World Fiddle Day Scartaglen 2023 – A Review from The Inside

Fiddlers three: Aidan Connolly and Shauna Bradley, Dublin are joined by Mahati Chintapalli, San Francisco before going indoors and on stage at the Sliabh Luachra Heritage Centre during the final Handed Down presentation of the season on Friday evening. ©Photograph: John Reidy

We were delighted with the attendance at both Handed Down on Friday night and at Saturday’s World Fiddle World Day again this year despite having the Kerry v Mayo match rescheduled earlier in the week also for May 20th.

This resulted in some cancellations on the bus tour midweek but by Saturday all seats were re-booked by others.

By P.J. Teahan

There were a few emotional moments as we remembered Donal Ó Laoire and visited gravesides to pay our respects – but that is important to us.

Visitors from Europe and USA

This year we had visiting fiddle players from San Fransisco and Missouri, USA, Sweden, Holland and the UK.

We also had over 30 visiting musicians the Ó Laoire family from Co Meath, several Dublin and Cork fiddlers and I think for the first time in ages we had Northern Ireland musicians.

The feedback from our visitors was excellent and many vowed to return again next year.

The festival benefitted from the scheduling of a very interesting Handed Down Scartaglin Presentation on the night before which encouraged people to travel on the Friday and that was well attended by 180 people.

Festival’s Unique Outlook

The general feedback on Saturday night from first time visitors was that they found the festival unique and that it is only the music of Sliabh Luachra that is played and the format is busy and fitted into one day really impressed them.

Visitors found the bus trip very different to the norm as it being held in a rural locations with life going normally which created a very homely atmosphere.

The welcome they received from locals and enquiries about where they traveled from was an aspect that they also enjoyed.

Effortless Interaction of the Ages

We were delighted also to hear them say that the effortless way the young musicians interacted with the older musicians both in conversation and musically was very unusual to see.

As a committee this was great to see and I think it is an endorsement of the Handed Down Scartaglin Series where they often meet.

We must thank:  Kerry Co Arts Office; Kerry Community Support Fund; Castleisland Chamber Alliance; Cllr. Charlie Farrelly and Cllr. Fionnán Fitzgerald for supporting the festival.

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