Masters of Tradition – celebrating traditional music in its purest form

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill

Following a busy summer with popular events like the West Cork Chamber Music Festival and the West Cork Literary Festival, the town of Bantry, West Cork, is gearing up for another lively week of activity, with the 15th instalment of Masters Of Tradition taking place from 23rd to 27th August. Locals and visitors will be treated to a series of concerts in St Brendan’s Church and Bantry House, performed by a collection of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians.

Artistic Director of the festival, Martin Hayes, will be joined by Dennis Cahill, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Colin Dunne, Steve Cooney, Cathal Hayden, Seamie O’Dowd, Stephen Hayden, Len Graham, Jack Lynch, Kate Ellis, John Carty, Mary MacNamara, Sorcha Costello, Slow Moving Clouds, Mick O’Brien, Neil Ó Loclainn’s Cuar, and more, to celebrate Irish traditional music in its purest form.

The festival opens in the Maritime Hotel, when fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill are joined by cellist and Artistic Director of Crash Ensemble Kate Ellis, and one of the leading figures in Irish traditional dance, Colin Dunne. St Brendan’s Church is the venue for the following night’s concert and welcomes concertina player Mary MacNamara and her fiddler daughter Sorcha Costello, alongside singer John Flanagan and fiddler John Carty.

Festival favourite Steve Cooney returns to Bantry House on Friday 25th August for the Ceolchoirm with uilleann piper Mick O’Brien, fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, singer Iarla Ó Lionáird and pianist Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin. Later that evening, Slow Moving Clouds make their Masters of Tradition debut. This Dublin-based trio combines roots in Nordic and Irish traditional music with minimalist and experimental influences. They recently moved audiences with their powerful score for Teac Damsa’s Swan Lake/Loch na hEala at Clonmel Junction Festival.

On Saturday 26th August, singer Len Graham and storyteller Jack Lynch take to the Bantry House stage with fiddler and banjo player Cathal Hayden, guitar Seamie O’Dowd and fiddler Stephen Hayden. The late night Níos Deanaí features Neil Ó Lochlainn’s Cuar – an Irish chamber music ensemble exploring improvisation within the framework of Irish traditional music. Cuar also consists of Aoife Ní Bhriain and Matthew Berrill.

Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill and friends bring Masters of Tradition to a rousing finale on Sunday 27 August at Bantry House. Tickets for these performances can be booked online at or by ringing the Festival office on +353 (0) 27 52788

Masters of Tradition is generously supported by the Arts Council, Failte Ireland, Cork County Council, RTÉ Lyric fm, Bord na Mona and UCC.

Bantry, West Cork

Wednesday 23rd – Sunday 27th August 2017