Have Ye No Homes to Go To!

Clancy Music & Arts Festival beckons in Carrick-on-Suir

The eleventh staging of the Clancy Brothers Festival of Music & Art takes place this week in Carrick-on-Suir, running into the June Bank Holiday Weekend, honouring the legacy of the band of brothers who left William Street and conquered Carnegie Hall.
Carrick is justly proud of Paddy, Tommy, Liam and Bobby, in addition to their most famous collaborator, Tommy Makem.
Paddy, Tommy, Liam and Tommy Makem recorded almost two dozen albums together, and played a massive role in the revival of folk music, both in the United States and back home in Ireland, and were one of the country’s biggest acts throughout the 1960s.
In their báiníns, one of the most unpractical items of clothing a live performer could wear in a sweltering playhouse or theatre (!), the Clancys and Tommy Makem tore it up in Greenwich Village, Carnegie Hall and back home, triumphantly, joyously and with great humour. True forces of nature one and all, fondly remembered and honoured from the town that mothered them. “Napoleonic in scope,” as Bob Dylan once described them.
Their Stateside associations and friendships were as legendary as they were many: Dylan. Pete Seeger. Odettea. Josh White. The Ed Sullivan Show. The White Horse Tavern was among the Clancys’ favourite haunts and of course they crossed the threshold of The White House to sing, with delicious irony, “We Want No Irish Here” for JFK.
“The buzz was incredible in New York in the Sixties,” Liam recalled in a 2006 interview. “It was a time of ferment and of immense shifts in perspectives. America was just coming out of McCarthyism. We were all coming from repressed backgrounds, finding our own versions of freedom. It was very liberating, like being born again.”
As for the music, Liam once bluntly said: “I didn’t really care about music. For me it was just a spontaneous expression of joy, like the birds in the trees. And people loved the old Irish songs.”
They still do, as evidenced by two nieces of mine, both daughters of Carraig na Siuire, both firmly still in single figures, dancing happily to “I’ll Tell Me Ma” in their Grandmother’s house a few days ago. Ah, the joy of it. And Carrick remains a town full of music, thank the maker.

Tommy Dignam and Ciara Drohan, pictured promoting this week's Clancy Brothers Festival. 						| Photo: Pete Smith/Clancy Festival

Tommy Dignam and Ciara Drohan, pictured promoting this week's Clancy Brothers Festival. | Photo: Pete Smith/Clancy Festival

This week’s festival kicks off on Wednesday night at Brewery Lane Theatre, home to a drama group which Liam co-founded with Liam Hogan back in 1955, a venue which continues to be graced by Peg Power, Liam’s sister, to this day. Wednesday’s concert features a range of local talents including Roisín Clancy, Kevin Power, Maria O’Shea Enright, the Tipperary Ramblers and Maeve Clinton, with another great Carrick institution, Tom Nealon, on hand as MC (Tickets: €12.50).
The following night, ‘The Brewery’ will host the Clancy Family Concert with cousins Finbarr Clancy, Dónal Clancy, Robbie O’Connell, Kevin Power and Colm Power on stage for a fantastic night of music. (Tickets €18.50)
On Friday night, June 1st, Freddie White will take to the Brewery Lane stage for what will a great night of music with one of Ireland’s greatest folk and blues artists (Tickets: €18.50).
Also on Friday night, ‘Musical Society Goes Folk! Volume 2’ will be held in Christy’s Bar at the Strand Theatre.
On the night members of the Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society, directed by Liam Butler (a nephew of the Clancy Brothers) will perform Clancy songs and some of the biggest hits from the musicals. (Tickets on the door are priced €10).
The Nano Nagle Chapel will play host to ‘Bread and Beer’ on Saturday night, June 2nd. The group have reformed for a special Clancy Brothers Festival, featuring Robbie O’Connell, Martin Murray, Tommy Keane and Paul Grant, playing folk and traditional music (Tickets €18.50).
Cordeen will play Brewery Lane on June 4th, featuring four of Ireland and Newfoundland’s finest button accordionists, Benny McCarthy, Conor Moriarty, Billy Sutton and Graham Wells, it promises to be a night of foot tapping tunes and heartfelt songs (Tickets €15).
And finally, from Friday to Sunday, Brewery Lane Theatre will stage ‘The Snug’, a one act play set in Carrick-on-Suir during the First World Warm written by local playwright Jack Ryan, directed by Peg Power. The play is followed by a light lunch in the Tea Room. (Tickets €12.50 including light lunch).
Tickets for the Brewery Lane Theatre and Bread and Beer are available from the Heritage Centre, Main Street, Carrick-on-Suir (051-640200) while tickets for ‘Musical Society Goes Folk! Volume 2’ are also on sale at The Tudor Artisan Hub, 42 Main Street, Carrick-on-Suir, (051-640921).

Full details are available in the festival programme, out now in outlets throughout Carrick-on-Suir, and on www.clancybrothersfestival.com, or from the festival information office at The Tudor Artisan Hub, 42 Main Street (051-640921)

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