Traditional Music at Galway International Arts Festival

Seán Smyth, who plays Monroe’s in Galway on 13 July.

Traditional Music at Galway International Arts Festival

39th festival features a mix of concerts, lunchtime showcases and talks on traditional music.

A concert by fiddler Seán Smyth, Dónal Dineen’s The Pipes, The Pipes, The Gloaming, and a talk on rebel songs and identity by Terry Moylan, are some of the traditional music highlights at this year’s Galway International Arts Festival, which takes place on 11–24 July.

Smyth, founding fiddle-player with Lúnasa, will be joined by accordionist Alan Kelly, percussionist Jim Higgins and guitarist Jim Murray  on Wednesday 13 July. The concert takes place at Monroe’s Live at 9pm.

The longstanding traditional music showcases at lunchtime are also taking place in Monroe’s: fiddler Mick Conneely and guests on Thursday 14 July; Mary Shannon, Garry O’Briain & Mary Staunton on Friday 15th, and old-time band from Clare, The Higglers (Lena Ullman, Brendan Hearty, Paul Johnson and Frank Hall) on Saturday 16th; then The Whileaways (singers Noriana Kennedy, Nicola Joyce and Noelie Mc Donnell) on Thursday 21 July; Siobhán Peoples, Murty Ryan & Brian Mooney on Friday 22; and Conor Byrne & Mick O’Brien on 23 July.

Also on Saturday 23 July is a talk by Peadar Ó Riada on music and identity at the Aula Maxima in NUI Galway at 6pm, and Terry Moylan discussing rebel songs and identity at 4pm in Monroe’s. 

On Saturday 16 July at St Nicholas’ Church, Dónal Dineen presents The Pipes, The Pipes, a music and live art performance featuring uilleann pipers Padraig McGovern, Leonard Barry and Maitiú Ó Casaide with live art by Lionel Palun and Dineen. Premiered in 2015, Dermot McLaughlin wrote in The Journal of Music that the work was ‘a challenging new open space for the uilleann pipes, emphasising sensation and experience over art form or tradition or genre.’

The Sharon Shannon Big Band, We Banjo 3, and The Gloaming also perform at this year’s GIAF, on 12, 13 and 22 July respectively. The Gloaming concert, with support from Lisa O’Neill, has been sold out for several weeks.

For details of all music events at GIAF, visit

Published on 28 June 2016

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