Traditional festival is celebrating its 20th year

August 19th, 2022 3:30 PM

By Dylan Mangan

Fiddler Martin Hayes says that the intimacy of the festival brings the music to new levels.

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THE ever-popular Masters of Tradition festival is returning to West Cork for its special 20th anniversary celebration at the end of this month.

Festival organisers say they are very excited to be back once again, and that they aim to ‘journey to the heart of Irish music and provide a platform where subtle elements of the music can be heard.’

Living up to their name, the festival will once again be headlined by its artistic director Martin Hayes, the renowned fiddler from Clare, who says that the intimacy of the festival brings the music to new levels.

‘Inside traditional music is a significant mastery,’ Martin said. ‘This is something you might not notice at a big outdoor event or in a corner of a noisy bar. In this environment, it is possible to bring people inside a very intimate and detailed experience of the music. This was an experience I had growing up myself and I want to share that with people.’

Martin will be joined for the opening concert in the Maritime Hotel by Cork pianist Cormac McCarty, accordion player Brian Donnellan, dancer Stephanie Keane and sean-nós singer Saileog NíCheannabháin.

The renowned Kathryn Tickell Trio from Northumberland are set to play in St Brendan’s Church on Thursday August 25th and the Bantry House concerts open on Friday August 26th, with fiddler Sorcha Costello and pianist Catherine McHugh joined by Lorcán MacMathúna, fiddler Daire Bracken and pianist and accordionist Martin Tourish. Late night audiences can catch uilleann piper David Power with violinist Marja Gaynor and Flamenco guitarist John Walsh.

Secret concerts are also planned in local venues including Future Forests in Kealkil, as well as a series of talks in Bantry’s oldest pub, Ma Murphy’s. Masters of Tradition takes place in Bantry from August 24th-28th, with a wide variety of acts and events taking place over the course of five days.

• A full programme is available at

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