Truly International Attendance at World Fiddle Day in Scart

That kind of Day: Holly de Burgh, Killarney (left) pictured with: Rory Dalton, Athea; Seamus Coffey, Gap of Dunloe; Tadhg Healy, Killarney and Alisha Murphy, Macroom enjoying the atmosphere at World Fiddle Day Scartaglin on Saturday afternoon. ©Photograph: John Reidy

World Fiddle Day Scartaglin attracted a truly international attendance again this year – as its title would suggest.

Deserving of the attentions of the growing and yet to be formed Sliabh Luachra Music Appreciation Society, the event drew visitors in great numbers from at home and abroad.

Seasoned and regular Sliabh Luachra devotees from Holland were joined by fellow travellers from all over Europe and the U.S.

Cultural Education and Effort

With built in ingredients of cultural education and slavish preparations boiled down to pure entertainment, Scartaglin boldly hoisted its flag in celebration of its deeply rooted heritage and sense of locality.

“Isn’t this a gem of a little festival,” was a comment of genuine validation from a man on greeting a friend outside the door of O’Connor’s Bar on Saturday afternoon.

A Great Atmosphere

“There’s a great atmosphere here all day – it would remind you of the Scartaglin of the great féile cheoil days,” said Newmarket fiddle player, Raymond O’Sullivan as he took a break outside Lyons’ Bar.

Inside, Bryan O’Leary and Joe O’Sullivan held court with a room full of musicians and where the likes of Patrick O’Keeffe and Denis Murphy and Bryan’s grandfather, Johnny O’Leary and Willie Clancy and Jerry McCarthy and Seamus Ennis and Ciarán Mac Mathúna once sat in session.

Pubs Buzzing / Restaurant Flying

All three pubs were buzzing after the ceremonials, formalities and traditions of the day were seen to.

Back west along the road the local ‘hall’ was a centre of excellence in the catering department of the festival and it closed the circle of self sufficiency perfectly well.

World Fiddle Day 2019 celebrated the 50th anniversary of the recording and release of The Star Above the Garter – one of the most iconic Sliabh Luachra records of its time and since.

Awe Inspiring Reaction

People who know what they’re talking about and who can recall the year of the release will still fondly remember the era and its impact.

They talk of the awe inspiring reaction to the music and the treatment of the tunes by the fiddle playing skills of the brother and sister duo, Denis Murphy and Julia Clifford.

Off By Heart

These were all tunes they knew off by heart but this recording stalled all one way thinking and made them listen and look again at what they had.

The almost psychedelic LP sleeve artwork by French woman Catherine Folatre also set it apart on record shelves and in collections back then.

Take a Bow

Time is flying and its hard to believe that this, the 2019 and seventh annual, World Fiddle Day Scartaglin is the seventh in its line since it was established in 2013 by PJ Teahan, Mick Culloty and Tomás MacUilleagóid.

Now that they can breathe easily after another successful season, they’re well entitled to take a bow – if you’ll pardon the pun.

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