08 Aug 2022

Ardara, home to the biggest little festival in Ireland

The Cup of Tae, one of many popular festivals in Donegal’s 'festival town'

Ardara, home to the biggest little festival in Ireland

If it's music you want - come to Ardara!!!

Often called the biggest little festival in Ireland, the Cup of Tae Festival in Ardara is in many respects is like a fleadh, with the fun, humour and atmosphere, but without the pressure of competition.

Like the famous Christy Moore song, you never know who'd be hanging about. You could meet anyone from the world of music at the Cup of Tae Festival.

A wonderful festival not to be missed, the 2017 Cup of Tae runs in May every year.

The festival started back in 2001, when some people felt that the whole ethos of south Donegal fiddle playing was at risk, hence the much emphasis on the schools of music at the Cup of Tae Festival.

This year, back in May, the 2017 Cup of Tae in Ardara saw one of Donegal's great young fiddle tutors and players, Ciaran Ó Maonaigh,  taking the master class, ably accompanied by this year's special guest Martin McGinley, one of the best-known musicians of his time.

It was a great opportunity for anyone interested in fiddle playing to come along to be taught by these great masters of the fiddle. Donna Harkin took charge of classes in other instruments as usual.

100th birthday

This year (2017) the area celebrated the 100th birthday of the late Packie Manus Byrne. His friend James Keeney presented a show in The Corner House Bar in his memory on the Saturday evening where many of Packie's friends and fellow musicians participated. This was followed at 9pm by an excellent concert in the Beehive Bar with Ciaran Ó Maonaigh and friends, it proved a must for lovers of traditional music.

2017 saw many recitals in The Heritage Centre. There was a wonderful selection of sheet music organised for each pub during The Cup of Tae festival weekend.

The concerts at the weekend are always a must, this year the opening concert honoured Martin McGinley. A huge array of top musicians performed at this concert.

The Saturday night had two concerts, The Packie Manus and The Ciaran Ó Maonaigh concerts. The fiddle concert, the ever popular John The Tae concert, was held in The Heritage Centre on Sunday night at 8.30pm, where all the young musicians, the guest of honour and the cream of the crop will performed.

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