MMTradfest 2019: Sun Shines on Ireland’s biggest Tradfest in Mayo

The sun seemed to follow this year’s 2019 Mayo Manchester Tradfest on its tour around County Mayo for the week long 7th annual festival

Minister Michael Ring and Tony Hennigan from Mayo Manchester front row with SEnatot Michelle Mulherin 2nd row at Mayo Manchester launch

The sun seemed to follow this year’s 2019 Mayo Manchester Tradfest on its tour around County Mayo for the week long 7th annual festival which ran from Thursday 1 August to Wednesday 7 August.

Tony Hennigan from Mayo Manchester commented “It’s been a great week again in Mayo, someone must have been looking out for us when we managed to perform all our shows in bright sunshine, the rain showers seemed to just break out after we had finished. The festival could not have happened without all our sponsors and supporters in the UK and Ireland, these include; St Kent’s Irish Club, the Levenshulme Pub Company, Rosgal Civil Engineering,, Ballina Council, Centra Enniscrone and Centra Castlebar,  Breaffy House Hotel,  Ireland West Airport, Achill Head Hotel, Davys Tool and Lawnmower hire in Ballina, The Cot and Cobble Restaurant and Bar, The Dolphin Hotel and Mulhern’s Bar and Restaurant in Crossmolina and Tarbh47 music venue in Ballina.”

The festival was launched in bright sunshine on Thursday 1 August in the rural parish of Attymass in North Mayo by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD from Westport, Mayo together with Ballina Senator Michelle Mulherin and the Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil, Ballina TD Dara Calleary and local Councillor John O’Hara. The opening event featured a two hour live radio broadcast by the award winning Midwest Radio and a host of award winning musicians, singers and Dancers. On the same evening the festival staged a Moonlight outdoor launch concert at Breaffy House Hotel in Castlebar.

The festival then headed West to the beautiful Achill Island on Friday 2 August to enjoy another day of bright sunshine to stage a sunset concert at the Achill Head Hotel with the Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band to celebrate their 71st anniversary with Irish singer songwriter Joe Keegan and flute player John Gibson, the evening was hosted by Alan Keegan from Manchester United. During their stay on the Island they met the internationally famous photo journalist David Ponton and his wife Belinda Mundy from Australia who kindly photographed the group in Purteen Harbour.Achill Head Hotel, David Ponton, Belinda Mundy, Joe Keegan, John Gibson

 On Saturday 3 August on the same day that Mayo beat Donegal in the All Ireland clash in Castlebar, the festival staged their 7th sell-out Gala concert at the Ballina Arts Centre. The concert featured the award winning singers Sina Theil (Ireland’s hottest New Country Act), Shauna O’Boyle (Crossmolina Festival) and Joe Keegan from the BBC TV show The Voice along with musicians John Gibson and Fidelma O’Brien. Along with the Connacht Fleadh champions – The Foxford Brass Band, The Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band, Centre Stage Vocal Academy and the fantastic Turley Duggan Dance Academy.

Ballina Arts Centre Foxford Brass Band MMTradfest

Sunday 4th August saw the group head to East Mayo to launch the 101st Claremorris Agricultural show in bright sunshine with Minister Michael Ring before the heavens opened after their performances. The group made a surprise visit to the Bonnifinglas sports day back home at their base in Attymass in North Mayo.

The Bank holiday Monday saw the group officially launch the 70th Bonniconlon show in front of 30,000 people in North Mayo in bright sunshine again. The performance was sponsored by the Cot and Cobble in Ballina which the band made a surprise visit to after their gig at the Bonniconlon show to thank owner Mary Moyles and to entertain her staff and customers enjoying their Sunday Carvery at the very popular venue alongside the picturesque River Moy.

Tuesday evening saw the group head to Crossmolina to help launch phase 1 of the newly refurbished Dolphin Hotel and Mulhern’s bar and restaurant in Crossmolina. The bar is owned by the groups good friends Pat and Mary Mulhern who were born in Lahardane and have companies based in Mayo and Manchester. 

The final night on Wednesday 7 August saw the group stage their official closing night party back home in Ballina at the newly opened Tarbh47 music venue on Garden Street which is being run by Gerry Walsh.

Minister launches Ireland’s biggest 2019 MMTradfest in Mayo

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD from Westport, Mayo together with Senator Michelle Mulherin helped launch this year’s Mayo Manchester Tradfest at the Fr Peyton Centre in Attymass.

The Minister has been involved with the festival since it was first launched in 2013 as part of the Gathering Tourism initiative that the minister was responsible for setting in his previous roles as the Tourism Minister. The festival was an overnight success and won where an award from Tourism Ireland for being the biggest Gathering in Ireland and attracted over 50,000 visitors. The festival was then just based in Attymass and Ballina and the surrounding area.

Tony Hennigan from Mayo Manchester commented “It was great to see Minister Ring again, he has been a great supporter of the festival in his previous role as Tourism Minister and in his new Ministerial role as the Minister for Rural and Community Development.”

The Minister added “

It has now grown into a week-long festival from 1-7 August and is based in eight different hubs in the North, South, East and West of Mayo. It features over 500 performers from Mayo and Manchester and there are over 100 events which cover over 250 km of the County.

The Mayo Manchester Tradfest is now firmly established as one of Ireland’s biggest Traditional Irish Music, Song and Dance Festival and has won numerous awards which include the International Mayo Diaspora Award and was a finalist in Failte Ireland’s Tourism Industry Awards representing Mayo.

The Festivals featured performers from Manchester include the award winning Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band, Irish singer and traditional Irish musician, Joe Keegan from the TV show The Voice, flute player John Gibson and Irish fiddle player Fidelma O’Brien. Performers from Mayo include: Sean nos dancers, The Ganley Sisters as seen on RTE’s Late Late Show, Jiving Juniors, Dennis McCalmont the award winning Foxford Brass Band, Ballina’s Centre Stage Vocal Academy, Dennis McCalmont and the award winning Turley Duggan School of Irish Dancing plus Ireland’s award winning Country act – Sina Theil and Shauna O’Boyle. The festival’s main events will all be hosted by the Voice of Old Trafford at Manchester United Football Club, Mr Alan Keegan.

Mayo Manchester Tradfest 2019: Closing night party at Tarbh 47 with Alan Keegan, Gerry Walsh, Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band

For more information about the festival see

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