Programme includes new commission by West Cork musicians The Casey Sisters

Cork Folk Festival launches its diverse musical programme today (11 September), which includes the first commission in its 39 year history.

Running from 3 – 7 October, over 15,000 people are expected to attend the 2018 Festival, which features 40 events including concerts, lectures, workshops, children’s events, and traditional set dancing. Tickets for all events are available at and in ProMusica, Oliver Plunkett Street.

A highlight will be a special performance at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral on the Festival’s opening night, with Corcach: A Journey, a new commission piece by renowned musicians The Casey Sisters.

Commemorating the founding of the Cork Folk Festival in 1979, harpist Máire Ní Chathasaigh and fiddle players Nollaig Casey and Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh will perform on the night. They will be joined by fellow Cork musicians, flute and fiddle player Johnny McCarthy and uilleann piper Eoin Ó RiabhaighFor full details, visit

Cork Folk Festival Director, William Hammond said: “Corcach: A Journey tells the story of the Cork Folk Festival, from its humble origins in the Phoenix Bar, that once stood on Union Quay, to what it now has become. Thirty-nine years ago, there were 13 concerts, now we have over 40 events, featuring both local and international musicians.

“This really is a festival for everyone to enjoy, regardless of your musical taste, and we invite everyone to come and sample what folk and traditional music has to offer.”

Further highlights include a performance by esteemed folk singer, Kate Rusby at the Cork Opera House with her band and special guests, accordion player and singer Séamus Begley and guitarist Jim Murray on 7 October.

Three of Ireland’s most influential instrumentalists, Paddy Keenan, Frankie Gavin and Dermot Byrne — also known as KGB — will be joined by fiddler Kevin Burke at the Triskel Arts Centre (5 October). The Tobin Street venue will also see sean-nós singing meet Portuguese Fado on 4 October, as TG4 Amhránaí na Bliana (Singer of the Year) Máire Ní Chéileachair and winner of 2014 Corn Uí Riada, Nell Ní Chróinín perform alongside Portuguese fadista, Claudia Aurora.

Two leading Cork singer-songwriters, John Spillane and Ger Wolfe will join multi-instrumentalist Hanora George in The Oliver Plunkett on 7 October. The only orchestra in the western world to play exclusively from memory, Dave Flynn’s Irish Memory Orchestra, will perform with special guest, accordionist Máirtín O’Connor, in CIT Cork School of Music on 6 October.

For families, the Food & Folk Open-air Food Market takes place at Emmet Place with music from the Abegondo Pipe & Dance Band from Galicia and UK-based fiddler Rowan Piggott, along with Cork’s own Craobh Dúglais Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ). There will be music and song from English folk singer Pete Coe, who will perform Tall Tales for Children at Cork City Children’s Library (6 October).

Acclaimed singer, Karen Casey will speak on the Fair Plé initiative to achieve gender balance in Irish traditional and folk music at St. Peter’s Cork (6 October), followed that same evening with Gals at Play, starring singer song-writers Mary Green, Lynda Cullen, Ellie Shine, Emma Langford and fiddle player Liz Kane at An Spailpín Fánach.

This year will also feature two Céilí Móra — at St Finbarr’s GAA, Togher with the Striolán Céilí Band (6 October) and Deerpark CBS with Cork-based traditional Irish music trio Arundó, Club Ceoil Ballyphehane, and Galicia’s Abegondo Pipe & Dance Band (7 October).

Cork Folk Festival is proudly supported by the Arts Council, Cork City Council, Fáilte Ireland, Cork Institute of Technology and RTÉ Supporting the Arts.

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