Féile Patrick Byrne

The weekend before Easter
Carrickmacross Branch
Co. Monaghan
Féile Patrick Byrne

The Patrick Byrne Traditional Music Weekend / Féile Padraig Dall Ó Beirn is held annually on the weekend before Easter to commemorate Patrick Byrne, a 19th century harper from our locality. Described by the collector Francis O’Neill in Irish Minstrels and Musicians as “the last of the great Irish harpers”, Patrick Byrne was photographed in Edinburgh on or around 1 April 1845 by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson. The series of Calotype images taken by Hill and Adamson are the first photographs of any harpist worldwide and the first of a traditional Irish musician. The image shown is reproduced by kind permission of Glasgow University Library.

The inaugural Patrick Byrne weekend was held in Carrickmacross from 30 March to 1 April 2007 with generous support provided by Comhaltas (through the Meitheal programme), the Carrickmacross Town Council and Na Píobairí Uilleann. Encouraged by the reaction from people in the locality and the enthusiasm generated among our junior branch members we are now committed to making the festival an annual event. Our aims for the Féile Patrick Byrne are: to provide our junior musicians with the opportunity to receive expert tuition; to re-awaken interest in the harp and the now largely forgotten Patrick Byrne and to raise the profile of traditional music in the North East region.

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