FolkWorld #62 03/2017
© Jim Dowling Uilleann Pipe & Trad Festival

The West Cork Tradition of Piping

Jim Dowling Uilleann Pipe & Trad Festival

15 - 18 June 2017
Artist Video

The Jim Dowling Uilleann Pipe & Trad Festival takes place every year in Glengarriff, Co.Cork around the 3rd week in June. 2017 will see the 6th running of the festival which has grown from its humble beginnings in 2012 to what is is today, one of the finest line-ups of traditional Irish musicians you will find at any festival around the country.

Jim Dowling was born in Dolphins Barn in Dublin in 1938 and attended James Street Christian Brothers School and Rathmines School of Commerce. He began his career as a messenger boy in Guinness Brewery at the age of 15, transferred to the Brew House 3 years later and remained there until the age of 31.

Jim Dowling

Artist Video

Jim was one of a select band of young musicians who trained with the legendary piper Leo Rowsome at a time when traditional music was confined to the back streets and the kitchens. But many people had begun to feel that there was a pressing need for a national organisation to promote Ireland’s unique musical culture. And so, in 1951, at the Dublin Pipers Club headquarters, the first standing Committee of Cumann Ceoltóirí na hÉireann was elected. Jim Dowling held the position as secretary for 12 years.

During this 12 year period Jim travelled as far as the US for traditional music sessions in New York and Boston. He featured on the Ed Sullivan Show and was one of a number of musicians who were due to perform at a concert for President Kennedy in 1966 but due to his assassination, the concert did not go ahead. Later he travelled to Europe with many visits to Germany and was a guest of Mayor Rommel at the Cologne music festival.

Jim moved down to Glengarriff in 1969 and set about popularising the playing and making of uillean pipes and traditional music. The seisiuns he held in the bar at Dowling’s Caravan Park soon became a focus for musicians from far and wide, and those who wanted the opportunity to learn from a master musician.


There was a legacy of piping in West Cork, a legacy that, over the years has featured extraordinary musicians such as the blind fiddler, Tom Kennedy who shared his extensive collection of tunes with West Cork’s much-loved Canon James Goodman. Canon Goodman was born in Ventry, County Kerry in 1828 and was an outstanding Uilleann piper. He spent his life as a minister in different parishes in West Cork and he ensured that hundreds of tunes including those which Tom knew were preserved for posterity. He collected over 2,000 melodies, now safely ensconced in the library of Trinity College under the title of “The Tunes of the Munster Pipers.” Today his statue can be seen at the gate to Abbeystrewry parish church in Skibbereen.

Jim Dowling worked to revive that tradition of piping in West cork and was a founder member of the Glengarriff Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Éireann. He died in November 2008 and this festival is a commemoration of his significant contribution to Uilleann piping and traditional music.

Taking place in the pubs, hotels and restaurants around the village of Glengarriff, you will never have to far to travel to get to the music, whether one of the bigger concerts and the more informal sessions that take place right throughout the weekend. There are also special events and workshops that also take place around the village, so something for everyone.


Artist Video Connla @ FolkWorld:
FW#58, #62


Connla will headline the main concert in the Glengarriff Park Hotel on the Thursday night as well as taking part in the many Sessions around the village. Book tickets here

Connla are an exciting new band with strong traditional roots as well as influences from across the globe. Their sensitive and innovative arrangements of traditional and modern folk songs and tunes have earned them praise across the folk community. Having met whilst studying Music at Ulster University, they quickly began performing together and developing friendships.

“Consider this your early warning system … there is something serious on the horizon and that creative storm is Connla” Irish Music Magazine

Hailing from the cities of Armagh and Derry: Ciara McCafferty (vocals), Ciaran Carlin (whistles) and Paul Starrett (guitar) are joined by Armagh siblings Emer and Conor Mallon on harp and uilleann pipes.

Anxo Lorenzo Trio

Anxo Lorenzo is a musician who plays the gaita, the traditional Galician bagpipe, from Moaña (Tirán), a small village on the Atlantic Coast of Galicia (Spain).

Anxo Lorenzo & Eoghan Neff

Artist Video Anxo Lorenzo @ FolkWorld:
FW#42, #46, #49, #50, #54

Lorenzo has played at several festivals, including Piping Live!, the William Kennedy Piping Festival and Féile Iorrais in Northern Ireland. He arrives in Glengarriff with his friends who make up the Anxo Lorenzo Trio which includes Eoghan Neff on Fiddle and Pablo Lafuente on acoustic guitar.

Stockton’s Wing

After their hugely successful run of gigs at The Temple Bar TradFest 2016 and a headline show at the Fleadh in Ennis, Stockton’s Wing will play the Eccles Hotel on Friday 17th June, Celebrating 40 Years 1977-2017 and performing from their vast and eclectic back catalogue of recordings.

Stockton’s Wing was the sound of progressive Irish music during the 80’s and early 90’s. Their eclectic mix of traditional, contemporary and original music along with their powerful energetic and creative live shows guaranteed national and international success. Their hit song ‘Beautiful Affair’ was voted into the all-time top 75 songs on RTE radio and reached no 7 in a similar poll on Today FM. They recorded 8 studio albums, 1 live album and several compilations, singles and collaborations with artists such as The Dubliners and Finbar Furey. They played a supporting role to Michael Jackson and Prince at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, performed with Sammy Davis Junior at Lansdowne Road and Richard Harris, Tom Berenger and Sean Bean danced to their music on the set of The Field.

The current line-up has Mike Hanrahan – vocals & guitar, Steve Cooney – didgeridoo, bass guitar, Tommy Hayes – percussion, Paul Roche – flute, whistles, Tara Breen – fiddle and Karol Lynch on banjo and mandolin.

Blackie O'Connell (Dubhlinn)
Artist Video

In the words of the band’s producer, PJ Curtis after a recent reunion gig “What an extraordinary, amazing, mind-blowing concert the Wing delivered last night. I’m still spinning from it. It was TRIUMPHANT! … no other word for it … such an incredible turn-out … and the music and the vibe made it a NIGHT TO REMEMBER!!! It rates as one of the top gigs of the decade for me!”

Great stuff – not to be missed!


The Clare costal village of Dubhlinn, or Doolin, is the home of Irish traditional music.

It is where local uilleann piper and “veritable one-man pipe band” Blackie O’Connell; illustrious bouzouki accompanist and prominent Irish folk singer to “enthral and enthuse” Cyril O’Donoghue; as well as Cork fiddle experimenter, “a pinnacle of acoustic music”, Eoghan Neff first came together to form a high octane music trio characterised by wild improvisation.

This is “Dubhlinn”.

Blackie will be playing a special session with Siobhan Peoples and Cyril O’Donoghue in Jim’s Coffee House on Sunday at 4pm, as well as taking part in numerous other sessions around the village over the weekend. Make sure to catch him.

Michael “Blackie” O’Connell is one of the most exciting uilleann pipers in Irish traditional music. Between extensive tours of Europe, the USA and the Far East, Blackie can be found at his sessions in local bars in Clare. At concerts and sessions, he performs with gusto, and audiences are swept away by his exuberant and fast flowing piping style.

Cór Chúil Aodha

Artist Video Peadar Ó Riada @ FW:
FW#43, #52, #53, #61

Cór Chúil Aodha will perform at Mass on the Sunday morning at 11.30am. So if you’re looking for some spirituality after the weekend this is the place to go to hear this reknowned choir along with Peadar Ó Riada.

Founded by legendary Irish composer Seán Ó Riada in 1963 – and continued after his death in 1971 to this day by his son Peadar – Cór Chúil Aodha (The Coolea Men’s Choir) occupies a legendary place in Irish music and embodies the spirit of an area that is historically rich in both poetry and music.

With current members that include local farmers, carpenters, teachers, civil servants and businessmen, fathers, sons and grandchildren; the choir represents a vibrant cross-section of the community and a diversity of authentic contemporary voices.

Stocktons Wing

Artist Video

Photo Credits: (1) Jim Dowling Uilleann Pipe & Trad Festival, (2) Jim Dowling (4) Connla, (5) Anxo Lorenzo, (6) Blackie O'Connell (Dubhlinn), (7) Stockton's Wing (unknown/website); (3) Glengarriff (by Walkin' Tom).

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