Balladeers to unite for for annual festival

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

A SPECIAL tribute will be paid to one of Ireland’s greatest ever short story writers in Abbeyfeale next weekend during a three-day celebration of traditional song and music.

A SPECIAL tribute will be paid to one of Ireland’s greatest ever short story writers in Abbeyfeale next weekend during a three-day celebration of traditional song and music.

The fourth annual Garry McMahon singing weekend takes place from November 2 to 4, which is held in memory of the famed writer, poet and composer who passed away in 2008.

This year, the festival will feature a special tribute to Garry’s father Bryan MacMahon, the celebrated Listowel playwright and story teller who penned The Red Petticoat and The Master among other works.

The festival was launched by members of the West Limerick Singing Club, as well as Garry’s family and friends, at the Ramble Inn in Abbeyfeale last Thursday.

This year’s event will begin next Friday, November 2 at 8pm at the Ramble Inn with an official launch by Senator Labhras O Murchu of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, followed by singing sessions in the Ramble Inn and Leens Hotel.

On Saturday, St Ita’s Hall will host free ballad workshops between 10.30am and 1pm, with tutors Joe O’Connor and Dick Beamish, while at 4pm the winners of the newly composed ballad competition will be announced at the Ramble Inn.

Saturday evening will also feature singing sessions at the Ramble Inn and Leens Hotel from 9.30pm.

On Sunday following Mass at the Church of the Assumption in Abbeyfeale the local choir, directed by Dee Dennison, will sing Aifreann na Riocht, which was composed by Garry McMahon.

A tribute to the late Bryan McMahon, father of Garry MacMahon and one of Ireland’s most acclaimed short story writers and playwrights, will take place at Leens from 2pm.

The weekend will come to a close with a farewell singing session at the Ramble Inn from 6.30pm until late.