Home Street musicians The traditional Cootehill weekend continues with Briste

The traditional Cootehill weekend continues with Briste

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Alison Crossey, Emma Robinson and Joanna Boyle together form the impressive Briste.

The three-year break is over and Cootehill is once again reveling in the 16th Gerry Whelan Memorial Weekend – an uplifting and joyous celebration of traditional Irish music, dance, song and storytelling.

Although firmly established in the city’s annual calendar, the festival has been suspended in the face of the unprecedented challenge of Covid.

However, the organizers have a packed program of cultural activities and entertainment to end the Cootehill summer in a memorable and uplifting way.

Commemorating the late Gerry Whelan, local captain of industry and longtime supporter of tradition and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the festival has steadily grown in attendance and popularity until its previous outing in 2019.

The fun began last night with a commemorative concert and official opening featuring Tyrone’s All-Ireland winner Blackwater Céilí Band and a host of other talented local artists and guests.

The quality entertainment continues with a CD launch by the famous group Briste. Bringing together the musical talents of Alison Crossey (bodhran, guitar) and Emma Robinson (flute and whistles), both from Lurgan, and Joanna Boyle from Glaslough (banjo and songs), they will perform at the West End Bar tonight , Saturday at 9 p.m.; and a two-hour afternoon show by band RU4 Reel from Monaghan will close the festivities on the Market Street concert platform at ‘Hub Muinchille’, the former Ulster Bank premises, on Sunday 11 September 15 hours.

The town of Cootehill will be bustling over the weekend, with planned and impromptu sessions setting the pubs ablaze with local and visiting musicians.

Other events that will add to this rich cultural tapestry will include song and storytelling sessions, the ever-popular ‘Caint agus Comhrá’ Irish conversation, street music, recitals and the Folk Club Festival.

For anyone, young or old, interested in learning an instrument or improving their skills, workshops with accomplished exhibitors on the fiddle, button accordion, whistle/flute and banjo/mandolin can also be offered.

See gerrywhelanweekend.com or search it on Facebook for details on all of the above; also call Loreto McMenamin (087 858 6773) or Sandra Sherlock (087 772 3595) for concert tickets or workshop bookings, or for general enquiries.