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Declan Mccarthy

Fiddle Fair 2011




After the tremendous success of last year our biggest worry was "how on earth are we going to match that for 2008?" But we're absolutely delighted to have secured an amazing line-up for this year and we have no doubts that Fiddle Fair 2008 will be better than ever.

Some old favourites return and some new acts who haven't been here before and a few who are making their first ever visit to Ireland

We will present a dozen top class acts from Ireland and around the world in a series of concerts at our beautiful intimate venues, The West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen, the Glebe Gardens Amphitheatre, and the ancient Dún na Séad Castle in Baltimore

We will also be hosting workshops and sessions all weekend at the many picturesque settings in and around our beautiful village.

Concert Series:

Thursday 8th West Cork Hotel 9pm: 
Annbjørg Lien with Bjørn Ole Rasch & Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh with Manus Lunny

We've never had a Norwegian musician at the Fiddle Fair before and Annbjørg Lien is considered to be their finest exponent of the Hardanger fiddle so we are delighted that she's going to open this year's festival, she will be accompanied by Bjørn Ole Rasch for what promises to be a truly magical concert

The beautiful Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh from Donegal has been down to the Fiddle Fair many times with her legendary band Altan. She's currently working on a solo album with Manus Lunny of Capercaille fame and we're thrilled that they'll be performing some of this new material for us on the opening night

Friday 9th West Cork Hotel 9pm: 
Bríd Harper with Marty Meehan & PJ McDonald & Darol Anger's Republic of Strings

Bríd Harper is a mythical figure in the traditional world and is regarded by many musicians as being Ireland's finest fiddler. She will be making a rare live appearance on the Friday night and will be joined by flautist Marty Meehan and guitarist PJ McDonald

Darol Anger has long been recognised as one of America's most influential fiddlers and one of his many current projects is the wonderful Republic of Strings - an amazing quintet featuring Darol, and Brittany Hass on fiddle, Scott Nygard on guitar, Tristan Claridge on Cello, and Crooked Still's Aoife O' Donavon on vocals. Unbelievably this will be Darol's first ever show in Ireland

Saturday 10th Dún na Séad Castle 12.30pm: 
Aoife and Deirdre Granville

Aoife Granville is a multi instrumentalist from Dingle in Co. Kerry. She's been down at the fiddle fair many times but this is her first concert. She plays fiddle and flute and will be accompanied by her sister Deirdre on the harp

Saturday 10th Glebe Gardens Amphitheatre 3pm: 
The Polskadots

The Polskadots are a 5-piece Cork based band led by the amazing Finnish fiddler Marja Tuhkannen. When they appeared at Fiddle Fair 06 they charmed everybody with their magical mix of tunes from Finland to Argentina and beyond. We're delighted to have them back again

* Please note that the Amphitheatre concerts are weather dependant and will be relocated if necessary but the sun always shines at the Fiddle Fair

Saturday 10th West Cork Hotel 9pm: 
Jerry Holland with John Doyle & Berroguetto

Two amazing acts for the Saturday night concert this year

The legendary Jerry Holland is widely recognised as being Cape Breton's greatest fiddler and is famous amongst fiddlers everywhere for his wonderful compositions and electrifying playing.

He'll be joined by guitar genius John Doyle who is making a concerted effort to beat the Fiddle Fair record for most successive appearances at the festival

We've always wanted to have a Galician band at the Fiddle Fair and as usual we went after the very best.

Berroguetto have been playing to rave reviews around the world for the past 10 years yet have never been to Ireland. This 7-piece band will rock the house with their heady mix of beautiful tunes and breathtaking vocals

Sunday 11th Dún na Séad Castle 1pm: 
Michelle O’Brien & Leonard Barry

Michelle O' Brien from County Clare makes her 2nd Fiddle Fair appearance and this time she will be joined by Kerryman Leonard Barry.

This dynamic young fiddle and uileann pipes duo make wonderful music and should get the last day of the festival off to a rousing start

Sunday 10th Glebe Gardens Amphitheatre 3pm: 
Caoimhà n Ó Raghallaigh & Breanndán Begley With special guest Jeremy Irons

Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh is rapidly becoming one of Ireland's favourite fiddlers with a wonderful style and understanding of the tradition. Himself and another Kerryman, (what are we doing?), Breannd´n Begley have recently recorded an album together and play magical music which might have come from the fairies.

Caoimhín has been involved in a new television series, to be broadcast later this year, for TG4 where 8 celebrities have been learning to play traditional music. He has been teaching our neighbour Jeremy Irons to play the fiddle and Jeremy will be joining the lads on stage to make his fiddle-playing debut. Long accustomed to the strains of Opening Nights in his illustrious acting career, he claims never to have been more nervous

* Please note that the Amphitheatre concerts are weather dependant and will be relocated if necessary but the sun always shines at the Fiddle Fair

Sunday 11th West Cork Hotel 9pm: 
Tim Kliphuis Trio & Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill

Tim Klipuis from Holland plays fiddle in the style of Stefan Grapelli and this will be another Fiddle Fair first because we've never featured jazz on the fiddle before. This trio are sure to get the finale concert off to a great start.

To bring down the curtain on Fiddle Fair 2008 we are delighted to welcome back Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill.

Even though they're regular visitors to West Cork, it's 10 years since they opened Fiddle Fair 98 and in that time they've gone on to establish themselves as arguably the most sought after traditional act on the planet.

The programme of Fiddle Fair Workshops featuring Annbjørg Lien, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Darol Anger, Jerry Holland, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, John Doyle, Brendan Begley and more will be posted next week.

I hope you agree that this is a very exciting line-up and I'm sure there'll be a large demand for tickets so to avoid disappointment book them now and hopefully we'll see you down here in a few short weeks.

All the best,









Originally conceived as a reason to entice Nigel Kennedy to come and play in Baltimore, the festival has played host to musicians and audiences from all over the globe, as well as every corner of Ireland.

The festival could not continue without the generous assistance of  our sponsors. Due to their help, we are able to bring world-renowned artists to the small stage of a small bar in a small village on the tip of West Cork, and put on a programme which would be the envy of any traditional festival in any major city in the world In fact, it is probably the intimate setting that is the main attraction. The only real challenge that faces us is to maintain the exceptionally high standard of the previous year’s Fair.




declan mccarthy   



vince milne


weds afternoon session

weds afternoon




Below is an article from the Irish Emigrant  online.

Fiddle Fair
(Live at) Declan McCarthy's Baltimore

Featuring: Cathal Hayden, Dezi Donnelly, Nollaig Casey, Liz Doherty, Matt Cranitch, Liz Kane, Russels House, At the Racket, Michael McGoldrick, Dermot McGloughlin and more.

"Fiddle Fair", recorded at a festival in Baltimore, harnesses the energy of a live audience.
There is some significance to my choice for our inaugural CD review... this recording bears the hallmarks of what we would like this column to bring to you: an interesting mix of tune and song, high calibre of musicianship and performance, and evidence of the living tradition - music both old and newly penned. In addition "Fiddle Fair", recorded at a week long festival in the village of Baltimore, has the energy that only a live and enthusiastic audience can bring. The liner notes tell us there was little, if any, post-production editing to the recording. So special kudos must go to the sound engineers, Morgan McCarthy and Billy Robinson, who managed to get such a clean sound.

As the occasion of this recording was a fiddle festival, it bears a wealth of tunes, and not all of them hard core traditional. Composers such as Liz Carroll ("The Air Tune"), Donald Shaw ("Hip agus Hop"), and the prolific Ed Reevy ("Tribute to Michael Coleman") are interpreted by master fiddlers, Liz Doherty, Michael McGoldrick, Liz Kane along side traditional reels, jigs, airs and hornpipes equally rendered by maestros Dezi Donnelly, Matt Cranitch, Nollaig Casey, and Dermott McLoughlin. The Kane sisters' set features "Leaving Brittany" which effortlessly swings into a gorgeous "Pernod Waltz". Cathal Hayden, Brian McGrath and Eamon McElholm play "The Homeruler Hornpipe" with a lyric quality that makes you want to close your eyes and sway to the swing of it. They ramp up to "Maud Miller's Reel" with a tasteful balance of solid tempo and surprising ornamentation. Nollaig Casey and Arty McGlynn artfully tackle the exotic 9/8 rhythms of "Mominsko Hero" and the combo of Matt Cranitch, Mick Daly and Dave Hennessy, brings us some fine jigs, "Humour of Glendart" and Mulvihills", masterfully executed.

If you are big into singing, this might be a disappointing recording as it features only three songs. But they reflect a blending of old and new. Unfortunately, the liner notes are spare and it is difficult to credit the singer from the information given. However, I will mention that Mick Daly gives a lovely rendition of Richard Thompson's "Waltzing's For Dreamers" and "Willie Rambler" by At the Racket has a fresh ingenuous quality that can only be captured at a live performance.

For those of you who want to get the feel of a summer music festival as winter nights begin to close in, this recording might be just what you need. And once you've listened for awhile, you might want to put next year's Fiddle Fair on your calendar. It happens in May - and while the dates aren't published as of this printing, you can find the details, when they're ready, at McCarthy's web site.

Ordinarily, I would post the links to the artist's web site but in this case there are to many musicians to research. The good news is that Google works just fine for most of these folks if they have a web site for you to find.

Many thanks to Jimmy Noonan of Noonan's Irish Music Shop, who brought this recording to my attention.


Music Corner Editor