Cork Folk Festival - Cork, Ireland  29th Sept-3rd October 2021




      42nd Cork Folk Festival Programme   29th Sept-3rd October

      Wednesday 29th September

      Cork Singers Club on ZOOM: 8.30pm Singing Session on Zoom Special guest Eugene McEldowney. To participate send your email address to

      Eugene McEldowney

      Originally from Belfast Eugene now lives in Dublin.  A journalist, author and wonderful singer. Eugene is a regular at the Cork Singers Club and Góilín club.

      Eugene Mceldowney

      Thursday 30th September

      St Peters Church: 7.30pm Launch of ‘Cork 1920, A City In Flames’ CD with John Murphy & friends by invite.

      Cork-1920-A-City-in-Flames Web Small

      “Cork 1920: A City in Flames”,

      Launch of a new CD “Cork 1920: A City in Flames”, which commemorates Cork’s contribution to the War of Independence. The recording features twelve original songs written by songwriters John Murphy, Tim O’Riordan, Jimmy Crowley and Cliff Wedgbury is interspersed with historical information narrated by Gerry Miller. Singers at the launch will include, Mick Buckley, Máire Ní Chéileachair, Seán McCarthy, Máire Ní Laoire, Seán O Mahoney and musicians John Neville and Conor O Sullivan.


      Triskel Christchurch: 8pm Freddie White in Concert Tickets €25/ €23.50 Conc. SOLD OUT

      freddie white

      Freddie White - the maestro of quality music

      Freddie White has long been synonymous with music of the highest quality. He has been part of the fabric of the live music scene in Ireland since the 1970s and his albums continue to sell well amongst his loyal and newfound fan base.  Born in Cobh, Co. Cork, into a musical family, by age 17 he was playing professionally. At 19, he moved to London, where he busked in subways, and developed his unique voice and guitar style. His earliest recordings, which were re-mastered and re-released in 2004, are still hugely popular among his loyal fan base. Freddie has a long history with the Cork Folk Festival, back in 1979 when the 1st festival began one of the main visiting artists Martin Carthy failed to arrive in Cork. The festival committee decided that the only man suitable enough to replace Martin was Freddie. So, on Friday evening word went out around the city to find Freddie and offer him the gig. Freddie was found and booked, he played a spectacular concert to a packed audience and no one noticed or complained about the change of line-up.



      Friday 1st October

      Triskel Christchurch: 8pm Steve Cooney & Dermot Byrne in Concert €25/ €23.50 Conc.

      steve cooney jpegdermot byrne small

      Steve Cooney is best known for his development of an influential style of guitar accompaniment to Irish dance music which he developed in West Kerry, and for which he won the National Entertainment Award with Séamus Begley in 1997. Despite participating in the making of over 250 albums, he only recently released his first ever solo CD – to huge critical acclaim – of solo guitar interpretations of ancient harp tunes, Ceol Ársa Cláirsí. In 2020 he was given the RTÉ Folk Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. Steve has toured and recorded with Stockton’s Wing, Seamus Begley, Sharon Shannon, Sinead O’Connor, Dermot Byrne and Iarla Ó Lionáird to name but a few.

      Dermot Byrne shot to fame as a child prodigy on the accordion in his native Donegal and is still considered one of the finest accordion players in the tradition, with that sought-after combination of musical virtuosity and sensitivity. He toured for many years with Donegal trad band Altan. As well as the Irish folk tradition, he also dips into European and global accordion repertoires. He has recorded and toured with artists like Frankie Gavin, Steve Cooney, Paddy Keenan Stephane Grapelli, Sharon Shannon and The Stunning along with many other outstanding Irish and International musicians. For his contribution to Irish music Dermot was chosen as TG4`s Traditional Musician of the Year 2013.


      Saturday 2nd October

      Music Workshops on Zoom Classes are free, to book send your email to /

      10.30am -12pm Traditional Song: Máire Ní Chéileachair

      Maire Ni Cheileachair

      Máire Ní Chéileachair is an accomplished sean-nós singer.  She was singer in residence in the Muskerry Gaeltacht in 2001 and has been teaching sean-nós singing to young people there since.  She won the prestigious Oireachtas na Gaeilge Sean-Nós na mBan trophy in that same year and was runner up in Corn Uí Riada in 2005, 2007 and 2008 and winner in 2018. Also, she won the TG4 Gradam Ceol Singer of the year in 2018 in Belfast. Máire will teach a Zoom class in traditional and sean nós songs in Irish and English.

      10.30am-12pm Flute & Whistle: Karl Nesbitt

      karl nesbitt

      Karl comes from the well-known Nesbitt family of Co. Tipperary. His mother Kathleen is a renowned fiddle teacher from the South Sligo/Northern Roscommon region, and his sister Mairead is a famous solo fiddle player and veteran stage performer. “Multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, Karl Nesbitt is a prodigious talent” – Irish Music Magazine. Karl will give a Zoom class in traditional flute and whistle.

      12-1.30pm Sliabh Luachra Tunes: Matt Cranitch

      matt cranitch

      Matt Cranitch is renowned at home in Ireland and abroad as an Irish traditional fiddle-player, teacher, lecturer and author. He has performed extensively with various groups at concerts and festivals, as well as on radio and television, and has made a number of highly-acclaimed recordings. He has also presented many lectures, master-classes and workshops on various aspects of Irish traditional music. Matt will teach a Zoom class for all instruments in the tunes of Sliabh Luachra.

      12-1.30pm Uilleann Pipes: Leonard Barry


      Leonard Barry, from Tralee in County Kerry, is one of Ireland’s finest uilleann pipers. He has played and taught the pipes all over the world and has worked with many Irish singers, including Luka Bloom and John Spillane. Barry started his musical journey at the age of eight, under the guidance of his uncle Bert O’Brien. Leonard will give a Zoom class to advance students repertoire in tunes and style.

      2pm Rebels of Cork Walking Tour led by John Murphy, meet at 1.30pm at the Monument in Blackpool FREE


      Rebels of Cork Walking Tour
      1         Start at the monument in Blackpool, outside the ‘baldy barbers. John Murphy sings, Ballad of Tomas McCurtain, Mick Buckley sings, The Groves of Blackpool. 2 Shandon. John Murphy sings, The Sandstone Tower song, Máire Ní Chéileachair sings, Peg Duggan song. 3. Mother Jones plaque. J.M. sings, The Ballad of Mother Jones, Mags Creedon sings, Mother Jones’ song. 4 Devonshire street.  Bill Daly sings, The Bold Fenian Men. 5. McCurtain Street. Crowley’s Music Shop. John Neville sings, The Minstrel Boy. 6. McCurtain Street lower, John Murphy sings, Delany Brothers song. 7. Connolly Hall. Máire Ní Chéileachair sings, James Connolly. 8. City Hall. Seán McCarthy sings Will My Soul Pass Through Old Ireland. Máire Ní Laoire sings, The Day They Brought My Terry Home. 9 Parnell Bridge, William Hammond sings, Down Erin’s lovely Lee. 10. St Augustine St. J.M. sings, The Wallace Sisters song. 11. Daunts Square. Pádraig Varian sings, The Boys of Kilmichael. John Murphy sing, The Ballad of Tom Barry.

      COVID-19 and the walking Tour.

      On the walking tour to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19. Maintain at least a 1-metre distance between yourself and others to reduce your risk of infection when they cough, sneeze or speak. Maintain an even greater distance between yourself and others when indoors. The further away, the better. All participants are encouraged to wear a mask except for the singer.



      Triskel Christchurch: 8pm Tara Breen, Padraig Rynne & Jim Murray in Concert Tickets €25/ €23.50 Conc.

      Jim Murray trio

      “Rynne and Breen have fabulous chemistry together and have found backing musicians who are more than mere accompanists but who are stakeholders in the game” – Dan Neely, The Irish Echo, New York

      Nasc is the new album from Co. Clare musicians Tara Breen and Pádraig Rynne. The duo has been performing regularly since 2009 and had always planned on releasing a duet album. 2020 offered the perfect opportunity to enter the studio with long time collaborators Dónal Lunny and Jim Murray with Pádraig at the steering wheel on production. In December 2020 they travelled to Malbay studios in Midtown Malbay spending four days recording. What followed was a nine-track album of mostly Irish traditional music with a sprinkle of Scottish, Asturian and Breton melodies as well as self-composed pieces by Pádraig, Jim and Dónal.

      A worthy description as “a musical wizard” by Music Network, Tara Breen is the fiddler with the legendary band The Chieftains. She is an all-round extraordinary musician who has 11 solo All-Ireland titles. Tara is also the winner of both the coveted Fiddler of Dooney and Michael Coleman Fiddle competitions and was invited to perform at Dublin Castle for the Queen of England during her State visit to Ireland. Tara has numerous recording credits to her name and regularly guests with artists such as Carlos Nunez, Stockton’s Wing and the Trí Tones.

      Jim Murray has been touring the world full time as a professional musician since the age of eighteen. Jim is considered Sharon Shannon’s “right hand man” having recorded and toured with her over five continents.  He also released two critically acclaimed albums with long term partner Seamus Begley in 2001 and 2008 which collectively scooped many prestigious awards such as The Irish Times and Hot Press Traditional Irish Music Album of the Year. Since Jim’s arrival on the world stage, he has gained the respect of both national and international musicians and has performed and recorded with artists such as Sinead O’Connor, Steve Earl, Shane McGowan, Altan and Mary Black to mention but a few.


      An Spailpin Fanach 9pm Trad Session FREE

      Sunday 3rd October

      St Peters Church:1pm A Celebration of legendary traditional singer Margaret Barry and her grandfather, piper Robert Thompson. With Eoin O Riabhaigh, Johnny McCarthy & Tim O’Riordan and Marty Barry & Cathal Ó Curráin.

      Margaret (Maggie) Barry and Robert (Bob) Thompson

      magbarryRobert Thompson

      Margaret Cleary aka Maggie Barry was born in 99 North Main Street Cork in 1917. She was a legendary traditional singer and banjo player who had a major influence on Irish ballad singers, including Luke Kelly and Christy Moore. She taught herself to play the banjo at a young age and began to play on the streets. In the early 1950’s she moved to Camden in London where became well known in the pubs and Irish clubs accompanied by the fiddler Michael Gorman. Her singing and banjo playing style became widely known and she was invited to play at various folk festival in UK and then in the USA. Her music career included the recording of at least 12 LP’s and performances in the Carnegie Hall and the Rockefeller Centre in New York. In the early 1980’s she toured the folk clubs in Ireland and with dancer and fiddler Maura O Malley. During that time, she performed at the Cork Folk Club in Douglas GAA Hall, some of the attendees remember the concert well and craic that was had before and after in the Phoenix Bar.  Margaret was well known all over Ireland and played on the street at large GAA matches, Horse fairs and pubs and bars, sadly Maggie died in 1989 and is buried in Laurence town, Co. Down. Margaret’s grandfather Robert (Bob) Thompson was a renowned uilleann piper and was a tutor at the Cork Pipers Club formed in 1898. Alderman William Phair of the piper’s club lent Thompson a set of Taylor pipes, previously owned by Canon James Goodman. Bob Thompson gained a national reputation by winning first prize at the1st Feis Ceoil held in Dublin on May 8th, 1897. Turlough McSweeney, the noted Donegal piper took second prize.

      To place a plaque to commemorate Margaret Barry’s birthplace

      The main reason the festival has decided to celebrate Margaret Barry was to draw attention to where Margaret was born, 99 North Main Street. The festival, her family and her friends would like to place a plaque  marking the building to commemorate her birthplace.

      This concert will feature musicians who have a connected to Margaret Barry and Robert (Bob) Thompson.

      Marty Barry is Margaret Barry’s grandson and is deeply rooted in the song tradition.  Eoin Ó Riabhaighaccompanied by Johnny MacCarthyis the custodian of the Goodman pipes player by Bob Thompson, the pipes were passed down to Eoin’s by his father, Mícheál Ó Riabhaigh. Eoin has also written a tune to commemorate Robert. Tim O Riordan a ballad singer in the style of Margaret and has written a song for her, The Heart of the Song. Cathal Ó Curráin has also a connection, he is a relation of piper Turlough McSweeney who took 2nd place in the 1897 Feis Ceoil in Dublin.


      Eoin Ó Riabhaigh

      eoin o riabhaigh

      Piper and pipemaker Eoin, is the son of the late, well known Cork piper and teacher, Micheál O Riabhaigh. He began his piping career at the tender age of 9 under his father’s watchful eye, and continues to play regularly. Before COVID Eoin used to play a regular gig in Cork’s premier traditional music venue, The Corner House, on Coburg Street along with Johnny McCarthy (Four Star Trio), Aidan Coffey (ex De Danann) and several friends who drop in regularly, hopefully he will return to The Corner soon.

      Johnny MacCarthy

      4 star trio

      Johnny is a lecturer in traditional music and classical flute at CIT Cork School of Music and is highly regarded as both a composer and performer in classical and traditional music. He plays flute and fiddle with the renowned traditional group The Four Star Trio, whose music concentrates on the Sliabh Luachra tradition.

      Tim O’Riordan

      ti m riordan

      Tim lives in rural County Cork with his wife and three children. He gigs regularly all over Cork and Kerry. Last year his band Natural Gas celebrated 30 years on the road in 2018 by touring all over Asia and Australia. Tim’s biggest success came in 2004 with ‘The Langer’ reaching No 1 spot for 4 weeks, going on to be the biggest selling Irish Single that year. ‘The Langer’ was accredited double platinum status by IRMA.

      Marty Barry & Cathal Ó Curráin

      Cathal-and-Marty Barry

      Marty Barry is a traditional musician/singer from Banbridge County Down and plays guitar and banjo. Gaining a huge interest in music from a young age, Marty went on to study at the University of Limerick. After graduating, Marty has been a full time performer/tutor and is working on his debut solo album.

      Cathal Ó Curráin is a member of The High Seas group and hails from the gaeltacht of Gaoth Dobhair. He is currently a student at the University of Limerick, studying Irish Music and Dance. Cathal was immersed in the song tradition growing up and his singing talents were nurtured by his aunties Bríd and Caitlín. Cathal also plays the bouzouki, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. In the past he has performed with the likes of Kila, Aoife Ní Fhearraigh, Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh, Moya Brennan and The Friel Sisters.

      Tickets €10

      Fitzgerald Park: 2pm Folk Fest in the Park, Seán Ó Sé, Máire Ní Chéileachair, The Abbey Céilí Band & Douglas Comhaltas FREE



      The Abbey Céilí Band Founded in 1995 firm favourites with Set Dancers all over the Globe for their rhythmic, lively and energetic sound. Band members include Ger Murphy (Button Accordion), Robert Foster (Banjo), John Coakley (Keyboard) and Andrew O’Connell (Fiddle). The Band have released three CD’S, Bruach an tSuláin,Beal a’ Ghleanna, Bothar na Reidhe.

      Seán Ó Sé achieved fame with his hit version of An Poc ar Buile. With Ceoltóirí Chualann he was part of the exciting Ó Riada years and helped blaze a new trial for Irish traditional music and song. Seán has featured regularly on RTÉ, has recorded albums, performed at home and in Britain, USA, China, Russia and Europe. Seán lives in Cork city. 



      Triskel Christchurch: 8pm Triskel Christchurch ‘Gals at Play’ Mary Greene, Anna Mitchell & Fiona Kennedy Tickets €25/ €23.50 Conc.

      Gals at Play

      Mary Greene is one third of and principle songwriter for the trio Greenshine. Her songs feature regularly in the Top 3 on RTÉ Radio 1’s Airplay Chart with her song ‘The Girl In The Lavender Dress’ reaching No. 1 and going on to be the second most played Irish track on the station for the year of its release. In her writing, Mary loves to explore the magic running just under the surface of everyday life and to find what good she can in every situation. To that end, she could be described as a realistic optimist. Her songs have been covered by Seán Keane and Kate Purcell and her song ‘Meet Me In The Garden’ featured prominently in Carrie Crowley’s directorial debut short film Waterway. As well as on Greenshine’s recordings, her voice can be heard on the tracks of Christy Moore, John Spillane, Frances Black, Mick Hanley and many more.

      “Greenshine have produced one great record after the next over the last couple of years,” – John Creedon, RTÉ Radio 1

      “Wow. Stunning song. Beautiful melody and words.” – Ron Sexsmith

      Fiona Kennedy is a singer-songwriter, recording artist & IRMA Award nominee. Her latest single ‘Where Else Would You Get It’, produced by Declan Sinnott (Mary Black/Christy Moore) has just been released and is an evocative memory of fly fishing with her father. The Cork based performer has released a succession of tracks, with a previous single ‘Place of my Resurrection’ going straight to number one in the iTunes Chart this year. Fiona worked with another Irish music industry heavyweight, guitarist Bill Shanley (Ray Davies/Gilbert O’Sullivan) on her last album The Beach and is currently working on a new album due for release in early 2022. An artist with a long track record, Fiona performed in the very early days of the Cork Folk Festival, with shows in The Country Club and the Metropole Hotel and is thrilled to be back playing in this iconic Festival for 2021.

      Anna Mitchell is a Cork=based singer and songwriter whose folky, country-soul tinged songs are drawn in by a unique, spine tingling voice. Anna has released two critically acclaimed solo albums, Down To The Bone (2014) and self-titled Anna Mitchell in (2018) and is also a part of the Some Rise Some Fall collective with releases in 2020.

      “If David Lynch were to reset Blue Velvet in the wilds of West Cork, then Anna Mitchell’s evocative, dark songs of life and love’s painful kiss would sit well on the soundtrack.  ★ ★ ★ ★” – The Irish Times


      All Weekend

      Hedge School Sessions

      – a series of secret open-air sessions organised to coincide with the folk fest at ,

      Saturday 2nd Oct 2pm St Peters Church with Desi McCabe, Garry Cronin & Mick Willis

      Sunday 3rd Oct The TestSite Kyrl’s Quay, 4-6pm in Association with Music Generation Cork City

      Other Sessions

      Thursday 30th Sept 7pm The Pier, Blackrock organised all summer by Douglas Comhaltas.

      Session pubs over the weekend include, An Spailpin Fanach & Sin E.

      send the folk Festival and we will advertise your sessions.

      Folk Festival Online, concerts with Garry Cronin (fiddle) & Mick Willis (piano) and Songs composed by John Murphy will be broadcast on Cork Community CLICK HERE  TV COMMUNITYTV.IE and Live on Facebook.

      St Peters Church Film Showing Margaret Barry Ceol na bhFánaithe. FREE

      Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Pinterest