This concert series beganin the summer of 2010 in St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, Galway with the purpose of setting the standard for the presentation of traditional Irish music in Ireland. In 2011 the series expanded to two more venues: St. Mary’s Church, Killarney; and the Holy Trinity Church, Westport. Concerts are held over the summer months which feature both established and less well-known musicians. Each concert features a combination of traditional Irish musicians, singers, storytellers and dancers in an authentic and genuine fashion. By challenging the concept that the home of Irish music should be in a pub setting, this concert series provides an unparalleled environment and respectful platform in which traditional musicians can showcase their talents.
One of the aspects of this concert series that sets it apart from other formal traditional concerts is the element of interactive involvement by the audience; the audience and the performers are encouraged to engage with one another during the concert. For example, audience members are encouraged to participate in the experience by asking questions they may have for the performers, such as the background of their instruments, where they learned their music, and who or what influences their music. By allowing for open communication during the concerts, the barrier between the concept of ‘audience’ and ‘performer’ is challenged, therefore making each concert unique, fresh, and singularly authentic.
The interaction between the audience and the performers results in the audience learning some of the defining qualties of traditional Irish music. This includes hearing stories associated with certain tunes and tune names, as well as learning about how the living tradition is passed down from generation to generation. This natural approach gives an accurate reflection of the meaning of traditional Irish music and the process involved in the present living tradition and its connection to the past. Furthermore, it elicits the humour inherent in Irish culture and, for want of a better word, the ‘Irishness’ which is often lost in over produced shows.
St. Mary’s Churchis a beautiful 19th century church in the heart of Killarney, which serves a small eclectic community as well as tourists.
The windows, which in the main are painted rather than stained glass, attract both tourists and local people who come to view the windows and to pray.
At present the people of St. Mary’s are exploring ways in which to communicate aspects of faith through music the arts, and of course – the windows.
The church was constructed in its present form in 1870 on an ancient site that may be that of the old Church of “Airne” or more likely the Church of the Sloes, from which Killarney takes its name.
The building which we have today is the third known Church building on this site. The beautiful stained glass windows were added several years after the church was built. They are made up from scenes from the Bible. Many of the windows were given by the Herbert family, both from Muckross and Cahernane.
There is a list of Rectors of this Church dateing back to the Reformation. In 1611 Rev. I. Taylor became the first “Protestant” Rector. In 2007, Rev. Susan Watterson became the second female priest to the parish.
The Church of Ireland is in communion with the Church of England, the Episcopal Church of America, other members of the world-wide Anglical communion, the old Catholic Churches, the Methodist Church and the Lutheran Churches of the Porvoo Agreement.
Click here to visit the St. Mary’s Facebook page
To whom it may concern,I was delighted to be invited by Cormac Ó Beaglaoich to play in St. Nicholas’ Church, Galway on 21st July 2010 as part of a series of Traditional Irish Music Concerts organised by him. It was a joy of a gig to play from a musician’s point of view. The setting in a wing of the medieval church was very atmospheric. The gig was acoustic and very well attended on the night I played. The audience was a mix of local musicians, music followers and tourists. The connection with the crowd was quite tangible and warm. I performed on uilleann pipes along with a concertina player and a sean nós singer. During my set I decided to explain the mechanics of the pipes and this was followed by a number of audience members asking questions about them – not the kind of interaction that happens in your usual gig.
I also attended several of the other gigs in the series last summer as an audience member and had the chance to enjoy the experience from the other side of the fence. Perfect attention is paid to the performers and it is right that people get the chance to hear the finest of traditional musicians and singers in such a setting. People from continental Europe in particular would be quite used to hearing music performed in old churches and it gives the music a status and respect it deserves. The music presented is “the real thing” and not dressed up for tourists in any way – like a lot of what is available in hotels and pubs around Galway and indeed the rest of the country.
I would have no hesitation in recommending the St. Nicholas’ series of Traditional Irish Music Concerts to anybody living in or visiting Galway. They deserve to be supported in any way possible.
12th January 2011
An Trian Láir