I have just finished a great weeks teaching and peforming at the Catskills Irish Arts Week. This week is held once a year, around the same time in July, and it's brilliant. It gets me warmed up for the Fleadh in Sligo, Ireland, which starts on the 9th Aug and goes on until to the 16th.
The Catskills Irish Arts week is a summer school of classes for Irish music, song, dance, Irish language, knitting, and wall building.
This year celebrated "Mna na hÉireann" or "Women of Ireland". There were some very prominent traditional Irish musicians over from Ireland, such as, Mary Bergin, Kathleen Loughnane, Edel Fox, Eileen O'Brian Minogue and many more. We had Cherish the Ladies play on the Friday night celeberating 30 years of being together and I had the pleasure of being invited to sing on stage with the Cherish ladies on Saturday.
The week was full of sessions in the bars, concerts in the Pavilian, Ceili's in the Shamrock bar and of course the craic outside the Shamrock each night was priceless.
The great thing about this week is that you meet people you would not have met since last year's festival and of course, you meet new friends too.
The standard of music and musicianship from the young American kids is unbelieveable, but also the musicianship from all of those who have lived all their lives in America is top class.
I was at the launch of Dylan Foley and Dan Gurney's new CD in the Blackthorn during the Arts week, and oh boy, but we were supplied with top class music.
So, I must say, I am now ready for Fleadh Cheol na hÉireann, which is being held in my County of Sligo, in the town of Sligo, of which I am very proud.
This will be the second year that Sligo has hosted the Fleadh and from all reports, it was one of the best Fleadh's ever. OK I hear some of you say, what the hell is she talking about, What is a Fleadh? Well it is only the biggest celebration of Irish culture held on the island of Ireland. Last year it drew an estmated 350,000 people to Sligo town.
The week begins with classes for all who want to take them, in music, singing on all instrunments. Throughout the week, there are sessions everywhere, concerts, talks, TV programme's and the atmosphere is great. The weekend finishing the Fleadh is where all the excitement is, because people compete in their age groups, on their instrunments or singing, dancing or in duets, trio's or ceili bands. Young and old come from all over the world to compete or just sit and listen and believe me, you get great music and intertainment for a small price.
But the thing about the week is that you can take off and explore the county. Sligo is a beautiful county with it's mountains, beaches, beautiful forest walks, and easy to get to islands.
So if you are thinking about going to a festival, make your way to Sligo from the 9th Aug to 16th.
If you have taken your vacation for this year, then consider coming home with me to Ireland in 2016. Check out www.SecretIrelandToursLLC.com, have a look at the list of tours we are advertising for 2016, pick your tour and dates, then pay your deposit, which secure's your place, sit back and relax, knowing that your tour is being looked after. You just need to pay your balance 60 days before the start of your tour date, book your flight and we look after you when you get to Ireland. Music, singing, dancing, siteseeing, and general good fun.
You won't regret it.