The Banjo Festival musicians

Saint John the Gambler

Saint John the Gambler play exciting Alt-Gypsy-Swing music with a dance-inducing spirit. This Dublin-based band have melded sounds from bygone eras and distant lands with modern songwriting to create a bluesy gypsy piracy. Their energetic shows have built SJG a reputation as the “must-see” band at every festival around.

Moron Brothers

The Moron Brothers are a Bluegrass duo from Kentucky that wear overalls and do some pickin’ and grinnin’ while singing comical songs. Their hits include the famous lyric “If my nose was running money honey, I’d blow it all on you.” Don’t be fooled – this is great bluegrass from great talents.

Bog Standard String Band

Derek Copley (Banjo,vocals) and Ais Conway Keogh (Fiddle), who charmed us all last year with the Greasy Coat String Band, team up with Clew Bay Critters Tim Rodgers (Mandolin) and Ben Keogh(guitar) to provide some exquisite Oldtimey songs and tunes. Anything but bog standard!

Full Throttle

No limits for this energetic local line-up! Kirby brothers David (accordion) and Jamie (banjo/mandolin) belt out the melodies, with Stephen (Sods) O’Dea on guitar and vocals and Elaine Ryan on guitar, bodhrán and vocals. You’ll be entertained with famous ballads, country favourites, traditional tunes and some funky twists in a rousing performance.

Banjaxed Bluegrass Band

This Limerick-based band are the mainstay of bluegrass in the Treaty city. Leo Hayes (vocals, guitar), Bill Foster (5-string banjo player, harmony vocals), Ger O’Donnell (double bass, vocals, harmony), Joanna Hyde(fiddle), Maria Ryan(fiddle) and Karin Hickey (fiddle, vocals) play it like it, with heart, a smile, and no shortage of talent.

John Nyhan & friends

The well-travelled singer/guitarist/impresario John Nyhan is a rock of the festival who always brings with him the best of musicians, from the Rebel County and beyond. Be prepared for lots of stories, songs, and mighty tunes to keep a smile on your face, and be ready to join in!

Gale Force 3

Gerry Phelan (Banjo) and his daughter Niamh (flute, fiddle) have been playing with Liam Leahy (Guitar, bouzouki) for a few years, and this year launched their debut CD “Are you listening now?”. With three very different voices, their set includes rousing singalong songs, plaintive laments and ballads, foot-tapping traditional tunes, and the occasional surprise.

Sixmilebridge Folk Club Band

The Sixmilebridge Folk Club has had regular sessions running in the Bridge, Kilkishen and Bunratty for many years now, and the core of the musicians involved also enjoy performing as a band. The trad sound at the core of the band is complemented by folk, bluegrass and occasional country nuumbers

Tourism slowly on the rise

This year is turning into another boom year for the Irish tourist industry, with some of the country's top tourist attractions seeing more visitors come through their doors than in 2013.

Last year was a bumper year for tourism here, with The Gathering - a series of festivals which encouraged the diaspora to return to Ireland - helping to boost visitor numbers.

That momentum is continuing, with some of the country's top attractions seeing visitor numbers up about 10pc so far this year. Many are also seeing a pick-up in British visitors for the first time since the recession.

The appetite for medieval banquets has remained flat over the last year. About 165,000 tourists visited Bunratty Castle in the first seven months of this year - which is on a par with last year. "The trend is for a poor start to the year and getting better as the year goes on," said John Ruddle, chief executive of Shannon Heritage. "The number of visitors in July was 7pc better than 2013. There are more international visitors around generally, but they are more cautious about spending."

Bunratty to star on Indian TV

A major Indian travel TV channel, travelxp HD, has been filming in Ireland this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. They were here to record some of the unique experiences that their viewers can enjoy while on holiday in Ireland.

The travel programme, which will air this autumn, will be seen by more than ten million viewers across India who have a passion for travel and adventure. During their time in Bunratty, the crew captured footage at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland’s head of Australia and developing markets, said: “We are delighted that travelxp HD agreed to come and film in Ireland, showcasing some of the unique experiences Indian holidaymakers can enjoy here. Travel programmes such as this are an excellent way for Tourism Ireland to get positive exposure for the island of Ireland in India.”

The crew also captured footage in Dublin (at Phoenix Park, Malahide Castle, Howth, St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Chester Beatty Library); in Limerick (at King John’s Castle and the Hunt Museum); in Co Clare (the Burren Smokehouse, a surf lesson in Lahinch and an evening of traditional Irish music in Doolin); and in Galway (at Dunguaire Castle, Moran’s Oyster Cottage in Kilcolgan and in Galway city and Connemara) while on their visit.

The travelxpHD team in Lahinch watching TV presenter Olivia Cox receiving a surfing lesson from Ben Bennett of Ben's Surf Clinic.  


Traditional Harvest Day

Harvest Day will take place on September 28th 2014

Why don't you join us to celebrate the gathering of the harvest at Bunratty Folk Park, and see the traditions of a typical 19th century harvest day. 

On Harvest Sunday at Bunratty Folk Park you will expereince a flavour of rural Irish life of over 100 years ago. Owners of vintage tractors and machinery come from far and wide to proudly display display their wares.  The Bean a Ti’ (Woman of the house) demonstrates the art of bread baking and butter making and generously offer you delicious tastings. The village school master greets the children and as they hand over their customary sod of turf for the tiny school room fire. Relax with a drink in Mac’s Pub while you soak up the atmosphere of the musicians and the Strawboys performing in the Village Street during the afternoon. All are welcome to enjoy traditional storytelling by the resident Seanachai, the music and dancing, the sheaf throwing demonstrations and the Tug of War.  

A full listing of events and the times for each will be on view at the reception to Bunratty Folk Park Normal Admission rates apply. Special family tickets will be available. No reservations necessary.

Bunratty Banjo Festival 2014

The Bunratty Business Association in conjunction with Sixmilebridge Folk Club presents the second annual musical event. The event is scheduled for September 27th and 28th. Aimed at musicians and listeners the festival will celebrate the diversity of the Banjo. Visiting musicians are invited to join in the many “Fleadh Style” sessions which are free to the public from noon on Saturday in Bunratty Village. These will feature, Irish traditional musicians as well as Bluegrass, Dixieland Jazz, Oldtimey, American Roots and folk music.

There is an international and national line up of artists and bands from a wide range of music genres. There will be a blend of Traditional Irish, Jazz, Oldtimey, Bluegrass, Folk and much more. Last years musicians included the likes of Cathal Hayden & Jamie O'Dowd, The Banjaxed Bluegrass Band, The Kellehers and Galeforce.

More to follow….

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 Bunratty...the ideal place to explore the west