix of global beats from South America, Africa and the Middle East.
The third day of the festival will get underway with 2pm concert featuring the gypsy jazz influence of the Michael Cummins Trio. An accomplished violinist, guitarist, pianist, composer and arranger, Cummins has toured with Finbarr Wright, Don Baker and Michael English, amongst others.
The final concert in the series will feature an evening in the company of Cork singer/songwriter Eva Clague accompanied by Niall McGuinness on double.
Clague, who is currently working on a new album, is known for her self-taught finger-picking on acoustic guitar style and direct, personal vocal style.
“This concert promises to bring the festival to an atmospheric, intimate conclusion,” said Fiachra.
Details of the concerts and tickets prices at www.therichmondrevival.com.
Richmond House a listed building, sits on a seven- acre site officially named ‘Richmond - An Gáiddin Rúndach’ (The Secret Garden).
Built in 1830 , Richmond House was first owned by a Mr H Smyth and later passed into the hands of the Captain George Walker in 1847. It is believed he was related to the famous Johnny Walker whiskey family and there is still a pond on the property which was a holding pond for local distillery.
The property was later owned by the Furlongs, a prosperous family of millers from Co Wexford, who were also known for breeding horses and had a Grand National winner in ‘Reynoldstown’ in 1935 and again in 1936.
Richmond was in the hands of the Presentation Sisters from 1920 to 2020 and served a number of functions including as a primary school for girls, a Noviciate for novice nuns and as the headquarters of the order.
After taking ownership of the house in 2020 the Ó Cinnéide family have restored sections of the house and gardens, with the aim of restoring it to its former glory.
“It is our vision that whilst Richmond - An Gáiddin Rúndach is a private house, it can also serve as a cultural hub for the community, where creative artists can display and express their craft in a unique, centralised period setting,” said Fiachra.
“We plan to develop Richmond into a special place for the creative community and lovingly restore both the exterior and interior of the property in the process,” he added.