Newry city hosts a whole weekend of ‘trad treats’ at Iúr Cinn Fleadh

It’s a ‘trad treat’ of home-grown, national and international acts. Iúr Cinn Fleadh will fill the streets of Newry with story and song.

From 6th-9th September residents, visitors and music lovers will enjoy a packed programme of concerts, culture and comedy headlined by a living legend of Irish music, Sharon Shannon.

Newry Town Hall will welcome this ace accordion player from County Clare on 7th September. Accompanied by Jim Murray and Jack Maher, Sharon keeps traditional Irish sounds at the core, while framing them with influences from other cultures and genres. Support act is highly talented Armagh duo Tiarnán and Meabh Smyth.

Launched this year at Newry’s Railway Bar – one of the many Fleadh venues around the city – organisers spoke of some of the new events that promise to draw more visitors to the area.

An unusual feature will be on 6th September at Sean Hollywood Arts Centre. Local lad Kieran Cunningham will present his popular one-man show ‘From the Cradle to the Grave’ – all about the classic comedy genius of the late, great Dave Allen.

The Fleadh’s veritable feast of traditional and folk music is just getting better and better, growing in strength each year. For the first time, organisers can rightly say it’s now an ‘international’ festival – with San Francisco residents Noctambule and Spanish band Transgroak performing. Most events are free.

The Trad Cruise is unique to the Fleadh, offering a two-hour voyage down the Newry Ship Canal to the sounds of traditional Irish music. Various artists will perform for the passengers’ delight. The Trad Train also features music on the move, as Irish artists fill the Enterprise from Dublin to Newry with song.

Newry’s very first Battle of the Trads will see new or budding bands take to the stage for a 12-minute trad set which can include tunes and songs – with the winners emerging £500 better off (enter via [email protected]).

For those with an interest in the Irish language, a double decker bus hosts the Fleadh’s first Pop Up Gaeltacht in the city centre with the help of our friends at Gaeláras Mhic Ardghail.

Book lovers will enjoy listening to bestselling author Tony Macauley, who will read from Paperboy, Breadboy and All Growed Up at Riverside Church.

The weekend Trad Trail and Coffee Bar Crawl will give you the chance to listen to some accomplished musicians at some of the best venues in the city.

Launching the 2018 Iúr Cinn Fleadh at the Railway Bar in Newry. Front from left: Oisin McCann, Conor Fegan, Cllr Mark Murnin, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down Council, Sponsors; Kayley Curtis and Arthur Dillon. Back from left: Columba O’Hare, Iúr Cinn Fleadh Committee; Brian Cleland, Newry 2020; Noel McCune, Riverside Church; Orla Hayes, Canal Court Hotel, Sponsors; Justin McNulty, MLA and Rebecca Byrne, Newry BID, Sponsors.

Also this year, South Armagh’s world renowned pianist and fiddle player Josephine Keegan receives the Fleadh’s Musical Icon Award – a night that will see musicians from across Ireland descend on Newry.

Fergal O’Brien and René deKat are hosting bodhrán workshops and launching edition 3 of their Bodhrán Tutor Book. The Caroline Session, currach trips, historical walks, Armagh Rhymers, Irish myths and legends, storytelling, gigs, Buttercrane International Buttermilk Drinking Challenge – and more – will ensure there’s never a dull moment.

Organisers thanked event sponsors Newry, Mourne and Down Council, Newry Bid, Arts Council NI, Canal Court Hotel, Buttercrane Shopping Centre, Bellinis, Enterprise, SocialClix.biz, Netcare and newry.ie – as well as all the venues and the press for their much valued support.

Committee members – who bring a wealth of skills to organising the event – were also thanked. It was noted it would be impossible for the event to take place without their hard work and enthusiasm.

‘Seeing at first hand this past week what established festivals can do for their location – namely the incredible successes of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Drogheda and the Rose of Tralee – made me realise the potential of an idea,’ said committee member Columba O’Hare. ‘Neither of these festivals started off with massive numbers – but this year Drogheda saw 500,000 people take to its streets.

‘When campaigning group Newry 2020 thought up Iúr Cinn Fleadh in 2014, the idea was to produce a signature festival for the benefit of the city. When you’re on the inside, seeing it growing year on year – with more venues wanting to be involved and much more interest from locals and outsiders – you realise the potential of Iúr Cinn Fleadh.

‘I’ve no doubt our incredibly diverse and talented organising committee will ensure that potential is fulfilled.’

To find out more or purchase tickets for events, check out www.iurcinnfleadh.com. You can also get tickets at Buttercrane Help Desk and Sean Hollywood Arts Centre.