If you are looking for answers this weekend, the Joe Mooney Summer School guarantees you will find them amongst the music, dancers, singers and craic in Drumshanbo.
The internationally renowned traditional music school and festival which attracted over 1,000 music students from all over the world last year returns this weekend for a week filled with high caliber tutors, concerts and events showcasing exactly why Drumshanbo is the heart of traditional music in Leitrim and the North West.
The official opening with Neillidh Mulligan will set the tone for the week of festivities. The renowned Uilleann piper was born in Dublin into a family steeped in the music of Leitrim and Bornacoola. He is the fourth generation to carry on the tradition and his talent must be experienced, the the festival opens in Lough Allen Hotel at 7.30pm.
Mórtas Liatroma follows with a concert celebrating 25 years of Ceolus Ceili Band and featuring Roscommon’s newest Trad Group ‘Gatehouse.’
The event celebrates the silver jubilee of Ceolus Ceili Bans and the Golden Jubilee of Traditional Musician and Mentor Fr John Quinn
Among the performers are Fr Quinn, St Sinneach's Ceili Band All Ireland Winners in Boyle 1966, Grier Famil, Kitty Carberry, John Lee. Eamon McGivney, Janet Harbisson and Justin McGuire- plus many more.
Members of the bands Fr Quinn set up in Ballymahon, Lanesborough and Mohill years ago are coming back together for this very special event.
Monday and Tuesday are to host special talks and performances.
Carmel Cullen gives a talk on ‘The Life and Songs of Delia Murphy’ in St John’s Church at 3pm on July 18.
On Tuesday 19th Mick Mulvey who recently returned home from England gives a performance on ‘North Connacht contribution to Irish Traditional music in London.'
The Joe Mooney festival is well known for the céili dancing and each night has a popular band and musicians providing the best of Irish céili.
The Annaly Céili Band get things started on Monday 18th, The Copperplate Céili Band return on Tuesday 19th, while Rise the Dust brings back the fun on Wednesday 20th.
The Grand Traditional Concert on Thursday 21st includes a top class performance by the Summer School tutors and is always a treat for students and visitors to see these masters perform to an audience, Martin Donohoe is Fear an TÍ in the Community Centre.
The Summer BBQ at Lough Allen Hotel is hoping for sunshine and always attracts a large crowd for festival fun. This year the BBQ is introducing the Salamanca Céili Band with Gerard Butler on Friday 22nd, while Swallows’ Tail finish the night in the Community Centre.
The streets will come alive on Saturday for the closing day with Duntally Céili Band getting everyone up and dancing. The festivities draw to a close with the Slán Abhaile Dancing Céili with music by Five Counties.
The success of the Joe Mooney summer School can be attributed to many influences.
First and foremost is the outstanding quality of the tuition provided to the students, tutors of the highest caliber and internationally renowned are teaching their skills in Drumshanbo for the week.
Students and families return year after year due to the hospitality of the Leitrim people and the scenic beauty of the area with Acres Lake and Lough Allen as well as Sliabh an Iarainn overlooking Drumshanbo.
In Irish mythology, it is believed that Tuatha de Danann arrived in a mist on the mountain with their goddess of music, melody and harmony making Drumshanbo the heart of traditional music in Leitrim.
There are plenty of other amenities such as swimming, canoeing, hillwalking, horseriding, cycling to keep visitors entertained in this Blueway town.
Come for the music, stay for the craic from July 16-23.