Cork Folk Festival To Celebrate And Reflect For 40th Anniversary

Over 20,000 folk music enthusiasts will attend the 40th Cork Folk Festival this weekend, running from 3 – 6 October. Celebrating 40 years of the very best of Irish traditional as well as Irish and international folk music, this year is also reflective as the 2019 Festival pays tribute to one of its founders, the late Timmy ‘the Brit’ McCarthy.

The Festival features over 50 free and ticketed events in venues across Cork city, including concerts, lectures, workshops, an open-air market and traditional Irish set-dancing. For more information visit

Festival Organiser, William Hammond said: “Timmy ‘the Brit’ McCarthy was regarded as one of the most experienced set dance instructors in Ireland. Having discovered traditional set dancing in the 1980s, Timmy travelled rural Ireland in search of those nearly forgotten dances, which he learned and shared with his students, both at home and abroad, with love, lore and passion.

“Even though Timmy didn’t take an active part in running the Cork Folk Festival in recent years, he was always regarded as the Festival’s spiritual director by the committee. We are delighted to dedicate this year’s Cork Folk Festival to our dear friend Timmy, as we celebrate 40 years of the very best in Irish and international traditional music, song and dance. So, come along, and bring your dancing shoes — there are sets to be danced.”

Dedicated to the memory of Timmy ‘the Brit’ McCarthy, Eoin ‘Stan’ O’Sullivan, Bryan O’Leary, Niamh Ní Charra, Matt Cranitch, Jackie Daly and special guest Liz Doherty will celebrate the music of Sliabh Luachra in the Kino on Friday. Also, in the Kino, a Dancing Tribute to Timmy the Brit will take place on Saturday where people can learn reel, polka and Sliabh Luachra sets with the Club Ceoil Set Dancers.

The FolkFest@40 Celebration Concert in the Cork Opera House will close the Festival on Sunday, with renowned singers and musicians Iarla Ó Lionáird & Steve Cooney, Zoe Conway, Dónal Lunny & Máirtín O’ConnorMartin & Eliza Carthy, Nollaig Casey & Arty McGlynn, Matt Cranitch & Jackie Daly and Caoimhe & Eimhear Flannery, with Pat Butler as fear an tí.

The Festival kicks off on Thursday with a diverse range of concerts including Greenshine & Granny’s Attic at An Spailpín Fánach, The Diviners &Dragonhead at The Roundy, and the Céilí Mór with Ger Murphy and Ken Cotter at the Douglas GAA Club. On Friday The Oliver Plunkett Bar will feature a traditional concert with Karan Casey, Niall Vallely, Niamh Dunne, Sean Óg Graham, Steve Turner, Conal Ó Gráda, Máire Ní Ghráda and Tomás Dunne, and Triskel Christchurch will present the legendary Andy Irvine.

Dougie MacLean, who wrote the iconic song Caledonia, and Cork singer-songwriter Ger Wolfe will perform in Triskel Christchurch, and the renowned Martin and Eliza Carthy, Siobhán Peoples, Blackie O’Connell, Cyril O’Donoghue, Dermot Byrne and Yvonne Casey will take to the stage in An Spailpín Fánach, both on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, the Food & Folk Open-Air Food Market at Emmett Place will present a mix of traditional music and dance groups from around the world. The Flute & Whistle and Concertina recitals will take place in the Spailpín Fánach, along with a Sliabh Luachra Tunes workshop at CIT School of Music, and a Try the Pipes Day with Na Píobairí Uilleann, Music Generation and Creative Tradition in the Cork City Library.

Further dedicated recitals include the Box Concert, presented by Con O’Drisceoil in An Spailpín Fánach and the Fiddle Styles Concert in The Oliver Plunkett, taking place on Sunday. There will be a tribute concert to the late Chris Twomey by his former band the Lee Valley String Band with Niall Toner in an Spailpín Fánach, and two of Cork’s greatest balladeers John Spillane and Jimmy Crowley will take to the stage in The Oliver Plunkett.

Cork Folk Festival is proudly supported by the Cork City Council, The Arts Council, Fáilte Ireland, Cork Institute of Technology and RTÉ Supporting the Arts. For full details on all events visit

For more stories like this sign up for our Insights newsletter ›




Put a spring in your step, and sign up below to receive our newsletter

Springboard Communications
CRO 529581