Masters of Tradition

Masters of Tradition returns to Cork with a series of concerts in St Brendan’s Church and Bantry House 23 to 27 August. The festival celebrates Irish traditional music in its purest form and features a host of top Irish and international artists.

The festival has been widely praised, with Toner Quinn, fiddler and publisher of The Journal of Music saying it is: “Innovative in its programming, yet entirely committed to traditional music in its most direct, unvarnished form. For both listeners and performers, it is a rare and vital occasion in contemporary Irish music performance.”

Artistic Director of Masters of Tradition, 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.

The festival opens in the Maritime Hotel when fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill are joined by cellist 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 25 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 makes its Masters of Tradition debut. This Dublin-based trio combines roots in Nordic and Irish traditional music with minimalist and experimental influences.

On Saturday 26 August, singer Len Graham and storyteller Jack Lynch take to the Bantry House stage with fiddler and banjo player Cathal Hayden, guitarist 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. Ian Patterson wrote in All About Jazz: “Neil Ó Loclainn’s Cuar is redefining the possibilities of Irish traditional music and taking it… into haunting, imaginatively fertile new terrain.”

Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill and friends bring Masters of Tradition to a rousing finale on Sunday 27 August.

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

Tickets can be booked online at or by ringing the Festival office on +353 (0) 27 52788


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