The Irish in Britain, including those of Irish descent, make up a significant part of the UK population. Here, you will find news, entertainment, events, sports and features from the local Irish Post newspaper.


Irish music

The oldest tradition

DYING BREED: Willie Daly is the last remaining matchmaker in Ireland.Matchmaking one of the oldest of Irish traditions originates from when the country had two classes — the rich landowners and the poor peasants. The rich organised matchmaking so that their sons and daughters would meet and marry others from the same social and financial background.

The Spa Town of Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare situated in the Burren Mountains was selected as the venue as traditionally people from Ireland went there in their thousands to drink the healthy Spa waters and bathe in the three different mineral cure waters that the Spa wells had, and still offer. The month of September was chosen, as it’s the month when the hay and crops are saved and the livestock did not need extra feeding until later in the autumn.

The Matchmakers of old were the cattle dealers who attended street fairs, and it was they who knew which farmers had eligible sons and daughters around the country. They invited the farmers from all over Ireland to attend the Festival the following September, and it was they who collected the generous dowries when the matches were made.

The present festival events are mainly concentrated at the weekends there is music and dancing during the week. The music kicks off at 6pm each Friday evening in all venues around the town and continues until 4am Saturday morning. After a few hours sleep and a good hearty breakfast music commences again at the Spa Wells and all the other venues at 10am and again goes around the clock until 4am on Sunday morning. If you are still fit for more, Sunday’s music starts again at 10am until the small hours of Monday morning.

The Spa Wells is famous for having your first dance of the day followed by a glass of spa water. This session can be enjoyed daily from 12 midday to 2.30pm. Afternoon dancing commences in O’Donoghues Pub from 4pm until 7pm on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

A sign of the changing Ireland is that there is just one matchmaker left in the country. Speed dating is coming.

The Match Making Festival starts on Friday, September 2 and finishes on Sunday, October 2 2005.

For Further information please contact: Marcus White (Managing Director). Tel: 065 707 4005.

Mark Flanagan (Event Organiser). Tel: 0872718621 or E-mail: or log on to

Bill Naughton Autumn school

The Kenny/Naughton Autumn School Established in 1993 to promote an interest in the lives, works and times of the writers P. D. Kenny and Bill Naughton.

An annual literary gathering takes place in Aghamore over the October Bank Holiday weekend.

The Kenny/Naughton Autumn School commemorates the two very distinguished Irish writers, Bill Naughton and P.D Kenny, from the Aghamore area.

The school consists of lectures, readings, local tours, workshops, new publications, drama and entertainment.

The main aim is to celebrate the achievements of P. D. Kenny and Bill Naughton in their native place.

Other objectives include introducing these writers and their works to a wider audience, critical analysis of their works, dramatic productions and short story competitions to encourage other writers to follow the writing tradition.

In 1998 the school acquired a permanent base in the village of Aghamore.

Several guest speakers have been booked for this year’s Autumn School including:

  • Chikaaki Matsumoto, Kobe, Japan
  • Tom Latchford, Glenamaddy
  • Tom D. O’Hara, Aclare
  • Peter Beresford Ellis, London
  • Kitty Rodgers, Longford
  • Mary Edward, Scotland
  • Martin Frain, Kilmovee
  • Helen Durkin, Meelick
  • Vera McDermott Brookes, Loughglynn and Leeds
  • The Annual Bill Naughton Autumn School is held in Aghamore, Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo (his mother’s birth place).

    For details of the weekend and the writers’ competition contact Paul Rodgers, telephone 00353 094 67019 or e-mail:

    Bill Naughton Short Story Competition

    First Prize: e200. Second Prize: e130. Third Prize: e65.

    Rules/conditions for this year’s competition:

    1 Stories can be written on any topic chosen by the entrant.

    2 Typed scripts only.

    3 Maximum length of stories 2,500 words.

    4 Name and address must not appear on stories.

    5. All work must be unpublished.

    Entry fee: STG£5, e7 or $8 per story. Three stories may be submitted for the price of two. No entry form required. The top 10 entries will be published.

    Send entries to: Bill Naughton Short Story Competition, Box No 2005, Aghamore, Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo, Ireland

    Submission Deadline Date: September 5.

    E-mail: or log on to

    11-day Belfast Féile

    KARAN CASEY: October 4.A whole range of venues across Belfast will play host to this year’s Open House Festival, the 7th Open House Festival (Sept 29 to Oct 9) ranging from The Grand Opera House and Waterfront Hall, to the many intimate pubs of the Cathedral Quarter. The programme contains almost 100 concerts, films and sessions, including many free events and a programme of Music Master classes.

    For those with an appetite for good music the festival is taking a musical journey across the Atlantic. During the Festival’s hectic and eclectic 11-day programme, Belfast will serve up tasty sounds from a range of musical genres.

    Festival Director, Kieran Gilmore says: “Open house 2005 is going to be a very innovative Festival. Its roots are firmly planted in the traditional music of Ireland, but its reach is now truly international.

    “Featured artists range from Sharon Shannon, Frankie Gavin, Matt Molloy, Michael McGoldrick, to the American Rockgrass phenomenon, Hayseed Dixie, fresh from Glastonbury Festival.

    “We are also delighted to have two American Artists-in-Residence, the flatfoot dancer Ira Bernstein and cutting edge American folk singer Tim Eriksen, whose singing was featured on the Oscar winning film Cold Mountain with Nicole Kidman and Jude Law.”

    Tickets can be booked at the Belfast welcome Centre in Donegal Place, Phone 028 9024 6609.

    For a full programme contact the festival office, Phone 028 9145 4754, e-mail or log on to

    Highlights of this year’s festival include:

  • Sharon Shannon, Frankie Gavin, Michael McGoldrick and Jim Murray, Waterfront Studio, September 29.
  • Flook + Le Vent du Nord (Quebec), September 30 Northern Whig.
  • Hayseed Dixie (USA), October 1, Live Lounge Kings Head.
  • Blazing Fiddles (Scotland), October 1, Rosemary St. Church.
  • Solo Step Dance Competition, October 1, An Chultírann.
  • Pennou Skoulm (Brittany), October 2, Waterfront Studio.
  • Down from the Mountain, with the Foghorn String Band, Tim Eriksen, Ira Bernstein and Riley Baugus (USA), October 2, Lyric Theatre.
  • Karan Casey + Fiddle Tree, October 4, McHugh’s Bar.
  • David Grier (USA), October 5, McHugh’s Bar
  • Richmond Fontaine (USA), October 5, The Limelight.
  • Gerry O’Connor Band, October 6, Waterfront Studio.
  • Michael McGoldrick Big Band, Northern Whig. Jim Hurst Bluegrass Band (USA) plus At First Light, October 7, Waterfront Studio.
  • Matt Molloy and John Carty, October 8, Waterfront Studio.
  • Cathal Hayden and friends, October 9, Lyric Theatre.
  • Kate Rusby, October 9, Grand Opera House.

    Information from Alison Gordon, Open House, Mobile: 07713 086 232 or e-mail:

    Free tickets for Patrick Street

    GO SEE: Patrick Street. Patrick Street is taking to the road once again with their new live recording tucked under their arms. Featuring the magnificent fiddle playing of Kevin Burke (ex-Bothy Band) and button accordion wizardry of Jackie Daly (ex-De Danann) haunting vocals and multi-instrumental playing of Andy Irvine (ex-Planxty) and inventive guitar licks and vocals from Ged Foley (formerly of Battlefield Band.

    Patrick Street’s most recent addition is John Carty John was born in London but moved to Ireland in early 1990s. He is a rarity amongst musicians as plays the fiddle left-handed with a right-handed instrument. Not only is he highly accomplished on the fiddle but he is also a brilliant banjo and flute player. Patrick Street are appearing on Saturday, September 3 at Komedia, 44 Gardner Street, Brighton Tickets £14/£12 Box Office: 01273 647100. Doors open 7.30pm for refreshments, concert commences 9pm.

    Michael from Brighton Irish Arts Network has two FREE tickets for the Patrick Street gig; enter the draw by logging on to

    Sligo Fleadh

    Traditional music lovers, enthusiasts and players have a real treat in store at the forthcoming Coleman Traditional Festival, in Gurteen, Co. Sligo on the first weekend of September 2-4.

    Getting things off to a flying start on Friday is Oliver Divinney who was such a huge hit at last year’s festival. He is accompanied by Paddy Kerr. The festival will be officially opened by Dessie Collis the Sligo representative on the Ard Comhairle of Comhaltas. 

    On Saturday at noon, the ever-popular Junior Music Feis will take place in Gurteen Vocational school. This event always attracts a huge entry and there are prizes for all winners, categories from under-8 to under-18s. Entries taken from 11.30am, in vocational school.

    Back to Ceolaras Coleman on Saturday night for the launch of the new Coleman Archive CD featuring recordings of musicians from the local and wider areas. The evening will feature music from people whose music is on the CD and there will also be a music seísiúin till 11pm. On Sunday afternoon the Coleman Junior and Senior Fiddle competitions take place commencing at 4pm — trophy and prizes sponsored by Sligo County Council.

    The closing event of the festival will be a traditional music presentation by Martin and Christine Dowling, two outstanding traditional musicians. Also on the night, Fr. James McDonagh and Hazel Shannon, will be on stage. Coleman Traditional Festival 2005 details can be obtained from 071-9182599 or 071-9182250. Booking for concerts essential.

    Affordable instruments

    With Comhaltas music tuition classes recommencing from their summer break and branch music tutors considering adding to their musical instrument bank might be interested in a new instrument lease or buy scheme with is a new musical instrument supplier headed by traditional musician and teacher Brian Ryan from Killeigh, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

    They provide quality traditional musical and percussion instruments at affordable prices and also offer instruments for sale or hire, ranging from beginners to quality, hand-made instruments. is delighted to announce a scheme whereby Comhaltas members now qualify for a 15 per cent discount off the RRP of any musical instrument stocked by A bulk order discount of 25 per cent is also available to any Comhaltas branches that are in the process of setting up a musical instrument bank.

    Details from Brian Ryan at, tel: 0044 506 44920.

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